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“The biggest problem was having to be in office at all times while balancing at home having an elderly dog,” said En-Szu Hu-Van Wright, Talent Operations Manager at Chili Piper, outside the Zoetrope Event Studio on the thirteenth floor of the Google Chelsea Market office in New York, New York. “The solution we came up with was creating a hologram of the receptionist, coupled with a robot that would do a lot of the basic duties and functions, because a lot of these things could be done by a robot.”En-Szu does not have an elderly dog, but in a group activity during C2C’s recent Google Culture of Innovation event in New York City, she played the role of a receptionist at an ad agency who did. The group’s assignment was to create an innovative solution that would prepare En-Szu––or her character––for a future of work in which she could staff the reception desk and take care of her dog at the same time. In another group, Crucita Gonzalez, Director of HR Benefits and Wellbeing at Planned Parenthood, and Jake Owens of Google designed a home workspace that eliminates distractions and non-essential communications so Crucita could separate her work life from her home life without commuting two hours both ways to the office every day.After discussing theoretical solutions during the workshop, the guests convened outside the studio to share current projects. Boris Sotnikov (@bSotnikov), CEO of KraftyLab, a company that runs virtual team-building events for companies with remote and hybrid office models, offered En-Szu Hu-Van Wright some strategies for connecting and engaging members of remote teams. Kristian Smilenov (@kristian.smilenov) of Prime Holding, a development company that builds cloud-based software for US-based startups and scaleups, exchanged ideas about solution delivery and vendor client relationships with Geoff MacNeil of Crowdbotics.Guests in conversation between sessions atGoogle Culture of Innovation in New YorkThe small-group innovation workshop was a condensed version of a full-length session Angel D’Souza, Cloud Culture & Recognition Program Manager at Google Cloud, often leads at Google events. Bringing the workshop to this audience of Googlers and customers was refreshing for Angel. “What was really cool about this opportunity was it was one-to-many, so not only did [the customers] get to learn from Google, but they got to learn from each other, and we got to learn from them,” she said. Jessie Hochhalter, who opened the program with a discussion of the history and evolution of Google’s company culture, felt similarly: “Typically when we talk to our customers, especially in a one-to-many format, it tends to be about product, so I really like the fact that we got to talk about the people, the processes, the culture, the DEI, those sorts of things, and not just talk about the product and what’s next with Google technology.”Between Jessie’s and Angel’s segments, Jessica Guerrero, Google’s Global Head of Cloud GTM Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI), led a discussion using the principles of DEI to complicate the framework Jessie’s presentation introduced. A consistent focus on DEI was part of what made the event stand out to the attendees as well. “We’re getting a different perspective on how Google is attacking DEI from a larger company, and taking some of their best practices as a result,” said Dana Barrett, Vice President of Human Resources at Cureatr.The most important question the event raised for SADA Director of Strategic Information John Taranu was the question of how Google Cloud customers can make the transition from evaluating their own organizational cultures to bringing about change within them. “The Google innovation story, and the way it’s being told, is, I think, something every company is trying to do,” he said. To succeed, he explained, customers need a “shepherd”––someone to guide them through the process of implementing cultural change. One group that can play that role, he suggested, is Google partners.Chatting with John during the reception, Jessica Guerrero elaborated on her presentation by laying out three paths to changing the culture within a company: leadership from the top, structural alignment within the organization, and revolution––change from the bottom up. John is partial to the second option, having seen it come about successfully at SADA and at Google Cloud, where he worked for five years previously. He doesn’t rule out revolution, however. “Some of the greatest change in human society has happened through revolutions,” he said, “but they are chaotic.” Extra Credit:
June 2022 marks the second year the United States observes Juneteenth as a federal holiday. However, Juneteenth has been an occasion for public celebration since 1866, immediately following the end of the Civil War. This year, to recognize Juneteenth and its long history of celebrating the liberation of enslaved people in America, C2C and BDPA invited Mike Tucker, a software developer and project manager who also runs the YouTube channel Fight for Democracy, to share his knowledge about this momentous day and everything it represents. In the video below, Tucker traces the many legal and political battles that eventually led to the nationwide liberation Juneteenth was established to commemorate, as well as the long journey to the date’s official designation as a legal public holiday. Please watch and share your thoughts to help us in our mission of cultivating a community that prizes the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion above all.
Our team always says that the “C”’s in C2C are up for interpretation. Whether we’re connecting to customers, connecting customers to communities, connecting companies to the cloud, or enabling communities to connect, C2C exists to facilitate these connections and foster community and growth. All Google Cloud customers have valuable experiences and insights to share within and among one another, no matter their location, their demographic, or even their species. With all of the above in mind, C2C is proud to announce that April 1, 2022 marks the official launch of C2C’s newest Google Cloud Customer Community: Cat2Cat. JellyCommunity Manager, C2CAs we open up this new section of our community, please give a big welcome and a healthy amount of head scratches to C2C’s newest community manager, Jelly. He is a good boy, having previously provided support and socialization training to stray fosters for housecat readiness. Like some of the other community managers you can expect to meet in C2C, Jelly fuses his connection-minded spirit with his significant experience using Google Cloud products. Jelly joins us from happn, where he worked as a product architect to upgrade the app’s infrastructure to Google Cloud Platform. Happn’s app uses geolocation information to notify users—whether people or outdoor cats roaming the neighborhood—when they’ve crossed paths, allowing them to connect afterward. To fully scale the application, terabytes of data were transferred to servers hosted in GCP data centers, using Google Compute Engine for additional functionality. Read happn’s full case study here. Throughout history, cats have been recognized variously as exalted souls protected from harm by law, familiars to witches and other beings blessed with magical powers, and immortal creatures possessed of multiple lives. Today, we recognize these early mythological depictions of cats as attempts to recognize their facility with the extraordinary technologies that govern the world we live in. Cats may not be able to do magic or live forever, but in recent years they have proven especially adept at harnessing the power of the cloud to host their software and data, build their own cloud-native applications, and adopt digital architecture to transform their businesses. Read on below for some detailed examples of how cats representing some of Google Cloud’s biggest customer companies are incorporating Google Cloud Products into transformative technical and business initiatives. CheddarCloud Data Architect, Mondelez InternationalWith a name like hers, Cheddar was destined to become a subject matter expert in the field of snacking. She has been collecting data on snack brands and their products her entire life, and she is grateful to have the opportunity to put this expertise to use at Mondelez International, the largest snacking company in the world. Thanks in large part to Cheddar’s efforts, Mondelez recently adopted the Google Cloud tech stack to transform its data collection and analysis to allow for personalized insights on cat customer experiences. As a lifelong snacker, Cheddar understands the Mondelez customer experience as well as anyone. Now, with Google Cloud, she is developing data solutions that will model this customer experience for every cat in search of the perfect snack. Read Mondelez International’s full case study here. LunaMachine Learning and Data Engineer, Johnson & JohnsonLike many cats, Luna has very little patience for bathtime. However, she does believe that grooming is essential to the leisurely life of a cat, which is why she wanted to bring her expertise building machine learning models to healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson, known most widely for its hair care products. J&J recently started working with Google’s Cloud Talent Solution to rebuild its careers portal. Luna, knowing that cat baths are projects not to be mismanaged, was eager to take the lead on this project. Read Johnson & Johnson’s full case study here. LeiaLead Engineer, Stores and Supply Chain, TargetAs a busy consumer looking for the best products to support her many hobbies—eating fish, drinking milk, and finding the most opportune spots for a nap—Leia is inspired by the ways Google Cloud technology can improve customer experience. Target has employed products like Google Kubernetes Engine and Compute Engine to deliver enhanced convenience for inventory management and online commerce. Leia’s work is also impacted by cross-team collaboration, working with her canine colleague, Chewi, whose work focuses on serverless technology for mobile app development to empower store associates. Read Target’s full case study here. Cats are proud and particular animals. We don’t always think of them as natural community builders. However, their characteristic skill and grace makes Google Cloud’s adaptable and dynamic platform a perfect fit for their technology needs. Our continuing mission at C2C is to connect cloud users, no matter how cuddly or sassy they may be. As long as cats are using cloud technology to solve their business problems, C2C will be here to remind them that every cat is welcome on Google Cloud.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Throughout the past year, the question of whether, when, and how workplaces will reopen and work will resume onsite has guided decision-making and defined goals for organizations and individuals alike. As the year ends, answers to this question have begun to emerge, but most if not all of us will be defining these goals and making these decisions in and out of the workplace for years to come. As we at C2C look back at the year’s accomplishments and wins, we’re taking stock of the insights we’ve gathered from collaborators and guests regarding the future of work.C2C hosted a series of events this year exploring the future of work, and produced a wealth of on-demand content on the topic. The series began in the Spring, with The Future of Work from an Executive View, a C2C Navigator featuring Peter High, president of Metis Strategy, and Kelly Ducourty, Vice President of GTM strategy at Google Cloud. This high-level conversation covered far-reaching topics including customer needs and business use cases as drivers of innovation, optimizing technology to address challenges unique to remote work, and framing crisis as an opportunity to reset. For an overview of the topics covered, read our post recapping the discussion, or watch High’s keynote presentation below:High and Ducourty also returned for a second conversation on the future of work and company culture, this time joined by Brigette McInnis-Day, VP of HR at Google Cloud:Between events in this Navigator series, C2C sat down with Laurie Klasner of Quantiphi for a one-on-one conversation, also about company culture in the future of work. Klasner highlighted a number of efforts the company took to foster a healthy working culture, including “Zen days” without remote meetings and new programs around wellness and diversity. This conversation is available as an audio recording and as a written article:For the next event in this series, C2C invited Alphabet Global Chief Commercial officer Tom Galizia, MediaAgility CTO Swarraj Kulkarni, Quantiphi Co-founder Ritesh Patel, and SADA CEO Tom Safoian for a panel discussion on the topic of client empathy. Many of interviewer Sabina Bhasin’s questions recalled moments from her conversation with Klausner, particularly regarding Quantiphi’s largely India-based workforce.Patel described the help coming to India from around the world as “very humbling” but noted that the working environment in the country remained “extremely tough.” The four executives described empathy as both a challenge and a necessity of working remotely in a time of crisis, and identified time management, recalibration and resilience as skills they wanted to bring to their workplaces in the future. Watch the full conversation below:Many of the themes that emerged throughout the series came up again in the final event, a panel on employee experience featuring Patti Althen and Rujul Pathak of Workday and Greg Sly of Verizon. Empathy and diversity were raised as central concerns, as were findability, employee empowerment, and implementation of new workplace measures across industry lines. The full conversation is embedded below, and our post-event takeaway summarizes and provides clips of the key moments.These conversations generated valuable insights, but even though the future of work has arrived, many new developments are still to come. What concerns are most pressing for you as a new year approaches? What does the future of work hold for you? Join our community to tell us your story and let us know what kinds of conversations we should be starting next.
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.
Remote work is more than a trend. Even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, flexible schedules and options to work from home were available at companies of all kinds. Now, after over a year of mandatory social distancing, we know more than ever about what kinds of work can be done remotely and how, and what kinds of work will always need to be done face to face. As offices begin to reopen across the globe, the question of where to work, and when, and how, has become unavoidable. What kinds of new workplaces will emerge in the future, and how can they empower employees to work to the best of their abilities as well as according to their needs? For the most recent event in our C2C Navigators series on the future of work, C2C’s own Sabina Bhasin joined with Patti Althen and Rujul Pathak of Workday and Greg Sly of Verizon for a wide-ranging conversation about the challenges and opportunities of the changing workplace environment. The conversation touched on several key points, including some raised by community members during the open question and answer section. One theme that remained central to the discussion, however, was the position of the employee, and the necessity for management that centers the employee’s experience and autonomy. The guests identified several values that they consider central to this management approach. One is “findability,” or the worker’s ability to find information, resources, or solutions to problems in the workplace, which Pathak noted is harder but especially important to facilitate for remote workers: Another is empathy, which Sly described as a driver behind a complete cultural shift at Verizon. When work takes place at home, workers let their coworkers and their employers into their lives, including all the unseen labor that allows them to show up and fulfill the requirements of their positions on a daily basis. For Sly, seeing this labor made it clear that management standards need to be amenable to the continually shifting needs of employees with dynamic and demanding lives. Pathak and Althen wholeheartedly agreed with these sentiments: The question of employee empowerment came up directly midway through the discussion. The guests from Workday brought up several strategies they have implemented on the policy level to foster employee empowerment, including facilitating what Pathak called a “feedback loop” between employees and clients, and instituting the “VIBE,” or “Value Inclusion Belonging and Equity” program, which Althen applied to different work scenarios: Community members contributed multiple questions that advanced the discussion even further. One question about change in workplace standards along industry lines prompted a back-and-forth about new workplace solutions across the broader professional landscape: Another question about the importance of diversity in a changing workplace environment gave Pathak the opportunity to revisit the VIBE program as part of a larger comment on the material and ethical considerations that come into play when trying to maintain diversity as a value even in a time of change and uncertainty throughout the workforce: The future of work is still uncertain, and many companies still don’t know what their employees’ day-to-day lives will look like going into the coming year. Technology provides us with some solutions, but progressive management approaches will be more than necessary for companies who hope to continue to scale as these changes continue to come. Althen, Pathak, and Sly are staying optimistic. How do you feel? What does work look like for you in a world where telecommuting is becoming a new standard? Please reach out and let us know, and let us know what other kinds of discussions you’d like to be able to attend, and who you would want to be leading those conversations.
The C2C Navigators: Future of Work series gives you access to some of the top minds at Google Cloud, innovative customers, and industry leaders. For the last in this series, we invited three experts to the stage:Greg Sly — SVP Platforms and Infrastructure, Verizon Patti Althen — Director, Collaboration and Endpoint Engineering, Workday Rujul Pathak — Director, Digital Workplace ExperienceKey Discussion Points:Effectively managing organizations and increasing remote employee satisfaction using a thoughtful blend of analytics and empathy Uniting and bringing out the best in a diverse, global workforce Using Google Cloud technology to refresh old processes and reach a global talent pool What’s on the radar for the future of collaborationCommunity Questions Answered:How do you measure success in remote employees while avoiding micromanagement or breaching their private lives? Are there any major differences executives are seeing form across industry lines for the future? How is technology putting diversity and inclusion allowing employees to reach their full potential? How are companies preparing to make remote workers feel connected as parts of the workforce return to the office?Watch the entire conversation here:
Remote work turned Greg Sly into a better manager. Sly, Senior Vice President (SVP) of Infrastructure and Platform Services at Verizon, used Google Cloud to keep his team together, increase employee satisfaction and establish a more effective workforce. If your first question is, “how?” you’re asking the right questions, and we’re working to bring you, our C2C community, the answers. Sly will be joining Workday’s Patti Althen and Rujul Pathak on August 25 to discuss how they’re preparing and managing the Future of Work with the C2C Community. Register here Among the challenges of building team cohesion in a global environment is navigating critical social conversations and ensuring each employee, regardless of location, background, or beliefs, feels empowered to own their contribution to the business. To respond, Sly relied on collaboration tools to integrate vital dashboards and using Google Meet to facilitate conversations around social issues like diversity, equity, and inclusion to enable productivity. With global teams with diverse backgrounds and skillsets, Sly also needed tools to serve as an equalizer to match how the pandemic leveled everyone. This means that hierarchies are difficult to maintain in a virtual environment as the traditional indicators of seniority and authority are reduced to the same tools each employee has to use. He’s chosen to embrace that and is planning on how to preserve that equality. “We didn’t solve it yet; we’re just at the beginning of what tech can do,” Sly said. That tech now also includes Workday. The massive migration to Workday cloud went seamlessly, and Althen and Pathak will join Sly to share more about why they chose Workday at the upcoming C2C Navigator, but, for Sly, the choice was rooted in finding a tool to enable easy worldwide access to talent. “Why wouldn’t we meet people in Ethiopia, Zimbabwe? Why only be U.S.-focused?” Sly asked in a tone that suggested a significant missed opportunity now being seized. “We can now bring tech to under-developed countries and find new talent.” Using Workday cloud, Sly said Verizon is now able to streamline their recruiting pipeline and onboarding, “it’s been a great collaboration,” he said. It’s also unlocked challenges around building internships into the hiring process. Since remote work, incorporating green employees with a lot of talent to share is a challenge he’s also been able to leverage technology to overcome. Now he just has a global pool of candidates to tap into now easily. “Google is bringing internet below the 42-parallel; what’s the point of the internet if we can’t follow up with the tools to do something great with that tech?” Good point, Sly. Register now: Join us for the discussion on August 25. Register below.
Our C2C Navigator, Future of Work: Culture was bursting with questions and comments and we couldn’t cover them all in our session. But, we worked to get your questions answered and we have them ready for your below. Also, if you missed the discussion with Kelly Ducourty, VP, GTM Strategy and Operations in Google Cloud, Brigette McInnis-Day, VP, People Operations, Google Cloud, and Peter High, President at Metis Strategy, Strategist, Lecturer, Podcast Host, and Author, you can watch it on-demand. C2C Community Questions - Answered C2C Community: I’d love to understand what is top of mind as you figure out how to transition to the next phase of work. It is developing and executing a hybrid model, or a full return to the office, or continuing a remote work approach?What role does Google Workspace play? What about as we all consider the Future of Work, what advice would you give to other organizations thinking about a similar shift? How do you see productivity and collaboration now and in the future?Kelly Ducourty’s answer: Safety and flexibility are what drove our RTO strategy. We have employees who can’t wait to return to the office (I am one of them!) and some who are happy to work remotely. We saw how our Googler rose to the challenge, quickly adapting to new ways of working and I am sure we will see that again once we are starting to return to the office. It will be an adjustment for everyone, but I'm confident that we will all rise to the challenge once again. REWS teams have been super creative in redesigning the office experienceTechnology is at the core to enable us to provide this flexibility. Google Workspace empowers collaboration no matter where you are working from. At I/O last week we introduced even more solutions and features to make that collaboration even more seamless. Not sure I have strong advice for other companies - there is no one size fits all. As always, I think companies need to evaluate their priorities, their workflows, their culture, their employees' needs.Brigette McInnis-Day’s answer: As Kelly mentioned, the pandemic has challenged all of us to create an inclusive, equitable and collaborative workplace culture outside of an organization’s physical office environments. While we were navigating how to engage in different ways within Google at the onset of the pandemic, we also had to pivot quickly to change how we engage with our customers and candidates. We didn’t slow down on hiring because we were able to shift all interviews to remove overnight, stay in line with our hiring goals. We’re working to improve technology tools, like Google Workspace, that better enables employees to equally participate and contribute. Not only were we able to quickly shift to virtual engagement through our own technology, we also helped our customers solve challenges of COVID-19 by adopting new ways of working, staying connected, and getting their work done EXAMPLES: Using video to see how people are thinking and feeling during meetings, docs for true collaboration/transparency. Think about how your culture will need to adapt for a more hybrid work environment. The pandemic has proven that physical office space does not define an organization’s culture alone: culture is a reflection of a company’s mission, values and behaviors - but it’s important to remember it’s not just about values; but the value you bring, and the cultural add that you create in the organization.Reflect: What is the one thing you want to preserve in your culture? Start there. Does your leadership emulate the culture you need? How have crises (such as the pandemic) tested your culture? These are unprecedented, exciting times - we are embarking on the biggest experience of work (work/career/people perspective) that all of us have ever faced. My guidance - let’s allow this to be an experiment, learn from our people, iterate as we go. None of us have all the answers, and we need to be ok with that. Chanel (@chanelgreco)So WFH has made it possible to hire talents from all over the globe. But different countries have different laws, salary averages, etc. How does Google make sure that compensation is fair for everyone, no matter where they are located? Answer: Consistent with how we compensate every employee, compensation is determined in part by the market in their location. Some may see an adjustment if they decide to move depending on the local market where they’re moving from and to. You can learn more about our methodology here. Andy (@andy.yates) Adding to what Chanel is asking, how is Google handling the immigration and taxation (etc) implications around their 'working from elsewhere' policy? Answer: It is each employee's responsibility to ensure they hold the full and unrestricted right to work where they decide to work. For tax implications, employees will need to consult with their tax advisor.
Technology exists to advance and improve, but even the most cutting-edge developments in technology require us to ask questions that have been with us forever. Questions of ethics are never settled, and as the advancement and implementation of artificial intelligence become more and more rapid, these questions are as important as ever. C2C recently brought these questions to a discussion with Tobi Wole, a Berlin-based data analytics engineer who gave a presentation mapping principles essential to AI Ethics against the 10 Commandments. Below is a recording of the full discussion:And here’s Tobi’s presentation, “10 Commandments and AI Ethics” Rules to Live By Wole found some striking points of contact between the 10 Commandments––a foundational text of the ethics we live by today––and core ethical principles of AI. Commandment 5, “Honor your father and mother,” speaks to the need for human authority over AI technologies; for example, the University of Bologna’s “ethical knob,” which allows a human driver to take control of a self-driving car if necessary: Commandment Seven, “You shall not commit adultery,” offers a funny segue into some concerns related to privacy, particularly security and access control: Most relevant of all is Commandment nine, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour [sic.],” which translates directly to present considerations regarding authenticity and honesty in digital technology. Watch the clip below for Wole’s commentary and a look at the ultimate false witness: an AI deepfake of Barack Obama: Honoring Diversity of Thought and Opinion Wole’s presentation offered numerous examples of other ethical principles crucial to proper AI development during an open discussion with C2C team members and colleagues. When C2C’s Sabina Bhasin raised the question of “diversity of thought and opinion,” Jeff Branham brought up some issues he’s faced in his work with machine learning models. AIs collect and analyze data. How do we make sure these AIs use this data to provide customers with the insights they want? Guaranteeing that ethics is central to AI developers’ decision-making process is not just a formality; it’s for our common good. Automation and Regrowth Tobi’s knack for comparison reaches beyond the 10 Commandments. When Danny Pancratz, C2C’s Director of Product, raised some concerns about automation and the necessity of higher-level work for employees whose jobs AI technology might replace, Wole likened the problem to cutting down a tree. If you’re going to cut something down––whether it’s a tree, or someone’s job––make sure you are preparing for more to grow back in its place. Who is Responsible for AI Ethics? Ethical questions tend to return us to our most basic values and beliefs, and in a way, the conversation ended where it began. Tobi interpreted the first Commandment, “You shall have no other gods before me,” as a principle of accountability. Branham asked the final question and wanted to know where the discussion of ethics should live on the teams that model AI. Oluwole mentioned developers and product teams, as well as management and executive management, but ultimately offered one clear answer: everyone who works in AI should be thinking about questions of ethics.
In March, we published a series of career conversations to celebrate Women’s History Month. With the gap in representation between men and women in tech, the industry still holds onto that “boys’ club” feeling, evoking imposter syndrome in women and other gender minorities.Now it’s Pride Month, and as one of 5.6% of U.S. adults who identify as LGBTQ+, I’m acutely aware of those feelings creeping into that demographic, too. While more organizations are honing in on diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, safely being out in the workplace is still a challenge.Below are some significant highlights in U.S. historical workplace safety, current findings, and additional metrics within the tech industry.View image at full scale here. Extra CreditHere’s the full list of businesses that earned a 100 percent rating on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. Some of the ranked tech companies like Google and IBM have promoted inclusion externally and passed nondiscrimination policies for sexual orientation well ahead of the law. Pride, Pronouns, and Progress in 2021 posted by C2C member@dominikkugelmann For resources referenced in the infographic, find the full reports and articles below:Blind—The Road Ahead: LGBTQ+ Inclusivity in the Workplace Boston Consulting Group—A New LGBTQ Workforce Has Arrived—Inclusive Cultures Must Follow Gallup—LGBT Identification Rises to 5.6% in Latest U.S. Estimate Human Rights Campaign—Corporate Equality Index 2021 Stack Overflow—2020 Developer Survey
The C2C Navigators: Future of Work series gives you access to some of the top minds at Google Cloud, innovative customers, and industry leaders. For the third in this series, we invited four experts from Google Cloud Partner companies to the stage:Tom Galizia – Global Chief Commercial Officer, Alphabet Google, Deloitte Swarraj Kulkarni – CTO, MediaAgility Ritesh Patel – Co-Founder, Quantiphi Tony Safoian – CEO, SADAKey Discussion Points:How have Google Cloud partners responded to the pandemic’s impact on relationships with clients? Given what’s changed on a macro level, what changes have partners observed in everyday working life? Looking forward, how can leadership demonstrate resilience while increasing empathy and compassion toward users’ fundamental needs? How are partners working in virtual settings through challenging projects without being able to read body language or pick up on peripheral clues about their interest and engagement? What’s one superpower or super skill everyone should have to learn to stay relevant with the major shifts toward more virtual communications?Watch the entire conversation here: We will continue the conversation with special guest speakers from Verizon and Workday on Thursday, June 24.
The C2C Navigators: Future of Work series gives you access to some of the top minds at Google Cloud, innovative customers, and industry leaders. For the second in this series, we invited three experts to the stage:Kelly Ducourty – VP, GTM Strategy and Operations in Google Cloud Brigette McInnis-Day – VP, People Operations, Google Cloud Peter High – President at Metis Strategy, Strategist, Lecturer, Podcast Host, and AuthorKey Discussion Points:Returning to the office with safety and wellbeing in mind Strengthening culture through inclusive tech and an individualized approach to employee needs to ensure inclusivity for all working styles and needs Recent research on talent planning, learning and innovation, and flexible work environments Transitioning to the next phase of work as a hybrid model, a full return to the office, or staying remoteCommunity Questions Answered: How does Google ensure empathy for a diverse employee population? Does vaccination matter for in-office access and how are you planning on handling that? Who owns the responsibility of making decisions to ensure health and wellbeing? What makes a strong team and what have we learned in the past 14 months that can improve team dynamics?Watch the entire conversation here:
With more than 12.1 million people working in tech in the U.S. alone, it’s more important than ever to talk about mental health in the tech industry. One of the most common outcomes of work-related stress is burnout, an elusive phenomenon that has no one true cause, is not beholden to one sector, and can crop up at any time.In the famously fast-paced, “work-hard-play-hard” world of tech, preventing burnout at work can be particularly difficult, especially in programmer burnout. So, in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, we’re examining some tools coding teams can use to stay on top of bandwidth, manage deadlines, and introduce more flexibility into their work to combat software developer burnout. What Is Burnout? Burnout is an occupational phenomenon in which workers can experience physical or emotional exhaustion and a reduced sense of accomplishment in their work due to extended periods of work-related stress. Employees can experience burnout for several reasons and even when they’re in the middle of a passion project, making it very difficult to diagnose at the moment and even more challenging to prevent.To give burnout more shape, the World Health Organization created guidelines to officially classify and help employers develop strategies to prevent burnout at work.While it’s going to take a long time before we understand exactly where this phenomenon comes from, there are sure signs of programmer burnout that can help employers and employees take steps to deescalate burnout and continue to do innovative work. What Are the Signs of Burnout? While the signs of burnout are pretty universal, the way they manifest across industries could help specific employers understand the early signs of work-related stress and make changes accordingly. For instance, symptoms of software developer burnout may include: Repeatedly making easy mistakes in their code Experiencing headaches and eye soreness Feeling isolated and unmotivated Losing passion or interest in coding Lack of accomplishment and ineffectiveness Lack of sleep The challenge is that many of the changes to mitigate these symptoms would inherently change how software developers have to work. For example, sitting for many hours is a significant component of software developer burnout and programmer burnout; however, coding requires long hours of sitting and working at a terminal. Also, the monotony of the work can contribute to burnout. Software developers work using the Agile methodology, a project management style built around the repetition of programming languages. Despite being an effective management tool, it can cause software developers burnout because they can start to feel as though they aren’t moving forward in their careers, manifesting in other areas of life. Finally, another critical reason why programmer burnout is a typical tragic experience is the culture. From lack of sleep, exercise, and poor eating habits due to long hours working, many developers cannot always effectively train junior programmers. So, to avoid technical debt, the senior software developers or programmers have to stay late to correct errors or monitor the output of those more junior. As a result, they’re essentially completing two jobs. How Do You Fix Burnout? The question “how do you fix burnout?” perhaps isn’t the right frame of mind to tackle burnout. Many resources put the onus on the worker to “combat” burnout, find harmony with their work schedule, make space for free time, set boundaries, etc. But this advice isn’t realistic for many employees or even possible within specific work environments. The solution to programmer burnout, or burnout among workers in any industry, is to create work environments that are not conducive to relentless, work-related stress. But how?There are significant, systemic changes like paid maternity leave and flexible workdays that employers can enact to alleviate some of the pangs of their employees. But there are smaller, process-related adaptations and technologies teams can use to prevent burnout at work. Automate Internal Processes One of the simplest ways to prevent burnout at work is to automate as many internal processes as possible. Using Workspace, many processes are easily automated, and AI and ML are also used to alleviate repetitive tasks. Fintan Murphy, a C2C community member, and Workspace expert shared a few ways he and his team use the productivity and collaboration tools to stave off burnout. For example, they leverage the time-blocking approach to their calendars. By setting specific office hours, the tools automatically mute notifications and don’t interfere with non-work hours. Also, they use the predictive text options in all the Google collaboration tools like email or Google Docs. The devices will help you schedule if you’re writing about an appointment or help remind you to respond to an email you’ve snoozed. Using these types of tools helps remove the responsibility of remembering and ensuring focus is directed on performance. When they need opinions, they use Google Forms, which they will continue to use in the future of work. Create More Flexibility Murphy shared other tactics he uses with his team to create more flexibility. For one, task management and link management. “How we organize that has changed, and it’s about really figuring out what works for your team,” he said. One of the best ways he works with his team to improve task management is to maintain reality checks and utilize the right tools to manage their timelines. “Be honest with yourself when you say you can get this task done, be honest with the day you’re putting in for your task deadline, ” he said. “Ask yourself, ‘Is this realistic? Will everyone feel bad if I failed?’ Know that beforehand.” Google leans on partners for project management tools. Still, Google Workspace has ways for in-application communication and uses AI/ML for auto-filling deadlines and creating reminders and nudges. Improve Communication If working remotely is new for teams, it can create a risk for burnout. But, Murphy offers some tips. “Have regular check-ins with the team, but as individuals,” Murphy said. “Ask, ‘How are you doing?’ ‘How are you getting on?’ ‘Are you having internet issues?’ ‘How’s your work-life balance?’ ” He says that team meetings or individual one-on-ones are opportunities to hear how you can support your team, more than understanding a task or line item. For that, he suggests using “passive communication.” One example of passive communication is utilizing the Google tools to share what your team is working on through a shared calendar, thereby reducing the need to ask about a specific task. Also, through project management tools, there is a line of sight into workloads and projects, making it easier to understand status without needing to inquire or set a meeting about the progress. Also, Murphy offered the idea of borrowing “asynchronous communication” from GitLab. For a company of more than 1,000 workers, all remote, they’ve developed behaviors to harness disparate working styles. “So, for example, in a meeting, don’t send the slide deck during the meeting and talk to it; send it ahead of time and ask for ideas or questions about the material within,” Murphy said. “That’s like getting together for a book club meeting and reading each page together.”Finally, here are few more tips for managing burnout: Go for a walk each morning or do something other than waking up and going straight to work. Maintain the same routine as a typical workday. Always send an agenda for a meeting. Set office hours. What Do You Think? What ideas do you have? Are there other ways Google products can mitigate burnout? Let us know below. Extra Credit: Why There’s So Much Burnout in Software and What To Do About It Burnout Is About Your Workplace, Not Your People Managing Remote Teams - 8 Effective Strategies - For Genuine Success GitLab's Guide to All-Remote US tech industry had 12.1 million employees in 2019
As companies start putting pen-to-paper for a return-to-work model, companies like Quantiphi are committing to a “flexible future.” But what does that mean for company culture? On May 25, C2C will discuss corporate culture in the future of work with Kelly Ducourty, VP, GTM strategy and operations with Google, Brigette McInnis-Day, VP people operations at Google Cloud, and Peter High of Metis Strategy. They’ll cover questions like: What does the future hold for work-life integration as we return to the office? How are businesses reconsidering approaches to talent planning, learning, and innovation? What lessons learned over the past year can be used to address wellness and employee burnout? To tap into this more in advance of the Navigator, C2C sat down with Laurie Klausner, global head of marketing at Quantiphi, to discuss what culture means to Quantiphi, a global business with most of its workforce in India. Given the dire situation, and a need to ensure cohesion as a company, Klausner shared how they view culture now, supporting their multicultural team and what the future holds for work-life balance. Listen to the conversation below. Full transcript of the conversation below Sabina Bhasin, C2C Hi, everyone. I'm here with Laurie Klausner from Quantiphi, and we're talking about the future of work culture and how this changed our world. We're going to kick it off by just trying to understand a baseline of what company culture means and what success looks like? Laurie? Laurie Klausner, Quantiphi So I think company culture is so imperative in an organization that's growing. So at Quantiphi, one of the first things you'll hear when you join our team is that we refer to ourselves as the Quantiphi family. I think you don't necessarily know how to take that until you're here for a little while, and you realize that despite geographies, despite timezones, despite people from all different kinds of backgrounds, everybody really cares about each other, much like you hope is happening in a normal family. But it's really a phenomenal part of Quantiphi, and I have actually yet to meet anyone in person. But I still feel like I've really gotten to know people and I think that company culture comes from the four founders all the way down through everyone in the organization. Sabina Bhasin, C2CHow do you think, you know, enabling all these different tools and using Workspace and other ways that have helped you all come together as an organization? How has that sort of behavior in that pivot improved outcomes? And what do you think you guys will continue doing past this phase? Laurie Klausner, Quantiphi That was a lot that you just asked there, and I'll try and break it down a little bit. But so in the first part of your question, the tools, so we're a company that's based entirely on all of the G-Suite tools. So I think it was expanding the way we were using them already. So I think Google meet, like you and I are talking right now from two different states, two different places, it makes it very seamless, of course, it's not the same as if we were sitting together over lunch. But I think it's pretty good. It’s pretty easy to understand when someone's talking and you know when there are multiple people on a call, how to make sure you're communicating right or using the raise a hand. So I think as far as getting together, it's a very powerful toolset that we have in front of us. I think we have used it extensively throughout our organization prior to COVID. But I think as far as meetings, I think so many meetings that were in-person have now obviously shifted to being remote and online. I think, initially, people were wary, it's different, right? And I think you always naturally have people who talk more than others who have more confidence. But I think we have found ways to really try and draw people into the conversation, as you would do in person, we're finding ways to do that using the tools. But as far as we use Google Chat, you know, so I mean, you're constantly hearing from people regardless of where they are, and I think that's really been very powerful and allowed our organization that is global, still feel very connected. Sabina Bhasin, C2CYeah, so it sounds like some of those behaviors and those tools will be things that will be used, even if we start moving into more of a hybrid environment. Laurie Klausner, Quantiphi Yeah, Quantiphi is firmly committed to a flexible future. So our HR team and talent team are putting together what that looks like. But I don't think there will ever be a mandate for most positions at Quantiphi to be five days a week in the office. I think there will be a lot more flexibility. I think what we've learned, and as many organizations have is, you can have people be incredibly productive and work on their own schedules around the sort of parameters that you have dogs, kids conflicts, you know, laundry machines breaking, you know, whatever is going on, people can still do some incredible bodies of work. Sabina Bhasin, C2CMm-hmm. Yeah, definitely. I think that's one of the biggest lessons that some of these bigger companies have learned. You know, there's been a little bit of a movement from some of the smaller startup companies to say, you know, there is a better way that we can all work together, we can shift things to people's work, preferential work styles, and make we've learned that people can still be credibly productive despite the environments that they're in. Laurie Klausner, Quantiphi Yeah, I would just add one. I do think that it's, it's paramount to have flexibility. But I do think there is, there is something missing, and I'm just speaking from my personal experience from having, you know, for over 25 years of typically being in an office and often the headquarters of an organization. I think there are small things that just can't be replicated, and I think, as I said, Quantiphi is doing a great job. We have Zen days to allow people to step back from meetings; you know, we have all kinds of connection points that we've tried to make. But it's still not the same, and in fact, you know, there are a few of us who are past our second shot and past the two-week point, and for the first time, since I've been working, we'll be physically getting together and one of the offices here in Massachusetts. I’m really excited, even if it's just a handful of people to have that synergy that happens when you're in person that is important. So my hope, my personal hope, you know, for my team, and the way I think that Quantiphi works, and the way we will work with our partners and customers going forward, is that it is a hybrid. A blend of, you have flexibility, and you can accomplish your job, whatever that looks like, but that there is still some mechanism for people to physically get together because I do think other things come out of that that is really valuable. Sabina Bhasin, C2COh, absolutely. I couldn't agree more. I mean, so many of those hallway conversations at times is where the best ideas come up, or, you know, the morning coffee, and you can talk about your days, and you get to know your colleagues as humans. That gives you a little bit more appreciation for the impact they're bringing to the organization, which ultimately leads to better productivity and outcomes. Laurie Klausner, QuantiphiOur team here in North America, most of our team is based in India, but a fair number of us, a few 100 people are here in North America, and every other Friday we have a T.G.I F. The first part of it is always just dedicated to who's new who joined and, you know, they have to say a fun fact about themselves with their favorite foods are but, then it gets conversations going about, Oh, you like this? Or you want to bungee jump? Oh, I bungee jump, you know. And so then it starts the sidebar conversations that you're right, that normally would just happen in person. So, you know, it's, you know, a mechanism to get there, but not quite the same. Sabina Bhasin, C2CYeah, yeah. You touched on something really interesting there. So a lot of your teams are in India, too, right now, right? How are you guys dealing with, you know, the upheaval that your teammates are facing over there and ensuring a strong culture and instill trying to maintain and thrive? From a business perspective? Laurie Klausner, Quantiphi Yeah, we spend a lot of time trying to ensure right that it's true; I think 80 or 85% of our team is based in India. So there are separate peer groups that have been established, really to help with support, specifically around COVID, how to find resources, if people know where oxygen is and what hospitals have room, how to find certain drugs that are needed at this point, and even just support for somebody else to talk to during this time. Then the company they're really trying to ensure those team members, whether it's themselves who are sick, or somebody directly in their family has support to step away from their roles for a short period of time, with no worry about their roles. Quantiphi consistently makes it clear that taking care of yourself, taking care of your family, that's the most important thing. They’re really trying to ensure that people understand they can take that time and not worry about if I need to take two weeks off because I'm sick, or I'm caring for a parent that my job will be threatened that none of those things are worries at this point. I think that’s really shown compassion as an organization. It's hard to read some of the things going on, and here are some of the numbers of people just on our team who are out sick; it can be very overwhelming. Sabina Bhasin, C2CYeah, absolutely. I mean, how do you then, you know, as a receiver of some of that trauma and like hearing those experiences of your colleagues, like how do you also maintain and continue to thrive and ensure that you're, you know, able to pause and digest that? Laurie Klausner, QuantiphiYeah, and I think that's some of what we try and take these monthly Zen days. The goal here is really to have no meetings on a certain day and really be able to step back and think about what kind of work can I accomplish because I'm not on a call? And also, are there things I can do to help someone else or learn something else? I think that can be really valuable, where we're trying to ensure that even within my marketing team, within our sales team, and within the service delivery, the greater team, that there is an overlap of skills so that somebody can take that time away so we can ensure as best we can, at this time, that we are still having the output that Quantiphi is looking to deliver. So it's tricky, and I think you just, you know, certainly as a team leader myself, you know, we always just have to be cognizant of what somebody is going through. I'm sitting here in Massachusetts, but you know, someone in my team and Bangalore, Mumbai, or Trivandrum, they're experiencing something wholly different. You know, they haven't left their house in 19 days, and food is being delivered. But, you know, it's just you have to think about that, you know, if I'm out walking my dog, I have to realize, you know, I'm lucky, but they haven't had that chance to clear their head. So maybe they need to not join one extra meeting today, you know, to find ways to make sure that they can have some control, and still, you know, be able to focus because it can be hard, it's hard if you really don't have, you know, some outlets that you normally would. Sabina Bhasin, C2COh, my gosh, absolutely. I love that Quantiphi does the Zen days; that’s a really smart way to handle a hybrid environment during a really, you know, bizarre time that has caused a lot of upheavals and in many people's lives. Do you think that that has improved productivity or business outcomes overall, though, having the different tools and different ways to sort of manage all of these other parts that were once thought of as “this is your home life, you leave this here, and you come to work, and you're you are 100% plugged in?” Now there seems to be a shift in mindset to coming to work as your whole self and will support you in whatever way that looks? Can you talk to us a little bit about how that has improved outcomes in terms of just people feeling like they are valued, so they want to be more productive? Laurie Klausner, QuantiphiI do think so. I do think there have been so many positive things that have resulted here. We are in the process of adopting Google's #Iamremarkable programming, which is the empowerment of women or underserved voices within an organization. In fact, we have a kickoff session for that starting next week, and we have our first batch of people who are going to go through that training, you know, so I think there are ways to be heard. We also have implemented physical programs. So it's a five or six o'clock on a number of different afternoons, there's sort of stretching, or Pilates, or some dance moves that are all done virtually. One of the women on our team, it was something she had studied in college, and she just sort of raised her hand and said, it could be good, everybody sitting so much, how about if we try these programs? And you know, so it's small things. Last Friday, we had everybody just making these dance moves together. It's good. No one was recording like this because it wasn't necessarily pretty, but it was really human, and I think you touched on that word a minute ago, right? Everybody was also laughing at the end, too, right? It was it didn't matter if you had the right moves, there were dogs involved in kids, and everybody was just jumping around in their kitchens. It was really great. It was a really terrific program to have some levity, too. I think as far as tools and productivity; I think we have absolutely found that people can be productive anywhere and in any way, right? I think the one thing that makes me so encouraged about Quantiphi, and the way we are working with our partners, the way we're going to market, the future, is that I see here is that all of the good things will remain everything good that we have gained from you know, this remote time, this time working in a very different environment. Then we'll be able to layer on the things that we're missing, like traveling to see people when it's safe again, being in person; I think all of that will just complement the work structure that we've been able to have for the last year. Sabina Bhasin, C2CIn terms of the future of work and the conversation that we're going to be having with Quantiphi and other partners in June, what do you think some of the topics are going to center around? Can you share with our community anything they should be aware of going into that conversation? Laurie Klausner, Quantiphi Yeah, I mean, I think the conversation with Ritesh and the other leaders that you're going to be able to speak with, I think they're going to hit on so many really important themes.I think the main one is that we will really embrace everything that's worked, right, we everybody's become flexible. Everybody had to go through these pivots, you know, everyone, whether it's from shifting events to shifting the way we meet and communicate. Travel was a very big part of Quantiphi, obviously, as I've mentioned, we're a global company, and both are in person, our customer meetings, our partner meetings, everything was, you know, traveling so you gain some of the ability of not having to necessarily take a trip for one meeting where you would have, and I think people will have more things come together when they do get on a plane. Then when they do, you know, go to a new office, they'll have a number of things set up to make that valuable. I think people will really carve out that time for the connections, where you might travel and then right away hop to get back home. Then, because people have been home, maybe they'll spend a little bit longer. I think some of the other themes are just the way we have learned to embrace these tools. We'll continue to use those. I think the way companies have really set out targets for what's reasonable, it's just it's a little bit different, right? I think we will have to find a way to ensure that people do sort of shut-down at the end of the day, too. I find that as most of my direct reports are in India, and well, it's fantastic. They're responding to me when I ask a question, a lot of times, I say, “Okay, now, now stop talking to me till tomorrow, because, you know, it's 11 o'clock at night, your time.”It’s great that the technology is there, but I do think we're going to have to find ways to have boundaries so that people don't feel the burden to respond immediately to everything. Maybe it's ways that we'll flag information, you know, messages can come in different ways, if something is truly urgent, versus, “Hey, this was on my mind, so I want to put it in your window, or your email, but you don't have to think about this right away.” I think we'll have to find a way to be sensitive that people don't feel wrong for walking away from work for some, you know, for periods of time, because that's really important. Sabina Bhasin, C2CI couldn't agree more, and I'm hoping that some of these habits and some of these learnings actually continue, post-pandemic, right, then we don't start defaulting back to what we've always known. That's sort of the concern; I think that many people who are kind of on the execution side of work are thinking about like we've developed different boundaries and habits now. But how long will that last? And will that change? With consulting and traveling coming back, is that pace going to also return, or some of those learnings going to also filter into that? If we've seen that business can still be productive and successful as Quantiphi has been, then is that something that we can ensure for the long term? What do you think? Laurie Klausner, QuantiphiI do think so. I think that's something that Ritesh will probably cover, but I do think we will see, travel again, but I do think as you said, I think it's going to be different. I think it won't necessarily be Monday to Friday, every week, right? It's interesting, when I first joined, Aasif, one of the founders, and I were talking, and I said it was really weird for me to have, you know, it had been four months since I had been on a plane when I first joined Quantiphi, and I said: “it felt really weird.” It was just a very weird feeling for somebody who traveled very regularly. In the three months before the pandemic, he had made four trips to India, and three other trips, you know, massive travel time, and he said, “for right now, it's a really nice change, right, you're home, and you're grounded, and you know, have time with your family in a very different way and, of course, you're still able to work.”So I think it will look different. I think we will always travel. I think people benefit from being physically together. I think there's a connection that can happen. One thing Ritesh mentioned was, if in a normal sales cycle, or working with a prospect on a normal time we would have four in-person meetings to lead up to a sale. He anticipates it would be more like one or two now that it will be that hybrid we keep talking about. There'll be some meetings just like this, where you and I are talking like this, and then maybe beginning or end of the connection we would meet in person, you know, so I think that's a great thing. I think like we said earlier, I think leveraging all of what's good, and bringing back the things that have really been missed, that just where there's just something missing from the way we connect as people, I think that'll be great if we can get to that balance. As you said, find ways to keep some parameters around it. Sabina Bhasin, C2CYeah, that that sounds good. I'm really looking forward to that conversation with Ritesh and all the other partners that are going to be joining. Well, this has been a really great conversation. Thank you so much, Laurie. Before we wrap up, I am just curious, is there anything else that you wanted to add that we didn't get to yet? Laurie Klausner, QuantiphiSo you just use the perfect word in your wrap-up there use the word curious. So that makes me think about we started a program back in February called the curious writer’s contest.What we realized is we have some brilliant thought leaders here at Quantiphi, but there were other voices that we didn’t really hear from. We really wanted them to have a place that they could be heard, whether it was their experience with a customer, whether it's some kind of new programming that they were learning or doing, or just how they were handling COVID, or how they were where they were living and how it was going for them, so, we started this content. We had some simple parameters, but basically, write a blog post for us, it could be about myriad topics, and we would help them wordsmith it; we really just wanted to hear their thoughts. And we have had incredible responses. Of course, we made it a little competitive, we have a leaderboard, and we give out prizes, and we got all kinds of submissions. From really incredibly heartfelt poems about how this was going to some brilliant really in-depth programming skills that someone's learned, and some of these are now public on our blog. The overwhelming response makes me realize, I think many times people just need to know where they can share, so o I think Quantiphi’s done a good job really trying to hear from everyone, even while we're all remote. I hope that the program will continue running, even if we're seeing each other five days a week; I think it's still nice to have a place that people can go and write and share thoughts in a different way. Sabina Bhasin, C2CDefinitely, I feel like we could talk all day, and I'm hoping that we get a chance to talk again. Laurie Klausner, QuantiphiI hope so too. Yeah. Sabina Bhasin, C2CSo everybody, be sure to come back and check out our future work is all about the partner perspective; until then, take care. On June 10, Ritesh Patel, Co-Founder of Quantiphi, will join Tony Safoian, CEO of SADA; Swaraj Kulkarni, CTO of MediaAgility and Tom Galizia, Global Chief Commercial Officer Alphabet Google at Deloitte, to discuss client empathy during digital exhaustion. Register here: https://community.c2cglobal.com/events/the-future-of-work-and-client-empathy-51
As we march on through year two of a pandemic that sends pulses of fear and relief in what seems like equal measure, we are taking the month to acknowledge and discuss how cloud technology responds to the mental health epidemic.Between headlines of a mental health crisis unofficially dubbed an epidemic, there are helpers like the leaders exploring options to ensure a culture of health and wellness into the future of work or the startups turning to Google Cloud AI for near-constant mental health support. This month at C2C, we are honoring Mental Health Awareness Month by infusing our technical and event content with candid conversations. We will look at how technology is the culprit and the hero, including the players behind the scenes and the tools driving change. Our month of content kicks off this week with a discussion about how technology impacts our collective wellness. Next week, we’ll look at C2C partners such as Accenture and how it brings taboo topics around mental health to the mainstream conversation. Accenture will share examples of recognizing a teammate’s loss and why that fosters a culture of authenticity and working fearlessly. During the week of May 17, we’ll host a C2C Talks around a tech company using the Google Cloud AI Platform to empower meaningful conversations for frontline workers. The University of North Carolina School of Medicine and Institute for Trauma Recovery worked with Google Cloud to create the app and survey. By collecting an aggregate of data from health care workers at academic institutions across the country, an understanding of the stressors harming health care workers can lead to better health outcomes. Using the Heroes Health App, health professionals can care for themselves and each other. Health care workers can “anonymously let [their] organization know how they’re doing, track their wellness with a five-minute set of weekly surveys, and access mental health resources specific to [their] organization,” the website reads. On May 25, we’ll bring you our next installment of our C2C Navigators series (see below) exploring the future of work and its impact on culture. Gain insight into what CIOs, CTOs, and executives are doing to redefine corporate culture, nurture the culture of change, and measure success by adherence to company values. Join Brigette McInnis-Day, Google Cloud VP of HR, Kelly Ducourty, VP of GTM strategy and ops, and Peter High, industry expert, for a thoughtful discussion. Finally, we bring the month full circle by creating space for C2C members to join together and share their perspectives after a month of content. The goal? Get to know other members, have rich, authentic conversations, and empower each other to continue the conversation beyond May. I look forward to seeing you around our community, learning from your experiences, and hearing your perspectives.
Responding to the needs of one of our most active communities, C2C Connect: Workspace, C2C set out to bring the experts in for an authentic conversation about the future of work. The series will continue through the year and will explore all angles of our professional lives. What will culture look like, and how will employees remain engaged? What about security? How have consulting businesses pivoting, and what will they do going forward? What about Google Cloud customers? How are they remaining connected and productive through disruption?We kicked off the series with a discussion between Kelly Ducourty, VP of GTM strategy at Google Cloud, and Peter High, a strategist, lecturer, and author of "Implementing World Class IT Strategy,” and president of Metis Strategy. High began the conversion with a keynote about understanding what the future of work will look like in the post-pandemic world. You can watch the keynote below. Ducourty, who runs a massive global team, shared how Google Workspace has enabled the future of work. You can watch her explain below. High then shared his perspective on the market holistically; hear his answer below. Doubling down on this concept about the employee experience, we wanted to understand if roles and responsibilities will continue to evolve into the future.Innovative Inventions Born out of Necessity As the conversation pivoted to discussing the balance between employee experience, customer needs, and speed of innovation, certain new norms sprouted. These inventions, born out of necessity, as the saying goes, have had a profound effect, and we were curious about how these innovations will continue. Hear Ducourty and High share their views. How has a virtual environment enabled a more inclusive environment? How will that be maintained into the future of work? Some key ways that Ducourty mentioned include the following: Speech to text supporting those with disabilities and helping them feel more included Location details, letting people know which physical location you are in at the moment, enabling understanding about how to work with one another Scheduling email sends, which allows people to work when convenient while maintaining professional boundaries Some of these features are still within Google as the team tests and iterates before releasing to the market. Hear Ducourty and High share more about inclusivity and how they foresee DEI initiatives.KPIs and Productivity Measurement As employers develop the future of work and how employees will engage and continue productivity, there is a sense of employees enjoying working from home. And for employers, they’ve enjoyed the increase in productivity. A study conducted by Prodoscore found that employees are 200% more productive than they were pre-pandemic. So, we asked the experts, what are some KPIs and metrics that organizations have used to measure the effectiveness of the success? What is being used today? What will continue in the future? Culture and the Future of Work One of the critical discussion points centered around culture. Google and Alphabet are known for maintaining a culture of innovation; as Google continues to grow and redesign for the future of work, how will Google ensure that culture, for which Google has become famous, will continue? Hear what Ducourty said about that business goal. High offered a view from the industry. “Chief Information Officer Ben Freed is a great somebody I greatly admire, and I asked him that very question: how does Google as it has become a behemoth maintain its entrepreneurial spirit, its ability to innovate? He talked about the importance for companies to change a core competence and that that's something that Google has constantly had. Also, he talked about how the organization has these bureaucracy-busting days, where employees list ideas when bureaucracy is beginning to rear its ugly head and unwinding those very activities. He added that being deliberate around this really can facilitate having that innovator’s edge, even as an organization grows large.” We will continue this conversation and explore how leading organizations are leveraging cloud collaboration tools to keep their teams moving forward on June 24. C2C Community Questions We love hearing from the community and getting their perspectives on the issues we are bringing to the fore in the C2C platform. A community member shared with us in advance of the session a fundamental question on all business leaders’ minds: Who owns the project of restructuring and redesigning the workplace?What is the role of the physical office in the future? What about hybrid offices? Do you see differences forming around industry lines for the future of work? What are you seeing, hearing out in the market with customers on these types of progressive approaches? Extra CreditGoogle Workspace and The Evolution of G SuiteTop 20 Google Workspace Features of 2020C2C Talks: Top 20 Workspace Features in 2020, Predictions for 2021, and Hybrid Work FuturesJavier Soltero Answers Customer Questions on Google Workspace and Collaboration in the Cloud
The C2C Navigators: Future of Work series gives you access to some of the top minds at Google Cloud, innovative customers, and industry leaders. For the first in this series, we invited two experts to the stage:Kelly Ducourty, VP, GTM Strategy and Operations in Google Cloud and Interim Global Sales Leader for Google Workspace at Google Peter High, President at Metis Strategy, Strategist, Lecturer, Podcast Host, and AuthorKey Discussion Points:Establishing a post-pandemic work/life balance. How is the Google Workspace team defining the future of work? Google’s culture of innovation and new inventions born out of necessity, what’s next? How are productivity metrics driving decision-making for future work models, like remote work or hybrid version? Community Questions Answered: With so much disruption to the traditional working model, how do you get started, and who ultimately owns this “project”? What is the future role of the virtual office in how employees thrive in the workplace? Do you as executives see major differences forming around industry lines for the future of work? How will we ensure the future of work maintains or builds on the inclusivity virtual work affords those with disabilities? How do we bring human beings back into the conversation when we talk about the pandemic and post-pandemic workplace?Watch the entire conversation here: Stay tuned for a full breakdown of the key moments from this discussion, including video clips and resources, coming soon!
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.
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 email@example.com, or comment below.
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