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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

Career Conversations With C2C: Stephanie Wong, 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 on International Women’s Day on March 8, 2021. Today we’re featuring Stephanie Wong (@stephr_wong), a senior developer advocate at Google.  How would you introduce yourself?  Winning pageants and loving dogs, Wong has a diverse background that allows her to bring a unique perspective and drive to her work. Get to know Wong in her own words. Tell us about your tech path. Wong began in communications and found a way to combine her passion for digital communication, media, and production with Google Cloud technology. Learn about how she went from having a communications degree and a willingness to work as a receptionist at Google, to becoming a sales engineer.  After gaining experience as a sales engineer, she realized that she wanted to bring her love of digital communications to her role. Simultaneously, she was tapped for a position on a newly formed developer relations team and went on to host Google Cloud Next OnAir multiple years running, even without experience in engineering or development. Learn about how she proved herself and earned a role as a developer advocate. What are some of the projects that you enjoy? Learn about the two shows Wong produces, her passion for inclusion and representation, and where you can catch her next.  When you think back on your career, what stories can you share to demonstrate what it means to be a tech woman?  Navigating internal politics and set gender constructs can be challenging. Despite her success, Wong shares experiences where she has felt slighted.Listen to how she stands up for herself and handles moments that are less than kind or even focuses on characteristics not related to her work. She also shares how she mentors others navigating tech as a woman.   Have you felt “imposter syndrome?” As you may know, imposter syndrome, as defined by the Harvard Business Review, feels like a fraud or 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 Wong’s experience with it. Since experiencing imposter syndrome, she has also developed techniques to help when it creeps up.  What advice do you have for women in tech? A phrase you tell yourself? Advocating for yourself is a piece of advice that comes up a lot, but knowing how to do it is a challenge. Hear about what Wong says to do.  Wong also shares some final words of advice.  How can the community best get in touch with you?  Connect with Stephanie Wong 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)Session Recording

C2C Talks: Top 20 Workspace Features in 2020, Predictions for 2021, and Hybrid Work Futures

 It began as a LinkedIn post about the Top 20 Workspace features of 2020. The post and conversation got our attention and a bounty of other Workspacers, so we scheduled a C2C Talk to hash it out; after all, a top 20 list can only have 20 features.  Here’s what you missed from @ChristianNewman of Rise Digital, a Google Cloud partner, and his C2C Talk on Top 20 Workspace Features of 2020, which he co-hosted with C2C members @Jesse Nowlin, @PaulRLees, @chanelgreco, and Steve Larsen (@larsen161).  With Lees and Greco in Europe and Newman in Canada, the panel brought a global perspective to the conversation. 5 Key Themes Drove Workspace Success in 2020 Driven to help companies become more productive, Newman’s last project at Telus came 18 years from his first day, and it was to lead the transformation to G Suite/Workspace. As a result, Telus, which recently formed a strategic alliance with Google Cloud, became more agile and improved global collaboration and productivity from Vancouver to Manila. “Simply put, they had this access to the same information at the same time as anyone else for the very first time in their careers,” Newman told a virtual crowd of 30 people. “And I thought that was something very special, and that the world needed a lot more, so here I am today, helping businesses do just that.” So, here are his five themes based on his experience.  First, Google’s efforts to make a smoother transition to Google Workspace were pivotal.  Making the compatibility with Microsoft Office much more manageable by adding functionality to improve efficiency, like in-email communication, they thought about the end user each step. Hear Newman explain the other ways Google Cloud created a smoother transition.   Second is the addition of AI and ML permeating the entire platform. For example, search chips in Gmail and a more intelligent Google Drive, even smart reply, Workspace focused on productivity and making the users’ lives easier. Third, the add-ons and integrations make Google Workspace extensible and allow this product to become central to all other tools and products customers rely upon each day, including educators. Hear Newman explain more and his favorites.   Fourth, Google embraced the sudden pivot to remote work or school and created integrations with Google Meet. The ability to change the background, auto layout, and tiled view moved the experience forward.  Finally, an integrated workspace brings it all together.  “You can just focus on moving your work forward and getting things done so that you can do what you do better,” Newman said to an attentive crowd ready to share their points of view.  Features for Me, and You  Inclusivity was not just the theme socially but also within Workspace, and it’s a favorite of Chanel Greco, CEO of Saperis and creator behind YouTube videos about the fundamentals of Workspace for end users.   Greco also added that she likes the polls feature as it makes the entire conversation more interactive; the panel and the attendees agreed.  “At the end of the day, no matter what we're working on, it's all about people, right? People are at the center of everything that we do,” Newman said. “So, if we can find a way to bring them into the conversation and be able to learn more about them, then it's just going to make for a better end product, and they enable us all to do whatever we do better. And if technology and Google workspace can help us to do that, then I'm game for it.” Some other ways Workspace is responding to their customers is through the Google contacts sidebar tool. “Not only can I very quickly inside of my Gmail or other screens see details about the user and their contact information and things like that, but also the history or recent interactions that I've had with them through files and things like that, too,” Newman said. “I think that's been really helpful to me—this whole idea of integrating between the various apps of Google Workspace.” And that’s just how Google intended its products to be used, according to Jesse Nowlin, a fixture in the C2C community and CIO at Westland Real Estate Group. “I think that the unified Gmail interface is really just Google,” Nowlin said. “They are really leaning into the whole experience of living in Google, you use all their tools, and making it amazingly easy just to utilize all of that.” Hybrid Work Futures  But, this concept of meeting improvement raises a fascinating point.  The Harvard Business Review ran a fascinating article around our working futures’ hybridity. This discussion raises an interesting question about how the future of work will look; primarily, we think about it through the lens of collaboration and productivity.  If the meeting experience is improved through features like raising hands, polls, the infinite AI tools, or even the contact tool, what happens when we don’t use them anymore?  How will we function in the future when we return to the office or a hybrid environment?  How will we function in the future when we return to the office or a hybrid environment? Will they be as productive? Will the quieter team members speak up in an in-person setting? Will business move as well as it is now? We will have a great discussion exploring these questions and more in April with Kelly Ducourty from Google. Stay with C2C for more details as they become available.  What’s Next for Workspace?  We started collecting your ideas in our post here, but the group also discussed what they think is on the functional road map and what they’re not certain Workspace will pull off in the next year.  The main ask? To get the technology out of the way, so end users can focus on the work. So far, Workspace has responded by making it easier to access all its apps. One example is the Google File Stream for the desktop.  “It will bring that and the other tools together, which they sort of worked around by installing another tool from Google called backup, and sync on the same machine,” Newman said. IT makes it so people can get access to what they want when they want.” Nowlin shared improvements and future enhancements on Google Voice. See below.  Newman also predicts that Workspace will incorporate more AI and ML learnings, as he explains in the clip below.   Fintan Murphy, CEO of Damson Cloud, a Google Cloud partner,  weighed in on the discussion, adding that Google needs to develop an employee engagement system to ascertain employee satisfaction and ensure social-emotional engagement as you would in a normal office setting. Check out his reasoning in the clip below.   As the panel discussed, the chat was abuzz from attendees sharing their predictions and wants for Google Workspace. Check them out below. What do you have to add to the list?   Reporting and analytics Numbered headings in Google Docs for scientific articles  Custom fonts for Google Slides Improvements on assigning within Workspace apps  Focus on Google tasks, making it easier to stay organized Adding tabs to Google Chat that is similar to Microsoft Teams, such as Files Project management boards Improved cloud search  Mixing landscape/portrait in Google Docs Improve closed captioning on Google Meet when speakers have accents Calendering across Google Calendar and Outlook Automation of user management Public livestreaming on Meet Reminder app  Extra Credit Resources shared through the talk are available below: Search  Meet Solution Engineering, a workaround for livestreams on Meet Cloud Search as a Custom Search Engine  Workspace Admins Shared Drive by Steve Larsen

Categories:Google WorkspaceC2C Community SpotlightGoogle Cloud NewsSession Recording

Career Conversations With C2C: Heather Tran, SADA, a Google Cloud Partner

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 on International Women’s Day on March 8, 2021. Today we’re featuring Heather Tran, West regional lead technical account manager at SADA.  How would you introduce yourself?  Tran has worked as a technical engineer and has authored and edited all Google Cloud internal billing documentation. She is exceptionally knowledgeable about Google Cloud Platform products and services, enabling her to ensure her customers are thriving on the platform. Get to know Tran in her own words.  Tell us about your tech path. Tran doesn't have a traditional technical background. Instead, she began her career as an academic advisor, encouraging students to pursue STEM. Listen to her explain how she successfully pivoted.  What was it like getting started in tech?  After Tran’s brother encouraged her to pursue a tech career, she still had to channel the belief herself and turn a possibility into a reality. Hear her explain how she navigated getting started as peers held more skills and experience, how she found purpose and is now working with clients trying to cure cancer. How did you get started with Google Cloud?  Tran began in mobile app development and soon moved to DevOps engineering. She had an opportunity to go to Apple, where she would have sifted through the Java code of their iTunes product, but instead, she chose Google as a support specialist and worked her way up by earning certifications and seeking training. Learn about the importance of researching certifications to supplement your education and experience. What does it mean to you to be a woman in tech? 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 Tran’s experience with it.  Women are often said to experience this, but others do, too. Some argue that women shouldn’t be said to experience it anymore and change their language. Others say that speaking about it openly will foster more significant support to combat it. Hear about how Tran feels on the issue.   What advice about getting started in a career in Google Cloud?  Tran doesn’t hold back and states that it’s not going to be easy. But that doesn’t mean it’s not impossible to have a career like hers, too. Hear about what she says to do.   How can the community best get in touch with you?  Connect with Heather Tran on the C2C Community platform or 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)Google Cloud PartnersInterview

Career Conversations with C2C: Vijeta Pai, Cloud Demystified

The power of community is in its conversation, and this week, the women are speaking. At C2C, we believe sharing the 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 Vijeta Pai, program manager and cloud evangelist, who is currently on a mission to demystify the cloud and increase its proliferation and adoption. How did you get started with the Google Cloud?  Pai began as we all do: an intern. She said she earned powerful hands-on experience with data center management and server deployments on Akamai’s network process team. “I became well-versed in the subtle nuances of on-premise infrastructure maintenance, so I started exploring cloud offerings out of sheer curiosity,” Pai said.Like Nina Trankova in the C2C community, Pai turned to Coursera last year and worked to earn a professional certificate on the Google Cloud Platform. The certification course is curated by experts working at Google and arms students with a strong foundation. “That was just the beginning of my journey,”  Pai said, “and I haven’t stopped since.” What makes you a cloud expert? A unique combination of storytelling and technical expertise allows Pai to make cloud computing accessible to anyone. “I want to use my experience to grow and give back to the profession,” Pai said. “I want to make technology accessible, fast, scalable, and reliable.”With a master’s in English literature and a zeal for learning about cloud computing, Pai uses animations and analogies to demystify cloud technology. She aspires to learn something new about cloud every day, not only because of its rapidly evolving, agile nature, but also because she believes in evangelizing products like Kubernetes.    Do you have a favorite product or project? Why? “I’m a die-hard fan of Kubernetes,” Pai said. “I have a favorite anecdote whenever I talk about Kubernetes, which I can elaborate on if anyone is interested. But long story short, I love the portability, simplicity, and speed it offers, along with excellent integration and agility.” To hear the story, connect with Pai on the C2C Community platform.  What certifications do you have? What’s next? In addition to the Google Cloud Platform’s Professional Cloud Architect certification, Pai has a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, Lean Six Sigma Black Belt (LSSBB), and is a Certified ScrumMaster (CSM). Coming up, Pai wants to work on her AI/ML skills to gain more hands-on experience.Pai loves supporting others on their certification journeys, so she’s open to connecting and sharing her learnings and experiences.  If you could go back and tell yourself a piece of career advice, what would it be? Despite Pai’s achievements and successes, she struggles with the same challenges many women experience, not just in tech, but in careers in general: Imposter syndrome. Feeling like a fraud or not worthy of your success, or as the Harvard Business Review states, it’s when you are “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.”So, to combat those thoughts, Pai reminds herself to simply celebrate her achievements with pride, “and not give in to the imposter syndrome.” What advice would you have for someone interviewing to be on your team? Building on the idea of believing in yourself and what you can bring, Pai’s advice is simple: “don’t limit your imagination, and don’t be afraid to take a  leap of faith.”As an avid reader, Pai also leans on her favorite author, Rabindranath Tagore, when she needs a boost. “You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water,” the Nobel Prize-winning poet wrote.  Why did you choose to join the C2C community?  This is best shared through Pai’s own words: “The vibrant culture, diversity, and wealth of information by the community drove me to join the C2C community,” Pai said. “However, it was my call with Sabina [content manager] and Alex [content production assistant] that sealed the deal. I got a glimpse into the wonderful opportunities, enthusiasm, and vigor exhibited by everyone working towards making the C2C community a better place for all cloud enthusiasts.” How can the community best get in touch with you?  The community can connect with me on LinkedIn or visit Cloud Demystified.  ______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)Google Cloud CertificationsInterview

Kicking off C2C Career Conversations Honoring Women's History Month

One of the first lessons you learn when becoming a journalist is the “five Ws.” These dictates provide the framework for a complete, unbiased story —simply put, the tools to get the facts. Once you know the foundation, you start to ask questions about the application. But the last question is arguably the most important. “How” takes you to the future; the “five Ws” focus on the past.Women no longer need foundation building; they know their “five Ws.” Instead, they need the tools to understand how to make their goals a reality. So taking the advice from Arlan Hamilton, "when Beyonce says, 'get in formation,' she's also saying, 'get information,'" C2C  getting the information, sharing the “how,” and kicking off Women’s History Month with career conversations. We’ll take you a journey through the careers of six women from our community. We’ll touch every level of business, from the creatives who discuss the impact Google Cloud products have on our daily lives to the leaders who are working to cure cancer and drive business. We believe these kinds of career conversations are essential because it helps other women see how anything truly is possible, at any age, stage or place. When we read stats like, only 17% of the digital workforce is composed of women, or that only 23% of the employees at Google are women, I hope, we as women, are not discouraged by these numbers but are instead seizing the opportunity and motivated to prove them wrong. Through Vijeta Pai’s story of melding her passions to evangelize Google Cloud to Andrada Morar building and uniting communities worldwide and Stephanie Wong creating a brand new indispensable role, we demonstrate our C2C values: work fearlessly and openness. And we certainly explain how they did it.With Heather Tran’s story of moving her way from advising others to pursue STEM careers to becoming a leader of technical teams and Su Song’s 13-year journey to a position of leadership when all her teammates have been male, we demonstrate the C2C value of curiosity. After all, asking questions and wanting to pursue the next challenge takes bravery and self-belief. We culminate with Kelly Wright’s story about being a mother, a Fantasy reader, and being an engineering team leader to demonstrate the C2C value of humanity. After all, we are more than our careers; we are humans first. As we inch closer to International Women’s Day on March 8, you’ll begin to recognize common threads through these disparate stories: Be ready to work hard Advocate for yourself Find and nurture mentor relationships Believe in yourself ...and don’t forget the champagne to celebrate your successes When we know how others are overcoming barriers and shattering ceilings, we create space for more significant innovation, leading to a better world. I’m thrilled to amplify these stories. Spending a week talking about incredible women is the best birthday present a content lady could want. Thank you for celebrating my day and honoring Women's History Month. __________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)

Tell Me a Story: How Did You Become a Google Workspace Admin?

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. With the “Tell Me a Story” series, we want to know how you got there, wherever that may be; after all, your journey could help another take their first step. Bringing our series home is Google Workspace Administrator Nina Trankova. She doesn’t fit the typical mold, and that’s what makes her an excellent role model. Through her story, we learn how other women or those with no-code experience can also become successful in the cloud landscape.  How did you get started with the Google Cloud Platform?  More than ten years into her tech career in eastern Europe, Trankova attended the Global Google Product Experts Summit in Sunnyvale, California, in 2018.  “Listening to the presentations during the two-day event, meeting Google engineers, [and] joining workshops revealed a magnetic atmosphere to me,” she said. “I wanted to retain this experience of discovery, and I enrolled for a Google Cloud Professional Certificate.”And as the saying goes, like attracts like, energy creates energy; after that summit, Trankova was unstoppable, even launching a website to share her experience and knowledge. This website recognized best through its hashtag moniker #OnEBoard, also has become her favorite project working with Google Cloud products. “It’s motivating me to be better, continue learning, develop it further, expand and scale in the way Google does their projects,” she said.  What makes you an expert?  Here is where Trankova gets really cool in C2C’s book. She worked fearlessly in a space mostly dominated by men but had an aptitude and interest in the field. So, rather than spending a lot of money or stressing about what to do, she hopped on Coursera, a platform we all have access to and is bursting with potential. With Google offering certifications on that platform, Trankova jumped on the opportunity and earned her Certificate for Google Workspace Administrator in January 2020, after 10 years of working in IT. Her top skills now include the Google Product Experts program, awarded to her for lifelong learning. “I guess lifelong learning is my best skill,” she admits. We couldn’t agree more. Even for those interviewing to be part of her team, she looks for their ability to learn and grow. “I would look at how they are listening (as a skill), and do they keep up with their personal, professional growth goals,” she said. Also, Trankova focuses on asking questions about the interviewee’s curiosity and problem-solving.But, she also says, “have a sense of humor.” We at C2C certainly agree! What’s your favorite Google Cloud product? Why? Many of you reading this may agree with Trankova when she wholeheartedly admits that her favorite is Google Workspace because of its collaborative character. “It might sound cliché, but when you are experiencing Google Workspace with a team, then you know the universal strength of the 21st century: teamwork in the cloud,” she said.  That’s awesome! So, what certification is next? For Trankova, it’s all about ML; she’s eager to dive into Python. “I started last February, but I canceled my course due to COVID-19 work overload,” she recounts. “So, this year I'm excited to restart with Python.”  Inspire me! Why did you choose to join the C2C community?  “I was curious about the use cases C2C members were sharing and wanted to listen to the conversations,” she said. “The transformation in a large spectrum of industries based on Google Cloud technology is impressive, and C2C lets members know a little bit what's behind the success stories.” Get connected. C2C is all about bringing people together. How can the community best get in touch with you? Head to social media, and find her on Twitter @ninatrankova. Wanna talk about it?  If you’d like to connect with Trankova, join our community and find her in the Workspace chat! Have a story to share and want to be featured? Email Sabina Bhasin, content manager. Want more C2C content or curious about who we are and why we’re here? Visit our website.   

Categories:Getting Started with Google CloudGoogle WorkspaceC2C Community SpotlightCareers in Cloud

Tell Me a Story: How Did You Become a Digital Strategist with Rise Digital?

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. With the “Tell Me a Story” series, 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 bring you a story from Christian Newman, digital strategist at Rise Digital, on being a people-centered, coffee-fueled Google Cloud partner.  How It Started Newman started as a Google Cloud partner in 2017 when he helped TELUS transform its marketing team’s G-Suite into something that exceeded productivity gains and employee engagement expectations.“Everyone felt like part of the same team with access to the same information at the same time as everyone else with no barriers,” Newman recalls, “It was a game-changing experience for me. … I thought, ‘the world needs more of this.’”  How It's Going After 18 years in telecommunications, Newman had left TELUS, his current contract was ending, and he was living through a global pandemic. “I was at a crossroads. Find another full-time job or follow my heart and deliver a solution the world needs now, more than ever: Google Workspace.”Ultimately, Newman grabbed his coffee tumbler and followed his heart to a Google Cloud partnership, and he couldn’t be happier that he did.  What Makes You Stand Out? “My most important skill is connecting with and understanding people,” Newman reveals.That is saying a lot coming from a man who obviously places a lot of value in technical knowledge. He currently holds eight certifications, ranging from Google Workspace Sales to Google for Education Deployment Services to Google Certified IT Support Professional. If there’s something one needs to know about Google Workspace, Newman’s the guy to ask. Despite the current library of Google Cloud knowledge taking up space in his brain and the desire to obtain the Google Certified Collaboration Engineer in the near future, he maintains the most important way to approach this work is by focusing on the people.“Far too often, companies expect technology to drive digital transformation and business results, but if people lack the mindset, skills, and engagement necessary for a successful transformation, … adoption and return on investment will suffer,” Newman warns.Building relationships allows solutions to be tailored to specific client goals, making everyone more successful in the end. Talk Google Cloud Products to Me. Do You Have A Favorite? “Google Meet has got to be my favorite Google Workspace app right now. … It brings us closer together at a time when we’re forced to be far apart and need human connection more than ever.” As a Google Cloud Platform Expert, What Drew You to C2C? “I got involved with C2C to learn from others, develop my skills, be helpful, and work together to meet [the] collective goal of improving lives with Google Workspace,” Newman says. Get Connected Since C2C is all about bringing people together. How can the community best get in touch with you? Visit my website, connect with me on LinkedIn or send me an email. Wanna Talk About It?Have a story to share and want to be featured? Email Sabina Bhasin, content manager. Want more C2C content or curious about who we are and why we’re here? Visit our website. 

Categories:Google WorkspaceC2C Community SpotlightCareers in CloudGoogle Cloud PartnersInterview

Tell Me a Story: How Did You Become CEO of Bespin Labs?

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. With the “Tell Me a Story” series, 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 bring you the story from Paul Lees, CEO of Bespin Labs, who noticed a need, planted a seed, and now has grown the organization to help companies worldwide.  Let’s start at the beginning.  Lees found himself in the Google sphere through a series of fortunate events and began his career as the technical director of an identity and access management company, specializing in Novell and Microsoft products. “One of the products that I was extremely experienced with, in addition to identity and access management, was Novell’s email platform GroupWise,” Lees said. “I’d been using and developing tools around Novell NetWare and GroupWise, since the early ’90s, so had a good understanding of how everything worked ‘under the covers.’”A chance meeting with a colleague in the industry revealed a tip that changed Lees’s life. “A large U.K. media company was looking to migrate away from GroupWise to something called Google Apps,” he said. “Other organizations in the media industry had already made a move but didn’t migrate; however, I knew that if Google Apps were going to become mainstream, it would need to have a migration tool.”Being familiar with Quest, Lees already spent hours moving organizations from GroupWise to Microsoft Exchange but quickly realized there wasn’t a Google Apps migration tool. “So I spent the evenings researching, and eventually, with the help of a talented developer, created the world’s first migration tool for Google Apps,” he said. “The tool was an immediate success with partners in the U.S. who were desperate to use it.”And the rest is history. Lees left his steady IT job, along with a few others, and created their own Google business in the U.K.  C2C: That’s pretty cool. But, what makes you cool?  Paul: I’ve been around the Google Cloud market almost since day one, so I have got a good understanding and experience of the ecosystem, but I would say that my area of expertise is really with Google Workspace/G Suite and the APIs that support it.In addition to Google Workspace, I’ve been involved in Google Cloud Platform when the only thing available from Google was the Google App Engine. I developed my second successful application for the Google ecosystem. I’m now working on product number four; we don’t talk about three or five, those crashed and burned, but we learned from them and moved on. In addition to creating applications, I've also presented at Google Next twice, including being a Google Team Drives launch partner. I've worked with most partners worldwide and been involved, behind the scenes, in many high-profile Google migrations. I was also responsible for the world’s first Google to Google migration and lived to tell the tale.  C2C: What makes you an expert?  Paul: I feel that I’m an expert at creating applications for Google Workspace. I’ve made applications that have serviced millions of people and tens of thousands of businesses, so I know what it takes to build a product, create a brand, and scale an organization to service and support that brand and its community. C2C: Talk Google Cloud Platform to me. Do you have a favorite product? Project?   Paul: I was really into Google Wave, but I guess Jesse Nowlin has covered that one already. So for me, it would have to be Google Docs. I just love how I can collaborate with my team, partners, and customers on everything from documents to presentations.However, what I love the most is introducing people to real-time collaboration for the very first time. When they join the group, and everyone is in the document at the same time, commenting and adding content is just priceless.Someone once said that I love my products more than I love my children. That isn’t true, but I am super passionate about the products I create. Currently, I am focused on Patronum, a Google Workspace user life cycle and management tool, and we’re excited to be creating a new brand and a customer community around it. We want to be different from the other Google Workspace management tools in the community. We aim to be truly customers first. This starts with community-driven features and a road map as well as a community-based pricing policy. We’re excited to bring Patronum to the market and can’t wait to share what we’ve been working on with a broader audience.  C2C: If you could go back and tell yourself a piece of career advice, what would it be? Paul: If I could go way back in my early career, I would have to tell my younger self to believe in myself more. I’ve let opportunities pass by and relied on others when instead I should have been bolder and more courageous. C2C: What’s next?  Paul: I’m not really into collecting badges and certificates just for the sake of it, but I do have the Google sales and technical certifications required to maintain partner status, and looking forward to renewing those this year. I’d like to get all the Google Workspace-related certifications, as I often see things from an API perspective, so making the time to learn some of the standard Google tools would be extremely helpful to some of the projects we currently have underway. C2C: Inspire me! Why did you choose to join the C2C community?  Paul: I feel that Google Cloud lacks a solid, well-run independent community. There are pockets of interactions around, including Google’s Cloud Community, Reddit r/GSuite, and a number of meetups around the world, but they often feel unloved places, even though they have some extremely talented contributors. Due to the global pandemic, people and organizations are looking for better ways to interact and stay connected. Many creative individuals in the Google Cloud community have risen and created their amazing podcasts, YouTube channels, and blogs. I am hopeful that C2C can become a vital resource that helps bring all these things together. 

Categories:Getting Started with Google CloudGoogle WorkspaceC2C Community SpotlightGoogle Cloud StrategyCareers in CloudInterview

Tell Me a Story: How Did You Become Product Manager of Data Access, Visualization, and Analytics at Ipsos?

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. With the “Tell Me a Story” blog series, we want to know how you got there, wherever that may be; after all, your journey could help another take their first step. Kicking off our series, we bring you the story from Juan Carlos (JC) Escalante, product manager of data access, visualization, and analytics at Ipsos, and tell you how he did it.  What Makes You Cool? Connection, community, and curiosity are how Juan Carlos (JC) Escalante found himself at his current position with Ipsos.As Escalante describes, it was an accidental journey that led him to his field in IT. In his own words, Escalante described his position as sitting at the intersection of technology, business development, and data product management.“It crosses the line between business use and technical use of things … that is the balance I work to accomplish,” stated Escalante. “I’m the person that tries to connect three worlds of an enterprise. A lot can get lost in translation.” What Makes You an Expert?Escalante’s natural ability to derive and convey connections makes him an ideal thought leader.According to Escalante, “A thought leader is a social connector. They make sure the right questions are being connected with the right people with the right knowledge.”For Escalante, this where innovation takes root. However, creating innovation does not stop at the connection. There needs to be a sense of continuous curiosity and investment in your community. After all, this same curiosity in his market research community-led Escalante down his fortuitous path.It’s About the Journey: Top 3 Takeaways“I wish I had a master plan. I ended up in market research 20 years ago by accident,” he mused.Escalante reminiscences about a past party where he overheard a conversation that motivated him to connect with the individual and learn more about their story. Soon, that conversation led to his internship at their company.Escalante provided three factors that helped mold him into this current position:Connecting with the right advisers: people who shape a company’s future, industry, or field of study. “Whenever you reach out to people, they are always glad to help,” he said. “People are generous with their time if you come to them with a meaningful wish to connect.”   Constant curiosity: Technology is always changing. Escalante stressed the need to be open to fluctuation. “If you work in any tech-related field, you work in the business of learning and unlearning,” he said.   Investing in a curious community: It is essential to work with companies that provide flexible environments that are not afraid to try new things.Talk Google Cloud Platform to Me. Do You Have a Favorite? It is through Escalante’s curious community he discovered his most useful Google Cloud tools.“I started about two and a half years ago with Google Cloud Platform. Everything was super new,” he said.Escalante found his footing with Google Cloud products like BigQuery, Dataflow, and Dataproc. These products change how we think about our data delivery.“[The products] opened my eyes to the new world of data processing and a new world of possibilities,” he said, “a completely serverless design of data pipelines."Inspire Me! Why Did You Choose to Join the C2C Community? The need for connection, curiosity, and community ultimately led Escalante to his involvement with C2C.Escalante described C2C as powerful with its access to professionals from different points of view across multiple networks.“My interest in C2C goes with the power of the network,” he said, “[and] knowing who is the go-to person for your support.”

Categories:Data AnalyticsC2C Community SpotlightGoogle Cloud StrategyCareers in CloudInterview