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This Googler is dedicated to making a difference

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 story is all about Lerato Seopela from our Johannesburg office. Lerato shares her path from management…

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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 story is all about Lerato Seopela from our Johannesburg office. Lerato shares her path from management consultancy to marketing at Google, plus her passion for sustainability and beekeeping at home.

What do you do at Google?

I’m an Associate Product Marketing Manager (APMM) for the Ads Marketing team in Sub-Saharan Africa. My work often comes to life through local tool launches and events that share insights and practical tips with clients to help them reach their business goals.

The Google APMM program is a unique career path on the Google Marketing team. As a cohort-based, two-and-a-half-year rotational development program, it provides an active community, leadership roles, and job rotations to help you discover different marketing teams across Google.

I’m also an inclusivity advocate. Since joining Google, I have helped create inclusive marketing campaigns, research, and business training specifically for the LGBTQ+ community in the region.

What have been the driving forces behind your career?

My family has had a huge impact on my career. My parents, aunts and uncles have all achieved success and happiness despite the adversities they faced during the Apartheid regime. The values they’ve instilled in me have influenced how I empower myself and others through education. I feel fulfilled in my career when I know that I’ve contributed to improving the lives of others, whether that’s through supporting people’s business needs or helping them develop new skills.

How would you describe your path to Google?

Before Google, I was a marketing consultant at Discovery Health, an insurance company that encourages people to live healthier. Towards the end of 2019, I decided to look for a new job that would give me the opportunity to build my problem-solving skills, develop strategies and work with different people around the world. At the beginning of 2020, I started a new job as a management consultant at a local management consulting firm. Just before I transitioned to this new role, a recruiter reached out to me on LinkedIn about an open Associate Product Marketing Manager role at Google. After a quick call with her, I immediately began the application and interview process, which all took place virtually. And I was lucky enough to get the role! I joined Google in April 2020, soon after the world was thrust into a global pandemic. Despite not seeing a Google office yet, it’s been an incredible experience working with so many talented people.

What surprised you about the interview process?

I was surprised by the rounds of interviews and the amount of communication from my recruiter throughout the whole process. It was reassuring to have someone to reach out to with questions, and who would proactively keep me updated. Everyone throughout the interview process was so lovely and made an effort to help me feel comfortable. It was a really human experience, and I could get a sense of the company culture from everyone I met.

What gets you most excited in your role?

What excites me most about my role is the breadth of work available, my amazing colleagues, and the tangible and positive impact we are making in the region. I’ve contributed to projects like the Economic Recovery campaign, which helps small businesses, jobseekers, educators and students find their feet and recover during the COVID-19 pandemic. These efforts gave me a sense of purpose during a challenging time, and showed me that I can make a difference in my job. It was inspiring to see how some of the small businesses we worked with not only recovered, but thrived under very difficult circumstances. And working alongside a team dedicated to helping as many people as possible has been one of the proudest moments of my career.

And what excites you outside of your role?

My guilty pleasure is reality TV! I love watching the Real Housewives franchise. I’m also a huge foodie, and I like finding new places to try new food and hang out. To keep level headed, I enjoy Pilates, yoga, and hiking, and recently discovered the benefits of meditation. I’m also an advocate for sustainability and environmental preservation. In fact, I’ve taken up beekeeping to support the declining population of bees around the world.

Any tips for anyone hoping to join Google in Africa?

Have confidence in your ability. Don’t doubt the amazing things that you can do, and the impact you can make across the continent.

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Meet the entrepreneur connecting Kenyans to healthy food

When Binti Mwallau started Hasanat Ventures, her dairy processing company in Kenya, she expected some resistance from her peers in an industry dominated by men. But she was surprised to run into more skepticism from her customers. Despite her background in finance and biochemistry, many of them questioned her credibility as a woman entrepreneur.Worried that…

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When Binti Mwallau started Hasanat Ventures, her dairy processing company in Kenya, she expected some resistance from her peers in an industry dominated by men. But she was surprised to run into more skepticism from her customers. Despite her background in finance and biochemistry, many of them questioned her credibility as a woman entrepreneur.

Worried that her gender would affect Hasanat Ventures’ reputation, Binti considered hiring a man as the face of the business. But she eventually decided against it, standing firm in her pride as a solo founder and committed to tearing down the perception that women-run businesses in Africa aren’t as successful as those run by men.

“I think we should be challenging the outdated narrative that businesses run by men are guaranteed to be more successful,” Binti says. “Based on research, we’ve seen that businesses run by women actually perform better. We should use this as an opportunity to prove that as a woman, you do stand a chance to succeed in everything that you do.”

Just as important to Binti as breaking this bias was giving Kenyans more access to affordable nutrition. “I realized that many people couldn’t afford premium yogurt. So we entered the market with a high-quality product that’s affordable for lower and middle-income earners who have become more health-conscious,” she says.

Binti knew she had to drive awareness for her brand, particularly to reach Kenyans who needed convincing about yogurt’s health benefits. So she turned to Google Digital Skills for Africa, which offers virtual classes to help entrepreneurs grow their skills and businesses, and completed a digital marketing course to help her get Hasanat Ventures online.

“After participating in the course, we knew our online presence had to be bigger than just social media,” Binti says. “Now that we have a fully functional website, we are actually getting leads from outside Kenya.”

As part of the course, Binti learned how to use Google Analytics to measure her website’s performance. She could now monitor traffic insights, analyze pageviews and better understand who was visiting her site.

Binti’s determination and passion for her business are showing up in the results. In its first year, Hasanat Ventures supplied over 300 retailers with affordable dairy products. Three years later, it’s grown to support more than 50 farmers and even built its own production facility to keep up with demand.

“I really want to make sure that I am visible and speaking up in spaces women don’t usually have access to,” Binti says. “As Hasanat Ventures continues to grow, I am confident I can help change the perception of African women in business.”

58% of Africa’s entrepreneurs are women. That’s why we’re empowering them with the platform and tools to grow their businesses. Learn more about our #LookMeUp campaign, highlighting Africa’s women entrepreneurs like Binti who are working to break the bias.

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100 things we announced at I/O

35. The Google Home and Google Home Mobile software developer kit (SDK) for Matter will be launching in June as developer previews.36. The Google Home SDK introduces Intelligence Clusters, which make intelligence features like Home and Away, available to developers.37. Developers can even create QR codes for Google Wallet to create their own passes for…

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35. The Google Home and Google Home Mobile software developer kit (SDK) for Matter will be launching in June as developer previews.

36. The Google Home SDK introduces Intelligence Clusters, which make intelligence features like Home and Away, available to developers.

37. Developers can even create QR codes for Google Wallet to create their own passes for any use case they’d like.

38. Matter support is coming to the Nest Thermostat.

39. The Google Home Developer Center has lots of updates to check out.

40. There’s now built-in support for Matter on Android, so you can use Fast Pair to quickly connect Matter-enabled smart home devices to your network, Google Home and other accompanying apps in just a few taps.

41. The ARCore Geospatial API makes Google Maps’ Live View technology available to developers for free. Companies like Lime are using it to help people find parking spots for their scooters and save time.

42. DOCOMO and Curiosity are using the ARCore Geospatial API to build a new game that lets you fend off virtual dragons with robot companions in front of iconic Tokyo landmarks, like the Tokyo Tower.

43. AlloyDB is a new, fully-managed PostgreSQL-compatible database service designed to help developers manage enterprise database workloads — in our performance tests, it’s more than four times faster for transactional workloads and up to 100 times faster for analytical queries than standard PostgreSQL.

44. AlloyDB uses the same infrastructure building blocks that power large-scale products like YouTube, Search, Maps and Gmail.

45. Google Cloud’s machine learning cluster powered by Cloud TPU v4 Pods is super powerful — in fact, we believe it’s the world’s largest publicly available machine learning hub in terms of compute power…

46. …and it operates at 90% carbon-free energy.

47. We also announced a preview of Cloud Run jobs, which reduces the time developers spend running administrative tasks like database migration or batch data transformation.

48. We announced Flutter 3.0, which will enable developers to publish production-ready apps to six platforms at once, from one code base (Android, iOS, Desktop Web, Linux, Desktop Windows and MacOS).

49. To help developers build beautiful Wear apps, we announced the beta of Jetpack Compose for Wear OS.

50. We’re making it faster and easier for developers to build modern, high-quality apps with new Live edit features in Android Studio.

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New ways to stay connected and entertained in your car

With split screen mode, now standard across all screen types and sizes, you’ll have access to your most-used features all in one place — no need to return to your home screen or scroll through a list of apps. With your navigation and media always on, you won’t have to worry about missing your next…

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With split screen mode, now standard across all screen types and sizes, you’ll have access to your most-used features all in one place — no need to return to your home screen or scroll through a list of apps. With your navigation and media always on, you won’t have to worry about missing your next turn while changing your favorite commute podcast. And with the new design able to adapt to different screen sizes, it looks great across widescreen, portrait and more.

New features for Android Auto

Google Assistant is bringing contextual suggestions to help you be more productive in the car. From suggested replies, to messages, to sharing arrival times with a friend, or even playing recommended music, Google Assistant is helping you do more in the car efficiently.

In addition to using your voice, you can now quickly message and call favorite contacts with just one tap, and reply to messages by simply selecting a suggested response on the screen – helping you communicate effectively, while allowing you to keep your eyes on the road. Keep an eye out for these updates to Android Auto in the coming months

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