Valeisha Butterfield-Jones leads Black community engagement at Google. During Google’s inaugural inclusion event, “A Seat at the Table: Inclusion and Innovation in Technology & Society,” held at the New York headquarters, Butterfield-Jones shared, “It’s a big step we’re taking as a company to get into the community. Our goal is to make sure we are bringing Google to the community and the community to Google.” The “we” she references includes Lauren Marquez, head of Latino community engagement for Google.
“We are doing our part to open the doors wider. Know that you have a friend and a community in us. Let’s take this journey together,” she comments. Butterfield-Jones encourages professionals who are interested in working at Google to “please apply.”
The shoes Butterfield-Jones filled have never been worn before. She is the first head of Black community engagement. Her background is in entertainment. The Clark Atlanta University graduate worked for Wu-Tang Clan, Russell Simmons and Barack Obama. She worked as an unpaid intern for Simmons before she was promoted to national executive director at Russell Simmons’ Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, where she grew her network.
She volunteered for Obama in his first presidential campaign (’08) and was appointed deputy director of public affairs for the International Trade Administration, and then returned as the national youth vote director for his re-election campaign (’12) and realized three things: technology played a role in organizing young people, getting people excited about the political process, and it was really the game changer for his campaign.
An avid activist for humans rights and social justice, it was a dream come true for her when she learned that Google had a job opening that was divinely created with her in mind. The co-founder of the Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network (WEEN) applied, was invited back for a series of interviews before she received the offer.
“I know that there’s more ahead, so it’s about being present, working at my fullest capacity where I am — but also looking ahead to the future, because I feel like I have a long way to go,” she tells the media.