#InspiredByHer: Annie Jean-Baptiste is the Head Of Product Inclusion, Research and Activation at Google. She is passionate about making the web and Google’s products work for underrepresented communities while ensuring that Google is a place where everyone shines for their differences.
Can you please tell us a bit about Yourself, Background, Role and what inspired You to be in tech landscape?
I am a 31 year old first generation Haitian-American. My brother inspired me to apply to Google after he interned there. It’s been my only full time job- I’ve been there for over 9
Product inclusion is about bringing an inclusive lens to the product design process. We are building products for users all over the world, and so we want to ensure we have diverse
perspectives at the table throughout the process, especially at critical points.
You have a huge mandate and responsibilities at Google. Can you walk me through what a typical day looks like for you?
I meet with product teams and help consult on new and existing products and features. I help them understand what underrepresented users they need to bring into the fold at
critical moments in the product design process. I also work with senior leaders to make sure we have buy-in and accountability for product inclusion.
Another big part of my work is research- we are looking at what practices lead to positive and inclusive outcomes in product design, and will be launching a white paper on our findings this
Technology is a male-dominated field and Breaking into the tech industry can seem challenging for women of color, who usually don’t see people who look like them in the industry. What steps should be taken to attract more women to tech and rectify the imbalance?
We need perspectives of women of color and many other underrepresented groups to truly build global products. By understanding that diverse teams lead to increased innovation and better products for everyone, we will see more underrepresented people in tech. There are so many rich perspectives that come from women of color and so we are committed to inclusion in culture and product
What is your go-to work look?
I love supporting underrepresented designers. Google doesn’t necessarily have a dress code, so my look varies. I love leather and vegan leather, metallic colors, and fun heels,
but could also be wearing combat boots. Some of my favorite designers: Aminah Abdul Jilil, Andrea Iyamah, Cushnie. I make an effort to support underrepresented designers whenever I can!
What professional accomplishment has given you the most satisfaction?
Hearing from users that they feel seen. When a user talks about using a product and knowing they were thought of in the process, it validates the work and pushes me to work
What does it mean for you to have a commitment to diversity/Inclusion? How have you demonstrated that commitment?
It means treating it like any part of your strategy. Having metrics that matter, accountability frameworks, sponsorship and a clear theory of change or hypothesis around what needs to change or how you can change to see structural shifts that bring equitable outcomes.
What would be your message to women trying to get into technology? What do you wish you had known?
Find your voice and use it, but use it in a way that’s authentic to you. I’m an introvert, so for me, that can mean writing something down, or letting my team know id like an agenda
beforehand so I can collect my thoughts before a meeting. I’d also say to push yourself. My former manager, Karen always told me to lead with yes, and I think even if that was scary,
it’s helped me grow and be able to find my passion.
How important is it for women to lift each other up and what does that mean to you?
There is an amazing group of women inside and outside of Google that have my back, that advise me and lift me up. It means celebrating each other, being honest with each other,
providing opportunities to one another, and truly feeling like when your squad wins, you win. I win. I’m super blessed to have support like that and try to be intentional about reciprocating
and paying it forward!
Your team’s guide ‘building for everyone’ will be released in summer 2020. Tell us more about it?
It’s about best practices and our research. It also gives a behind the scenes look at the Googlers who have powered the work. There are also concrete examples across
industries, from medicine, to fashion, sports and more. If you have a product or a service, or you serve customers, thinking about inclusivity in your process is important so that you solve core user needs.