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For Leaders Taking A Stand On Social Media, A New Kind Of Awards

This fall, Mark Benioff — the CEO of multibillion-dollar software company Salesforce — did something unusual. He said it was time for a change.

In an oped published in the New York Times and accompanying social media campaign, Benioff put out a call for a “new capitalism.” He pointed out how the “obsession on maximizing profits” has led to “horrifying inequality.” He called on businesses to reprioritize communities and the planet. He encouraged strengthening the Equal Pay Act to ensure women make as much as men.

In short, he leveraged his leadership role to take a stand.

It’s about time.

The “social leadership gap”

Expectations around leaders on social media and digital channels have radically changed. Three out of four people now say CEOs need to take the lead on change, rather than waiting for government to impose it. Two-thirds of employees believe it’s important for CEOs to communicate on social media. And 80% of business decision-makers said executive thought leadership increased their trust in an organization.

With calls for transparency mounting, staying off-stage as a leader is proving not just challenging — but often an outright liability. Nonetheless, nearly 60% of Fortune 500 CEOs don’t have a social media presence at all. Among the 40% who do have a social account, most are inactive. The result is a widening leadership gap: consumers, employees and the public expect to hear from business leaders on the pressing issues of the day, yet far too many are content to remain silent.

Recognizing leaders who take risks

Yet for every leader who stays on the sidelines, there are pioneers embracing transparency and sharing their voice. Household names like Elon Musk and Arianna Huffington have firmly established themselves as CEOs taking a social stand, but the list of leaders going above and beyond extends to all levels. Take Shopify CEO Tobias Lütke, who uses his platform to take a stance on environmental issues. Or Learn Vest founder Alexa von Tobel, who shares personal advice on how to balance parenthood and entrepreneurship.

Granted, navigating the complex and sometimes chaotic landscape of social media is no easy feat. Taking a stand as a business leader — exposing yourself and your company to risk and criticism — is rarely easy. That’s why we think it’s time to recognize the business leaders who are doing it right and making a difference.

The CSuite Digital Leadership Awards — the CSuites, for short — is the first awards of its kind dedicated entirely to recognizing business leaders using social media and digital channels to push forward change. The CSuites honor leaders and influencers across multiple categories, from “Best Leader on Instagram” to “Best Leadership Blog.” Above all, the awards highlight the growing importance of CEO and corporate activism in a business climate where staying on the sidelines is no longer an option.

Nominations open March 1, 2020

The CSuites open for nominations on March 1st, 2020. Winners are highlighted in national business and consumer media outlets, providing an opportunity to strengthen not just their own social followings but the causes they believe in. The awards are judged by a cross-section of experts from leading business media and progressive companies, as well as social media influencers in business and social responsibility.

If you’re a business leader committed to leveraging your own voice to make a difference, visit to learn more.

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