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How Vicky Fernandez found her passion for leading teams

Welcome to the latest edition of “My Path to Google,” where we talk to Googlers, interns and alumni about how they got to Google, what their roles are like and even some tips on how to prepare for interviews.Today’s post is all about Vicky Fernandez, who shares how she went from one of the very…

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Welcome to the latest edition of “My Path to Google,” where we talk to Googlers, interns and alumni about how they got to Google, what their roles are like and even some tips on how to prepare for interviews.

Today’s post is all about Vicky Fernandez, who shares how she went from one of the very first employees at our office in Buenos Aires to a leader who manages multiple teams.

What’s your role at Google? 

I work within Google’s ad sales business, where I manage the analysis, insights and optimization team for Spanish-speaking Latin America’s largest customers. The team brings together industry experts with specialists on performance, data and measurement solutions. I get to work with very talented people from all across the continent, taking best practices from one market to the other so that our clients thrive.

What does your typical workday look like right now? 

As a manager, I spend a lot of time meeting with my team, as well as collaborating with other project leaders. When meeting one-on-one with my direct reports, we speak about their current challenges and how I can help them. We also follow up on their objectives, projects, careers and check in on their well-being. 

Why did you decide to apply to work at Google? 

I was working for a TV company and looking for a change. I had heard that Google was opening offices in Buenos Aires (this was 15 years ago), so I decided to send them my resume. I knew nothing about digital marketing, so when they called me for interviews, I locked myself at home for a whole weekend and studied. Still,  I was not very confident after my interviews, but I was happy to participate in the process because I met really nice people and had a good time. 

Surprisingly, they called me back to join Google. I feel very proud to be part of this company, and I also feel proud to be part of our customer´s teams. At Google you belong to not only this company, but also thousands of companies that trust us to grow their businesses.

How did the application and interview process go for you?

After sending my resume, I got a phone call with a recruiter and then four on-site interviews, all together the same day. At that time (15 years ago) Google had no offices in Buenos Aires yet, so many people from the U.S. and Mexico came for a week to do interviews in a temporary office they rented. I had no idea who they were, but they were all very nice and approachable. I´m glad I didn’t know how important they were because I think I would have been a lot more nervous. 

How would you describe your path to your current role at Google? 

I started at Google supporting small businesses in Spanish-speaking Latin America. After a year or so I moved to support bigger companies in Mexico. (I did this remotely from Argentina, and I used to travel to Mexico a few times a year.)

Then I got the chance to take my first formal leadership role, leading a team dedicated to helping small businesses that use Google Ads solve technical, billing and optimization issues. I loved being a manager and decided that it was my path. After a couple of years growing that team, I moved to a new role to build a different team for big customers. After gaining experience growing the team and improving service levels and efficiency, I recently got the opportunity to manage these three teams together as one team. I feel really excited about it!

Do you have any tips you’d like to share with aspiring Googlers?

Think about the experiences that you would like to share during the interviews related to leadership, teamwork and process improvements. When questions come up, you can share those experiences. If you have success stories to show, try to have some numbers in mind (like growth on sales, efficiency gains, cost reduction, etc.)

What’s one thing you wish you could go back and tell yourself before applying? 

Googlers are all very nice! You will have a great time, so focus on enjoying the interviews.

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Survey shows how people decide what to trust online

Alex Mahadevan is director of MediaWise at the Poynter Institute. He has taught digital media literacy to thousands of middle and high schoolers, and has trained hundreds of journalists from around the world in verification and digital investigative tools. We caught up with Alex to find out about a recent information literacy survey his organization…

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Alex Mahadevan is director of MediaWise at the Poynter Institute. He has taught digital media literacy to thousands of middle and high schoolers, and has trained hundreds of journalists from around the world in verification and digital investigative tools. We caught up with Alex to find out about a recent information literacy survey his organization conducted in partnership with YouGov, with support from Google. Learn more about how Google is working on information literacy and helping you spot misinformation online.

Why was this survey conducted?

Misinformation isn’t a new problem, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult to separate fact from fiction, especially on the internet. We wanted to learn more about how people across generational lines verify information and decide what to trust and share online. And we knew this research would help us expand on the educational resources MediaWise has to offer.

What were the parameters for the survey?

We surveyed more than 8,500 respondents of various ages in the United States, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Germany, Nigeria, India and Japan. We asked a wide range of questions aimed at assessing information literacy skills and verification habits. Those include queries about everything from the tools and techniques someone uses to investigate a post they see online, to the reasons why they may have shared misleading information in the past.

What are some of the biggest takeaways?

The survey found that 62% of respondents think they see false or misleading information on at least a weekly basis – that’s a staggering number. And people are aware that it’s a serious issue. Roughly 50% of all Gen X, Millennial and Gen Z respondents (these are people ages 18 to 57) said they’re concerned about their family being exposed to it.

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New ways we’re helping you find high-quality information

AI models are also helping our systems understand when a featured snippet might not be the most helpful way to present information. This is particularly helpful for questions where there is no answer: for example, a recent search for “when did snoopy assassinate Abraham Lincoln” provided a snippet highlighting an accurate date and information about…

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AI models are also helping our systems understand when a featured snippet might not be the most helpful way to present information. This is particularly helpful for questions where there is no answer: for example, a recent search for “when did snoopy assassinate Abraham Lincoln” provided a snippet highlighting an accurate date and information about Lincoln’s assassination, but this clearly isn’t the most helpful way to display this result.

We’ve trained our systems to get better at detecting these sorts of false premises, which are not very common, but are cases where it’s not helpful to show a featured snippet. We’ve reduced the triggering of featured snippets in these cases by 40% with this update.

Information literacy

Beyond designing our systems to return high-quality information, we also build information literacy features in Google Search that help people evaluate information, whether they found it on social media or in conversations with family or friends. In fact, in a study this year, researchers found that people regularly use Google as a tool to validate information encountered on other platforms. We’ve invested in building a growing range of information literacy features — including Fact Check Explorer, Reverse image search, and About this result — and today, we’re announcing several updates to make these features even more helpful.

Expanding About this result to more places

About this result helps you see more context about any Search result before you ever visit a web page, just by tapping the three dots next to the result. Since launching last year, people have used About this result more than 2.4 billion times, and we’re bringing it to even more people and places – with eight more languages including Portuguese (PT), French (FR), Italian (IT), German (DE), Dutch (NL), Spanish (ES), Japanese (JP) and Indonesian (ID), coming later this year.

This week, we’re adding more context to About this result, such as how widely a source is circulated, online reviews about a source or company, whether a company is owned by another entity, or even when our systems can’t find much info about a source – all pieces of information that can provide important context.

And we’ve now launched About this page in the Google app, so you can get helpful context about websites as you’re browsing the web. Just swipe up from the navigation bar on any page to get more information about the source – helping you explore with confidence, no matter where you are online.

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Finding community and customers through Growth Academy: Women Founders

With thousands of highly-valued tech companies, a global-first market approach, and a strong economy dominated by entrepreneurship, it’s clear why Israel’s nickname is ‘The Startup Nation.’However, this thriving startup ecosystem isn’t equally supportive of all aspiring founders. According to the latest Israeli Tech Gender Distribution Report, spearheaded by Google for Startups and IVC Data and…

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With thousands of highly-valued tech companies, a global-first market approach, and a strong economy dominated by entrepreneurship, it’s clear why Israel’s nickname is ‘The Startup Nation.’

However, this thriving startup ecosystem isn’t equally supportive of all aspiring founders. According to the latest Israeli Tech Gender Distribution Report, spearheaded by Google for Startups and IVC Data and Insights, only 2% of startups with a woman founder raised above $50 million between 2018 and 2021. While the number of entirely women-led companies has doubled in the past decade, they still only comprise 6.3% of Israeli startups — and only 13.9% of startups had at least one woman co-founder in a mixed-gender founding team.

I fall into the latter category. My cofounder Gal Benbeniste and I met during college, where we bonded over how outdated the investment world is. What started with trying to figure out a simple way to automate became FinityX, a deep-tech startup that helps investors implement AI tools as part of their investment process to save time and resources, and improve quality.

While I have been humbled by FinityX’s rapid growth and recognition, as one of the very few women in the deep-tech space I’ve always wanted to be able to access the same capital, business networks, and mentorship readily available to my male cofounder.

So I was thrilled when Google for Startups launched a Growth Academy program tailored specifically for the needs of early-stage women founders. Based on the successful Startup Growth Lab curriculum, the program includes leadership workshops with Israeli VCs such as Entree Capital, Ibex and Viola, leadership sessions with top industry lecturers, and one-on-one Google product mentorship. “Ever since Google for Startups opened Campus Tel Aviv in 2012, diversity and inclusion has been an essential focus to our work,” said Marta Mozes, marketing manager of Google for Startups in Israel. “When we discovered this data about female founders in Israel, we knew we had to be part of the change.”

Meet the other Israeli entrepreneurs, representing industries from family vacation-planning to finance, who joined me at Google for Startups Growth Academy: Women Founders:

  • Miri Berger, Cofounder & CEO of 6Degrees
  • Kerri Kariti, Cofounder & CPO of Claritee
  • Vardit Legali, Cofounder & CEO of Clawdia
  • Ronny Schwartz Dgani, Cofounder & CMO of Expecting.ai
  • Inbal Glantser and Naama Yacobson, Cofounders of Homaze
  • Tamar Liberman, Tal Provizor Narkiss, and Lee Winfield, Cofounders of It’s July
  • Mika Kayt, Founder & CEO of Outgage
  • Danielle Shpigel and Yarden Kaufmann, Cofounders of Unika

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