Podcast·2 min read

Annie Jean-Baptiste on Building Inclusive Teams and Products

November 8, 2023

Annie Jean-Baptiste is Google’s first-ever Head of Product Inclusion. TLDR: she’s a tech executive responsible for making all of Google’s products inclusive for every user. Annie is also the author of the critically-acclaimed book, Building for Everyone, the first book about building inclusive products across the intersections of 12 dimensions of diversity. Annie's work has inspired a movement at other tech companies and in other industries to prioritize equity in design.

In this episode, Annie shares: 

  • Why Google created a position for her – and how that came to be 

  • How she’s used her introversion as a leadership tool 

  • What leaders need to understand about designing inclusive products 

  • Why she’s still working on speaking up as a leader

On How She’s Developed as a Leader

Annie: I'm an introvert, and so being a leader was not kind of what I had set out to do. I would much rather be kind of behind the scenes versus out in front. But I think what I've learned over time is that for introverts, what can be helpful is one, obviously pushing yourself out of your comfort zone because you have to find an authentic way to show up in the workplace. But two, that you can be a vessel for something you believe in, and that can make being a leader easier, where it's not about you, but it's about what you are espousing and what you are pushing. And so I think that that has been super helpful for me. I think the other thing that I've been constantly growing in is how to find my authentic voice as a leader. You don't have to be loud to be a leader. It's about really figuring out what works for you, And I think people gravitate towards leaders that have found what works for them authentically, even if that looks very different from what a traditional leader looks like.

On What She’s Still Working On

Annie: Even in new situations or with networking or what have you, I definitely am someone who leans back, and so I’m pushing myself to lean forward. And sometimes I say to myself, “If you meet one person and have an authentic interaction, that's a win, right?” And so it's not about the quantity, but it's about the quality. But finding my voice in new situations definitely is something that I constantly work on.

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