Bärí A. Williams
This week, Bobbi-Sue Doyle-Hazard talks with Bärí A. Williams, the former head of operations for North America for StubHub. Bärí is a business, technology, and startup attorney in California. She has worked in a variety of industries including risk management, insurance, advocacy, sports, and financial technology. She is a 2015 recipient of the National Bar Association’s “40 Under 40” award, recognizing young attorneys excelling in achievement, innovation, vision, leadership and legal community involvement in their careers, as well as their “Excellence in Legal Innovation” award, and a 2015 recipient of the Digital Diversity Network’s “Top 40 Under 40: Tech Diversity” award. Bärí and Bobbi-Sue have a great conversation that starts with some “This is Us” and Super Bowl chit-chat. They then delve into Bärí’s career and her continued advocacy and work on diversity and inclusion in technology. Bärí tells a lot of stories about her parents and grandparents and how she keeps her privilege in check by thinking back to them.
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Bobbi-Sue will be at a few events over the next couple of months… if you’re able, swing by to say “Hi!” First, Bobbi-Sue will be speaking at Michigan State University’s College of Law at the International Law Review’s Sports Law Symposium on February 23, 2018. The following day, Bobbi-Sue will be at the University of Massachusetts (Amherst) Women of Isenberg conference. She will be on a panel and part of a second discussion with Professor Nefertiti Walker. Some or all of these may be recorded for use as an episode over the next few months!
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Additional Show Notes:
- Bärí and Bobbi-Sue discuss “This Is Us” for a few minutes – don’t worry, no spoilers!
- We recorded on Super Bowl Sunday and therefore needed to discuss the big game! Tuck rule is invoked along with #NeverForget.
- Bärí has some troubling times ahead with her local teams, they’re all moving away.
- She interned with the Warriors and local ABC affiliate.
- Bärí loved sports because her parents did – they were athletic and her dad was an agent.
- The athletic gene did not pass on to Bärí.
- Law school wasn’t about being an agent – more about finding a way to add value to the business.
- We have an academic all-star here: lots of school and early graduation!
- Bärí ‘s paternal grandparents were Mississippi sharecroppers.
- Bärí talks about diversity & inclusion in technology from the standpoint of creating technology
- A lot of where Bärí ‘s perspective comes from are the stories from her parents and grandparents from when things were less equal.
- Bärí approaches her writing, speaking out, and work by pointing out when things are wrong but at the same time providing solutions.
- Bobbi-Sue and Bärí talk about asking “why?” all the time when kids and how their parents responded.
- Bärí’s grandmother taught her the important lesson of how to approach topics and/or question things.
- Another important lesson is learning how best to communicate with people in the way that they best absorb information.
- Jumping from industry to industry is easy when you tell the story of your experience in a way that connects the dots to the skills used.
- Bärí’s transition to Facebook from AAA was a little more challenging because of the different cultures.
- Two of the projects she worked on at Facebook was stickers and drones!!!
- Facebook forced Bärí to be nimble, execute, fail quickly and move on.
- Bärí was the driving force behind Facebook’s supplier diversity program.
- Her team got to go to the White House for White House Diversity Demo Day. She missed it because she was on maternity leave but was lucky enough to go to the media Christmas party with her cousin one year.
- There is a difference between diversity and inclusion. Bärí does a great job explaining the difference and need for both.
- How do we handle being at the table but not listened to or included still? Don’t just network up, network laterally and down.
- Sometimes women are not our friends – we’re all so ingrained in the patriarchy without even realizing it.
- Bärí discusses the comments of Apple’s former VP of Diversity regarding how 8 white men in a room can be “diversity,”
- You need to break down diversity to team levels and not just entire companies in order to get the true benefit of diversity.
- Bärí tells us what her position at StubHub entailed. It was a lot. Her first week on the job was… well… different.
- It’s important to ask questions about culture, how things get done, what internal tools are used, etc. before you go somewhere new.
- Bärí and Bobbi-Sue talk about a realization Bobbi-Sue had when she saw cotton plants for the first time this past year. And then a quick chat about Hillary Clinton’s book.
- Bärí talks about her mentor, Ed Goines – GC of the Seattle Seahawks – and how he told her that she has to be her own best advocate.
- Some people are more “curated” in what they put out into the world. Others, like Bobbi-Sue and Bärí , don’t know how to be anything other than authentically themselves.
- Self-care: Read, brunch with girlfriends, Soul Cycle
- “I kind of just wanted to know how the sausage was made”
- “I didn’t really have an option to slack.”
- “You do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do.”
- “I tell my mom all the time ‘I’m the best thing born out of your bad decision making.'”
- “My grandfather he went to Berkley high school. He integrated Berkley high school basketball team.”
- “They were raining down propaganda that essentially said ‘why are you fighting for a country that will not even give you your own rights?'”
- “I would be doing a disservice to not call shenanigans when something is not correct.”
- “I was raised to always bring solutions.”
- “Right outside your comfort zone is growth.”
- “I have always asked ‘Why?'”
- “Don’t ask a question you’re not prepared to get a real answer to.”
- “You need to give people information in the way that they are best able to receive it.”
- “Our little team is where projects were born and where they went to die.”
- “You eat what you kill when you work for yourself.”
- “It was like staring into the sun. It was the coolest thing ever.” – Meeting Barack and Michelle Obama at the WH Media Christmas party
- “Everyone can relate to being excluded at one point in time.”
- “… are you gonna get in trouble?” – Bari’s mother regarding some of Bärí’s writing
- “There has been a watering down of ‘diversity’ and who gets thrown in that gumbo.”
- “I don’t know about you, in sports, but in tech white men are not necessarily underrepresented.”
- “You always have to ask hard questions.”
- “These people literally picked cotton and worked, doing this work, for 12-13 hours a day for you to complain about standing for one. Nope. Stop.”
- “People don’t know what they don’t know.”
Follow the Leader:
Extra Credit Reading/Watching:
- What Happened by Hillary Clinton
- The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson
- ‘Intelligent’ Policing and My Innocent Children (NY Times)
- The Need for Inclusion in AI and Machine Learning (Information Week)
- Tech’s Troubling New Trend: Diversity Is in Your Head (NY Times)
- This Is How Some Black Women Are Skirting Racism And Sexism To Find Funding (Fast Company)
- One Reason Black Founders Don’t Get Enough Funding? Black VCs Don’t, Either (Fast Company)
- The Anti-Diversity Memo Leaked Out Of Google Is Typical Tech Industry Discrimination (Huffington Post)
- HOW I GOT FACEBOOK TO INVEST IN MINORITY-OWNED BUSINESSES (Wired)
- 2017 Recode 100 – No. 61 (Recode)
- 8 Ways To Measure Diversity That Have Nothing To Do With Hiring (Fortune)
- White House women want to be in the room where it happens (Washington Post)
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