“We’re trying to break the system, to rebuild it and to make it better,” says Valeisha Butterfield-Jones.


Google’s motto of “Don’t be evil” hasn’t made it any easier for the tech giant to achieve better diversity.

The most recent statistics available show a need for improvement. For starters, despite efforts the company has given to getting more women on board, in the tech corridors of the company the percentage has risen about 25 percent since 2014 to 21 percent total. The global percentage of women working in any department at Google is 30 percent and it hasn’t budged for four years. Then there were the infamous James Damore memo and harassment of Danielle Brown, VP of diversity and a Wired investigation declaring a “dirty war” surrounding these issues at the company.

None of that is stopping Valeisha Butterfield-Jones. As the global head of women and black community engagement, she says it’s high time for disruption.

The greatest challenge? “Decoding what the real barriers to entry are, for people of color and for women,” she says in a profile at Harper’s Bazaar. One of these efforts is Google’s decoding race series, organized as the first step of a longer-term strategy – intended to inform and empower Googlers to have open and constructive conversations on race. One of the more provocative discussions called “Programming and Prejudice: Can Computers Be Racist?” and moderated by Van Jones is available online at YouTube.  Butterfield-Jones is also tackling the pipeline problem with a scholarship program aimed at historically black colleges.

“We’re trying to break the system, to rebuild it and to make it better. It is hard work,” she says. “Having good intentions isn’t enough. You have to actually do the work. I’m committed, and I know we are, to doing the work.”

The intro on the company’s diversity website states that “Google should be a place where people from different backgrounds and experiences come to do their best work. That’s why we continue to support efforts that fuel our commitments to progress.”

Full story over at Harpers Bazaar