Earlier this month, we celebrated women who achieved historical firsts. From the first woman astronaut to the first woman to climb Mount Everest, in the past year, the world searched for “the first woman” more than ever before. These trailblazers continue to inspire new generations, especially young women and girls striving to achieve their own firsts today.
Our own workplace is filled with inspiring women who have achieved their own personal “firsts,” too. These accomplishments show how women everywhere are breaking down barriers, finding their passions and changing the world. As Women’s History Month comes to an end, we asked 10 amazing women who work at Google offices all over the world to tell us their stories.
Breaking down barriers
Director, Diversity & Inclusion
San Francisco, California
“My mom had me when she was only 16 and school was not an option for her. Her biggest dream was for me to graduate high school, and it was important to me to do so. I was the first woman in my family to graduate high school, and I didn’t stop there. Eventually, I went on to graduate with a BS, MA and MBA from San Jose State University. Today, I have three degrees and three kids and I help oversee Google’s diversity efforts.”
Industry Manager, Large Customer Sales
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
“I was the first in my family to pursue education and career after getting married. In my family, all the women got married soon after they finished University. I had the support of my husband which really helped. I studied hard, managed to finish my Masters with a Distinction and a Dean's Award. And this set the stage for other women in my family to do the same."
“I’m the first woman to run a full marathon wearing a sari. It took place in Airtel Hyderabad in 2017. I ran 26.2 miles in under five hours. I got into the Guinness World Records book for that. I also ran two 50Ks, or ultra marathons, wearing a sari, the best one completing in under six hours. I continue to run all events in a sari in order to inspire the women in the local community to take up an active lifestyle and to feel confident wearing saris on a regular basis.”
Internal Communications Manager
Southeast Asia, Singapore
“I was the first woman to start working in my Hindu joint family (or extended family) of 48 members who still largely live together. My mother always encouraged me to think beyond the ‘usual’ courses that a girl is ‘supposed to take’ in school. I joined a computer course in school instead of picking a needlework class, for example. I went on to do a few more programming courses after college. Today, I’ve been at Google for 11 years!”
Karen Yamaguchi Ogawa
Sao Paulo, Brazil
"I am the first woman (with a disability) in my family to complete postgraduate studies, work in a multinational company, travel abroad alone and have financial independence."
Finding their passions
Art Director, Doodles
San Francisco, California
“I was the first news design intern at a national newspaper and it changed the trajectory of my career. It exposed me to a variety of creative roles that brought together my love for art, history, film, fashion and current events. Today, my curiosity and passion for visual storytelling has led me to the Doodle team where I craft uplifting and inclusive stories about interesting subjects with diverse artists from all around the world.”
Product Manager, Stadia
Mountain View, California
“I was the first female lead on all things VOD (Video on Demand) at my previous company. I was part of the team that built the first VOD upload business and all the features surrounding it, and I was the only product manager. Today, I’m a lead product manager for Stadia, which I’ve worked on since before its launch.
Changing the world
Sales Associate, Large Customer Sales
“I was the first Muslim woman to be elected to my office at age 21 — and I still hold the title of youngest Muslim elected official in the United States. I first ran for office at the age of 19, and lost. With the support of the person I ran against, I was encouraged to try again and was elected in April 2019. This taught me how to nurture and cultivate relationships, which I carry with me in my role at Google as a Large Customer Sales Associate.”
Administrative Business Partner
London, United Kingdom
“I was the first to help introduce a Black History curriculum into my children’s school. I am also the first woman of color called to join the Amniotic Fluid Embolism (AFE) board. AFE is a rare but life threatening birth complication that took my sister’s life nearly seven years ago, shortly after the birth of her second child. I recently took part in the documentary ‘The Black Maternity Scandal: Dispatches’ to highlight both AFE and the shocking statistic that Black women are four times more likely to die in childbirth than their white counterparts."
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
“I was the first woman to create a pro bono legal service for independent artists in the Netherlands. Today, I try to practice helpfulness by engaging as much as possible in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion issues at Google.”