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UC Executive Education Recognizes Zendesk with Prestigious 2021 Leader in Lifelong Learning Award

Press Release

UC Executive Education’s annual Leader in Lifelong Learning Award recognizes one partner organization that demonstrates a commitment to lifelong learning with the embodiment of a Haas Defining Leadership Principles. The award for 2021 recognizes Zendesk – a company eager to learn and equally as expressive to its core values of humility with confidence, building relationships, and practicing empathy - such values align directly with Haas’s Defining Leadership Principles.

UC Berkeley Executive Education partners with organizations of all sizes in every industry to identify core challenges and to create innovative solutions to address current and future business needs. These partnerships result in unique, holistic custom-designed programs that are strengthened through collaboration between the Haas School of Business Faculty and real-world practitioners.

The Zendesk Story 

Zendesk was growing rapidly, and wanted to upskill and invest in their mid-senior level leader population and to develop agile leaders who were well-prepared and equipped to lead strategically through hyper-growth and hyper-change – and toward the goal of becoming a multi-billion dollar company. 

The Accelerate Leadership Program, or “Accelerate,” was designed to impact how leaders lead themselves, their teams, and the business – and to create a leadership development program grounded in Zendesk’s core values and leadership capabilities. It was also important to equip leaders with practical tools for immediate application. 

Results of the program include an emergence of a collaborative and inclusive leadership community, a general increase across respondents in perspective taking, enterprise-wide thinking, driving change and fostering psychological safety. Overall, it enabled greater alignment with the company’s vision and goals. 

“Zendesk is a deserving recipient of the 2021 Leader in Lifelong Learning award. It’s very unusual for a technology company to have empathy and building relationships as part of their core values. They brought those values to the program, along with a hunger to learn and a spirit of curiosity. Zendesk leaders didn’t just attend the programs to check the box – they showed a true desire to learn for impact,” says Professor Homa Bahrami, Faculty Director, UC Berkeley Executive Education.

This is the third year the award has been given. The first award went to Visa in 2019, and to Abbott in 2020. Each year, Executive Education considers dozens of organizations for the award, and this year Zendesk’s light shone brightly.  

“What makes Zendesk so special is that they truly care about their employees – who they are, what they do, and what they need. It was very rewarding watching participants in the program have courageous conversations and address issues, rather than sweeping things under the rug. They really do live their core values of empathy, building relationships, and being humble and confident,” says Andrea Salvemini, Relationship Manager and VP, Client Solutions, UC Berkeley Executive Education.

About Zendesk - Champions of Customer Service

Zendesk started the customer experience revolution in 2007 by enabling any business around the world to take their customer service online. Today, Zendesk is the champion of great service everywhere for everyone, and powers billions of conversations, connecting more than 100,000 logos with hundreds of millions of customers over telephony, chat, email, messaging, social channels, communities, review sites and help centers. Zendesk products are built with love to be loved. The company was conceived in Copenhagen, Denmark, built and grown in California, taken public in New York City, and today employs more than 5,000 people across the world. Learn more at

"I didn't realize how much I had learned until I was talking to people at work. The program gave me great insights and was a wonderful learning environment. The faculty are great and the cohort experience was fantastic. I highly recommend the course!"

Director of Market Development, Griffith Business School