Skip to Content CEO Rob Acker’s Year-End Reflections

By Rob Acker December 29, 2021

As 2021 draws to a close, one word comes to mind: gratitude.

Yes, it has been a year of challenge and change. But at, every day we work to create change in the world — to help overcome challenges and improve people’s lives everywhere.

I feel very fortunate to be part of this organization. We had the opportunity to help organizations like Gavi and COVAX ship nearly 740 million COVID-19 vaccines to 144 countries. We partnered with organizations like UNICEF in their critical work to prevent depression and anxiety in children. And we helped equip educators to better engage with thousands of students when classrooms had to become virtual.

Person turning wooden blocks from the previous year to the new year
It has been a year of challenge and change

We all navigated the effects of the pandemic on ourselves, our work, and our society in different ways. Things still weren’t “normal” this year, and I’m impressed by and grateful for our team, who consistently found creative new ways to support and work alongside our trailblazing nonprofit and educator partners worldwide. We worked remotely while continuing to work together.

I’m thankful for the personal, organizational, and societal growth that helped us emerge even stronger on the other side of another difficult year. In the face of really tough — and often seemingly insurmountable — challenges, our customers have continued to innovate, grow, and surpass their goals. I’m so encouraged by some of the results that came out of our latest Nonprofit Trends Report, which noted that 33% of nonprofits actually exceeded their fundraising goals this past year.

Collectively, we’ve faced profound transitions in 2021, and we’ll undoubtedly see more of them in 2022. But if any community can continuously find ways around, over, and through these hurdles, it’s this one. And I’m so grateful to work alongside thousands of colleagues, customers, and partners who are not only resilient, but who have proven how deftly they can turn negative outcomes into positive ones for millions of people.

At the end of last year, I reflected on the idea of resilience. This year, in the spirit of both resilience and gratitude, I find myself asking: Where do I want to make an impact?

I share this to invite a conversation and hopefully tap into the collective of this team. I seek to learn from those around me: amazing individuals working every day to make an impact, both personally and professionally.

To me, making an impact begins with one person and one moment.

Whenever I encounter anybody — be it a stranger on the street, friends and family, work colleagues, or world leaders — I try to remind myself to slow down and adjust my mindset so I can be at my best for that person. How can I connect with them? How can I lift their spirits?

In a world where we celebrate diversity, we need to find ways to connect through our common humanity while honoring and being open to other voices. What we share in common far outweighs our differences.

Making the effort to create an authentic connection with someone else can have an incredible impact — both on them and on us. When I remember to focus on people with that intention, it makes such a difference. And it begins with our individual actions and choices, which grow exponentially the more we make this conscious effort.

So this year, I’m going to approach every encounter with an intention of impact. For me, it starts with a smile, empathy, asking questions, and active listening. It may sound simple, and it is. But this simple formula creates a foundation built on mutual respect and understanding, which restores both civility and our shared human experience.

Because, as our global community proves over and over again, we have the ability to amplify the impact of others by working together. I’m proud to be part of an organization that reaches hundreds of millions of people in so many positive ways. No matter what challenges we face tomorrow, I believe the possibilities are endless.

I invite your comments and ideas about how we can be our best selves, personally and professionally, in 2022! Share your thoughts on Twitter @Rob_M_Acker.

Get more insights into global 2021 trends for nonprofit organizations and educational institutions.

About the Author

Rob Acker, CEO at
Rob Acker
CEO at
Rob leads, a social impact center at Salesforce. focuses on delivering world-class technology to nonprofits and higher education customers.