Salesforce Esau Sanchez-Diaz
October 28, 2019
Esau is a Customer Success Director with Salesforce based out of the San Francisco office. Salesforce has a strong reputation for giving back to the world and its extensive employee volunteering program is one of the key factors that drew Esau to join the company two and a half years ago.
Although Esau currently resides in Oakland, California with his wife and three children, he has deep roots in Oaxaca. “I grew up in the Istmo de Tehuantepec area, about 35 miles from Salinas del Marquez. I lived in the area since childhood through high school, and then I went to college in Oaxaca City. Later on, I had the opportunity to get a Masters from U.C. Berkeley and to build my professional career in the Bay Area.”
Given the seismic activity in the region, Esau is no stranger to earthquakes and among many occurrences, he experienced the 8.0 earthquake in 1985 that destroyed large portions of Mexico City and killed as many as 10,000 people. Those nightmarish scenarios and fear returned on September 7th, 2017 when an 8.5 magnitude earthquake struck the area with catastrophic consequences. “The first hours after the earthquake were filled with anxiety because of the challenges when trying to communicate with my parents. The infrastructure was damaged and the communication lines were overwhelmed.” Esau’s parents, aunts, cousins and extended family all live in the region. Fortunately, no fatalities occurred among his relatives.
The aftermath of the 2017 earthquake was of apocalyptic consequences for thousands of families whose houses were decimated. The chaotic situation was complicated further by the slow response from governmental agencies and many locals with no place to call home struggled to survive. Oaxaca is one of Mexico’s poorest states with antiquated infrastructure and lack of visibility of its issues at the national level.
Salinas del Marquez is one of those communities still experiencing the lingering impacts of the earthquake with the Celso Munoz Elementary and 13 de Septiembre Kinder buildings unsafe for use. This is where Esau and seven other professionals from Salesforce teamed up with dozens of volunteers to rebuild both schools. The work wasn’t trivial and the humid, sweltering weather in the high 90s Farenheit tested the physical limits of the team. However, feeling the embrace and appreciation from the community made the effort humbling and extremely rewarding.
Having strong ties to the area allowed Esau to stay off base, at his mother’s house during the days of service. For Esau, a one hour commute each way to and from the work site was immaterial compared to the valuable time he spent with his family and the experience to sleep in the house where he spent his childhood. Esau’s enthusiasm was palpable, “I feel grateful for this opportunity to stay with my mom while I contribute to the rebuilding efforts and participate as part of the employee engagement team from Salesforce.”
He also added, “As someone from humble beginnings and who spent a fair amount of time in the beaches around the area, I felt a sense of responsibility to step out of my comfortable life in California and give back to this resilient community.” Esau was clear to express that he felt “honored to be one of the many extraordinary volunteers from all corners of the world who through pouring concrete, digging ditches, wheelbarrowing dirt, painting and performing a multitude of similar tasks under extreme weather conditions, believe in the power to help underprivileged communities hit by natural disasters.”
Story by Esau Sanchez-Diaz for All Hands and Hearts