DEI and Belonging in the Cloud with Jason Smith
Jason helps us better understand what the concepts diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging mean to him. It’s more than just including different types of people, Jason tells us, companies must also give them equal opportunities and say in their jobs. We talk about the difference between DEI and belonging. Belonging means feeling comfortable and accepted and conveys a more concrete, real-life sense of community that brings DEI to life. While DEI is easy enough for a company to measure, it’s sometimes tricky to get a clear picture of belonging in a company. Jason talks about possible solutions to this problem.
Growing up as the child of both a white and a black parent, Jason understands the importance of feeling a sense of belonging as a mixed race individual. In that vein, he founded Mixed Googlers, and he tells us more about how this group supports other mixed individuals at Google. He talks about the events they have hosted, including talks with famous mixed race speakers, and how the grassroots efforts to form and grow Mixed Googlers has created a great community.
Later, Jason talks about DEI and belonging in tech companies and cloud specifically. He introduces us to some fun ways to incorporate DEI principles into company culture in a way that encourages all individuals to contribute their personal perspectives. He stresses the importance of allowing mistakes, especially when discussing diversity issues with your coworkers, so the conversation can be about growth and not about confrontation.
Jason Smith is a Customer Engineer supporting application modernization and the founder of Mixed Googlers, an ERG dedicated to mixed race individuals.
Cool things of the week
- Sign up for the Google Cloud Fly Cup Challenge blog
- Google Cloud Firewall introduces Network Firewall Policies, IAM-governed Tags and more blog
- Building trust in the data with Dataplex blog
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Keynote site
- Google Belonging site
- Google 2022 Diversity Annual Report site
- Sugi Dakks: Not the Only One | Talks at Google video
- BigQuery site
- #IamRemarkable site
What’s something cool you’re working on?
Stephanie is working on content for Next and the Drone Racing League.
Transcriptshow full transcript
[MUSIC PLAYING] STEPHANIE WONG: Hey, everyone, and welcome to episode number 321 of the weekly Google Cloud Platform Podcast. This is Stephanie Wong. And today, it's just me again. So you're welcome.
No, but I'm super excited because today we have a great episode with Jason Smith, who has been at Google for about five years now and has done some really great work in the DEI and belonging space. He is the founder of the Mixed Googlers group here. And he'll tell you more about his experience doing that and why.
But I think it's an important conversation to have. We talk a lot about the technology and the products at Cloud, but they would be nothing without the people who build them and support the ecosystem within the tech community. So DEI, huge topic. We'll get into it in a bit. But first, let's go ahead and cover the cool things of the week.
All right, so I'm cheating again and I have a few of them, but they're all really fun and exciting, especially with Next coming up. The first one I'm going to mention is the Google Cloud Fly Cup Challenge. Yes, so we just announced a partnership with the Drone Racing League. If you have no idea what that is, it's pretty much like the F1 of drone racing. And I'm telling you about it right now as I'm wearing the sweatshirt they gave me because I got to go and see their lab, which is the only drone lab in New York City. And I've got some great content coming out about that experience, so stay tuned for that.
But what's exciting about it is that we are promoting the Drone Racing League, and Google Cloud Fly Cup Challenge is taking place at Next this October to usher in this new era of tech-driven sports. So to enter the challenge, you can use the DRL race data and Google Cloud analytics tools so that developers of any skill level will be able to predict race outcomes and provide tips to the actual pilots. And that will help enhance their season performance.
So all of this is so that you can compete for a chance to win a trip to the season finale of the DRL world championship race and be crowned on stage. I'm actually hoping to go to one of their races at Next over down at PayPal Park, so hopefully I'll see you there. But yeah, go ahead and register for Next, then navigate to the Developer Zone to unlock the game, and then complete each stage of the challenge to advance in the leaderboard. So see you there.
So the second cool thing of the week that I want to mention is we have some new networking launches. As you know, I'm a huge fan of networking products. And so whenever I hear of a feature or product launch, I'm always going to be talking about it and creating content about it. But we know that network security and firewalls provide one of the basic building blocks for securing your cloud infrastructure.
So we have three new Google Cloud Firewall features now in GA-- global network firewall policies, regional network firewall policies, and IAM governed tags. So with these enhancements, Cloud Firewall can help you achieve a zero-trust network posture with a distributed, cloud-native, stateful inspection firewall service. So check out the blog to learn more about that.
Now, the last one I want to say is about Dataplex. So this is one of our launches that came out last year. Bruno Aziza talked about that on the podcast. And hopefully, I'm going to have him on next month here to talk about our new launches. But this blog post talks about how Dataplex data quality can give you a declarative approach for defining what good looks like. And it can actually be managed as a part of a CI/CD workflow.
So you can actually use Dataplex as a serverless and managed execution service with no infrastructure to provision. And all of this data can be stored in BigQuery and Google Cloud Storage. And if it's not yet organized in Dataplex, that storage can be managed by Dataplex where it can autodetect and autocreate tables for structured and semi-structured data.
So it makes your life a lot easier when it comes to data ingestion and data analysis. So go ahead and check out all of those blogs for the cool things of the week. And now, we're going to go ahead and hop into our conversation with Jason Smith.
Welcome to the podcast, Jason. I don't know if we've had on before. Have we?
JASON SMITH: No, we have not.
STEPHANIE WONG: All right. Well, this is exciting. Why don't you go ahead and just give a quick intro of yourself first? I know we've known each other for years, but for everyone else.
JASON SMITH: Oh yeah, you started Google maybe six months before me, and we've known each other since. But for everybody else who's out there, my name is Jason Smith. I'm a customer engineer here at Google Cloud. I focus mainly on application modernization. So think things like Kubernetes, CI/CD, serverless technology. But I am also the founder of Mixed Googlers, which is an employee resource group dedicated to those who identify as multiracial and multiethnic. To the best of my knowledge, we are one of the first in a Fortune 100 company.
STEPHANIE WONG: Yeah, amazing. And that's mainly the reason why we have here today. So just to jump straight into it, you founded the Mixed Googlers group. But before we go into the specifics of that, I just want to give a high-level overview of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and then talk about belonging. So what does it mean to you, DEI?
JASON SMITH: That's a very good question. In the past, DEI has just been called diversity and inclusion, or just diversity program, a variety of different things of that nature. But being a diverse company or being a diverse organization or having a diverse group is more than just having different faces, different creeds, different colors, different genders in a group, but it's also giving them all equal footing, equal opportunity to speak up, equal opportunity to essentially belong.
And that's kind of where the equity and inclusion part comes in on the diversity. It's, OK, we have a diverse group of people, now how do we ensure that everybody has an equal opportunity at the table and that everybody feels like they belong, and don't feel like an outsider, especially based on those lines such as gender, race, creed, national origin, ability, so on and so forth.
STEPHANIE WONG: Yeah, and this has become more and more in the limelight as more people are voicing their experiences, especially in technology. I just attended the Grace Hopper conference this past week. And it's been such a core theme of the conference, of course, is how we can create more of a sense of belonging in tech. But just to really drill in on that, what's the difference between belonging versus DEI? Because we hear DEI all the time, but why are we talking about belonging?
JASON SMITH: That's actually a good question. And everybody's going to have a slightly different definition, just like with anything else. But to me, belonging is a little bit more of an encompassing term. To me, DEI kind of sounds very methodical. It sounds like you would read it in a legal book or in some kind of academic page. It doesn't have that kind of grasp. It doesn't really tell you much of the story.
I think belonging-- like everyone, when I say you belong here, or do you belong here, whatnot, everybody kind of has this idea of what belonging means. And it means that I feel comfortable here, I feel welcome here, I feel like I am accepted for who I am. So belonging, I feel like, brings the concept of DEI to life, versus giving the legal, academic type definition.
STEPHANIE WONG: Yeah. I completely agree with that. I think DEI is a term that many companies see as something they should strive towards, something that they should always underscore as important in their company. But until employees themselves have a sense of true belonging, then the efforts for DEI might be futile if belonging isn't an actual, measurable outcome of your efforts.
JASON SMITH: Exactly, exactly. And I think that's where a lot of the problems come in. Historically, a lot of tech companies-- a lot of companies in general, you know, I'm not going to just pick on tech-- when they look at diversity, they look at what they will call the funnel, like are we getting diverse candidates, which is a great thing to look at. I'm not at all knocking that. However, it'd be like if you were trying to fill a bucket, but there was a hole in the bucket and water kept leaking out. You would never fill the bucket to your satisfaction.
So I always say, you know, we have to not just look at diverse candidates, but we have to look and see things like attrition rates and whatnot. And if there are more trends to specific demographics towards attrition, if that's the case, why is that the case? Is it because this group does not feel a sense of belonging, so on and so forth?
You want to make sure that people don't just have diverse groups joining a company, but you also have diverse group staying with the company. And granted, people are going to leave for a variety of reasons-- better job opportunity, want to try something different, life events. But you don't want the reason somebody to leave be-- you don't want them to feel like they don't have a sense of belonging.
STEPHANIE WONG: Yeah, exactly. And that, honestly, is hard to measure, I'm sure. I mean, we have data, more now than we ever have before. I know that Google releases our Diversity Annual Report, which is a plethora of data about our employee base here.
And we've released that as a public data set on BigQuery, where any stewards of DEI efforts can use that data to do comparative analysis of our existing employee base to external sources, like attrition rates or graduation rates, and then do other analyses, like the number of women in leadership positions or Asian women in leadership positions. So that's always helpful. But to get a true sense of belonging and find out why people are leaving due to that reason might be more difficult. So how do you see tech companies can address that?
JASON SMITH: Well, the traditional way that most people will do is an exit interview. Hey, why are you leaving? Why do you want to move forward? Now, the problem with that can sometimes be that some people aren't going to want to be forward about it, for whatever reason. Like maybe it's not necessarily a sense of shame or something, but maybe people just don't want to talk about that.
They don't want to say, well, this is why I don't want to be with the company, because I didn't feel like I belonged as a Black person, or as somebody who identifies as LGBTQ or somebody who is a woman or somebody with a disability. Sometimes, you don't feel comfortable saying that, and you just say, oh, I got a better opportunity. However, I wouldn't knock the exit interview. That's one way, but it shouldn't be the only way.
What a lot of companies are doing nowadays are having dedicated teams, at least for larger companies. And those teams, their whole thing is diversity and making sure things are equitable. And they will do pulse checks with the different groups, like such as at Google and what you'll see in a lot of big tech companies, we have ERGs, which essentially are employee-run. The people who run ERGs typically are volunteers. They have other day jobs, such as myself.
They also kind of speak on behalf, if you will, or interact on behalf with the company that they are located in to advocate internally for better opportunities or better resources for a specific group, and also try to elevate each other within. That's one way they can do it, as well, kind of do those kind of pulse checks. Doing pulse surveys, as well, trying to anonymize the data as much as possible, because if it's anonymous, people will feel a little bit better about being open.
It's a constant conversation. You don't want to wait until somebody has an offer from another company and they're doing their exit interview to figure out that, oh, we could have done more with belonging. You want to have a constant check-in and be mindful. I would also add that I brought in diversity teams and whatnot. You might notice, like, diversity engineer, diversity manager.
That's not my title. Everybody has a responsibility for diversity on some level, and anybody can be a diversity leader. You don't have to necessarily have diversity in your title. So you can lead efforts. I've seen people at Google, people at other companies, as well, do great jobs in terms of leading efforts to give a voice to different groups, marginalized groups within their companies.
STEPHANIE WONG: I was at a panel last week, talking about how these leaders at companies, VP and above, who are executive sponsors of ERGs and various DEI efforts. And so they were talking, and at the end, someone came up to the mic and asked a live question, how do you balance DEI work with your day job. And two out of the three people started their answer by saying it's not a side hustle.
This is just one in the same as my day job, and I don't see it as something that's extraneous to it. This is something that I live, breathe, and eat as I start my day, and how I can incorporate more DEI efforts into everything I do. So I think that's step number one. And I think the ERGs are a really, really amazing avenue and intermediary between various groups, to build more intersectionality between groups, as well. And that's a great segue to talk about Mixed Googlers because that's an ERG that you have started, and it's now an official ERG at Google, right?
JASON SMITH: Oh, that's correct. Yes, as of last year.
STEPHANIE WONG: That's amazing. Congrats. So tell me about your reasoning behind starting it and the path and journey to get to where it is today.
JASON SMITH: Sure. So basically, the TLDR on it is you probably can't see me through the podcast, listeners, but I identify as being Black and white. I have a Black parent, I have a white parent, and grew up in an age where it wasn't as common, so to speak. So if you look at some of the census numbers, for example, it wasn't until the 2000 census where you could actually list two or more races as a racial identity.
So we really only have three censuses worth of data, but if we look at 2000, when we had less than 3% of the population identifying as mixed race, versus the recent 2020 census, which shows 10%, or to give an actual number to it, 33.8 million people identifying as two or more races, I expect things are going to be different in the future, in terms of how we view race and whatnot, identity. But growing up, it was not seen that way. We were kind of a silent minority, or an invisible minority, if you will.
Just like anybody else, I want a sense of belonging. I want to feel like I am understood. I want to feel like I have people to talk to about some of these issues that are unique to being a mixed race person. And not only did it not exist at Google, it really didn't exist anywhere. I just-- I'm amazed at the fact that we have so many mixed race people out there, and we just don't have-- there's just not a lot of groups. I don't know if it's just-- we could talk all day about whether it's a social problem or a business problem or whatnot, but the fact still remains.
So I decided, well, you know what, I can't possibly be the only person who feels this way. And I've built a community here within the company that felt the same way. And as we gained steam and more people started to join because they're like, oh, I heard about this, and this is great and everything, we really started to scale up. And we started to have more members, more speakers, and then we were given ERG status.
STEPHANIE WONG: Yeah, and you've done a number of great events with some well-known speakers. So can you tell us some of the highlights from what you've been able to bring in so far?
JASON SMITH: If you look at Talks at Google, which is a YouTube channel, we recently had [INAUDIBLE], who is a rapper. He identifies as mixed race, as well. He is Japanese, white and Black. And he wrote a song which we just kind of stumbled upon.
And it was-- I always call it like the national anthem, or the anthem of mixed race people, because if you're a mixed race person, you listen to it, you're almost certainly going to be saying, oh yeah, I've been there before, or yeah, I've heard something like that said to me and stuff. It's called "Not the Only One." So he was a speaker. And that was a great one. And that's something you can also catch on YouTube at the Talks at Google page.
So we've had speakers such as that. We've had other speakers, such as Farzana Nayani. She wrote the book "Raising Multiracial Children." She also wrote a book called "The Power of ERGs," or "Power of Employee Resource Groups." She actually calls out Mixed Googlers in the book, which is kind of cool.
But yeah, we've had a bunch of great speakers in the area. And I will say, at the beginning, it was a challenge to find speakers because there weren't resources where we could go to. There wasn't like an NAACP equivalent for mixed race people that we can talk to and ask for speakers, for example.
So we had to do a lot of our own searching to find people, and ask for recommendations from other academics like, hey, do you know anybody who's an expert on XYZ? Oh sure, yeah, ping this person, tell them I sent you. So it was a very, very grassroots option, but we found some very great speakers.
And we've even had speakers internally who spoke about their own experiences. And we have a lot of people who are also just supporting each other. Not too long ago, we had a hair talk, where people were talking about how to help with a mixed child's hair. And everybody just piled on to help, and now there's like a whole doc that talks about how to do that.
STEPHANIE WONG: Oh, I love that. That's amazing, yeah. And I feel like that is really grassroots and how communities are built from the ground up because, as you said, a lot of people may not even know that they can identify as mixed, or they just don't have the community to look towards. And until they see one and are aware of what's out there, it might take a while for more speakers to come to you.
So it sounds like it's starting to happen. So that's amazing at a company like Google. I mean, tons of people here to build that community off the ground. But why are we talking about DEI, belonging not only in tech, but more specifically in cloud?
JASON SMITH: Exactly. So cloud is kind of-- it's weird saying it's kind of the hot thing because it's been around for a while, so it's like, well, no, that's not new, but realistically, there's still a lot of people who are in data centers. There's still a lot of people who are needing to be sold on the concept of the cloud and wanting to move to the cloud. So I would still say cloud is in that semi-startup phase. Maybe let's call the Series A phase or the Series B phase of their technology.
In Silicon Valley, we have a lot of these ideas when it comes to building technology companies, building different products, trying to be innovative about moving fast and breaking things. And that's a fine ideology when it comes to building products and getting products to market. Not a great ideology when you're thinking about people.
So when it comes to cloud, the way I always think about it is you want to make sure that, while you're breaking things, you're not breaking your people. You're not breaking something that will harm your business because, on one hand, your people are your greatest asset. You might have this great technology, great patents, but they didn't generate themselves out of the ether. It was your employees who helped create that stuff.
From a business standpoint, you want to make sure that they are feeling they belong. But then from a personal standpoint, I always say, just be excellent to each other. We want to be known as the company where, if you join, you feel like you're part of a family or you feel like you're part of a larger community and a larger purpose. You don't want to go on to one of these review sites and see a bunch of people talking about how, yeah, I was there for a year, I got burned out, there was nobody nice to me, anything like that. You don't want to be that kind of company.
So the problem we see when people are doing that whole move fast and break things is, a lot of times, they will sacrifice well-being in the greater name of progress. But I always say, hey, in cloud, when we're starting to build this new technology, your people are what makes the technology, not the technology making the business. That's what makes your company what it is, the people. So make sure you're always taking care of the people. And if diversity is a goal, and it should be because the whole thing about Cloud is internet, global. We're talking about almost 8 billion people on the planet. If you're wanting to reach those 8 billion people, they aren't a hive mind. They all don't think one way.
They think multiple ways, multiple backgrounds, multiple understandings. And the only way you will get that kind of viewpoint when you're building your products is if you have people in your company that reflect the people that you're trying to reach. A lot of times, you have a problem with groupthink when you bring a lot of the same type of person in.
STEPHANIE WONG: Tech is inextricably linked to the society it affects. And people in tech should reflect the society touches and affects. So I absolutely agree with that. I also feel that, from my experience, at least, I think Cloud has actually helped to democratize access to software and technology to more diverse set of people, globally, like you said, thinking globally.
But then for the engineers that are learning and building and having access to Cloud tooling, with the number of managed services, browser-based tooling, things like being able to spin up VMs in a few minutes in the Cloud to start getting your hands on it, I mean, if you think back to even 15, 20 years ago, it would have been much harder for a student, or someone who doesn't have the resources to be able to learn software development using these tools.
JASON SMITH: I often tell people, when I was in college, I would go to garage sales and find very old computers, set them up in my room as a server, and that's how I hosted web pages. Nowadays, with a few clicks of a button, as you mentioned, I can go to a Cloud provider, deploy a VM, and I'm doing the exact same thing, never had to leave my house.
STEPHANIE WONG: Yeah, and so I think that with the globalization of access to technology and the internet, it's even more important that those who are building products, even in Cloud or any of the products that Cloud touches and enables, should be represented by a diverse set of people and viewpoints.
JASON SMITH: Very, very true. While this is not Cloud-specific, this is a great idea. It is tech related. So we've talked at Google a little bit about some of our skin tone technology and whatnot. If you're a person developing a camera, or let's say you're developing an AI that you're going to host on the Cloud to identify photos, if you don't have the diverse mindsets, it will be very easy to overlook certain things like, well, not everybody has the same skin tone. Not everybody has the same facial structure.
Are we actually including these in our models when we're building them? You need diverse ideas because we can't reasonably expect one person or two people or a group of people to have an incredibly open mind and think about every single possibility. It'd be great if we can, unrealistic. You need multiple people with multiple perspectives in order to contribute and make sure you're creating these products that are inclusive of your user base.
STEPHANIE WONG: I think that one of the things to notice is when companies make mistakes or they miss something and they're not able to incorporate enough training data to be representative of all types of examples, then usually, it's not ill-intended. I think it's just a lack of, like you said, having enough people from all different backgrounds contribute their ideas and take notice.
JASON SMITH: Absolutely. There are some people who are just going to think of things that you won't think of, not necessarily in a dispositive way. It's just they have experiences that you don't have. I am not a woman. I'm not going to think of things that a woman might think of when they're looking at a product.
So if I'm wanting to reach women, it makes absolute sense that I include women in the group, but not just have them there so that I can take a picture and say like, hey, look at how diverse we are, but that they actually have a voice at the table. And their voice matters. And it's taken seriously, as seriously as anybody else's voice and really influences our product.
STEPHANIE WONG: Absolutely. I just want to get your viewpoint because I think when we talk about DEI, belonging, sometimes the tone of the conversation can be serious because I think people sometimes feel like they need to walk on eggshells or companies are like no, this is a very serious subject that we take very seriously. But I also think that from your perspective, because you've been able to build mixed Googlers and work with all these incredible people who are so passionate about it, what are some of the most positive and really fun ways of building DEI into a company like Google or just across tech?
JASON SMITH: Yeah, just across tech, any company, what I'd recommend is let's listen and let's celebrate. What do I mean by that? Let's listen to each other. People have different opinions, different concerns. Just because it's not your understanding doesn't make it invalid. Let's listen with open mind, open heart.
So for example, we've had a variety of different things happen in the news over the years that could affect different groups differently and affect how they work or how they feel. We're not machines. We're humans. I mean, even machines need to be taken down for maintenance every now and again.
So people need to be expected to be able to, for lack of a better term, be taken down for maintenance or allow them to disconnect and reset and whatnot. Maybe if there's something big going on in the world, let them sit with it for a while, if that's what they need to do. If they need to talk about it, let them talk about it.
But let's listen. Like, let's not think well, because it doesn't affect me, I don't think it's important. It might not be important to you. But it is important to somebody. It is on their mind. It is what's concerning them.
And then also celebrate. One thing I love, and I often talk about how I did, before it was cool, before COVID and made the digital nomad thing an option and everybody was working remotely. I did a digital nomad thing a few years prior where I went to a bunch of different countries, 11 in total.
And one of the greatest things was being able to actually see the cultures front and center and be an observer and get to learn what makes these groups unique, what makes them special, what makes them awesome. So getting to be in Hong Kong during a lunar year, for example, or being in Australia for Christmas and all of that, just being able to see that.
So what you can do is you can have celebrations around Black History Month, International Women's Day. Right now we're looking at Hispanic Heritage Month, all these different things. So we can have celebrations around it. Let people be them. One thing I've always said is if you want 100% from your employees or you're wanting your employees to bring 100% of them to work, you have to let them be 100%.
So let them celebrate who they are and share in it. Most people are going to be interested to learn about the different cultures. And that brings understanding.
STEPHANIE WONG: I love that. Yeah, in order to deliver 100%, you have to feel like you can be 100%. So true. It's so true. And I think the world is starting to really learn that. You mentioned listening and celebrating. And I also think just understanding that need to be patient with progress is important.
For example, using precise language is something that's going to take time for people to get used to along with even in engineering terms like deprecating certain terms like blacklisting or master and slave nodes or even Cloud native, for that matter. So that's going to take some time for your own company to start to recognize and change and even across the industry too. But the more that we can politely call out, I think the more that we'll see that start to happen.
JASON SMITH: Absolutely. I always say change can be slow. And that's just with anything. That's not just with diversity programs. In those efforts, change can be slow. But it's something you just have to continuously do and continuously think about. One thing I always try to say to and one thing I try to practice in my day to day is give people space to make mistakes.
Nobody is born with an amazing knowledge on diversity. It's the same way. I'm not born with an incredible dictionary of words. Or I wasn't born knowing how to write Python code. It's stuff I had to learn. And it's stuff I had to make mistakes along the way.
Sometimes I think it's all right to allow people to make those mistakes because maybe they're not being malicious. Maybe they just don't know. And this is a learning opportunity. So also give people space to grow and make their mistakes. And then we are able to make it less confrontational and make it more about growing together.
STEPHANIE WONG: Yeah, I think unlearning is just as hard as learning. So we all have to be patient with ourselves and other people. As we wrap up, do you have any final takeaways for our listeners to think about? And where can people go to learn more about diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging?
JASON SMITH: Thank you very much. I'd be happy to answer that question. One thing I always say when we talk about diversity. And it sounds like a big word and a big opportunity. It sounds like a 800-pounds gorilla.
Really, if you just break it down, just be excellent to each other. Try to understand. If you can do that in your day-to-day business and your day-to-day life, you are starting to lay the groundwork for practicing belonging.
In terms of resources, there are a bunch of resources out there. I'm sure everybody's heard about the various books. In terms of what Google has, if you actually go to belonging.google, we talk a lot about all the belonging programs we have.
You may have heard of the I Am Remarkable program, which has now been outsourced, if you will. It's something that was an internal program that we turned to an external program to teach people how to celebrate themselves and celebrate their achievements because reality, you have to be your biggest spokesperson. And then, of course, we have Cloud Next coming around the corner. There is a diversity keynote being held by our chief diversity officer, Melonie Parker.
So if you are planning on attending or listening to Next, I would recommend dialing into that and learning a little bit more about how Google does diversity as well.
STEPHANIE WONG: Amazing. Thank you so much Jason for coming onto the podcast and talking about your amazing work in the belonging DEI space.
JASON SMITH: Well. Thank you very much for having me. It was a pleasure.
STEPHANIE WONG: Rich conversation, right? We talked about the differences between diversity, equity, and inclusion versus belonging and how the responsibility to ensure belonging is something that we all feel. It's on everyone, not just top down at an organization.
And I think he's shown that ERGs or Employee Resource Groups are such a great way to do that. I mean, anyone can start an ERG at any company. And then if you can find an executive sponsor, even better. But really, it's a great way to build community from the ground up.
Also I would say if you can be a part of hiring or be a part of those conversations, hopefully leadership is open to that happening. And I think it's really important to continue to make sure that we expand our funnels to all sorts of people in a variety of backgrounds by being parts of conversation for hiring itself.
As Jason mentioned, we do have a diversity, equity, and inclusion keynote by our chief diversity officer, Melonie Parker. So definitely go ahead and check that out. If you are watching virtually for Next, she's a phenomenal leader. She was a huge part of our public data sets and our diversity annual report that came out this year. And she's done incredible work across the tech sector in this space.
All right, well, I know that towards the end of the episodes we usually talk about what we're working on. But I've already mentioned them. I'm preparing for Next. I'm doing two talks for Next. I'm doing the video session with the Drone Racing League and much, much more.
So all I have to say is go to Next. Check it out to see all of my content along with much, much more from our leaders and big speakers here. So see you there. And on the podcast, I'll see you all next week to give you a sneak peek of the launches.
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