Speaker: Cynthia Hester, Senior Director, Customer Programs, Google Cloud
Why is Women’s History Month important to you?
Cynthia Hester: Women's History Month is important to me for a couple of reasons. Most importantly, I come from a long line of courageous, smart women who made huge contributions to their community and to their families. Having a month where I'm able to share this with my friends, my colleagues, my family for contributions by women from around the world, women who were the first to do so many different things is truly an honor and a pleasure. I plan to use this month sharing in community, acknowledging, recognizing, just learning more about the contributions that women have made to our culture and our society at large.
What is the most important diversity goal for women in your organization?
Cynthia Hester: I believe the most important diversity role for women in our organization is to reach back and pull someone forward. Reach out and embrace and support another woman in our organization. It is through this partnership through this community that we will truly build a much more diverse culture and environment here at Google.
Which woman in history has inspired you the most, and why?
Cynthia Hester: The woman that inspires me the most in history is Harriet Tubman. I read a story about Harriet Tubman when I was about eight or nine years old, and it just stuck with me. It really hit me at my core, and she's always been my vision and my inspiration of someone who was courageous, smart, and an amazingly strong leader. She was an abolitionist. She was and served in the US Military at a time when not only were women not serving, black women were not serving. And to see someone when you're eight or nine years old, that looks like you, do these amazing things, like nothing could be more inspiring. And I am so grateful for the opportunity that I had as a young child to learn about her and her journey. Because I do feel like that is what fueled me as I was growing up and developing in my career. And it may not have been at the forefront of my thinking, but whenever I think about someone who I admire and who was inspirational from history, it's Harriet Tubman that I think about.
What is the biggest challenge for the next generation of women?
Cynthia Hester: I believe the biggest challenge facing the next generation of young women entering their careers is one of perception. The perception that women have equal voice. The perception that women have equal influence. The perception that women have equal access. My advice and coaching is to gather around you folks that will be invested in your future. That will give you candid feedback. Support each other. Make space for each other. Find that place where you can thrive and grow and leave the places where you cannot.