Lilyn Hester has a job many aspiring public relations professionals desire. Not only is she the head of external affairs and government relations and the public affairs manager for the southeast, she’s also surrounded by the Google Dream Team of engineers who created major Google products like Chrome and Android. Her Carolina office is located near three major universities in North Carolina’s “Research Triangle.”
“At Google we are an organization where we work as a strong team. That’s how we get things done. That’s how we make things happen,” Hester recently shared during an event where the network invited 45 teenage girls from Black Girls Code, Made With Code (Google), Mayor of East Point Jannquell Peters and Black Girls Code to Turner Studios in Atlanta for a special event launching GIF: The Powerpuff Girls. The event was co-hosted by Google and Cartoon Network.
“Coding and computer science are everywhere. We created Made With Code to help girls grow a love of learning for coding, design and computer science and to show some really cool and creative career paths. There are a lot of jobs available in computer science and sometimes we don’t have a lot of folks in computer science who look like us,” she shared with the teens.
Meet Lilyn Hester. –carles summerour
Tell us about your important role as the head of public affairs for the southeast region. What’s your day-to-day like?
Every day at Google is a different day. I support government affairs and policy efforts when Google has a presence. In the southeast, Google has a mixed presence, everything from data centers to offices, and I’m considered the external face for Google.
How long have you been doing it?
I have my four-year Googleversary coming up.
So you are based in North Carolina?
Yes, in the Chapel Hill office. We have about 30 to 40 engineers who are based in our office. And, I travel throughout the southeast: North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee.
How did you end up in this position at the big Google?
I once worked at a communications firm in North Carolina that represented Google. Google needed to have people who were on the ground to keep an eye out for their interests and monitor various legislation that might impact Google’s business. I was lucky enough to get hired four years ago for a role that was new at the time.
Have you had a great experience with the company?
Yes. It’s awesome. It really is what everyone says it is. You see colleagues working together across the board.
In the past four years have you seen a lot of outreach to our community in terms of the Black community?
Yes. We have various initiatives. And you can find more information that’s posted on the website. Also, we have people who work specifically with HBCUs. We have various initiatives and sponsorships for various activities in African American communities.