Open to Googlers everywhere, ERGs are grassroots networks with shared values of supporting diversity and inclusion throughout our company and our communities. Surprised to discover that 20+ unique ERGs existed to begin with, I was relieved when I found out that interns, who are treated like full-time Googlers, could participate in them as well.
From ice cream socials to BBQs and salsa dancing, ERGs gave us opportunities to get to know Googlers from different seniority levels and functions—while having fun! The events I attended brought interns together with entry-level Googlers, managers, directors and senior VPs; Googlers in sales, marketing, people operations, global business, small business (SMB) services and engineering.
While many ERG events are social, Googlers in these groups also have a deep impact on social issues and the company at large. In light of the DOMA decision in June, Gayglers rallied the entire office for San Francisco’s Pride parade. Some of my fellow interns described the parade as a highlight. Shawn Saunders, a senior at Brown University and SMB services intern, told me “through the Gayglers, I was able to find a community of queer and allied Googlers who really helped color my experiences at Google.”
The Special Needs Network engaged interns in this summer’s Disability Pride Parade. Aubrie Lee, a senior at Stanford University and people operations intern, told me the Googlers in the Special Needs Network “with or without disabilities—understand that diversity is not just about color or orientation. They are my allies in fighting stigma, both in the world and at work."
In response to the Trayvon Martin verdict, the Black Googler’s Network (BGN) organized a hoodie march on campus to raise awareness around unconscious bias and racial profiling. The march had a profound impact on me in showing the value of community and support among black Googlers. As Tanisha Hospedale, a senior at the University of Pennsylvania and People Operations intern, said, “I am very grateful for BGN and the family I have made from being a part of this group.”
One major takeaway from my internship is that Google continues to be a place where Googlers can bring their total selves to work while also having strong, supportive communities to fall back on. “I can tell that Google doesn't just talk about a commitment to diversity and inclusion, but actually demonstrates this through supporting ERGs,” said Jasmine McElroy, a senior at Howard University and People Operations intern. “These groups have made me feel like I belong here.”