Diversity is no longer a “box to be checked” on an HR form. It’s a competitive strategy that fosters innovation and results in the b..
Fourteen girls attended a week-long camp filled with activities to excite, challenge, and expose them to some of the many things that are possible with te..
Diversity in visual representatio..
Today, I’m proud to announce that Microsoft’s corporate venture fund, M12, is joining forces with EQT Ventures and SVB Financial Group to launch the Female Founders Competition, a global startup contest to identify top female talent and accelerate access to capital for women entrepreneurs. We’ve all heard the long odds facing women founders in tech. Last year, female founders received just 2.2 percent of total global venture capital funding, and only 17 percent of all startups have at least one female founder, despite the fact that gender diversity on executive teams correlates with greater profitability and value creation.
The post M12 and VC partners commit $4 million to empower women entrepreneurs appeared first on The Official Microsoft Blo..
Editor’s Note: Today’s guest post comes from JinJa Birkenbeuel, the CEO of Birk Creative, a creative marketing and branding agency.
For the last six months, I’ve been one of eight minority small business owners around the U.S. piloting Google’s Digital Coach program, which offers free workshops for small businesses on how to use Google’s tools for digital marketing. We’re focusing this pilot in cities with historically large communities of Black and Latino small business owners: Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and Washington, D.C.
I run a creative agency in Chicago called Birk Creative, which I founded in 1997 as a graphic design and print shop–and a way to promote the country/hip-hop band, Utah Carol, that I formed with my husband, Grant. Over the last 20 years, I’ve grown the business to advise other small businesses–and now large corporate clients—on all forms of digital marketing, from designing web sites and online ads to writing social media posts to IT support. With the help of AdWords and Google Analytics in particular, I’ve expanded from a local shop to a full-service agency.
I’ve long wanted to share what I’ve learned over the years with other minority and women business owners. As a Digital Coach, I offer free, open-to-the-public digital marketing lessons (including tutorials from Google’s Get Your Business Online program) and share my own experience on how AdWords, Analytics and other Google tools have helped me solve business challenges.
Data shows that the total number of Black, Latino, and other minority-owned businesses is growing, and that U.S. Latino small businesses are growing at higher rates than any other U.S. small businesses. Yet Black and Latino-owned businesses are less likely to have websites and less likely to be online than other groups. Our goal with these pilot workshops is to help small businesses like mine participate more fully in the digital economy as they grow.
Since Google launched the pilot in late May, we’ve welcomed more than 5,000 business founders and owners to our Digital Coach workshops around the U.S. We host these events at locations that are familiar to our communities, from the Watts Public Library in Los Angeles to beauty salons in Detroit.
I’ve coached a variety of business owners, including a nail artist, a life coach, a children’s book author and a photo-booth rental company. And there’s one thing they have in common: They’re small, independent businesses or sole proprietorships in Black and Latino communities, all at the point in their growth when they know they can be doing more.
As my Los Angeles Digital Coaches colleague Roberto Martinez says, “Working as a Coach has been transformational. We’re not just presenting or teaching; we are working in tandem with the business owners to better understand how to get ahead of the market.”
After six months of meeting so many business owners from a variety of backgrounds (beyond Black and Latino) at my Digital Coach workshops, I’m inspired by them. Though they come to the Digital Coaching workshops to learn from us, our communities across the U.S. are benefiting from their contributions and expertise. As a Digital Coach, I’m honored to be playing a small part to help their businesses grow, so that all of our vibrant neighborhoods can grow, too.
If you’re interested in finding a workshop near you and to participate in our ongoing pilot in 2018, please visit https://accelerate.withgoogle.com/coaches
(Photo credit for image at top: Steve Capers Photography)
Three years ago, we began a journey to evolve our culture at Microsoft, and in so doing redefine our relationship with employees, customer and partners. This journey started by grounding our aspire-to culture in a growth mindset focused on three attributes: Obsessing over our customers; Operating as a unified company (One Microsoft); and Becoming a…
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we’re celebrating the fascinating stories and important contributions of our Hispanic Googlers—their histories, their families, and what keeps them busy inside and outside of work. Today we hear from Gladys Karina Jimenez Opper, an audacious moonshot catalyst and collector of world experiences, whose curiosity rivals Nancy Drew’s.
What is the 10-second explanation of your job?
I am a Program Manager at X—I plan and execute internal projects that support the launch of moonshot technologies that we hope will one day make the world a radically better place.
What does Hispanic culture and heritage mean to you?
No matter your ethnicity, country of origin, or language, we all have a cultural heritage—a history written by those who came before us and a standing legacy for those yet to come. Culture represents our innate desire for community; a social framework that connects us to people with whom we share something in common. Heritage is generation-upon-generation of cultural experiences passed on by our parents, forefathers, and their ancestors before them, and traditions are the way we pass that heritage down. Sometimes preserved in song or in dance, food or artifacts, our cultural heritage and traditions keep our past, present and future connected at all times.
What is your favorite cultural tradition?
Dinner is always better when we eat together! Family dinners are a tradition in my household. Growing up, my great-aunt Emilia (“Mami Mila”) would cook the most heavenly dishes and no one was allowed to start dinner until everyone was present at the table. You usually don’t think of food when you think of mindfulness, but a shared meal is an extraordinary way to cultivate connection, allowing us to be present for ourselves and hold space for each other.
When did you (or generations before you) immigrate to the U.S.?
I was born in Ecuador. My parents were born in Ecuador. My grandparents were born in Ecuador. And that history goes back as far as we’ve been able to trace. When I was three years old my parents decided to move to the United States in pursuit of our American dream—it was surely the most difficult decision they ever had to make.
Tell us a bit about how you got to where you are today, and who helped you get there.
Knowing where I come from is a key part of knowing who I am and what I stand for. It helps me stay rooted and centered no matter the circumstance.
As a kid, many people disparaged my dreams of attending college. They would tell me,“Those things don’t happen to people like us,” but my parents encouraged me to persevere, work hard and retain hope. I was valedictorian of my high school class and attended Stanford University, where I graduated with both undergraduate and graduate degrees.
A couple of years later, I decided to pursue my dream of working at Google. My parents and husband continuously reminded me of the power and strength of conviction. Even the most audacious dreams can come true if you believe in yourself and work relentlessly toward your goal. That’s true at X too. What some deem impossible, we see as an opportunity to create impact. Not a bad fit for me at all.
What has been an important moment for you at X?
Important moments arise in everyday interactions; I am continuously humbled by the brilliance, kindness and generosity that surrounds me. And that’s more meaningful than one specific moment. “Meraki” is a Greek word for “doing something with soul, creativity, or love,” and that describes my colleagues, partners and friends at X. Every day is an opportunity to present a different perspective for our projects and products, to exemplify leadership, camaraderie and compassion.
The 2017 Grace Hopper Celebration for Women in Computing wrapped up last week. The largest conference for women in tech with more than 18,000 attendees, it’s also one of our favorite moments of the year for Google. Eight hundred Googlers joined the thousands of other attendees at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL, to demonstrate some of our products, meet aspiring Googlers, and connect with talented women (and men) from around the world. Here’s a quick glimpse at what we did at GHC ‘17:
#GHC17 was a blast, and we’re proud to be there every year. Even if you weren’t able to make it, you can still learn more about our careers!
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we’re celebrating the fascinating stories and important contributions of our Hispanic Googlers—their histories, their families, and what keeps them busy inside and outside of work. Next up is Alberto Villarreal, creative lead for hardware and student of his wife (a historian) and 6-year-old daughter, who teach him about history and how to speak German, respectively.
What is your favorite Mexican tradition or food?
I’m a big big fan of curry in general, so mole is my favorite Mexican dish. Mole is basically a type of curry sauce, just with different ingredients than the Indian or Thai curries. It’s a perfect example of my sweet yet spicy personality. In this photo, I’m holding an original molcajete that we brought over from Mexico when we moved here—we use it to make salsa from scratch. It was from my grandma and I inherited it when she passed away at the age of 101.
How did you find your way to Google?
I am originally from Mexico City, and moved to the U.S. four years ago to work on the Nexus hardware team, which has evolved into the mobile industrial design team under the Hardware design group. Growing up in a vibrant city with a mix of cultures (the hyper-modern and the ancient traditions co-existing), shaped my method of problem-solving and tackling challenges. One of the most interesting challenges of my job is translating Google’s brand values—being “approachable,” for example—into physical objects.
You just helped launch the Pixel 2—what’s your favorite feature?
The Pixel’s power button has a pop of color, which I love. It’s a touch of optimism and a way to visually guide the user, so that the button is easy to find.
How do you spend your time outside of work?
With my wife and 6-year-old daughter. Otherwise I spend a lot of time running. I’ve been an avid mid-distance runner for over 25 years, but lately I’ve been training more seriously for my first full marathon in Ventura, CA, at the end of the month.
As someone who identifies as non-binary, transgender and gay, I’ve come out a lot. As the co-creator of a “Transgender 101” course that introduces Googlers to trans issues, I come out to my coworkers every time I facilitate a session. Yet I still feel nervous every single time I do it.
Growing up in Orange County, CA, I didn’t know any gay people in my high school and I never saw any gay people who seemed like me. For years, I hated myself, wishing I could be straight and “normal.”
Ironically, it was while serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Gambia, a country where being gay is punishable by death, that I made my first LGBTQ+ friends and felt proud of being gay.
While becoming comfortable identifying as gay, I noticed how uncomfortable I was being feminine. I wouldn’t look at myself in the mirror if I was wearing a dress. Then I realized it felt strange when someone referred to me with female pronouns. The more I noticed it, the worse it felt. Having taken so much time to accept being gay, I knew very quickly after meeting some trans people that I was trans, too. Over time, I found gender-neutral pronouns felt best and I discovered that people who cared about me used the pronouns that made me feel comfortable, even if it was (and is!) hard.
I still worry what people think and often feel uncomfortable in my body, but today, on Coming Out Day, I come out as non-binary and trans for those who can’t. And I remember the LGBTQ+ people, especially trans women of color, who risked everything to make it possible for people like me to be visible today.
I hope my story and those below, from LGBTQ+ Googlers around the globe, will show you that there are LGBTQ+ people everywhere—and none of you are alone.
Clarice Kan, Hong Kong
I came out to my parents 10 years ago by writing a letter and putting it on their bed before I left for a vacation with Cleo, my then-girlfriend (now fiancée). I was worried about them not understanding my life and not accepting me for who I am.
Days passed with no word from my parents, and I was starting to freak out. So I finally gave in and called them. It was one of the hardest things I’d ever done; I was lucky my parents responded with understanding and soon embraced Cleo as part of our family.
While I’m out today, with the full support of my family and friends, not everyone is as fortunate. For many people around me, including some of my closest friends and family members, I’m the only gay person they know.
Many people don’t understand that coming out is not a one-time thing. It’s something that LGBTQ+ people must keep doing, consciously and unconsciously, every day for the rest of our lives. It’s every time I introduce myself and it’s every time I take a stand for the community.
Daniel Castelblanco, Bogotá, Colombia
When I was younger, the idea of coming out to my family and friends in Colombia was scary. I felt like I was hiding a part of myself but I was worried about how my family and other people would react. When I started attending university in Bogotá, I met other LGBTQ+ people and I started to realize that being gay was normal.
I finally gained the confidence to come out to my family. Coming out was an emotional rollercoaster, but my family tried their best to understand and support me. My sister was especially helpful. In fact, coming out to her made us closer, because she understood that I trusted her with an important part of my identity.
By being visible and out in my community, I can live my life to the fullest and show that anyone’s child, parent, boss or neighbor could be LGBTQ+. If I could speak to my younger self today, I’d tell little Daniel, “What are you waiting for? Be yourself, and most importantly, be happy and share that happiness with the world!”
Andrea Barberà, Spain (works in Brazil)
Growing up in a small town in Spain, I was uncomfortable exploring my identity, and insecure about what my community would think of me if I ever came out. At 20, I ventured to Dublin as a student and met an LGBTQ+ group. Right away, I felt drawn to these confident, out and proud people. Through the group, I came around to accepting myself and built the confidence to tell others that I was a lesbian.
There are still many places in the world where people make incorrect assumptions about LGBTQ+ people. Despite being out, I feel like I’m forced to come out every time I have a personal conversation as some assume I date men and have other questions about my sexuality. In these moments, I’m reminded of why the visibility of LGBTQ+ people is important. I feel empowered when a close friend or acquaintance tells me that they were more comfortable coming out because of my own life story.
I wish that in the future we won’t need Coming Out Day, because everyone should be loved and accepted for who they are. But for now, we must empower individuals to share their full selves with their loved ones, friends and the world.
Editor’s Note: The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing is coming up, and Diane Greene and Dr. Fei-Fei Li—two of our senior leaders—are getting ready. Sometimes Diane and Fei-Fei commute to the office together, and this time we happened to be along to capture the ride. Diane took over the music for the commute, and with Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” in the background, she and Fei-Fei chatted about the conference, their careers in tech, motherhood, and amplifying female voices everywhere. Hop in the backseat for Diane and Fei-Fei’s ride to work.
(A quick note for the riders: This conversation has been edited for brevity, and so you don’t have to read Diane and Fei-Fei talking about U-turns.)
Fei-Fei: Are you getting excited for Grace Hopper?
Diane: I’m super excited for the conference. We’re bringing together technical women to surface a lot of things that haven’t been talked about as openly in the past.
Fei-Fei: You’ve had a long career in tech. What makes this point in time different from the early days when you entered this field?
Diane: I got a degree in engineering in 1976 (ed note: Fei-Fei jumped in to remind Diane that this was the year she was born!). Computers were so exciting, and I learned to program. When I went to grad school to study computer science in 1985, there was actually a fair number of women at UC Berkeley. I’d say we had at least 30 percent women, which is way better than today.
It was a new, undefined field. And whenever there’s a new industry or technology, it’s wide open for everyone because nothing’s been established. Tech was that way, so it was quite natural for women to work in artificial intelligence and theory, and even in systems, networking, and hardware architecture. I came from mechanical engineering and the oil industry where I was the only woman. Tech was full of women then, but now less than 15 percent of women are in tech.
Fei-Fei: So do you think it’s too late?
Diane: I don’t think it’s too late. Girls in grade school and high school are coding. And certainly in colleges the focus on engineering is really strong, and the numbers are growing again.
Fei-Fei: You’re giving a talk at Grace Hopper—how will you talk to them about what distinguishes your career?
Diane: It’s wonderful that we’re both giving talks! Growing up, I loved building things so it was natural for me to go into engineering. I want to encourage other women to start with what you’re interested in and what makes you excited. If you love building things, focus on that, and the career success will come. I’ve been so unbelievably lucky in my career, but it’s a proof point that you can end up having quite a good career while doing what you’re interested in.
I want to encourage other women to start with what you’re interested in and what makes you excited. If you love building things, focus on that, and the career success will come.
Fei-Fei: And you are a mother of two grown, beautiful children. How did you prioritize them while balancing career?
Diane: When I was at VMware, I had the “go home for dinner” rule. When we founded the company, I was pregnant and none of the other founders had kids. But we were able to build a the culture around families—every time someone had a kid we gave them a VMware diaper bag. Whenever my kids were having a school play or parent teacher conference, I would make a big show of leaving in the middle of the day so everyone would know they could do that too. And at Google, I encourage both men and women on my team to find that balance.
Fei-Fei: It’s so important for your message to get across because young women today are thinking about their goals and what they want to build for the world, but also for themselves and their families. And there are so many women and people of color doing great work, how do we lift up their work? How do we get their voices heard? This is something I think about all the time, the voice of women and underrepresented communities in AI.
Diane: This is about educating people—not just women—to surface the accomplishments of everybody and make sure there’s no unconscious bias going on. I think Grace Hopper is a phenomenal tool for this, and there are things that I incorporate into my work day to prevent that unconscious bias: pausing to make sure the right people were included in a meeting, and that no one has been overlooked. And encouraging everyone in that meeting to participate so that all voices are heard.
Fei-Fei: Grace Hopper could be a great platform to share best practices for how to address these issues.
…young women today are thinking about their goals and what they want to build for the world, but also for themselves and their families.
Dr. Fei-Fei Li
Diane: Every company is struggling to address diversity and there’s a school of thought that says having three or more people from one minority group makes all the difference in the world—I see it on boards. Whenever we have three or more women, the whole dynamic changes. Do you see that in your research group at all?
Fei-Fei: Yes, for a long time I was the only woman faculty member in the Stanford AI lab, but now it has attracted a lot of women who do very well because there’s a community. And that’s wonderful for me, and for the group.
Now back to you … you’ve had such a successful career, and I think a lot of women would love to know what keeps you going every day.
Diane: When you wake up in the morning, be excited about what’s ahead for the day. And if you’re not excited, ask yourself if it’s time for a change. Right now the Cloud is at the center of massive change in our world, and I’m lucky to have a front row seat to how it’s happening and what’s possible with it. We’re creating the next generation of technologies that are going to help people do things that we didn’t even know were possible, particularly in the AI/ML area. It’s exciting to be in the middle of the transformation of our world and the fast pace at which it’s happening.
Fei-Fei: Coming to Google Cloud, the most rewarding part is seeing how this is helping people go through that transformation and making a difference. And it’s at such a scale that it’s unthinkable on almost any other platform.
Diane: Cloud is making it easier for companies to work together and for people to work across boundaries together, and I love that. I’ve always found when you can collaborate across more boundaries you can get a lot more done.
To hear more from Fei-Fei and Diane, tune into Grace Hopper’s live stream on October 4.
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we’re celebrating the fascinating stories and important contributions of our Hispanic Googlers—their histories, their families, and what keeps them busy inside and outside of work. Today we hear from Adriana Jara, software engineer, passionate dancer and dog lover, who thinks life is too short to wear matching socks.
Give us the 10-second, one-sentence version of what you do at Google.
As a software engineer, I help build the infrastructure to make shopping ads on Youtube.com more relevant and useful.
When did you immigrate to the U.S.?
When I got the job at Google, I moved to Sunnyvale, CA from Candelaria de Naranjo, a small town in Costa Rica. I got on a flight on September 27, 2013—exactly four years ago today!
How has the Hispanic community been a part of your experience at Google?
For me, it’s extremely important to have a group of people who are “like me,” who share my cultural background and can speaking Spanish with me sometimes. It gives me a sense of belonging at Google.
What is your favorite Costa Rican tradition or food?
I love “olla de carne.” It’s a kind of soup with a bunch of vegetables and meat (of course, the best one is my mom’s).
Have you always pictured yourself working at Google?
It’s been a dream since Gmail came out while I was in college. I remember trying it out and thinking “I really want to work with the people who built this thing.” I thought email was fine as it used to work, but wow, they took a thing that was “fine” and improved it so much. I want to be one of those people that doesn’t accept things that are fine, but changes them for the better. Years later, I heard about an opportunity at Google, thought back to those college days and decided to give the dream a try.
Who has been the most influential person in your life?
My entire family. But the things that have pushed me the most were first given to me by my father. He gave me a love for books—he is always reading—and taught me to be a self-learner. He always talks about wonderful places around the world and he took me in my first trip outside of Costa Rica, planting in me the hunger to see the world.
What has been a big moment for you at Google?
I went to a recruiting event at a high school in Costa Rica. When I was introduced, they mentioned my small hometown, and I heard a solitary but enthusiastic “Woo!” from the crowd. After the talk, one of the students (the source of the “woo”) approached me and said, “I wouldn’t have imagined in my wildest dreams that someone from our hometown could work at Google. This is awesome, I now want to work for NASA and I think I can do it.” That moment made me feel like I’ve come so far, and that I’m helping people see it is possible to work for big companies, no matter where you’re born.
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we’re celebrating the fascinating stories and important contributions of our Hispanic Googlers—their histories, their families, and what keeps them busy inside and outside of work.
Next up is Hector Mujica, social justice champion, enthusiast of the outdoors, and self-proclaimed acronym inventor (SPAI).
Give us the 10-second, one-sentence version of what you do at Google.
I work on Google.org, Google’s philanthropy team, where I manage our programs across Latin America, and support our disaster relief giving and volunteering work globally.
When did you (or generations before you) immigrate to the U.S.?
My family immigrated to the U.S. from Venezuela when I was a young child, after my dad landed a job at Oracle in Miami. Of all the places to start in America, South Florida must be one of the best—with the rich cultural diversity and ample Latin food, it made the transition smooth, and kept me close to my Hispanic heritage.
How are you involved in the Hispanic community at Google, and why is it important to you?
I worked closely on the founding of HOLA, our Hispanic employee resource group (ERG). Through HOLA, I’ve gotten to meet many of our Latino Googlers over the years—all of whom continue to amaze me with their stories, talents, and passions to make this company, and the world, a better, more equitable place. The Hispanic community is vital to Google because it brings in people who might otherwise feel like cultural strangers and tells them, “come as you are—you belong.”
The Hispanic community is vital to Google because it brings in people who might otherwise feel like cultural strangers and tells them, “come as you are—you belong.”
How did you find your way to Google? Have you always pictured yourself working here?
I actually never had ambitions to work in tech or at Google. While in my junior year of undergrad at Florida International University, I looked for internships around the country, and was intrigued by working at company that was breaking all the established norms in corporate America. I applied to Google’s BOLD internship program, thinking it was a long shot, and after a few interviews, I found myself living out the coldest summer of my life in San Francisco, interning at Google on the People Operations team. I fell in love with Northern California and Google, and anxiously awaited the opportunities that lay ahead.
Who has been the most influential person in your life?
My dad’s hustle, grit, passion and optimism have taught me much about life and the world. As a first-generation immigrant, he taught me about risk-taking and tenacity. As a man of faith, he’s taught me about unapologetically straying true to my convictions. As a family man, he’s been a caretaker and steward of not only his nuclear family, but—like a good Latino—his extended family as well. He’s always balanced family life with the needs of the community. Whether it meant taking immigrant families into our home while they got on their feet, working with the homeless to help them rehabilitate, or volunteering to feed the needy at nearby shelters, my dad never turned down a chance show grace to those in the margins. These experiences shaped my worldview and gave me sense of social justice and altruism, which continues to influence the work I do today at Google.org.
How do you spend your time outside of work?
Outdoors. Or traveling to experience the outdoors in the rest of the world. I’ve always been in awe of nature. Oceans and mountains both scare me and inspire me. Whenever I have a chance to see the natural world from a new angle, I usually take it. That wanderlust has taken me to nearly every continent (Antarctica, I’m coming for you!), 51 countries, and from the deepest depths (I’m a scuba diver) to some of the highest highs (just did Kilimanjaro last year!).
What career advice would you give your 20-year-old self?
Invest wisely in people and moments. The networks of people around you will help shape your perspectives, career and open doors to new opportunities … and when these opportunities present themselves, capitalize on the moments. They will teach you more than any classroom can.
What has been a big moment for you at Google?
I’ve had many Google “magic moments,” but the one that comes to mind was Googlers’ collective reaction to the travel ban earlier this year. Within days of the ban, Googlers organized a demonstration and showed up in full force, with messages of encouragement and enthusiasm during grim times. My team and I assembled a $4 million crisis fund to support key organizations that were leading the way in fighting injustice and intolerance. This moment reinforced in me the power of unity and comradery at Google, and within immigrant communities, who bring their best selves to this great country of ours.
As a Venezuelan-American that has benefited from ample opportunity, I am compelled to give back to my community. That’s why I’m so thankful of the opportunity I have at Google.org to invest in a better, most just, and more equitable world, for everyone.