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Supporting Women of Color in the Workplace

In this episode we talk to Stephanie LeBlanc-Godfrey, Global Head of Inclusion Programs for Women of Color at Google about different ways we can support, promote, and invest in women of color not just in the workplace but at home and in our communities.

Stephanie LeBlanc-Godfrey is Global Head of Inclusion Programs for Women of Color at Google and the founder of Parenting Backwards.

Stephanie has a deep passion for investing in the growth and success of women by intentionally building community in areas they don't naturally occur. This work includes the co-creation of a portfolio of women of color summits (Asian, Indigenous and Latinas), including the State of Black Women Google Summit and Collective, an initiative designed for black women Googlers, globally, to have dedicated space for community, conversation and connection.

Her career started in infrastructure engineering within the finance industry and shifted to digital media, where she spent over 10 years leading inventory forecasting and yield analysis for major media conglomerates such as Forbes Media, FOX News Digital, and NBC News Digital. Most notably she worked on the divestiture of NBC digital media properties from Microsoft, bringing their top digital media sites back under the NBC Universal umbrella.

Stephanie is a graduate of Stevens Institute of Technology, graduating with a Bachelor's of Engineering in Electrical Engineering and a New York native. She's married and a mom of three.

Special thanks to VEST Member Dr. Mautra Jones, President of Oklahoma City Community College for moderating this session.

Available on Spotify, Apple and Google Podcast.

Full Transcribe Below

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Show references:

A Blessing: Women of Color Teaming Up to Lead by Bonita Steward


Stephanie LeBlanc

Erika Lucas00:03

Hey everyone. This is Erica Lucas, your host and founding member of vest, an organization, connecting women across industries, regions, and career levels so that together we can expedite the pipeline of more women in positions of power and influence. Welcome to another episode of the Vester podcast, where we explore the investible barriers, holding women back in the workplace and share stories of women building.

Dr. Mautra Jones00:40

What are three actionable things we can do to support women of color in our workplaces and communities.

Stephanie Le-Blanc Godfrey00:48

So one, believe them period. I think a lot of women of color exp when they, when they are finally able to share their experiences, because a lot of the time they are, uh, experiencing challenges and not sharing it with anyone.

And so when they finally do get that courage to say a thing in front of a manager or in a team meeting, don't try to pick it apart. Like it's not an episode for you to analyze and like find the hole in it. Believe them period.

Erika Lucas01:32

In this episode, we talked to Stephanie LeBlond Godfrey global head of inclusion programs for women of color at Google about all the different ways we can support, promote and invest in women of color, not just in the workplace, but at home and in our communities for Stephanie's full bio and resources mentioned on this episode, go to forward slash podcasts.

Special, thanks to best member Dr. Mautra Jones, precedent of Oklahoma city community college for moderating this session, this recording was part of a more intimate coaching session with best members and has been repurposed to accommodate this episode.

Dr. Mautra Jones02:22

. Given your role at Google, I'm sure. Last week's labor report showcasing the job loss for women came to ne came as no surprise to you. Have you seen women dropping out of Google or have you been able to mitigate, um, this


Stephanie Le-Blanc Godfrey02:35

So I think the numbers that are getting published month after month are mind numbing and.

You know, if I could just speak personally I'm I don't want those numbers shared. I don't like that. It's on every Instagram post and every article, like it's, it's embarrassing. It's demoralizing and it's just painful. Like the reality of, of these numbers. And I understand it has to be shared, but that's always my, my gut reaction to seeing this.

Um, and, and so for, for me, in terms of doing the work of being in service of parents and caregivers, It's exacerbating what was already happening during, um, before COVID so childcare, visibility, career progression, all of these things have been topics. Um, the likes of which I've been talking about at Google, the likes of which you all have been talking about in terms of, in service of women and lifting them up and, and progressing their careers.

So this is not new to. It's just even worse now that we, the resources that we typically have, have been stripped from us in like 24 hours, right? No school, um, no access to be able to appropriately plan for our family life so that we have that dedicated space to do the work, um, that, that we need to. And so again, a lot of us who are in service of this work one, we're like, yeah, we told you so two we're like dusting off the, the proposals that we had already to kind of address these problems for, for companies and leaders who are like, what can we do about it?

Yeah, we got that. Are you going to listen to us? Are you going to listen to us now? Um, and, and so, you know, it's. Something that, that we can address that needs to be addressed. That is bigger than just this conversation, bigger than just companies, but just a government. Backed plan for how we address both parents and caregivers, because it's affecting those who take care of family members as well.

Um, and who are scared to put them in a nursing home who don't have access to nurses to come to the house because of, uh, the impact that, that, that, that could have. And so what are the resources that, that as a nation, as a world nation, particularly cause. Services and in other countries, but like, what can we do to address that in a way that's not like, well, if you've got the money, you'll be able to figure it out better.

And if you don't, then you're forced out of, out of the work.

Dr. Mautra Jones05:29

Thank you. Thank you. We'll move on to the next question. Cause we have a lot that we want to kind of dive into. And so Google was the first major tech company that extended its work from home policy until the summer of 2021, which ran now, what has been the feedback from women and, and what other policies or programs have you put in place to support women during this


Stephanie Le-Blanc Godfrey05:50

Yeah. Um, it's helpful. Uh, but it's not a silver bullet. Uh, you know, Again, with the work that I do, I'm like, I've got to stay and, you know, help everyone out. And I did not have on my oxygen mask. Right. And so, uh, last year, probably around October. I started having anxiety, never had that before heart palpitations consistently throughout the day, migraines that were lasting three to four days at a time.

And so thankfully I was able to finally utilize and practice what I preach about taking leave. That, that are, that my company, um, Offered, um, which is, is the care is leave, uh, in addition to the work from home policy. And so while I think it helps. The work from home policy to say like, okay, cool. At least I know from now, until now we have September is our return to work date that I'll be home.