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Women in Cloud: Meet Olga Lykova

Please introduce yourself.My name is Olga Lykova. Actually, it’s Olga Ivanou. I’m newly married and getting used to using the new last name.I currently go by three titles. I work at Workspot and I have recently been promoted to run all of the go-to-market. I’m responsible for cloud partnerships with companies like Google, AWS, Microsoft, Intel, and NetApp. I also run our business development team and partner marketing, so a lot of the initiatives with C2C are under my realm.I’m also a founder of Women in Industries, which is a 10-year-old network. The network is known for their annual panels featuring executive women leaders who share their experiences in an open forum to help professionals discover how to build their dream career, overcome obstacles, build their support bench, find mentorship and sponsorship, and navigate specialization change in pursuit of a "dream job." It is rare that we can have open discussions about what an ideal career looks like. In the last 10 years we had multiple C-level executives from Google, Salesforce, LinkedIn, Adobe, and even the NBA join our panels, sharing their diverse experience with our network.My third title is Thought Leader for Forbes Business Council, I write articles on business trends and leadership insights.  What is your secret to managing a team of people?I think this is a twofold concept. First is managing the partners, and second is managing the team. Managing partners is about determining what drives them and what their key motivators are, which has helped me a lot. Working with C2C, I view you as a partner, and it’s about bringing the right customers that will share an exciting story or thought-provoking content. I think about what a partner needs and then build a go-to-market strategy surrounding that. For companies who have a great product that fills a gap for a well-known brand, the best way to generate revenue is to attach themselves to the partner. It is a very different way of marketing because you have to become an extension of a different sales team, speak their language, and ensure ongoing transparency with customers and partners. When it comes to building my team, I don’t usually state a salary range when interviewing. My favorite question to ask is, “what would make you happy?” We define ourselves in a title role as well as the monetary component, and I don’t want to limit people to a certain number. I want to figure out what makes them happy in that role. That’s been my winning formula to get the right people who also feel appreciated by the company. I also always want to recognize the work of people who go above and beyond. When people get creative and push for new ideas, I try to recognize them in front of the executives on a weekly basis.  How has your journey been becoming an official member of the Forbes Business Development Council?Every time I went to events, I would bring my notepad. At my first company, Apttus, I suggested the idea of turning my notes into a blog post about post-event content. When I joined Copper and was working with their marketing team, I thought we could elevate content further by discussing the journeys of start-ups, since we were working with many of them at the time. One of the CMOs suggested that I should write for Forbes, since I was already writing about webinars and doing a lot of content output. I applied, did the interview process and now I’ve been writing for them for 4 years.It’s all about different topics, and I love how it’s open. It’s similar to what C2C advocates for about sharing insights and best practices and staying away from a sales pitch. It’s easy to start making content look like a sales pitch, so I have to take a step back and remember to talk about what customers are asking for. My favorite article was writing about top tips I’ve heard over the years from leaders. A tip that has still stuck with me is anytime you have an issue, don’t hide behind an email. Pick up the phone and talk to the other person, no matter how uncomfortable it is. Works every time! What is the best advice you have ever received? One of my biggest motivators is Corinne Sklar, Vice President of Marketing at IBM Consulting. We worked together on multiple panels, and she has really inspired me. She once said, “do you have that crazy feeling of being excited and nervous in your stomach when you are doing something?” I said, always. She goes “keep that feeling, because that’s your motivator, and that’s how you know that you’re learning”. When I feel nervous about not knowing how to do something, I realize I'm actually in the process of learning and figuring it out.  Where do you see yourself in 5 years? I think the industry that Workspot is in is at a pivotal point. The industry is on a peak of change, and I never worked for a company that had a product that was so ahead of the game until I worked at Workspot. I think the biggest opportunity for us is to amplify that message. The challenge I want to figure out is, while the industry is changing, I want to see how customers react to it and how we tackle industry changes. On a personal level, I’ve always wanted to create a one-stop shop where people can come and thrive. I started writing a book called “Rules to Thrive.” I was looking at the definition of thrive, and the word itself means “to grow vigorously, flourish, gain wealth or possession, and prosper”. I think that definition incorporates learning, growing and achieving success. I don’t believe it’s an end destination, because we’re always trying to grow. Once you achieve one dream, you start dreaming again. I want to unite young professionals and small businesses together to become that one-stop shop for successful career growth. The end goal after 5 years is to be that one place where people can network about a variety of subjects and topics through referrals as well as advocating for things that work.  What is your favorite aspect of being a keynote speaker at our events? In that room, you have people who want to be there. It’s a gathering of people who are curious and want to do better for their company. You are in a place where the mindset is amazing, because they are not required to be there, they want to be there. My favorite part is not only do we get to talk about the lessons we have learned, but we also get to share things to avoid. We get a chance to be transparent about what’s possible and what’s not possible. I always encourage our customers to share what didn’t work and what could have been done differently. In the audience, I’d say one out of 5 people may have been considering a similar project, and as speakers we are giving them the tools to learn. I think when you share what didn’t work, they walk away with something tangible, where they can re-evaluate how to tackle something. Also, it’s just really fun! You feel like you’re a part of a community, not just an event.  How does Workspot empower female employees? I think it’s about who wants to step in and help. I don’t think we differentiate who it is and who wants to do it. We know what the issues and gaps are within the company, and it’s about people who raise their hands to get stuff done. I think there’s room to grow, but for many people, it has to do with the ability to ask for it. I think many of us think, if I don’t fill two out of five requirements for a job, I’m not going to apply for it.Just recently, my mother was applying for a job and then didn't want to apply because she didn’t fit all the requirements. I told her that you can learn on the job and the company can teach you. This is the mindset that needs to change, because you don’t have to fit all the requirements for the job description, you just have to have the willingness to learn and to be able to ask questions. Workspot enables employees to do that, you just have to ask for the opportunity.  What inspired you to become a founder of the Women in Industries Network? Apttus, now Conga, was the first tech company I ever worked for, and I didn’t really understand how to evolve in my role. Partnerships and go-to-market was a new concept for me, and these are newer roles in the industry all together. For me, I wanted to learn from my partners and start creating a community. We started doing events, and the first one was at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, with around 50 people in attendance. After the event was done, I felt super motivated and received the insights that I wanted. A few months later, people were asking if we were going to do this again. It then evolved into more sessions, and just last year we hosted a female panel that talked about making six figures. Another topic that was covered was how we can help people to land their dream interview and prep them on how to stand out. It started from my own natural curiosity and then turned into a few thousand members10 years later.  Check out our other Women in Cloud articles here:Women in Cloud: Meet Shobana ShankarWomen in Cloud: Meet Clair Hur 

Categories:C2C Community SpotlightGoogle Cloud StrategyGoogle Cloud PartnersMarketing

On-the-Spot Feedback and a Sense of Community at Cloud Adoption Summit: Toronto

Before Bryan Phillips, Senior Manager of Product Marketing at Telus International, arrived at the executive dinner for speakers at the 2023 C2C Global Cloud Adoption Summit in Toronto, Canada, he had hit a wall trying to enlist Google’s support in resolving challenges related to GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). At dinner, he was seated alongside SADA Associate CTO of Security Mike Laramie. When Bryan shared some of the technology he’s working on at Telus and the roadblocks he’s encountered, Mike surprised him. “You know what, Bry,” he said, “I think we can have a conversation and further this along, but I may have a solution for you.”“This is something we’ve been trying to track down for a while, and not having the support that we were hoping to get from Google. No slight to Google on this one, but it just wasn’t far enough up the apple tree to get the awareness that we needed. Now I’m able to talk to a community member and get experiences in what they do, and how they’ve overcome things,” Bryan says. “After the dinner the following day we pretty much hung out together and continued the conversation.”Keynote session with Kelsey HightowerAt the event itself, Bryan and Mike took part in a daylong interactive program featuring a diverse roster of C2C partners and some of Google Cloud’s biggest customers in Canada, where cloud itself is Google’s number one product area. The full program included a robust partner panel exploring industry perspectives on cloud security and unique customer solutions, a discussion about organizational change in a time of industry correction with Deloitte, and a customer panel and keynote interview with Google Principal Developer Advocate Kelsey Hightower.“Kelsey’s keynote and his engagement into this event was really worth its weight in gold. His insights, his experience, the way that he approaches things, it was fundamental,” says Bryan. “We tend to overthink, and we end up either pricing ourselves out of the equation or we make things way more complicated than they need to be, so listening to his methodology and his approach to how he looks at problems was really, really enlightening.” “The sense of the word community is something I experienced firsthand at this C2C event.” Bryan joined the event to participate in a session on RPA (Robotic Process Automation) technology with C2C partner Automation Anywhere. Networking afterward, Bryan was able to share some ideas with Islay Wright, Director of BI Product Management at Lightspeed. “They’re a small company compared to the massive amount of geography and customers they support, and so automation is really in their wheelhouse,” Bryan explains. “We talk a lot around the managed service opportunities that we can bring to the table, and being in North America, we could even put a team onsite for them if they wanted us to. With all the technology in the cloud, we could easily manage them from anywhere.”Automation Anywhere breakoutsession with Telus InternationalAs usual for a C2C event, this new connection was just one of many for the guests onsite. Bryan’s sales team started promising conversations with several new customer contacts. For other attendees who showed up just to hear Kelsey speak, new business opportunities were an unexpected benefit. Stefan Kolesnikowicz, Principal Site Reliability Engineer at Achievers, was pleased to meet current clients Bell and ScotiaBank, and to get firsthand feedback from customers who use his tool.“At this event, for the first time in I don’t know how long, I felt like I could reach out to the community members that were there and share the experiences that we have, whether they’re positive, negative, and literally get feedback,” Bryan says. “There was no NDA signed. We could speak freely knowing that we’re not there to steal each other’s business or take our customers away from each other. The sense of the word community and being in a safe environment is something I experienced firsthand at this C2C event.” Extra Credit:  

Categories:C2C Community SpotlightAutomation

Women in Cloud: Meet Shobana Shankar

Please introduce yourself! My name is Shobana Shankar and I’ve currently been at Google for 5 years leading the ISV Sales Specialist team. I have been in a few previous roles at Google, such as initiatives related to resellers. However, the current focus right now is on ISVs. There is a lot of growth expected over the next few years for us in this area, which is very exciting!  What were some of your hobbies and interests growing up that you think led to your current career path? I have had hobbies and interests all over the map. Growing up, I was highly involved in competitive sports. Track and field as well as volleyball were some of my favorites. I was also working towards joining the Olympics team during high school. Overall, I played a lot of sports for my district and for my state. I never really saw a classroom on a daily basis because all I wanted to do was be out there playing sports. The competitiveness, team dynamics, and the end goal of winning a game is what really drove me towards athletics. After my dad moved to the United States, my passions eventually switched. I found myself becoming involved with dancing. From hip-hop, modern contemporary, and Bollywood, I indulged myself in many different styles of dance.I’ve also always been interested in math and science, which naturally led me to pursuing an undergraduate degree in computer systems engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. I was the only female in my class as well, but found myself very excited about the subject. I think teamwork, collaborating, and the idea of winning together are fundamental values that I have carried throughout my personal and professional life. I think of my team and I as one driving force trying to figure out how to succeed together, and my background in sports is what instilled my beliefs about team dynamics.  What advice would you give women that are trying to break into this industry?I think any woman who wants to break out into this industry would benefit from finding a mentor. My mentor helped me to navigate difficult situations that I faced and I was able to follow the example of someone that I looked up to. They can also help you navigate the industry and connect you with people who can help you succeed. I also believe that representation is very important. There are now a lot of female leaders in the tech industry and success stories that are published and discussed, as well as success stories involving women. I think following those stories will inspire others to chase their dreams and eliminate any self-limiting beliefs. Believe in yourself and your passions and it will take you far!  How can the tech industry demonstrate that it truly values female talent? I think there have been a lot of good changes that will continue to help. Organizations continuing to highlight female talent and creating an inclusive as well as equitable environment by celebrating the successes of women is making a positive impact. This also goes back to representation and showing women that this can be done and that they have the ability to do it themselves. Outside of that, Google is doing some amazing initiatives as well that involve promoting a culture that empowers female talent.  What is your favorite aspect of working at Google Cloud?The people, hands down! The talent here is unmatchable, which leads to a great culture. There is a word we have here at Google, which is “Googleyness.” It’s hard to define at times, and everyone has their own unique perception of it. However, I think it’s a combination of grit and passion as well as doing things the right way. At Google, it is more about how you do it than what you do, which I think fosters a lot of positive energy and promotes collaboration.  Could you share an empowering story that highlights being a woman in tech?Jim Anderson built a women’s community within the partner channel in our group that gets together on a monthly or quarterly basis. The group is rooted in sharing each other’s stories and how we’re navigating different environments as women. I shared a story as a part of the kickoff that was about me almost quitting full-time work to take care of my children. After the kickoff, I  received so many messages from other women who shared a similar story. Sometimes we put so much pressure on ourselves, and we often tend to hide things that are going on, especially when you’re a mom. There’s so many scenarios that involve work and family that can often be stressful. I think it’s important to remember that there are many other people going through something similar who are trying to juggle 100 responsibilities at the same time. Having a supportive community and talking about it is what truly makes a positive difference.  As a woman, how do you balance being career-oriented with other aspects of your life?I wish I had a magical answer for that question. It is not always the easiest, but I think taking it one day at a time is important. Thinking about your overarching goals and having a good support system is also helpful. When I just had my kids, COVID hit very hard, and I went from working in an office everyday to being fully remote with two small children, which was quite difficult. It was the leaders who made the difference during that time. For example, when I wanted to quit, It was the leaders who suggested taking two months to figure out what worked for me in terms of my working style. Within the first month, I was able to determine what would work for me, and it was the support from leadership that provided me with that flexibility.  How did you realize Google Cloud was a good fit for you?I’ve always looked at Google as a great company to work for, since the beginning of my career. It’s known for its great talent, and we’ve all had a chance to use their products. Google Cloud reached out to me when I was working at a startup in San Francisco. Someone I worked with at Cisco who was at Google at the time reached out to me about the role. The interview process also reassured my positive perception of Google. The questions that were asked as well as discussing the culture demonstrated that Google truly cares about hiring the right leaders and people. The ground-breaking technology and amazing culture is why I know I’m at the right place.  What advice would you give to women in tech who are still early in their career journey?Network! Look at people who are successful in the areas that you might have an interest in. Meet as many people as possible, explore different avenues, and definitely lock in that mentor. Have an open mind when meeting people, especially in tech. Networking can make a huge difference as you progress in your career and are looking for different transitions.

Categories:C2C Community SpotlightGoogle Cloud StrategyCareers in CloudNetworkingInterview

C2C Monthly Recap: February 2023

Each month, C2C shares the latest news from the team and the best highlights from all of you here in the community. Read on for the most essential C2C updates from February 2023. C2C’s in-person events returned with plenty of energy and excitement in February of 2023. Our 2Gather events in Sunnyvale, Munich, Zurich, and New York City brought together dozens of Google Cloud customers for the kinds of unique networking and collaboration opportunities that only a community like C2C can offer. Read on below to hear stories from each of these events. SunnyvaleFor our first in-person event of the year, we returned to Silicon Valley, where Google was born, for another event in Sunnyvale, California. The event included a fireside chat with C2C partner NetApp and a customer panel featuring speakers from NetApp, Lytics (another partner), Exabeam, and Cisco Systems. Bruno Aziza, Senior Director, Outbound Product Management, Google Cloud, introduced and hosted the event––one of many events Bruno will be joining in the coming months. According to Dylan Steeg (@Dylan_Steeg), Vice President of Business Development at Aible, “The event had extremely thought-provoking insights stemming from the issues of modern-day data analytics and how it impacts a customer base, as well as a panel that discussed their personal experiences with data.” Read more about the event here:  Munich2Gather: Munich was a customer-led event featuring sessions with Volkswagon, Soravia, and Nagarro. First, Kiran Francis (@kiranfrancis), Google Cloud Foundation Services Product Owner at Volkswagon, led a session about the company’s Group-wide Google Cloud Landing Zone. Then Hannes Gutemeier of Soravia and Jörg Weis of Nagarro sat down for a fireside chat about VDI modernization. Andy Hardy (@Andy Hardy) of Workspot, a regular at C2C events in the EMEA region, was particularly pleased. “Brilliant event!” he said. “Thanks for great organization, and a fascinating ‘Customer 2 Customer’ agenda!" Zurich2Gather: Zurich was the second of three events C2C hosted in February featuring guests from our partners at NetApp. At this event, NetApp chatted with Dentsply Sirona about using Cloud Volumes ONTAP to manage a hybrid deployment. The event also included a conversation with ParaShift AG about using Google Vision AI for intelligent document recognition. Oliver Ruf, Head of Middleware at Coop, Switzerland, told C2C afterward, “The community meetup was an incredibly insightful and inspiring experience that also allowed me to meet new people. The diverse range of perspectives and ideas shared by attendees, combined with the opportunity to make new connections, left me feeling energized and motivated to continue exploring new ideas and expanding my network.” New YorkOur most recent 2Gather event in New York City doubled as a formal launch party for the C2C Financial Services community. Michael Beal (@MikeBeal), CEO of Data Capital Management, who hosts the group on our platform, appeared alongside speakers from OpCo and PaerPay and partners Publicis Sapient and NetApp. The sessions and the networking at the event continued conversations that began the night before at an executive dinner for companies in and adjacent to the financial services industry, where customers like Deutsche Bank and Vimeo made valuable connections and explored new opportunities to collaborate and build on existing relationships. “Being able to see the community, it’s a lot of fun,” said Derek Canton, CEO of PaerPay. “I see the people in the space more than all the cool tech. There’s tons of cool tech and things that we’re talking about, but there’s so much depth behind that that I think is really important.” Read our report from the scene here:  Are you looking for more, including recordings from virtual events? Browse All Articles  We are excited to feature some special guest speakers from Google Cloud at our in-person events in March. Bruno Aziza in Paris and LondonTuesday, March 14 and Thursday, March 16Bruno Aziza, Head of Data and Analytics, specializes in high-growth SaaS, enterprise software, and everything data, analytics, data science, and artificial intelligence. Bruno, alongside customer speakers at both events, will host panel discussions about overcoming data challenges. Each event will also explore other unique challenges cited by speakers from the consumer packaged goods, retail, and financial services industries.Sign up for Paris.Sign up for London. Kelsey Hightower at the Cloud Adoption Summit TorontoThursday, March 23Kelsey Hightower, Principal Developer Advocate, has helped develop and refine many Google Cloud products, including Google’s Kubernetes Engine, Cloud Functions, and Apigees’s API Gateway. Kelsey will be joining us for our first event in Canada where the agenda includes various perspectives on optimizing cloud adoption plans. Topics include a shift from “cloud first” to “cloud also,” data center migration, cloud transformation, and cybersecurity. Sign up for this event. You can also find Kelsey speaking in upcoming Let’s Talk Tech events this April in Chicago and Atlanta. Find those and more by browsing our full events calendar. Sign Up for an Event   ConversationsWhether C2C members are sharing their opinions, trying to troubleshoot—or help others troubleshoot—Google Cloud tech, or having casual career conversations, we love to see excellent threads like these. Our online communities are a great way to find new connections with fellow Google Cloud users. Want to start connecting with the community? Start a Conversation   Want to make sure you’re in the loop? Don’t want to wait for these posts each month? Stay up-to-date on everything C2C by updating your profile and notification preferences so we can deliver you the most relevant news in real time.

Categories:C2C Community SpotlightC2C News

Are Skills the Biggest Barrier to Cloud Adoption? A Guest Editorial by Daniel Vaughan, Cloud Native Software Architect, Mastercard

On November 30, 2022, I attended the Google Cloud Adoption Summit at Google's offices in London. C2C Global, The Google Cloud Customer Community, organized the event. Although different aspects of cloud adoption were covered, the part that stood out for me from the sessions I attended and hallway conversations was training and enablement. Enablement has never been the core of my role––there have always been delivery, strategy or pre-sales aspects that take priority––but it has always been a favorite.My career's most memorable and rewarding highlights have been related to enablement. One of these was when I visited a company and met an engineer with a copy of a book I had written, full of post-its and handwritten notes in pencil. Another was the people that thanked me for the value they got from the internal Technical Seminars Program I organized at EMBL-EBI, who all went on to get great jobs in tech when their contracts ended. This direct impact on the lives of individuals is what attracts me to the work I do.Although Google is the number three public cloud, I believe Google recognizes that a lack of skills in the market is the main factor holding back Google Cloud adoption, and is addressing this from three directions:The excellent top-down work Google is doing by creating great content with Developer Advocates like Stephanie Wong (@stephr_wong) on YouTube. The new Google Cloud Skills Boost program with Qwiklabs provides masses of quality material for an affordable yearly subscription in a way similar to how ACloudGuru did for AWS.  The enabling of partners for training delivery and customer enablement to meet customers at their level. This includes C2C itself. These partners complement impressively knowledgable Google customer engineers such as the ones I met at at the recent Google Cloud Next Developers Day. The support of the developer community to build capabilities bottom-up by encouraging them to freely experiment and learn more about Google technologies. Initiatives include Google Developer Groups (GDG) in the tech community, Google Developer Student Clubs (GDSC) in universities, Women Techmakers (WTM), and supporting Google Developer Experts (GDE).No matter how good the technology is, without experienced people who are using it and, most importantly, can show others how to use it well, its adoption will be limited. Google recognizes and is addressing this well. “How will there be time made for enablement, and who will do the enabling?” At the C2C event, Deloitte talked about several alternative approaches to building skills, from building Tech Hubs (centers of excellence) in organizations with specialists that support existing teams to Cloud Academies where new entrants to the industry, often from non-traditional backgrounds, are put through extensive training. While there is great value to that later, as it brings diverse experiences into the industry, this approach must be combined with other initiatives. I cannot help but remember the "paper MCSEs" of the later 90s, where people with no industry experience paid for six-week courses that got them through Microsoft Certified System Engineer certification. This then led to many self-described “IT refugees” who left the industry as the market turned in the early 2000s and outsourcing took hold.Sam Caley, Cloud Program Lead at Deutsche Bank, made a good point in one session: for Deutsche Bank, it’s important to have a deep knowledge of the existing applications combined with cloud knowledge. This means upskilling the existing people who may have been working with these applications for the last ten years rather than bringing in new people with cloud experience alone.I agree with Sam; with core financial systems, stability and security are non-negotiables, and a team working on a cloud migration needs to know what they are doing. There needs to be both a deep understanding of the application and experience with cloud-native principles. A lift-and-shift or even a move-and-improve is not going to cut it.Cloud Adoption SummitDeloitte Industry PanelThis leaves me with two questions: how will there be time made for enablement, and who will do the enabling?In terms of time, when I led an engineering team on our first cloud-native project with Kubernetes on AWS, it took six months for the team to become comfortable with the new architecture and development style. I believe, from my experience at HCL Cloud Native Labs with Alan Flower, that ideally, I would want up to six weeks with a team working hands-on on practical projects or "Game Days", as AWS calls them as well as formal training to build capabilities.This is a similar time investment to the people in Cloud Academies learning from scratch. Pivotal Platform Accelerate Lab for PCF, for example, which offered this type of combination of training and hands-on practice, ran for three weeks, and it was expensive. Who does the "day jobs" of the people that need to be upskilled during this time? There seems to be no slack in the system, with many organizations struggling to hire or retain enough people to keep the lights on already, so who will cover for those who are training?Then, who will do the enabling? With the demand for skilled people, there are plenty of positions for people happy to do "just engineering" with high salaries and good conditions. Why would experienced practitioners want to add the complication of training to their capabilities? Talking to Carl Tanner (@Grassycarl), Google Global Head of Learning Partnerships, I learned that people who are both active, experienced practitioners and skilled trainers are few and far between, with Google, worldwide, only employing 20 of these people themselves. Google is addressing this problem through partnerships. “No matter how good the technology is, without experienced people who are using it and, most importantly, can show others how to use it well, its adoption will be limited.” I also spoke to Mike Conner (@Mike Conner) of Appsbroker, one of Google's main partners in the UK, and a training provider. AppsBroker's approach is to enable the organization rather than just train individuals, which seems sensible. Establishing communities of practice to leave a legacy after training with ongoing support is a good idea. This worked well at EMBL-EBI, where after seminars and workshops, we were keen to get the people who were interested in going further into communities of practice to keep the momentum going. The issue I see, however, is Google Certified Trainers need to be affiliated with a training provider to be able to be trained themselves. As Carl told me, this means these people tend to be contractors wanting "portfolio careers" as both trainers and practitioners. This seems to be a limited pool.Enablement is not a zero-sum game. For training providers, there is no shortage of people to train, but having trained people benefits the ecosystem as a whole. I would love to see more collaboration between partners and community groups, for example. My view for recruitment of rare, valuable skills is to nurture a community and recruit from it. Google Cloud is looking to train 40 million people in cloud skills. This is a massive number. If this is going to happen, these barriers need to continue to be removed with the people who are in a position to enable supported, utilized, and rewarded, and with resources shared as freely as possible.In all, this was a very interesting day. I did not expect to leave with so many insights on training and enablement, but I am glad I did. This is a significant opportunity for Google Cloud, and it must apply to other cloud providers and extend to platform vendors such as IBM, Red Hat, and VMWare Tanzu, as it is more about the techniques and experience of cloud-native architecture and development than any particular implementation. As always, IT comes down to being a people issue. Do you think skills are the biggest barrier to cloud adoption? How is enablement accomplished at your organization? Let us know in the replies, or better yet, post in our community and tell us your story. Also, make sure to check our platform in the coming weeks for more coverage of our first Cloud Adoption Summit.

Categories:C2C Community SpotlightCloud Migration

Connecting Across Career Journeys at 2Gather: Chicago

When Meiling He, Senior Data Scientist at Rockwell Automation, was asked at the last minute to fill in for her manager, Francisco Maturana (@maturanafp), at 2Gather: Chicago, she had never heard of C2C Global. The next day, she was on a train from Milwaukee preparing to speak at the Google Cloud Customer Community’s first face-to-face event in the Midwestern US. “Yesterday was the first time I heard about this, at around 3:00 p.m.,” she said. “It was new, but my manager sent me the information about what questions would be asked, and he did have his preparation for the event, so I got the information I needed.”From left: Lilah Jones, Paul Lewis,Meiling He, and Vrinda KhurjekarMeiling presented alongside Pythian CTO Paul Lewis, who spoke to C2C in advance of the event about how the company prepares data sets to be used for a variety of AI and ML solutions, and Vrinda Khurjekar, Senior Director of AMER Business at Searce. The panel discussion, moderated by Google Head of ISV’s and Marketplace Sales Lilah Jones, explored how businesses can use AI and ML solutions in general to get the most value out of their cloud adoption. Even though she had had so little time to prepare for it, Meiling’s experience at the event was a pleasant surprise: “I think it was so fun. I learned a lot from the perspective, the questions, the answers. It’s so nice to be around people like Lilah and Paul. They’re so knowledgeable and outgoing.”Meiling was also pleasantly surprised to be able to make her own connections following the scheduled program with other customers in attendance. She appreciated having the chance to talk shop with a fellow data practitioner, Revantage Data Engineer Trevor Harris. Many of the other guests in attendance were satisfied with the opportunity to network as well. “It’s a great place to connect with other professionals, business and also technical, and it’s a really wonderful experience,” said Henry Post of US Bank. “Great food, great presentation, and great people.” Jeff Parrish (@Jeff P) of Redis agreed. “I thought it was excellent,” he said. “It was a good flow, good panel, good interaction, and a good pick of different industries and different people.” “I think it was so fun. I learned a lot from the perspective, the questions, the answers.” Guests mingling at 2Gather: ChicagoThe opportunity to connect with other Google Cloud Customers was also a major value-add for the Google and C2C Partners in attendance. “It was excellent. I learned a lot about Google’s partnership with some of its customers, and got to network with some excellent people,” said Brendan O’Donnell (@bpod1026), a customer success manager at Aiven, which joined C2C as a partner after sending employees to multiple C2C events this Spring and Summer. “I met some representatives from Salesforce. Jeff from Salesforce.”Unlike Meiling, Jeff Branham (@Branham24), current Director of Industry Alliances at Salesforce, knew all about C2C. In fact, as many of our members will remember, Jeff served as C2C’s first Executive Director before moving on to his new role. He was excited to be able to attend a C2C event in person, having left the company with COVID quarantine measures still in place, and was pleased to see how the team had grown. He was also pleased to be able to make some connections of his own, particularly with Paul Lewis of Pythian, who gave him some valuable insights as a representative of a Google partner company about collaboration between CTOs and CFOs.Meiling was also excited to be able to hear from a CTO, as a practitioner who hopes to someday be able to move into an equivalent role. “Since day one of working at Rockwell I wanted to be a data scientist,” she said. “I was the Business Intern, then Data Analyst Intern, then IT Associate, then Data Scientist, then finally Senior Data Scientist, so it was a long journey.” Now that she has reached this point in her career, Meiling is grateful to be able to connect with leaders who inspire her to take the next step professionally. She looks forward to more opportunities to do so at C2C events.“I would like to know what other people are doing at their own company,” she said. “I hope I will be invited.” Extra Credit:  

Categories:AI and Machine LearningC2C Community Spotlight

Problem-Solving and Organizational Change at Google Culture of Innovation in New York

“The biggest problem was having to be in office at all times while balancing at home having an elderly dog,” said En-Szu Hu-Van Wright, Talent Operations Manager at Chili Piper, outside the Zoetrope Event Studio on the thirteenth floor of the Google Chelsea Market office in New York, New York. “The solution we came up with was creating a hologram of the receptionist, coupled with a robot that would do a lot of the basic duties and functions, because a lot of these things could be done by a robot.”En-Szu does not have an elderly dog, but in a group activity during C2C’s recent Google Culture of Innovation event in New York City, she played the role of a receptionist at an ad agency who did. The group’s assignment was to create an innovative solution that would prepare En-Szu––or her character––for a future of work in which she could staff the reception desk and take care of her dog at the same time. In another group, Crucita Gonzalez, Director of HR Benefits and Wellbeing at Planned Parenthood, and Jake Owens of Google designed a home workspace that eliminates distractions and non-essential communications so Crucita could separate her work life from her home life without commuting two hours both ways to the office every day.After discussing theoretical solutions during the workshop, the guests convened outside the studio to share current projects. Boris Sotnikov (@bSotnikov), CEO of KraftyLab, a company that runs virtual team-building events for companies with remote and hybrid office models, offered En-Szu Hu-Van Wright some strategies for connecting and engaging members of remote teams. Kristian Smilenov (@kristian.smilenov) of Prime Holding, a development company that builds cloud-based software for US-based startups and scaleups, exchanged ideas about solution delivery and vendor client relationships with Geoff MacNeil of Crowdbotics.Guests in conversation between sessions atGoogle Culture of Innovation in New YorkThe small-group innovation workshop was a condensed version of a full-length session Angel D’Souza, Cloud Culture & Recognition Program Manager at Google Cloud, often leads at Google events. Bringing the workshop to this audience of Googlers and customers was refreshing for Angel. “What was really cool about this opportunity was it was one-to-many, so not only did [the customers] get to learn from Google, but they got to learn from each other, and we got to learn from them,” she said. Jessie Hochhalter, who opened the program with a discussion of the history and evolution of Google’s company culture, felt similarly: “Typically when we talk to our customers, especially in a one-to-many format, it tends to be about product, so I really like the fact that we got to talk about the people, the processes, the culture, the DEI, those sorts of things, and not just talk about the product and what’s next with Google technology.”Between Jessie’s and Angel’s segments, Jessica Guerrero, Google’s Global Head of Cloud GTM Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI), led a discussion using the principles of DEI to complicate the framework Jessie’s presentation introduced. A consistent focus on DEI was part of what made the event stand out to the attendees as well. “We’re getting a different perspective on how Google is attacking DEI from a larger company, and taking some of their best practices as a result,” said Dana Barrett, Vice President of Human Resources at Cureatr.The most important question the event raised for SADA Director of Strategic Information John Taranu was the question of how Google Cloud customers can make the transition from evaluating their own organizational cultures to bringing about change within them. “The Google innovation story, and the way it’s being told, is, I think, something every company is trying to do,” he said. To succeed, he explained, customers need a “shepherd”––someone to guide them through the process of implementing cultural change. One group that can play that role, he suggested, is Google partners.Chatting with John during the reception, Jessica Guerrero elaborated on her presentation by laying out three paths to changing the culture within a company: leadership from the top, structural alignment within the organization, and revolution––change from the bottom up. John is partial to the second option, having seen it come about successfully at SADA and at Google Cloud, where he worked for five years previously. He doesn’t rule out revolution, however. “Some of the greatest change in human society has happened through revolutions,” he said, “but they are chaotic.” Extra Credit:  

Categories:C2C Community SpotlightDiversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)

The Why and the How of AI and ML Insights: An Interview with Pythian CTO Paul Lewis

On August 11, 2022, C2C will host 2Gather: Chicago, the Google Cloud customer community’s first in-person event in the Chicago area. Moderated by Lilah Jones, Head of Corp Sales, Central US, Google Cloud, the event program will feature speakers Francisco Maturana, a data architect at Rockwell Automation, Vrinda Khurjekar, Senior Director of AMER Business at Searce, and Pythian CTO Paul Lewis. The panel will discuss the technical and business advantages of using AI and ML on Google Cloud. In advance of the event, we reached out to Paul Lewis, an engaged and active member of our community who joins us from our foundational platinum partner Pythian, to discuss AI and ML insights, connecting business and technical collaborators, and the value of a peer-to-peer Google Cloud community. Pythian has received significant industry recognition for its data solutions. To what extent today does a data solution necessarily require an AI or ML component? It is fair to say that most data solutions have a “why,” and that why is because I’m trying to create some sort of insight. Insight might be for the purpose of creating a new customer experience, or creating some insight for efficiency, or monetizing the value of a current set of offerings, and that insight requires a combination of three things: I need to find where the data is in my core systems from my third party, I need to create analytical value in a data platform, and I need to use AI and ML algorithms to source out that piece of insight which I’ll use to make a decision. So it has all three of those components. I’d argue that if you’re starting with the end, starting with the insight, all of that technology and process is required to deliver on it. You spoke with C2C earlier this year about cloud security and the shared roles of businesses and cloud providers. When working with systems and processes that are largely automated, what cloud security considerations arise? Cloud security requires the assumption that you are going to bring your algorithms to the data versus the data to the algorithms––a really big shift from exporting data out of a production system into your laptop, producing your algorithms in your API of choice, and then sending that algorithm back up to be both trained and tested. Now it’s about training and testing in the cloud, which has access directly to those data sets internally and externally. So that’s the big shift. Moving where you’re actually both developing your model, training your model, and creating inference or executing on that model. It is the best bet to do that in the cloud.A big problem in healthcare, as you can imagine, is sharing information across organizations. Since data sharing is required to make complex diagnostic decisions, I need to be able to package up that information from a diagnostics perspective, share it amongst a group of people, and then that prediction can come together. Multiple practitioners can participate in the model development, multiple practitioners can provide input into the model and the training, and then infer it for the purpose of new patients coming in. On August 11, at 2Gather: Chicago, you’ll be speaking alongside Francisco Maturana, a data architect at Rockwell Automation, and Vrinda Khurjekar, Senior Director of AMER Business at Searce. As a CTO, how does speaking alongside both technical and business professionals influence the kind of discussion you’re able to have? My conversations tend to be balancing the difference between why and how. On the business side, what are ultimately the business goals we’re trying to achieve? It tends to boil down to something like data monetization. Now, monetization could simply mean selling your data, it could mean creating a better insight on your customers, maybe as customer segmentation, maybe it’s wrapping a non-data related product with a data-related product. Like a checking account alongside an ability to predict spending behavior changes over time. Or it might be internal, making better MNA decisions or creating some sort of efficiency in a process, or just making general business decisions better or cleaner in a sense.So, you can take that why and say, ‘well, that why can be delivered on a variety of hows.’ A how can be as simple as a query and as complex as the entire data engineering chain. And that’s the bridge between the why and the how. Not only does the data engineer or data architect get a better appreciation for the type of business decisions I need to be able to make based on this work, but the business person gets to understand the potential difficulties of making that actually true. Do you think that most customers come to a peer-to-peer panel discussion with a why or a how in mind? Yes. Very rarely is it unanswered questions. Very rarely is it, ‘I know I have some nuggets of gold here, could you possibly look into my pot and see if there’s anything interesting?’ That might have been true five years ago, but people are much more well-read, definitely on the business and the technology side. There has to be a why, and if there has to be a why, there’s one too many potential hows. What’s our best bet to the how? Data engineers, data modelers, and data scientists are the go-to person to hire. In fact it’s so complex that I now need partnerships of talent, so I might now know that I need a junior, senior, or intermediate scientist, because I don’t have that background. I don’t have that expertise, so I’ve got to lean on partnerships in order to figure that out. Is being able to find the right why for the right how what makes a community of Google Cloud customers uniquely valuable? Exactly. It’s also sharing in our expertise. There’s this huge assumption that I just have to acquire the expertise to deliver on my particular why or how, that I just need to learn Python in twenty-one days, that I just need to get another data modeler to understand what a bill is, what a person is, what a patient is, what a checking account is, but the reality is you have to balance expertise with experience. You could hire a bunch of people or train up your existing staff, but if they’ve never done it before, that’s where you need partnerships. That’s why you need a community. That’s why you need to be able to talk to your peers. That’s why you need to have these kinds of conversations, to balance what I think I can do with what’s actually possible, or what’s been done before. Are there any particular conversations you’re hoping to have at the event in Chicago? Yeah, absolutely. The conversations I’m looking to have are unique or interesting whys that I think could be compelling across a variety of industries. What I find most interesting isn’t that two retail chains have the same customer segmentation problem, it’s that you can take a customer segmentation retail and apply that to manufacturing of cookies. So, something we can reuse across these industries, because in my opinion these industry solutions are going to be on the forefront of the whys. I’m going to be able to download cookie client segmentation and then augment it for my needs. I don’t have to invent it going forward. Do you have any final thoughts to share with the Google Cloud customer community? I’m really looking forward to this particular event. It’s rare that we get to have real peer-to-peer conversations, so I’m absolutely looking forward to it, and Google’s a nice space to do it in, so, that’s always a bonus. Are you based in Chicago? Do you need to find a how for your why, or vice versa? Join Paul, the C2C Team, and the rest of our distinguished speakers at 2Gather: Chicago on August 11! Register here:  

Categories:AI and Machine LearningC2C Community SpotlightGoogle Cloud PartnersInterview

Introducing the May 2022 Community C2Champions

C2C is a global community where Google Cloud customers and partners can explore new technical solutions and transform their businesses using Google Cloud products. What makes C2C so unique, however, is the opportunity for our members to meet, share their knowledge, and collaborate with one another. Learning which products to use and how to use them is important, but the chance to hear the story of another colleague who has done so successfully or tell your own success story is vital. To demonstrate this value to our membership, C2C has introduced a new program all about recognizing the individuals who make our community so dynamic and rewarding. Read on below to learn more about our inaugural monthly community C2Champions. Category: Solving Problems Chanel GrecoChanel Greco (@chanelgreco) is a Google Workspace trainer who loves helping others get the most out of Google's “awesome” productivity suite. Chanel has spent most of her professional career in IT. With saperis, a company she founded in 2020, she decided to bring together two things she's very passionate about, tech and education, by creating a platform for teaching people how to use digital tools.Chanel enjoys sharing her tech knowledge with other women and encouraging other women to consider getting into tech themselves. She regularly serves as a mentor or coach at coding events for women and girls. For relaxing, Chanel enjoys a nice workout, Playstation 5 games, or a good read.On C2C, Chanel has met other Google Workspace enthusiasts and started collaborating with various C2C members on customer projects. To learn more about Chanel and her presence in our community, read our exclusive interview with her here:  Category: Attending Events John HayesJohn Hayes (@HayesJohnD) has had an interest in computers “pretty much from the beginning.” Back in the early days of the PC, he says, “everyone” asked him for help on PC or Windows problems. In his work as a design engineer he used PCs with AutoCAD to create mechanical drawings and hydraulic schematics.Now that cloud is becoming more relevant, John is pursuing new learning. He recently completed the Google Data Analytics Certificate with Coursera, as well as a class on Looker. Continuous learning since the early days of the PC have kept John on the leading edge of tech, and he is planning to continue his education with ML after getting caught up on his Skills Boost classes.Outside of tech, John used to fish as a hobby, to take a break, enjoy the sport, catch some fish, and experience the nature around him. He has since had to stop, and has turned to the computer for online learning and keeping up to date on tech and news. John came to C2C after attending a training webinar and receiving a follow-up email from Google. The camaraderie of people with shared interests reminds him of his time with his “military buddies” in the Navy. John would like to make more connections in the Data Analyst arena, as well as in the broader cloud arena. If he has any knowledge about a topic of discussion, John is more than eager to share it with people. Category: Platform Posts Thomas ShaijuThomas Shaiju (@shaijut) has been interested in learning about computers since his school days. Later in his academic career, he says, “by God's grace,” he got a chance to pursue a Masters degree in Software Engineering. His first work experience was with an eCommerce startup, which offered him valuable opportunities to build things from scratch. Thomas has also had opportunities to work in digital publishing and on oil and gas domains, focusing on back-end development, APIs using C#, .NET, .NET core, SQL, website deployment, and cloud. Out of work, Thomas enjoys reading and listening to life-changing books and stories, singing, blogging, mentoring, and sightseeing.Thomas learned about C2C from a LinkedIn post by Dan Sullivan, an author and Udemy instructor focused on Google Cloud topics. Dan had shared some information related to Google Cloud certifications, originally provided by one of C2C’s community managers, Ilias Papachristos (@ilias). Thomas was pleased to find that C2C is an active and engaging Google Cloud community. He is now here to connect with folks who know or are learning about back-end development, APIs, and anything else Google Cloud. Do you want to be a C2Champion? There are countless ways to engage on our platform or at our events, but the easiest way to get started right now is to join us as a member! We look forward to seeing you around our community.

Categories:C2C Community SpotlightC2C News

Introducing the April 2022 Community C2Champions

C2C is a global community where Google Cloud customers and partners can explore new technical solutions and transform their businesses using Google Cloud products. What makes C2C so unique, however, is the opportunity for our members to meet, share their knowledge, and collaborate with one another. Learning which products to use and how to use them is important, but the chance to hear the story of another colleague who has done so successfully or tell your own success story is vital. To demonstrate this value to our membership, C2C has introduced a new program all about recognizing the individuals who make our community so dynamic and rewarding. Read on below to learn more about our inaugural monthly community C2Champions. Category: Platform Posts Seiji ManoanSeiji Manoan (@seijimanoan) is a 30-year-old father of two based in Brazil. As a Software and DevOps engineer, he helps organizations build and maintain resources on Kubernetes by providing outstanding SRE support. “I used to be a full-stack developer and tech lead,” he says, “until I realized how much I love to keep the workloads up and running with scalability and resilience.” To date, Seiji has started six new conversations on our platform, and participated in 16 altogether. Many of our members are engaging at this rate, but the resources and the personal touch he provides make Seiji’s posts stand out to our community managers and the rest of our members. Check out some of Seiji’s most-engaged posts below:  Category: Solving Problems Yuval Drori RetziverYuval Drori Retvizer (@yuval) is an experienced Staff Cloud Architect for C2C Foundational Platform Partner DoiT International, managing production environments for GCP and working with countless GCP customers. He is an infrastructure expert known for his extensive knowledge of Kubernetes, GKE, service mesh, and blockchain. An active participant at C2C events and on the community platform, Yuval has successfully provided solutions to a range of problems raised by C2C community members. The C2C Team and community are always grateful to have Yuval available to share his knowledge and resources. Follow the links below to explore some of the solutions Yuval has provided for other C2C members:  Category: Attending Events Katsiaryna “Kate”VyshydkevichKatsiaryna Vyshydkevich (@Katsiaryna Vyshydkevich), or Kate, is an experienced QA Engineer based in Belarus, where she studied at the University of Informatics and Radioelectronics. Kate is passionate about cloud and self-driving cars. A committed advocate for women in the Google Cloud ecosystem, she serves as an #IamRemarkable workshop facilitator, a WTM Ambassador, and a mentor for the Women in Tech community. Beyond the cloud, Kate is an avid traveler who dreams of visiting every part of the world. She enjoys windsurfing, books, and seeing local amateur theater productions. Kate engages enthusiastically across the C2C community, but her presence at C2C events is what inspired our team to nominate her as a C2Champion. Read these posts from Kate to hear what she has to say about some of our recent events:  Category: Google Support Madison JenkinsC2C would not be complete without the participation and support of colleagues and teammates across the Google organization. In recent months, Madison Jenkins (@MadisonJenkins) of Google Cloud Startup Community Marketing has played a key role in nurturing the C2C startups community. Madison is a Northern California native who has been working within the startup ecosystem since she attended California State University, Sacramento. As COO of AngelHack, she managed the company’s global hackathon series logistics, reaching over 60 cities a year. Madison is an operations guru with an expertise in event management, logistics, and marketing. When she’s not working, she loves to brew beer, travel, and explore the outdoors. Take a look below at some of what Madison has contributed to the C2C community experience:  Do you want to be a C2Champion? There are countless ways to engage on our platform or at our events, but the easiest way to get started right now is to join us as a member! We look forward to seeing you around our community.

Categories:C2C Community SpotlightC2C News

Women in Cloud: Ayu Ginanti

Communities grow and thrive when they lift up all of their members to succeed. Part of that undertaking is to recognize structural imbalances and to turn to their historically marginalized members to lead.To celebrate Women’s History Month and the contributions of women in the world of cloud technology, C2C is highlighting conversations with leaders who will guide our future. Every Tuesday this March, we will publish an interview with one of the many women driving change and giving direction in the C2C community. This interview is with Ayu Ginanti, APJ Cloud Lead at Intel, a Google Cloud Premier Partner and Foundational Platinum Partner of C2C. You’re in a video call with people you haven’t yet met. How would you introduce yourself? My name is Ayu (pronounced Aah-you), and I was born and raised in Jakarta, Indonesia. Sydney, Australia, has been my second home since 2015, and I love it here.I’m a Cloud Lead at Intel⁠—the “chip queen” of Silicon Valley⁠—where I help companies get the best out of their cloud consumption. I work closely with cloud providers like Google Cloud to drive value optimization on all Intel technologies.I’m also a baker and a wedding cake artist. Tell me about your education, your experience, and your tech path. Have you earned any certifications? Are there any you felt like you needed? My educational background is actually in communications and business, but I always gravitated toward technology. All of my theses had a strong emphasis on technology and that interest followed me to the professional world. I’m proud of the plurality of my tech career and I particularly love being part of pioneering teams or businesses. I was one of the first 10 employees in Google Indonesia. I then pivoted to cloud and relocated to Sydney to join Google Cloud Australia. And now being the first Cloud Lead at Intel, I have a big responsibility in driving Intel’s technology leadership in cloud and breaking the perception that Intel is just a “PC-centric company”.When it comes to certifications, I earned many at a professional level that were related to my job. I was AdWords certified and also passed the Google Analytics and YouTube certifications when I was part of the Google Adwords team. There’s probably greater emphasis on certifications in the cloud world—I even participated as a beta tester in the Google Cloud Digital Leader certification when it was released last year.In general, I like learning new things. When I don’t have any cloud exams or internal cloud trainings to work on, I like to do short courses or executive education on the topics I’m interested in. I did one on “Driving organizational change” last year, and I’m enrolling in an AI course this May to help me with my job and learn new things that I’m curious about and may be beneficial either now or in the future. How did you get started with Google Cloud? I joined Google Cloud before Google Cloud even carried that name. I was part of the “OG” Google for Work, and our core focus at that time was selling the SaaS offerings of Google Workspace. Back then, it was called Google Apps for Work, then they rebranded as GSuite, and then as Google Workspace. I’ve seen the full transformation of that company.When they pivoted their focus to Google Cloud Platform, I was one of the brave souls who believed that was the right path for the company, and that lined up with what I saw as the right path for my career. While it was very disruptive at the time, I believed there were so many opportunities ahead. And to be honest, Google Cloud circa 2017 was tough! We went through so many changes, starting in that phase of very minimal awareness among IT professionals just getting started, going through a rebrand, and bringing on a new CEO. Imagine still learning about the basics of load balancing and egress and trying to convince the customers that these were the right solutions for them. I was one of the people who would pick up the phone and say, “I’m from Google Cloud,” and they would usually say, “Google what? I’ve never heard of it,” or say I had the wrong number and hang up on me. It was a stressful time when your salary, your performance review, and your career depend on it.But I’m grateful that I had supportive teammates. We were all going through the same thing, helped each other learn, sat on calls together, and always shared feedback. That support was one of the key reasons we thrived and progressed through it all.Before I left Google Cloud, I realized how rewarding it was despite the stress. We grew a multi-million dollar business from a literal zero. The cherry on the cake is those teammates I had support from are now my closest friends and my then-manager is now a mentor I look up to. It has come full circle. When you think back on your career, what stories can you share that demonstrate what it means to be a woman in tech? Looking back on my experience, I believe work still needs to be done when it comes to breaking bias—not only in the tech world, but just generally being a woman and especially being a woman of color. I’ve experienced microaggressions where as a woman, clients would refuse to talk to me and only wanted to communicate with my male colleagues even though I was the sales rep responsible for the account. I’ve also been asked multiple times if I can create a new name for myself, or anglicize my name to make it more friendly for English speakers. My first name is only three letters, so it’s really not difficult. My late grandpa named me and I love my name, so I’m not changing it for anyone.Awareness was really low when it came to unconscious bias and microaggressions. It affected me in a way that I felt I had to work twice as hard to prove myself to people, or to feel that I belong in the industry. But I know now I’m not responsible for anyone’s distorted perception of me, and I know I can stand in my own light and my own truth and still work hard. I realized that when I work with the right people in the right environment, it’s all worth it, because they don’t see me just as a woman of color in tech—they see me as a dedicated rockstar.Those who have a great work ethic and a passion for what they do—regardless of their gender, race, appearance, sexual orientation, or ethnicity—are the ones who end up running the company in the future. Have you ever felt “imposter syndrome”? How do you deal with it? With the caliber of people hired at Intel or at Google—all very smart, humble, cool people—I have wondered if I belong, or if I’m a fake. If I had to give pro tips on getting rid of that imposter feeling, they would be these three things:First is to surround myself with supportive people who see my worth. Sometimes we forget that we aren’t imposters, or fakes; we’re actually quite remarkable. Google has an #IamRemarkable program to remind not only women, but all minority groups, that they are remarkable.Second is an area I still have to work on, which is: don’t forget to reward yourself. I grew up in an environment where I was told to be humble and just get on with it, and adulthood inherits those ideas. But we have to actively celebrate in order to feel the full force of our successes and accomplishments. It doesn’t have to be extravagant or expensive, but find something that is meaningful to you. I do little things like taking myself out to dinner, sharing my accomplishments with my friends, or buying myself a little something. We should recognize our wins, no matter how small. Back when I started at Google Cloud and a customer wanted a second meeting, we saw that as a big win. We would celebrate and clap on the floor where we worked. It releases that feel-good dopamine and motivates us to accomplish even more. It’s easy to overlook that.And third is very actionable⁠⁠—you have to be careful about social media. I got very specific in curating my LinkedIn feed; I suggest unfollowing anyone or anything that brings you down. Sometimes, LinkedIn can make us feel like we’re behind, so curating our feed can nurture our souls. Focus on the informational and inspirational content that actually feeds your best self, gives you grace, and helps you work toward your vision. Life is finite; you don’t need toxic content filling it.  How do you want to change the world? This question really makes me ponder. I’m one of those people who has a vision board to plan for my dreams and leave a legacy, like speaking at a TedX, or starting a school, or building a walking suspension bridge to connect rural areas in Indonesia. But I look at the world we live in now and those ambitions and empowering ideas on my vision board feel disingenuous. We’re still recovering from the trauma of the pandemic, and we’re seeing news of war and extreme weather events. “We’re told to put on our own oxygen masks before helping other people, so I’m working on that.” We’re told to put on our own oxygen masks before helping other people, so I’m working on that. What I really want to do is spend my time working on things that matter in the cloud space and being with the people I love the most. I want to spend more time with my partner, who I’ve only seen four times since 2020 because of border closures. I want to make up for lost time with family and friends who I haven’t seen for three years. I feel like I’ve had a rough couple of years with that separation. That doesn’t mean I’m not ambitious anymore, but it’s hard to plan for audacious goals when basic needs haven’t been met. Once I’m there, then let’s talk about changing the world, but in the meantime, while I’m on that track I hope I can inspire a soul or two. Inspire me! What advice would you give someone interested in a career like yours? Do it!There’s still a perception that tech companies are strictly full of “nerdy, techy developers,” or that you have to be an Ivy League graduate to make it. But that’s wrong. There are plenty of opportunities working at tech companies like Intel in marketing, human resources, sales, program management, analytics, operations, and the list goes on. It all depends on how driven you are and what your interests are. “As an example from years ago, I made a prototype of a chatbot to automate an online dating conversation… It was a bit complicated, which I liked, and it was a fun project to learn how to use Google Cloud’s Dialogflow and the components behind it. ” As an example from years ago, I made a prototype of a chatbot to automate an online dating conversation. My intent was to save time for busy girls like me and my friends who don’t have time to talk, so the chatbot would answer to potential suitors. Once it hit a certain milestone, it was passed to the real “agent,” similar to customer service bots screening conversations before passing it on to an actual person. It was a bit complicated, which I liked, and it was a fun project to learn how to use Google Cloud’s Dialogflow and the components behind it. But, I also learned about the ethics behind AI, and realized how this wasn’t the most ethical solution, so it wasn’t something to fully pursue.The bottom line is, in order to thrive in a tech company, always find ways to keep learning. Be inquisitive, even if you’re just doing fun projects for yourself a few nights each week. The industry is constantly changing, so keep your skills fresh to stay ahead of the game.  Can you share one reason why you are optimistic about 2022 and the outlook for women in Google Cloud, in your region and beyond? I believe we’ll have a stronger synergy and collaboration between Intel and Google Cloud this year. There are women and male allies in APAC who are focused on bringing in the best and the most innovative solutions to our diverse organization of customers. At the end of the day, representation matters. It’s critical for cognitive diversity to create a space for motivated employees and customers. Google and Intel are seen as leaders in the industry, well-placed in showcasing that women have equal opportunities of succeeding in the tech world. We’re paving the way for future generations to thrive and change things up. Looking for more in this series? Check out these other interviews with women in Google Cloud technology.  

Categories:C2C Community SpotlightCareers in CloudDiversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)Interview

Women in Cloud: Nerissa Penfold

Communities grow and thrive when they lift up all of their members to succeed. Part of that undertaking is to recognize structural imbalances and to turn to their historically marginalized members to lead.To celebrate Women’s History Month and the contributions of women in the world of cloud technology, C2C is highlighting conversations with leaders who will guide our future. Every Tuesday this March, we will publish an interview with one of the many women driving change and giving direction in the C2C community. This interview is with Nerissa Penfold, Head of Sales at Google Cloud. Nerissa leads the Corporate Traditional (Mid-Market) Sales team for Google Cloud Australia and NZ. You’re in a video call with people you haven’t yet met. How would you introduce yourself? I’ve been at Google for over ten years, and at Google Cloud for just over a year now. I currently lead a sales team that works with customers in the mid-market segment to transform their businesses with cloud technologies. Depending on the audience, I might also share my passion for supporting all forms of diversity and inclusion. Outside my core role I am the Allyship Lead for Pride at Google, which is one of many Employee Resource Groups at Google.Outside of work, I’m the mother of two spirited boys, and we live in Sydney, Australia. Tell me about your education, your experience, and your tech path. Have you earned any certifications? Are there any you felt like you needed? People talk about “falling into something,” and that’s definitely what happened to me in tech. My undergraduate degree was in psychology, and I did further studies in psychology and journalism. But between university and achieving my goal of traveling overseas, I was looking for a job and found myself at Getronics, an information and communication technology services provider. It was there I discovered that technology really has the potential to deliver amazing outcomes to customers and end users. It also opened up a lot of career possibilities for me. I learned that sales also interested me, and so I began my journey in tech sales. I just recently started a new role, so I’m going slowly, but I’m working on the Cloud Digital Leader certification. This is aimed at business users, and I’m looking forward to completing it. In addition, over the last ten years, I’ve been lucky to have access to all the training and enablement that Google offers. It’s ongoing and necessary to keep up with all the advancements in our solutions and products. How did you get started with Google Cloud? Most of my career before joining Google was in tech sales, like software development, application development, web development, or systems integration. I brought that experience with me to Google, where I worked for so long using AdWords, YouTube, Google Ad Manager, and other internal systems which are all underpinned by Google Cloud technologies. I always knew that one day I would find myself at Google Cloud. It was always a goal of mine to take Google Cloud to the world. I made the switch a year ago and joined the Google Cloud partner team for Australia and New Zealand. This year I transitioned to my current role leading the mid-market sales team, where we work with traditional corporate companies, helping them to transform their businesses using cloud technologies. I love being a part of Google Cloud and working with customers to have a real impact on their businesses. While there are some differences from the rest of Google, there is also an element of familiarity as I’ve been using our products for so long.With respect to my roles in our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), I sort of dabbled. When at Google, I was involved with Women@Google, but last year I stepped up to lead the allyship pillar for our Pride ERG. Diversity and inclusion are definitely big focus areas for Google Cloud. I see the progress we are making every day and there are so many programs and spotlights on all areas of diversity. It’s one of the things that makes Google such a great place to work. It’s not just about the workplace; it’s about building a more inclusive and diverse society generally. When you think back on your career, what stories can you share that demonstrate what it means to be a woman in tech? I don’t know whether it’s specific to technology, but I’ve heard this quote saying that a man will apply to a role when they meet about 80% of the criteria for a job, and a woman will only apply when they meet 120% of the criteria. That preconception holds us back. I definitely doubt my own abilities at times and either assume that someone else will be a better fit or think that I’m not quite the right fit for the role. But I’ve been fortunate to have leaders who will push me to challenge myself or identify opportunities for me that I might not have considered for myself, such as the one I mentioned after university. That was my first role in tech, and it was something that I never would have applied for. I was working in the company’s call center when a leader in the business encouraged me to apply for a role as a technical account manager that he said would be advertised as needing ten to fifteen years of experience. I had no experience and no idea what a technical account manager did, but he said to apply anyway. I went through the process which included a panel interview with three interviewers, which I had never done before, and I got the job. I was lucky enough to have someone tell me, “We recognize your potential and you should go for this.” It really goes to show how important it is to have mentors, sponsors, and other people who fuel your self-belief. While I believe there’s a role for individuals to lift people up, programs like #IamRemarkable also need to continue—there’s great work that people have been doing to foster self-confidence and belief in capable women. There’s still so much to be done to increase representation, inclusion, and a sense of belonging, not just for women, but for other underrepresented minority groups. Have you ever felt “imposter syndrome”? How do you deal with it? There’s a lot of debate at the moment about whether imposter syndrome is a thing; Brené Brown, for example, has this view that it’s the system and the structure working as it was intended. I’ve felt it, but I don’t know if it’s necessarily gender specific. I think it’s more overthinking that you maybe don’t have the right experience, or that you’re not technical enough, or finding yourself in those moments where you think, “I have no idea what I’m doing—how did I get here?” So many people feel that way. For me, often, I will try to reflect on things I’ve done in the past in something similar where I’ve succeeded, and use that to calibrate and guide me to what’s possible. Other times, I might think of feedback others have given me, or what someone else has told me I’m good at, and use that to boost my confidence. Sometimes it might be as simple as repeating, “I can do this,” because I know I can. I flip the negative into positive self-talk; if others can do it, why can’t I? How do you want to change the world? Over time, it’s probably changed, and there are so many different elements of life where I think about what I’d like to be doing differently.In a work context, I love working for a company that has sustainability at its core, with the hope that we can leave the world a better place than it is today. At a more granular level, I want to have a meaningful impact on the people I’m working with, whether it’s my peers or people I’m leading, helping to lift them up, providing support and guidance. It can actually change their lives. I want to do things that are worthwhile, rather than going into work everyday just to get through the day. I think that’s really important.Also with my two boys, I want to shape them to be good people and make sure they’re getting a balanced and respectful world view.. They’re at the ages—6 and 8—where they’re starting to see the world differently and form their own views and opinions, and I try to make sure that they’re aware of the way things are and the way things can be. They pick things up from other kids as well; we’re at the point where we have to correct things like language, help them define what’s appropriate, or guide how we speak about other people. Hopefully I have two little people who can help in leaving the world a better place, doing things in a way that’s respectful. Inspire me! What advice would you give someone interested in a career like yours? The most important thing is to just go for it. Don’t let your self-doubt get in the way.Pick an organization that aligns to your values—a company that you really believe in. If you do that, the rest just takes care of itself. For me, starting a career at Google was something I really wanted to do because I aligned with their vision, mission, and values. Being able to stay at the organization for ten years hasbeen possible because I continue to believe in that, and Google has continued to evolve and deliver awesome products, and has continued to provide opportunities for me to develop and stretch myself. If everyone is able to work somewhere that aligns to their values, it becomes somewhere they love to go. You have a community and build friendships—which is so much more important than just doing a job and going home at the end of the day.It goes back to what I was saying about the employee resource groups. On the tech side, Google started “20% projects” for engineers. But outside of the engineer world, there’s a range of things you can get involved in, and it always comes back to the values of being at a company that gives back to a community. We also have Giving Week, where employees donate money that’s matched by Google to donate to worthy causes. We also have volunteer work days and Google Serve, where people arrange projects and for a whole week people will volunteer and do amazing things together. Over the past years, I’ve organized things like walking dogs at a dog shelter, or helping in a kitten rescue. Other times, these volunteer days are skills-based, like helping elderly people learn how to use the internet or solving challenges for charities using Google tech. That’s what’s inspired me, and if people can find a place that aligns with their values, it can change their lives.  Can you share one reason why you are optimistic about 2022 and the outlook for women in Google Cloud, in your region and beyond? I’m optimistic generally, in terms of my role in Google Cloud and the position we’re in. Working with traditional corporate companies, there’s so much opportunity for change and transformation. Google really is the transformation cloud. We’ve got so much exciting stuff ahead of us and so much potential to do impactful things for and with customers.There are so many talented women within Google Cloud and in the partner organizations around us. I think it’s such an inspiring time for women in tech—in Australia and more broadly around the world. There’s so much recognition of female talent and I think a lot is being done to surface that talent, encourage them, and lift people up to be in leadership roles. Looking for more in this series? Check out these other interviews with women in Google Cloud technology. 

Categories:C2C Community SpotlightCareers in CloudDiversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)Interview

Women in Cloud: Lynn Comp

Communities grow and thrive when they lift up all of their members to succeed. Part of that undertaking is to recognize structural imbalances and to turn to their historically marginalized members to lead.To celebrate Women’s History Month and the contributions of women in the world of cloud technology, C2C is highlighting conversations with leaders who will guide our future. Every Tuesday this March, we will publish an interview with one of the many women driving change and giving direction in the C2C community. This interview is with Lynn Comp, Corporate Vice President of Cloud Business Group at AMD, a Google Cloud Premier Partner and Foundational Gold Partner of C2C. You’re in a video call with people you haven’t yet met. How would you introduce yourself? My story would truly be around the fact that I am in technology because I love problem solving. I love taking on challenges and building a point of view that’s unique from the majority of the industry. My passion is helping people use technology to solve problems, connect with each other, and open new opportunities; I want to make the world a better place and democratize access to information.But I also want to get to know other people. When we’re on camera, there’s a very personal element of being in somebody’s world. One of the things I really do love to ask people about is the environment they’ve created for themselves. So I might ask about something in the room and make those personal connections. You can pull yourself into a camera and just focus on the topic and get down to business, but it’s so much more enjoyable to be able to relate to people on what they love. Tell me about your education, your experience, and your tech path. Have you earned any certifications? Are there any you felt like you needed? I started doing my own coding and hacking when I was about 14, before it was “cool.” I then ended up getting an electrical engineering degree from Virginia Tech, where I was in a co-op, so every other semester I was off-campus, working at a job, and then I would go back to finish my classes. What’s funny is, while I was working on that degree, thinking I would work on system hardware and motherboard development, what I was doing in all my co-op experience was learning Pascal, C, and C++, coding visual inspection systems for everything from robots all the way through mainframes. I really developed this love for software, and it turns out software was a lot faster to get projects done.When I went into the industry after graduating, I found this sweet spot between hardware and software, working with the customers who were trying to make this bare metal thing do what they wanted to do. So while I thought I was going to be a hardware designer, I ended up as an applications engineer helping customers with firmware, software, and operating systems. They had a vision, and I could deliver the art of figuring out what the computer was thinking. I discovered this knack for fitting the seams between two communities that didn’t necessarily speak the same language.That became my entire career—helping the technologists communicate to humans, and helping the humans figure out how to get the technology to do what they wanted. It’s actually really great experience for interacting with humans and managing people. Very often, a lot of our management and interpersonal interaction at work comes down to understanding language and someone else’s point of view. Because engineering is so flexible, what you learn in college is “how” to learn. You end up having five different careers throughout your entire career journey because technology changes so much.  How did you get started with Google Cloud? My prior role was in the visual processing industry, and I happened to be on a panel at the International Broadcasting Conference. There were hardware partners and software partners, and I was sitting next to someone from Google Cloud. We were talking about the challenges of trying to get video processing done while filming on location, like how to get a server farm in New Zealand for Lord of the Rings, for example. I heard story after story from that person about Google Cloud’s availability, services, and capabilities that were built for that industry. For someone shooting on location who couldn’t get hardware for weeks, they were able to initiate instances with Google Cloud locally and start filming right away so the production schedule didn’t have to wait. It was an incredibly powerful testament, and that conversation inspired me. Even if post-processing is going to require hardware on-site for special effects, having Google’s availability meant that they could continue at the pace of business. If you’ve seen any of the documentaries about making 3D movies, you’ll know there’s a lot of conversation around fighting with technology to get the artist’s vision realized. And I hate to hear that. It breaks my heart every time I hear an artist say, “we couldn’t get the technology to do what we wanted.” For me, storytelling is just being human, and if you can get the technology out of the way of the storytellers, it enables so many other people to use technology and not have to fight with it.What’s so cool about the industry right now is the access to certifications; I think those are the most brilliant thing that Google has done in terms of getting people engaged with the APIs and the developer environments available. Anybody—with or without a university degree—can build up their knowledge and realize it’s something that’s cool, diverse, and evergreen for learning. Yes, it helps in terms of recruiting for who might end up as future Googlers, but at the same time, it creates a lifelong learning environment for multiple generations. I have eighth graders through 50-year-olds working on Google certifications, my son included.And there are so many different facets of Google. There’s the consumer-oriented perspective, like storage and Gmail, that the masses are more familiar with, but there’s also the perspective of what Googlers need to be able to get their jobs done. They’re building engagement with real developers solving real developer problems.  When you think back on your career, what stories can you share that demonstrate what it means to be a woman in tech? Being a woman in tech means that it’s all down to my intellectual abilities whether or not I am a valuable member of the team. It’s not about how you look, or what you sound like, or your family origin or network. I grew up in not necessarily the wealthiest environment with not the most educated background in my family, and technology has opened up this incredible world. It really is about how you’re helping people solve problems.The other thing I have really appreciated about being a woman in technology is the opportunity to pull together with the community of people on my side. You end up in these really difficult problem situations where you have a customer with lines down, or where your technology is not functioning the way it should. I’m regularly on conference calls with executive leadership where I’m the only woman in the room, and I approach it thinking I have a bunch of brothers in arms that I didn’t have growing up. I’m an only child, but I have a lot of brothers-from-another-mother or sisters-from-another-mister I’ve built relationships with that I wouldn’t otherwise have. Have you ever felt “imposter syndrome”? How do you deal with it? I think everybody has imposter syndrome—women especially. Because while you want to “lean in,” you’re doing that at a risk of not mastering the domain. I always have that worry whenever I’m going through the learning process of a new technology or ramping up in a new role. But I challenge myself to do things I haven’t done before, even if it comes with the fears of, “What if I can’t learn this? What if I can’t figure this out?” There’s a well-known dynamic in technology—or generally any industry—where women will look at the qualifications for a job and if they don’t check every single box, they won’t apply. Whereas men will apply if they check a third of them. That’s indicative of imposter syndrome. We often don’t allow ourselves to take as many risks, and when we do take risks we have a lot more fears and anxiety, so we tend to overwork to make up for not having mastered something. Look at your own career. Maybe you took on a role you thought would go up in flames, but instead you did this amazing thing. Having people or journals or “sunshine folders” to remind you of your own history and how difficult things are at every new start is absolutely critical. We get in our own heads and talk ourselves off cliffs, so we need to have people who can remind us that we made it and we can make it again.  How do you want to change the world? I’m responsible for helping AMD position itself in the cloud business, and what I absolutely love about the work we’re doing is that cloud technology allows people to work in a more natural way while breaking traditional geographical boundaries.What’s also amazing is a lot of the development tools and languages don’t require an engineering degree. Those tools make room to really think about what business problems can be solved or what new experiences can be created. It’s advancing the ability for technology to be a tool, not something that people have to fight against to accomplish what they want to get done.Coming from a long semiconductor background and having done a lot of coding, I tended to code down to the hardware and make things as optimized as possible. But what is optimal is in the eye of the beholder. If you look at the no-code camp’s vantage point, for example, their priority isn’t creating the tightest loops and cycles from one piece of hardware. They’re focused on how they can solve a legitimate business problem for their organization as fast as possible, and no-code might be a means for them to do that.  Inspire me! What advice would you give someone interested in a career like yours? My first piece of advice would be to get both practical experience and a good general-purpose degree that can open up doors. For example, it helps to have Google Cloud certifications plus a degree for certain roles. There are some people who start out saying they want to do computer security and manage to draw a straight line through CISO, but there are a lot of other people who change domains. I have a son that’s in cybersecurity; that’s a meaningful problem and a challenging space. The coding that he’s learning right now is not the coding that I learned years ago, but I can still work through problems with him because the “learning of learning” is what you retain. I went between hardware, software, operating systems, and Java; I meandered just based on wanting to do something new. Think about your baseline. If you do computer science and have a few certifications, and if in three years you decide you don’t want to do cybersecurity, you can switch to game programming, or database programming, or any other doors you can keep open with every move you make.Second, you need to anticipate that what you start in is something that’s meaningful to you. The beauty of technology is that you don’t have to decide what you want to do for 30 years; you don’t have to have it all figured out. You do need to have a passion and an interest for the next four to five years. Then, stay curious. Continue to really understand what the dynamics are in your industry and what’s coming up that’s going to change it. Stay ahead of that. You have to keep learning over and over again. We spend a lot of time at work; if you can’t figure out what has meaning for you, you’re going to have to find it. Can you share one reason why you are optimistic about 2022 and the outlook for women in Google Cloud, in your region and beyond? I’m very optimistic about the fact that, despite the statistics, there is more and more continued effort to bring women into the technology field and into STEM. When you look at environments that are more of a melting pot with greater diversity—points of view, origin, culture, or language—you end up having a lot more innovation. It’s challenging because it’s hard to understand others’ journeys, but once the team gels, it makes products and solutions better and more multi-purpose.Even though we haven’t made the strides we’ve been hoping to see––women make up 40% of technology––the effort continues. The prominence of diversity in problem solving is rising in places that desperately need that point of view. I find that women more often want to make a difference outside of just the industry and their career journey. There’s an element of wanting the nights and weekends and time away from family to have a higher purpose than just your job title or the salary you’re bringing home. Women want to know that what they work on matters to people. Women want to be able to say, “this thing I did made a huge difference for people. This moved things forward for a culture, a community, a country, or the world.” There are still reasons to be inspired, so I’m optimistic. Looking for more in this series? Check out these other interviews with women in Google Cloud technology. 

Categories:C2C Community SpotlightCareers in CloudDiversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)Interview

Women in Cloud: Chanel Greco

Communities grow and thrive when they lift up all of their members to succeed. Part of that undertaking is to recognize structural imbalances and to turn to their historically marginalized members to lead.To celebrate Women’s History Month and the contributions of women in the world of cloud technology, C2C is highlighting conversations with leaders who will guide our future. Every Tuesday this March, we will publish an interview with one of the many women driving change and giving direction in the C2C community. This interview is with Chanel Greco, (@chanelgreco), CEO and founder of saperis. Chanel is also one of C2C’s earliest actively participating members and has previously provided support to activities in C2C Connect: DACH. You’re in a video call with people you haven’t yet met. How would you introduce yourself? Well, first thing is: I have to say my name, because a lot of people aren’t sure how to pronounce it. I’m Chanel Greco (ʃəˈnɛl ˈgrɛkoʊ).Then, I usually say I’m a Google Workspace expert. I’m the CEO and Founder of saperis, a company that helps our customers become Google Workspace pros. Tell me about your education, your experience, and your tech path. Have you earned any certifications? Are there any you felt like you needed? To give a quick overview, I do not have a classical university degree. I grew up and went to school in Switzerland and we mainly have a system of apprenticeships. I enrolled in an apprenticeship to become an office clerk, working three days per week there and using two other days per week to go to business school.That was my first round of education. After that, I pretty quickly transitioned into IT, taking a lot of extra courses in my free time on weekends learning about computer technology. I also visited a coding bootcamp. So I’ve done a lot of different courses⁠—mainly non-university courses⁠—and have some degrees and certificates from universities in digital marketing and project management, which was useful when I was an IT project manager. I have no specific certifications for any Google Cloud applications, so what I do now has mainly come from a lot of IT experience and learning on the job. How did you get started with Google Cloud? I had used Google Workspace—or as it was known back then, GSuite—in different companies I worked for. Startups in Switzerland sometimes used it, and I also used it when working as a developer. When I was working as a coding teacher at a coding bootcamp, we were asked if we could provide training for Google Apps Script, which is used specifically for scripting light applications in Google Workspace. That’s the first time I came into contact with Google Cloud-based technology; I really stumbled upon it and had no idea what it was. Since it looked like a programming language that I know (Javascript), I instantly said “yes” to hosting the training session. But I really didn’t know what Google Cloud was back then, and only now do I know Apps Script is part of that full platform. When you think back on your career, what stories can you share that demonstrate what it means to be a woman in tech? I definitely have stories. I got into tech about 15-16 years ago at a time before the “Me Too” movement rightfully came up. You can imagine the jokes I heard being the only woman usually in an all-male team. That wasn’t always funny. Sometimes, I was the subject of the jokes, and being very young I didn’t have the courage to speak up and say “that’s not right,” and it wasn’t the professional setting I wanted to work in.It was tough being the only woman on the team. Being made fun of and hearing comments like, “Oh, Chanel has no idea what she’s talking about, but at least she’s cute” is never something you would hear when talking about a male colleague, but it was okay to talk like that about a female colleague.  Have you ever felt “imposter syndrome”? How do you deal with it? Imposter syndrome was a very real thing. In my experience, I felt pressure to just go along with things while having no idea what was happening. Being bullied leads to being scared to speak up, and it’s hard to bring up anything in work that you don’t understand or ask someone to further explain what they mean. I very often had the feeling that I must be the only one at the table that wasn’t understanding something, which is where the imposter syndrome comes into play. Only later did I find out that sometimes male colleagues, too, didn’t understand. But they gave me the feeling that they knew everything and I alone knew nothing.Nowadays, it’s different because I have the courage to ask someone to repeat something, or honestly say I didn’t understand something. I can own any lack of knowledge and say, “let me do my homework and I’ll get back to you.”  How do you want to change the world? That’s a big question! I don’t think I want to change the world, but I do want to be the person that another girl or young woman sees and says, “If she made it in tech, I can do it, too.” Before I started my education, I was already very interested in computer technology, but I decided not to go that route because I only knew men signing up for that education. It was also at a time when my parents’ friends had no women in their circle that worked in tech that I could look up to or ask about their experiences.So my big goal is to be visible for all the girls and young women who want to transition into tech and aren’t sure if it’s for them. I want to help them find their route and to be there and say, “Hey, I did it, and I’m no genius. But if I did it, you can, too.” That’s also why I go to women’s hackathons or special sessions dedicated to teaching coding to girls. Inspire me! What advice would you give someone interested in a career like yours? Very important: believe in yourself.People shy away from tech because they think it’s too complex, or they’re not good at math, or others in the field are much smarter. It’s something that I remember being told—a lot of girls may have heard in school that boys are better at math anyway, so girls should stick to languages or whatever isn’t a typical STEM subject.But if you believe in yourself, it’s not like you can move mountains, but almost! So you can do things yourself that other people wouldn’t give you the potential to do. If you’re interested, don’t listen to the negativity from others and just give it a go. Can you share one reason why you are optimistic about 2022 and the outlook for women in Google Cloud, in your region and beyond? Specifically concerning Google Cloud, you can see that Google puts a lot of effort into diversity. They don’t want to be too exclusive to that typical male, white elite. It’s for everyone and it has a lot of different objectives.Beyond that, it starts from home. It might not be the same tech community as when it started twenty years back, but if every one of us is an example and reaches out to help other people, then we can build better communities to empower more female tech professionals and be more diverse in general.  Looking for more in this series? Check out these other interviews with women in Google Cloud technology.  

Categories:C2C Community SpotlightCareers in CloudDiversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)Interview

Women in Cloud: Erika Bell

 Communities grow and thrive when they lift up all of their members to succeed. Part of that undertaking is to recognize structural imbalances and to turn to their historically marginalized members to lead.To celebrate Women’s History Month and the contributions of women in the world of cloud technology, C2C is highlighting conversations with leaders who will guide our future. Every Tuesday this March, we will publish an interview with one of the many women driving change and giving direction in the C2C community.This interview is with Erika Bell (@Erika APAC Community Mgr), Advisor to Google Cloud Partners and C2C Community Manager. You’re in a video call with people you haven’t yet met. How would you introduce yourself? My name is Erika Bell (Rodríguez Morillo). I am from Peru originally, but have been living in Australia for 30 years. I am a computer engineer who got into IT enterprise systems and most recently into cloud. I’m proud to have recently joined C2C, and am also the organizer of a community called Google Developer Group.I’ve worked for myself for many years, am the mother of two boys, and live with my husband and near my parents here in Sydney. Tell me about your education, your experience, and your tech path. Have you earned any certifications? Are there any you felt like you needed? I completed my high school here in Australia, went off to university for computer engineering, and after that got into science and technology research for the Australian Department of Defense. Very quickly—about 18 months into it—I discovered that wasn’t for me, so I switched to consulting and joined Computer Sciences Corporation. I moved from Canberra to Sydney with them, which was always my dream. Once in Sydney I gained experience in what we now call collaboration systems (like Google Workspace). My next few gigs were rolling out these systems for one of the big four banks in Australia, and for big enterprises—oil and gas, transport, and logistics—during a move to London.Before my husband and I were in London for a few years, we took a bit of a career break to travel the world. The break helped me realize the path I wanted to take within IT for my career progression. It was almost as if I could see the next 20 years laid out in front of me and I thought, “there’s got to be more for me here.” How did you get started with Google Cloud? We came back to Australia about 15 years into my experience of enterprise system rollouts. I had a very fortunate opportunity to leave that behind and join what I like to call this “parallel universe” of Google Cloud. I had been seeing that world moving so fast with all this new technology coming in, and in 2016 I joined a Google Cloud Partner consulting company with a side step into the world of marketing. After reporting to CIOs for so many years on transformation projects and trying to make changes within IT departments, it was an easy transition from an audience and persona point of view that I was now having to develop messaging to speak to CIOs again. When you think back on your career, what stories can you share that demonstrate what it means to be a woman in tech? I never really thought about it; my mom and dad were both teachers and they raised me to think I can do anything. I was always very good at math, which is the thing that saved me when I came to Australia because I didn’t have English-speaking skills. But I never thought of myself and my abilities as different. The thing that brought it home for me was in university, where I was enrolled in a formal engineering degree. Walking into my very first lecture theater, I just saw a sea of 150 men and only a handful of women.Automatically, that group of us five women came together. That was my first realization that I was part of a minority group. It was not because of my race; I’m already in one of the furthest places I could go from Peru, and have always felt like a bit of a minority because of that, but never because of gender.In saying that, everyone was very welcoming. I even met my husband there. He was working through the same degree I was and has been my biggest supporter throughout my career. But the girls, of course, I became friends with straight away, and that friendship is for life—one of them is the godmother of my children! There are valuable things that we bring to the table that we might not think much of since it comes so naturally, but the men see that and think highly of it. In a very positive way, we complement each other, and ultimately we’re all in this industry together with so many opportunities ahead of us.  Have you ever felt “imposter syndrome”? How do you deal with it? Most definitely. I think that’s human nature, not gender-specific. I’ve always believed that’s just the way our brains are programmed. It only takes listening to a couple of podcasts from experts in this field to know that our brain is programmed to pick on our own faults. One of the best explanations I’ve heard from an audiobook explained it as, “you can have a beautiful garden, but you’ll always see that one weed coming through.” We need to work extra hard to learn to admire the full garden. I give myself reminders for how far I’ve come, am patient with myself in challenging situations, and lean into the growing pains. You don’t feel those pains when you’re in your comfort zone, so it’s a good thing to know you’re putting yourself in situations where you find the courage to try something new.Find mentors. Chat with others to reflect on your journey and learn about others’ stories. Use all these to remind yourself of how powerful you are. How do you want to change the world? Ultimately, I want to bring more equality to everyone (not just women) on things we take for granted. Some people in less fortunate situations don’t have the same access to the technology we have, whether you’re in an emerging economy or in a socio-politically disadvantaged context (like many women are). There’s power in tech to allow people with an inclination for solving problems or designing new products to get people and communities involved. I want to define pathways and connect organizations who also want to change the world and make equality their goal.  Inspire me! What advice would you give someone interested in a career like yours? When you come into a job, know exactly what’s expected of you, what you need to deliver on, and what the success criteria are. Without that clarity, you can’t bring the best of you to the job.Once you have that, get involved in opportunities that may feel like a side step from what you’ve been asked to achieve. These won’t take you away from those goals, but will help take you above and beyond and might help you discover a passion and really get to know other people. Dive into a side project, find social community work, or organize events. I’ve always found myself in those roles because connecting people is something I enjoy doing. Can you share one reason why you are optimistic about 2022 and the outlook for women in Google Cloud, in your region and beyond? I am very optimistic about 2022 because of the last two years we just experienced. If nothing else, it’s made us stronger and brought us all more perspective about each other, and we have grown up a lot. There’s been growth not only by individuals, but by organizations who have made investments in those individuals. I am also so very grateful that my children were old enough to value and appreciate the benefits that come from this shift. My hope is that this recent corporate culture change will be long-lasting into the future.We [Australia and the Asia Pacific region] are a hungry, fast-growing region in many ways. There’s a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of drive, and I’m excited to see the amount of initiatives and growing talent as part of all the jobs Google Cloud has created in this part of the world. It’s a fantastic time to be a woman and to be in the ecosystem of Google Cloud. Looking for more in this series? Check out these other interviews with women in Google Cloud technology. 

Categories:C2C Community SpotlightCareers in CloudDiversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)Interview

Community Contributor Q&A - Abdel Sghiouar

As we expressed in our recent Q&A with France Team Lead Guillaume Blaquiere, we are always interested in giving C2C community members space to share their expertise on our platform. When Abdel Sghiouar (@boredabdel) reached out to ask about contributing technical content to our website, we asked him a few questions to learn more about him and his work as a Google Cloud Senior Cloud Engineer. Sghiouar has been working for Google for eight years, and his most recent projects have helped him get comfortable with some of the infrastructure products and solutions currently changing the cloud space as we know it, including Serverless, Service Mesh, and Anthos.Read our Q&A with Sghiouar below, and check our website regularly to find his contributions. He is also available on Medium and Twitter. 1. What is your name and current role? What kinds of projects do you work on and/or what kinds of clients do you serve?Abdel Sghiouar, Senior Cloud Engineer at Google Cloud. I'm part of the PSO (Professional Service Organization) of Google Cloud, which provides consulting services to customers. I specialize in GKE, Serverless, Service Mesh, and Cloud-Native Technologies. I’ve worked with big customers like banks and energy companies and also with startups in the last four years in this role, helping them migrate or use Google Cloud. 2. What are your areas of professional expertise and what kinds of topics do you write about?My background is in data centers and infrastructure (I spent 4 years working in a Google data center before joining Cloud). So naturally, Infrastructure is the foundation I work on, and on top of that GKE, Serverless, Service Mesh, and Cloud-Native. 3. What is your relationship to the C2C community and how did you first get involved?I just signed up this year. I host a podcast called The Cloud Careers Podcast (cloudcareers.dev) and someone from C2C reached out last year and asked me to join. I just finally found the time. 4. What do you find most valuable about the C2C community?It's a great place for Google and its customers to come together, discuss ideas, help each other out, and support each other. It gives us Googlers direct access to customers using our products so we can get feedback and bring it back to the product teams. 5. What is a current or future development in the Google Cloud space that you're excited about?GKE, Serverless, and Anthos are products I'm keeping an eye on. They are changing the way people consume Cloud Services, and with the advancement in Edge and Mobile use-cases, these products will play a vital role in Cloud deployments.

Categories:C2C Community SpotlightC2C NewsInterview

Community Contributor Q&A: Guillaume Blaquiere

C2C is an open customer community, but every Google Cloud customer has a different skill set and a different role to play in the world of Google Cloud. When one of our members has a unique base of knowledge to share with the broader community, we will go out of our way to feature them on our platform.Guillaume Blaquiere (@guillaume blaquiere), one of C2C’s Team Leads in the France region, is a Google Developer Expert who regularly publishes detailed articles breaking down vital Google Cloud processes and product functions on his personal Medium page. To allow him to share his knowledge more widely, and to make his content immediately accessible to the C2C community, we recently invited Blaquiere to join us as a regular contributor to our platform.Read a brief Q&A with Blaquiere below, and watch this space for his forthcoming posts and more content from contributors in our community. 1. What is your name and current role? What kinds of projects do you work on and/or what kinds of clients do you serve?Guillaume Blaquiere, Google Developer Expert: Cloud, Cloud Data Architect at Accenture. I'm helping customers to build their data strategy and to leverage the power of Google Cloud to get the best from their data (storage, processing, ML, etc.). 2. What are your areas of professional expertise and what kinds of topics do you write about?I'm a Google Developer Expert on Google Cloud and I am an expert in serverless solutions, data storage, and security. 3. What is your relationship to the C2C community and how did you first get involved?I followed the first C2C sessions, especially those with Google Rockstar. I loved the format and the dynamic of the sessions, and I chose to do the same for the French speaking community. I have been co-leading the C2C France community since January 2021 4. What do you find most valuable about the C2C community?The independence from Google Cloud, and also their proximity. We are free to say what we think, but Google Cloud is always here to help us. 5. What is a current or future development in the Google Cloud space that you're excited about?Serverless, and especially Cloud Run. It's possible to tweak it to solve so many use cases. It's a real game changer.

Categories:C2C Community SpotlightC2C NewsInterview

Year-End Reflections: C2C EMEA Team Leaders Share Their 2021 Highlights

C2C Global was founded with one goal in mind: to bring together Google Cloud customers from all over the globe. To that end, to date, C2C has launched communities in four global regions, and plans to launch more in the coming year. Despite the past year’s challenges, one of the greatest successes C2C achieved in 2022 was connecting community members in multiple continents at virtual and in-person events and on our community platform. To recognize the work of the teams that made these connections happen, we asked the team leads from our France, UK and Ireland, and DACH regions to share some of their highlights from the year, and what they’re looking forward to for their regional communities in 2022.For France team lead Antoine Castex (@antoine.castex), the best remote events of the year were the France Connect group’s weekly coffee chats. Castex and his colleague Guillaume Blaquiere (@guillaume blaquiere) agreed that the group’s event with guest Kelsey Hightower was also a 2021 highlight. Two events that stood out to team lead Alan Muntadas (@alan.muntadas) were the EMEA community’s live Google Next event and the very first in a series of sessions on working from home. All three team leads noted in-person events as highlights.In the coming year, the France team is looking forward to more live events––in Blaquiere’s words, “if Airbus wants to host us and to perform a testimonial from Toulouse, why not!”––and more collaboration with Google toward promotion and audience engagement.The leads of the UK and Ireland team were also pleased to have hosted multiple live events, and eager to host more. As team lead Paul Lees (@PaulRLees) put it, “Even though many people will deny it actually happened and will try to erase any footage, I think it was amazing to be meeting people that we've only spoken to over video calls.” Lees and lead Andy Yates (@andy.yates) were also particularly happy with the group’s Simultaneous Location and Mapping event, which Yates says “hit the sweet spot in terms of discussion, expertise and interactivity.”Next year, Yates and Lees are both eager to bring more people into the UK & I community; Yates is looking forward to hearing from more customers, and Lees is excited to welcome more Google Cloud experts. Nevertheless, according to lead Charlotte Moore, “overall C2C has managed to forge a very inclusive, welcoming, and warm atmosphere, both online and at in-person events.”DACH team lead Chanel Greco (@chanelgreco) remembers “Kicking off our DACH Connect monthly meetings in September,” as a highlight for 2021. “Although our DACH group is still small,” she says, “I think it's great to connect to other German-speaking Google Cloud enthusiasts.” In 2022, she’s hoping to bring more community members to those events, and to host an in-person meeting on behalf of the DACH community “once the health and safety situation allows for it.”All the enthusiasm around virtual and in-person events notwithstanding, all three teams identified one experience in particular as a highlight for the year: working with EMEA Community Manager Ilias Papachristos (@ilias)!Are you a member of our EMEA community? Did you attend any events mentioned above? What were your highlights for the year? Drop us a line in any of the local Connect groups and let us know!

Categories:C2C Community SpotlightC2C News

Using AI to Improve Spoken Language Fluency With Markus Koy, Founder of thefluent.me

From chatbots to predictive text, all kinds of applications are using AI to navigate language barriers and facilitate communication across different communities. Many of these applications focus on text, but there is more to language than written words. Sometimes even fluent speakers of a second language will experience challenges when communicating face-to-face with native speakers. One of the best ways to overcome these challenges is to practice pronunciation.Markus Koy (@MarkusK) is an IT projects analyst with 18 years of experience across various industries. He is also a native German speaker living in an English-speaking part of Canada, and a regular visitor to C2C’s AI and ML coffee chats, which are hosted in the U.S. Koy’s experiences working in English-speaking countries as a non-native English speaker inspired him to create thefluent.me, an AI-powered app that tests speech samples and scores them based on how well they correspond to standard English pronunciation.On thefluent.me, users record themselves reading samples of English text (usually about 400 characters long), and then post them either publicly or privately on the app’s website. Within about 30 seconds, the app delivers results, reproducing the text and indicating which words were pronounced well and which can be pronounced better. Even native English speakers may find that they can improve their pronunciation, sometimes even more so than someone who speaks English as a second language.We recently approached Koy with some questions about thefluent.me, Google Cloud products, and his experience with the C2C Community. Here’s what we learned: What inspired you to develop thefluent.me? Koy began working on thefluent.me after contributing to a research project with an international language school. As a second-language English speaker himself, he had already taken the International English Language Testing System; he had found pronunciation to be the hardest part of the process.“Immediate feedback after reading a text is usually only available from a teacher and in a classroom setting,” he says. Teachers only listen to a speaker’s pronunciation once, and will likely not provide feedback on every word. Tracking progress systematically is just not feasible in a classroom setting, and sometimes non-native speakers will feel intimidated when speaking English in front of other students.Koy continued his research on AI speech-recognition programs and also graduated from Google’s TensorFlow in Practice and IBM’s Applied AI specialization programs. He decided to build thefluent.me to help students struggling to overcome these challenges. What makes thefluent.me unique? There are many apps on the market for students studying English as a second language, and thefluent.me is not the only app of this kind that uses AI for scoring. However, apps combine different features to support distinct learning needs. Koy kept these concerns in mind when designing and building the following features for thefluent.me: Immediate pronunciation feedback: The application delivers AI-powered scoring for the entire recording and word-level scoring on an easy-to-understand scale. Immediate feedback on reading speed: Besides pronunciation, the application provides feedback on the reading speed for each word. Own content: Users can add posts they would like to practice instead of using content only published by platforms. They can immediately listen to the AI read their post before practicing. Progress tracking and rewards: Users can track their activities and progress. They can revisit previous recordings and scores, check their average score, and earn badges. Group learning experience: By default, user posts are not accessible to others. However, users can also make their posts public and invite others to try, or they can compete for badges.  How do you use the Google Cloud Platform? Do you have a favorite Google Cloud product? Koy runs thefluent.me on App Engine Flexible. He likes how easy the deployment process is, especially when managing traffic between different versions. Two key Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) Koy is using are Speech-to-Text and Text-to-Speech, which Koy says allow the Wavenet voices to sound more natural. He also likes that both allow him to choose different accents for the AI speech. Koy is also using Cloud SQL and Cloud Storage, which he finds easy to integrate. What do you plan to do next? “There are many other items for horizontal and vertical scaling on my roadmap,” Koy assures us. He is planning to add additional languages and enhance the app’s group features. He has also been approached by multiple companies who want to use thefluent.me for education and training. Koy plans to publish APIs to accommodate these requests in the coming weeks. Why did you choose to join the C2C community? Like so many of our members, Koy joined the C2C community to meet people and collaborate, but his experience here has informed his work on thefluent.me beyond friendly conversation. Recently, a community member expressed to Koy that thefluent.me is an ideal tool to use when preparing for a job interview—a user can rehearse answers to interview questions to learn to pronounce them better. For Koy, this is not just nice feedback; it is also a use case he can add to his roadmap.Still, community itself is enough of a reason for Koy to return on a weekly basis. “Mondays are just not the same anymore without our AI and ML coffee chats,” he says.

Categories:AI and Machine LearningApplication DevelopmentC2C Community SpotlightAPI ManagementDiversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)

Google Cloud Platform Weekly Newsletter Creator Zdenko Hrček Shares His Career Journey with C2C

The power of community is in its conversation. We know that the best ideas begin amid laughter and grow into success stories through coffee-fueled days and nights among friends. Each month we’ll feature a couple of members and share their journeys. We want to know how you got there, wherever that may be; after all, your journey could help another take their first step. Today we’re featuring GCP Weekly Newsletter creator, Zdenko Hrček aka, @zdenulo. Give me your elevator pitch. What do you do? How do you introduce yourself?  I am a consultant who helps his clients to solve their business problems using Google Cloud. Beyond that, I am publishing a Google Cloud Platform Newsletter every Monday rich with news, articles, and releases related to Google Cloud. Talk to me about your experience and education. What certifications did you get, if any? Do you have plans to add more certificates?  Although I studied material science, my professional career is tied with software development. After working for six years in an insurance company, I decided to work independently, giving me more freedom, flexibility, and opportunities to work on exciting projects.I don’t have any certificates yet, but I would like to get them in the near future, namely Cloud Architect and Data Engineer since that is closest to what I do and I have the most experience with so far. Tell me about the newsletter. Why did you start it? How long does it take to compile? Why do you enjoy it? When I started working as a consultant, I read that publishing a newsletter is an excellent way to build a trusted reputation. Since there wasn’t a newsletter about Google Cloud, besides the monthly official one from Google, I decided to start one.  Over time, I automated many things, but there is still manual work involved, which can take from four to six hours. I go through all the articles I share in the newsletter and write briefs about them and ensure they fit the theme. I enjoy doing it because it keeps me up to date with everything going on around Google Cloud. Another bonus is that it provides structured content for other people interested in Google Cloud.   How did you get started with Google Cloud? I was learning web development around 2010, and I developed a few applications. Still, they run only locally on my computer, so I was looking for options to deploy them on the internet as cheaply as possible. AWS offered one year free for the smallest server, but Google Cloud had a daily free tier which was more suitable for me since I didn’t have extensive experience with using it and I could use it for free all the time. That was the main reason why I started using Google Cloud. Of course, since Google Cloud grew, my use of other products and services increased as well. Do you have a favorite Google Cloud Platform product? Why?  My background is software developer, so I like and use mostly serverless products where I can deploy code or load data and don’t have to worry about other stuff, so my favorite products are Cloud Run, App Engine, Cloud Functions, Cloud Firestore, BigQuery, Cloud Dataflow. Can you tell us about a favorite project you worked on using Google Cloud Platform?  There were a few projects I was working on where data were pulled from various sources, transformed, combined, and with that, providing high value for clients in areas like marketing, customer acquisition, and security._______if you’re doing something google in the Google-verse, get in touch! We’d love to feature you and sharing in the learning. Email Sabina and get in her calendar: sabina@c2cglobal.com 

Categories:C2C Community SpotlightCareers in CloudInterview

Cai GoGwilt from Ironclad to Discuss Powering Digital Contracting with AI on March 16

 Programming is in Cai GoGwilt’s blood. So when he developed the technology behind Ironclad’s AI-powered contracting solution, it felt like a full circle.  “I was fortunate to be exposed to technology very early,” GoGwilt said. “My grandfather was a programmer before it was cool.”  From creating games on TI-83 graphing calculators to programming computers as a kid, GoGwilt knew technology had the power to change lives, either by bringing joy or by creating efficient data processing. GoGwilt went on to study computer science and physics at MIT, where he also played cello in the university symphony orchestra. Soon he joined Palantir as a software engineer, where he worked in-depth with governments and large institutions. “I was particularly interested in the mission of bringing software to intelligence analysts,” GoGwilt said. “And got interested in legal technology because it’s an area where people could be helped a lot by adopting collaboration tooling.”  GoGwilt met Jason Boehmig, who was working as a lawyer at Fenwick & West LLP, at a legal tech seminar. Together, they built Ironclad, with the vision of modernizing contracting, which has long been difficult, time-consuming, and messy. Their solution? Digital contracting. “Contracts are hard because they’re an inherently human thing,” he said. “There's no good software for negotiating or collaborating on a contract.” Also, as it turns out, lawyers are very similar to software engineers. “I think they think and approach problems very similarly,” GoGwilt said. “For example, the way that lawyers design contracts [is] very similar to the way that engineers think through code. We’re both constantly thinking about edge cases, about what could go wrong, and how we’re going to deal with those things. We’re thinking a lot about how to make something so elegant that it catches a lot of the wrong stuff that I can anticipate today and hopefully even some of the wrong stuff that I can’t foresee.” Ironclad has certainly created “something elegant” by changing contracting from a manual and disjointed black-box to streamlined and integrated data pipelines.  Ironclad began developing its AI solution, among other capabilities, by using Google’s Kubernetes engine when it was still named Google Container Engine. As they continued to build their stack using Google products, they branched into Google AI.  It was a smart move at the right time—just as the pandemic sent everyone scrambling.  “A lot of companies are reevaluating their agreements and trying to figure out where they have commitments and where opportunities for the business are,” he said. “And being able to immediately auto-extract the terms of agreements is becoming critical.” Identifying gaps in the business and speed up decision-making is no longer a nice-to-have but a must-have.  “Especially in the pandemic, having fast access to this kind of contract data has been critical to our customer base, including those in the healthcare industry who are on the frontlines of fighting the pandemic and those in the restaurant and transportation industries,” GoGwilt said.  GoGwilt is also mindful of the human element as both the problem and the solution.  “AI has great applications in terms of being able to accelerate understanding and extraction of information,” GoGwilt said. “But with that comes some risk of misunderstanding the information or lack of accuracy.” So, Ironclad pairs best-in-class AI with deep domain expertise about contracts, along with empathy for the end-user, to address such challenges. With their latest tool, Smart Import, “alpha users have been able to speed up contract upload by 50% and get three times as much contract data.”  So what’s next?  Simple.“We want to power the world’s contracts,” GoGwilt said. “That’s our mission.”   Join C2C for a Navigator conversation on March 16 with GoGwilt and learn about how they’re using AI to power the world’s contracts and improve efficiencies.  IronClad and GoGwilt will also be sharing the latest advances in contracting at their flagship summit, State of Digital Contracting, on March 25.  

Categories:AI and Machine LearningC2C Community SpotlightCareers in CloudContainers and KubernetesIndustry SolutionsInterview

Career Conversations With C2C: Andrada Morar, Google

The power of community is in its conversation, and this week, the women are speaking. At C2C, we believe sharing journeys can provide the motivation, inspiration, or belief others need to either take their first steps or keep going. In that spirit, we’re honoring Women’s History Month by having career conversations with the women from our global community, culminating today on International Women’s Day on March 8, 2021. Today we’re featuring Andrada Morar (@Andrada.Morar), who not only heads C2C on the Google Cloud side, but is also the global head for go-to-market activation for social selling. How would you introduce yourself?  Dubbed the “female version of a bottle of champagne,” Morar began at 12 years old when she worked as a radio journalist in Europe.  Get to know Morar in her own words.   Tell us about your tech path. Morar doesn't have a traditional technical background. Instead, she began her career in communications. Being restless for challenges and eager to learn, Morar challenged herself to make a move into tech. Listen to her explain how she successfully pivoted to B2B technology, even when she thought she would be “bored to death.”   How did you get started with Google Cloud?  Through the encouragement of mentors like Kelly Ducourty, VP of go-to-market strategy and operations at Google, Morar was able to join her dream company. But it was a lot of work getting there— hear how she did it.   Listen below to how she navigated the Google interview process and even got a peek of the infamous Google interview process.  Morar said that a lot of the Google interview process is available on various platforms online, but they tend to ask a lot of behavioral questions. They’re most interested in understanding how you think, rather than how you perform, since your resume and the skills that earned you the interview already demonstrate that. Morar said candidates should also be aware that Google is a data-first organization, so they always ask how candidates will utilize data in their roles and to explain why it matters.  Finally, she recommends that candidates activate their networks and learn from their peers and mentors and seek out referral opportunities.  What does it mean to you to be a woman in tech?  Crediting her parents, Morar never felt “otherness” or the distinction her gender creates in a work setting until moving to the U.S. But it’s where she heard her parents’ advice to never “let anyone else tell me what my story is; I should be the one leading my story.”  Hear about her global experience as a tech woman and how the U.S. could also bridge the gender gap and work toward parity. She also shares tips for navigating awkward moments by “addressing them head-on.  Hear how Morar coaches other women and how to build mentoring relationships.  When asked about statistics, like only 17% of the digital workforce is composed of women or that only 23% of the employees at Google are women, Morar gave an inspiring piece of advice: not to be discouraged, but instead be motivated to prove it wrong.   Have you felt “imposter syndrome?” As you may know, imposter syndrome, as defined by the Harvard Business Review, feels like you’re not worthy of your success. It’s also “doubting your abilities and feeling like a fraud. It disproportionately affects high-achieving people, who find it difficult to accept their accomplishments. Many question whether they’re deserving of accolades.” Hear about Morar’s experience with it and why it’s essential to celebrate yourself.  How do you want to change the world? We often hear that people at Google want to change the world, and it’s not about the work but the impact.  So, we had to ask Morar how she wants to change the world. Hear her thoughts on the value a small act can have. Hint: It has nothing to do with technology. Instead, Morar believes in the power of a single small act as an impetus for more small acts, which collectively lead to significant change. So, when she’s walking her dog, she picks up trash she encounters and helps keep the environment clean and thriving.  “That’s something really small, but in my mind, it’s like, if I do something small, maybe somebody else will see it and feel inspired to do the same,” Morar said. “It’s the same with mentoring; if I do this for somebody, maybe they will pass it on because I believe in the collective power.” How can the C2C Community get in touch with you?  Morar is available to connect right here on the platform.  

Categories:C2C Community SpotlightCareers in CloudDiversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)Interview

Career Conversations: How to Succeed in STEM with Kelly Wright from SADA

The power of community is in its conversation, and this week, the women are speaking. At C2C, we believe sharing journeys can provide the motivation, inspiration, or belief others need to either take their first steps or keep going. In that spirit, we’re honoring Women’s History Month by having career conversations with the women from our global community, culminating today on International Women’s Day on March 8, 2021. Today we’re featuring Kelly Wright, Head of Google Workspace Engineering at SADA. C2C: You’re in a video call with people you haven’t yet met. How would you introduce yourself?Kelly Wright (KW): My name is Kelly Wright. I currently lead a team of engineers focused on the implementation of Google Workspace and complementary tools. I have been at SADA for just shy of eight years and have worked as a support engineer, deployment engineer, and sales engineer for Workspace, which allows me to act as an escalation point in our engagements. C2C: Talk to me about your experience and education. What certifications did you get, what did you feel like you needed? KW: I actually have a bachelors’ in mathematics. I took a few CS courses to fulfill the requirements and really fell in love with the puzzles that technology gave me to solve. My first steps into the technology industry were actually in the networking space at a company called Bedroc. During my time there, I worked on networking and telephony projects and some help desk staff augmentation.  In terms of certifications, the needs melded over time. For my first job, I earned my CCNA. As I moved into working with Google Workspace, certifications I’ve found useful include the original G Suite Deployment Certificate, the recently added Professional Collaboration Engineer certification. C2C: How did you get started with Google Cloud? KW: I made a move to SADA and took on the, at the time called, Google Apps for Work support, and ever since, my focus has solely been on Google Apps/G Suite/Workspace as it grew and evolved over the last eight years. C2C: When you think back on your career, what stories can you share to demonstrate what it means to be a woman in tech?  KW: There are so many stories. I’m sure we have all experienced something negative, whether from coworkers or externally.  One story that ultimately jolted me into the reality I was trying to walk into casually was at a networking event straight out of college. A professor of mine was able to get me discounted tickets and helped me navigate the waters. I remember one man who looked at my resume and said something to the extent of the following:  “People are going to entertain you at these events because you are a minority here—because you are a woman in a room full of men—but you need to show them what you are capable of; a one-page resume won’t do that. So make sure they remember you for more than just being the only woman at a networking event.”  I remember thinking about how curt the feedback was, but I ultimately believe it helped with my assertiveness, whether I realized it then or not. Especially because that would not be the last time I was the only woman in a room or one of few.  A couple of weeks later, I ran into one of those conference acquaintances at a bookstore, and I picked up the nerve to reintroduce myself. That reintroduction got my resume passed along a couple of hops to the CEO of my first job. However angry I was after that first event, I think it knocked me out of the quiet woman I thought I was supposed to be.  C2C: Have you felt the “imposter syndrome” creep up on you? How do you deal with it?  KW: All the time. A colleague of mine once also pointed out that my perfection syndrome feeds into imposter syndrome. I don’t think it will ever go away and evolves, but with a lot of coaching, self-reflection, and self-affirmation, you can keep it at bay. At my first job, I was the only woman engineer, and there were definitely moments where I would joke that I was picked as the travel partner on trips because that meant the other engineer didn’t have to share a room. But with a lot of self-reflection, I realized quickly that those guys would not have tolerated someone who couldn’t hold their own.   Moving into a leadership role had a big part to play, even though it did take me a bit to get used to it. While I am now in a position to be the escalation point, it was no longer my job to be the absolute expert on every minute detail of a deployment.  Now, though, my imposter syndrome sends me into a sort of hyper attention to the amount of backlog I have, whether in tasks or responding to emails in a timely manner. Especially with the last year of remote working, it has taken a considerable effort not to feel utterly under water, since there have been many times an entire week was filled with meetings with no time to work. I am learning with a lot of coaching to unabashedly set realistic expectations about when I can complete something.   C2C: How do you want to change the world?  KW: My very wise leadership coach asked me one day to think about what the cause of my snarkiness was when I was stressed. Was it because I had too many things on my plate and therefore couldn’t get to them all, or was it because I needed more life—a bike ride, a book, a nap? I should think about what it is that was making me stressed and then plan around it.  If it was a book I needed, being OK to shut down at the end of the day without feeling guilty. If it simply needed to get through some of my backlogs, I had the strength to set expectations when a new task would be prioritized.  If changing the world meant even just normalizing not feeling guilty about saying no to things, that is a small change I would like to make.  C2C: Inspire Me! What advice would you give someone interested in a career like yours?  KW: Find a place where you are given opportunities to thrive and learn and take those opportunities given. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you are struggling with something.  ______As a former journalist, I am already ready for a good story. So, tell me a story! Reach me at sabina.bhasin@c2cglobal.com, or comment below.

Categories:Getting Started with Google CloudGoogle WorkspaceC2C Community SpotlightCareers in CloudDiversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)Google Cloud CertificationsInterview

Career Conversations with C2C: Su Song, StrataPrime, a Google Cloud Partner

Career Conversations with C2C: Su Song, StrataPrime, a Google Cloud PartnerThe power of community is in its conversation, and this week, the women are speaking. At C2C, we believe sharing journeys can provide the motivation, inspiration, or belief others need to either take their first steps or keep going. In that spirit, we’re honoring Women’s History Month by having career conversations with the women from our global community, culminating on International Women’s Day on March 8, 2021. Today we’re featuring StrataPrime’s Service Delivery Specialist Su Song, where she helps customers get the most out of their Google products like Workspace. Read about her career journey and path to Google Cloud in her own words.  C2C: Talk to me about your experience and education. What certifications did you get? What did you feel like you needed?  SS: Previously I worked at a renewable energy company for 11 years managing the IT infrastructure and services. This was my first job out of college after completing the computer technology program. I have RedHat certifications, and since joining StrataPrime, a few Google certifications. I still have a lot to catch up on, on the Google side!  C2C: How did you get started with Google Cloud?  SS: At my previous work, we had been using G Suite. I had initiated the migration from a hosted exchange platform. I was also managing some on-prem and hosted RedHat servers which were migrated over to Google Cloud Platform. I also got into Google Cloud by signing up for the legacy G Suite service for my personal domain.   C2C: When you think back on your career, what stories can you share to demonstrate what it means to be a woman in tech?  SS: I can’t think of any specific stories that come to mind, but in my 13 years of professional experience, all my teammates and managers have been male. I have mentored a few female students in the past who would mention they were nervous about competing against men, and I’ve always told them to consider being a woman as an advantage, especially when gender parity in a STEM field is a major topic that is being discussed.Do your best and do not be discouraged. I often have to remind myself, too. C2C: Have you felt the imposter syndrome creep up on you? How do you deal with it?  SS: Yes! In such a fast-paced world, I believe it’s something everyone feels. When I feel incompetent, I acknowledge the fact there will always be something that I’m not aware of. I need to push myself to learn and get better every time there is a challenge.It really helps to have a supportive team and community of like-minded professionals as well, so knowledge sharing is something that we do on a daily basis. C2C: How do you want to change the world?  SS: By setting a good example and being vocal when needed. Also, this is a very broad question, haha. I think I can call myself an environmentalist, and that’s where my focus is other than family and work.  C2C: Inspire me! What advice would you give someone interested in a career like yours?  SS: Be forward, reach out, don’t be afraid to make mistakes, but learn from them. Most of all, enjoy what you do and have fun with it! How can the community best get in touch with you?  Connect with Su Song right here on the platform or on  LinkedIn.  ______As a former journalist, I am already ready for a good story. So, tell me a story! Reach me at sabina.bhasin@c2cglobal.com, or comment below.

Categories:C2C Community SpotlightCareers in CloudDiversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)Interview