Work Diaries: Attending AfroTech with Arielle Dulberg of YouTube Recruiting
We’re peeling back the curtains with our series, Work Diaries, where you can experience the inner workings of YouTube. How do decisions get made? What goes into a product, feature or policy? We’re asking YouTube employees to give us the low-down during a five-day period.
Featured today: Arielle Dulberg is a DEI Strategy Program Manager with YouTube Recruiting. Her team’s mission is to equip & empower YouTube recruiting partners, hiring managers and business leaders with the strategies, programs and inspiration to deliver a representative workforce. Arielle is also a Black@YouTube Employee Resource Group lead.
Today’s highlight: I'm flying to Austin, Texas today for the AfroTech Conference, “The Place for All Things Black in Tech and Web3.” AfroTech is the largest conference for Black people in tech and I’m super excited as it will be the first in person conference since the pandemic (last in 2019). AfroTech has always been so energizing for me and I can’t wait to be back in person.
My dad drove me to the airport so we could have a little coffee date before heading out of town, one of the many perks of having moved to Florida to be closer to family. My dad and I are incredibly close — my favorite photo of us is from a visit to Peru when I lived there and worked for the Clinton Foundation in 2015. During the pandemic I moved out of NYC (a city I love so much!) and made a conscious choice to be closer to family. My family is the most important thing in the world to me and being at home during the pandemic allowed me the space to reflect, reevaluate and make significant changes in my life — the easiest change was packing up and relocating.
I am so grateful to have had the support of Google and my management team to pivot to a fully remote position so that I can live and work from here permanently. Another highlight: when I walked up to the gate I learned that my seat was upgraded. What a fun start to the trip!
I intentionally carve out time for meditation for mental clarity especially on days that I know I’m going to have a ton of social interaction.
7 AM: Wake up in Austin and head to the gym to start the day, so nice to have a few minutes to myself before kicking off the AfroTech Conference. I’ve been committed to prioritizing my mental and physical health and it’s been rewarding to see changes in my body and mind. After the gym I took some time for meditation. I intentionally carve out time for meditation for mental clarity especially on days that I know I’m going to have a ton of social interaction. Even though you might not be able to tell if you meet me at a work event, I’m actually pretty introverted and having quiet time to myself feels necessary in order for me to show up as my best.
11 AM — 2 PM: Heading out to pick up my conference badge then meet with the Google Brand team. I’m being featured in an “Ask A Googler” series they are filming at the conference, which is exciting since one of my goals for this year is to start to think about my public facing personal brand. Despite working at a social media company I haven’t spent much time on my external social presence, so it’s exciting to get to learn from Google’s Brand team and be pushed out of my comfort zone.
At the conference, I checked out a few talks. A highlight was hearing from Ran Wilson, the co-founder of The Gathering Spot, in an Ask Me Anything Session that focused on his journey as an entrepreneur.
Being able to connect and share similar experiences with colleagues across the industry is part of what makes this conference so powerful.
2 PM — 5 PM: Volunteered at the career fair booth for Google. It was great to catch up with friends and former coworkers from Goldman Sachs, TikTok and Meta. AfroTech is one of the largest conferences in the country for Black people in tech and being able to connect and share similar experiences with colleagues across the industry is part of what makes this conference so powerful.
This was the first time we were at this conference together in person since 2019 so it was exciting to learn what everyone was up to. I also got to meet with a couple of folks who are currently interviewing for roles at Google – I always enjoy making connections and sharing my experience at the company.
5 PM — 8 PM: Google internal reception at the Austin Office – so fun to meet new people across the company and see a new office space.
Today’s highlight: Got to have dinner with my team in real life! I work on the Hiring Equity Strategy and Programs Team, whose mission is to advance diversity in representation, ensure equity in our processes and inclusion in the experiences of our clients, candidates and for ourselves. We build an inclusive hiring system at Google that enables equitable experiences and outcomes by being embedded where hiring decisions happen.
It was my first time meeting a few of my teammates in person, which was pretty special. The individuals on the team blew me away with their prior work histories and their passions outside of work. We all have the same drive for equity and access but have approached the work from all different angles before joining our team at Google. It was inspiring to be surrounded by such brilliant people. Now that I work remotely, this in-person time is even more valuable — we had teammates fly in from Mountain View, Chicago, NYC, Seattle and Atlanta!
7 AM: Gym time! I promised myself that I would stay consistent, especially during travel. Maintaining my workout routine really sets the tone for my day, knowing that no matter what happens, I’ve prioritized and accomplished something for me to start the day.
9:30 AM: Volunteer shift at the Career Fair booth at AfroTech. It’s fun to engage with people across different industries who are rethinking their careers and looking to pivot into tech. A highlight for me was meeting two women who currently work at large insurance companies. Talking about the parallels between the insurance industry and Trust and Safety — mitigating risk, crisis management, etc. — gave them a new perspective and provided them with a way they could see themselves here.
1 PM: Lunch with two Googlers that I met at the career fair this morning. We immediately hit it off and spent our one hour lunch break diving into important issues that were top of mind for each of us, the current election, freezing our eggs (yay Google benefits) and pressures of family planning, feeling safe in our bodies as women and women of color in the state of our world. Really intense and beautifully unexpected connections. These moments give me life.
2:30 PM: Second volunteer shift for the day at AfroTech, this time at The Kickback, a space for Googlers, conference attendees and Austin residents to mingle and interact with our products. Attendees created YouTube Shorts content alongside well-known YouTube creator, @Theconsciouslee and enjoyed taking headshots in our Real Tone photo studios which use technology designed to capture a wide variety of skin tones. The Kickback featured food and drinks from 10 local Black-owned businesses, and packed the space when Googlers who double as professional DJs took the stage.
5:30 PM: Did an interview with Google’s YouTube Employment Brand team to be featured on Google’s social channels highlighting their coverage from the conference. It was really fun to be on camera getting interviewed in an Ask Me Anything format by event attendees – as an introvert, it was a good opportunity to push myself out of my comfort zone.
9:30 PM: Ordered pho, my go-to comfort food. After this day, I need to recharge my social battery.
Today’s highlight: I have two today: firstly, an unplanned lunch date with my two new friends. Secondly, after the Kickback event ended I was chatting with The Conscious Lee when a fan who had been following him for the past four years approached us. Lee graciously welcomed him and gave him a hug. The fan began to cry and share the impact that Lee’s channel has had on his life. It was such a tangible reminder of the power that our platform has to change lives and make people feel less alone and show them that their community and their people are out there.
Recently, I’ve felt that the phrase “what happens on the internet doesn’t stay on the internet” has been illustrated in such negative and violent ways. This moment was a wholesome and important reminder of the positive power of belonging and the role our platform serves to provide that.
10:30 AM: Brunch with my Googler friends Bri and Chelsea. Chelsea, Bri and I started the Black@YouTube NYC Employee Resource Group Chapter together. We’re proud to be three of the five original leads. Since the pandemic, Bri moved to the Austin office and Chelsea has since left YouTube. Catching up with them feels like being with sisters.
1 PM: Culture House x YouTube Event. It was our first time hosting an event with Culture House, they create pop up events presented by Marlon Nichols and Rodney Williams. Both Marlon and Rodney have backgrounds as investors and entrepreneurs and I’m looking forward to building connections in the VC space.
I became an angel investor during the pandemic after participating in the Angel Investing School through Google for Startups to increase the number of Black Angel investors – currently Black founders receive about 1% of venture capital funding. A group of us started Black Angel Group at Google – a collective of angel investors from Google and Alphabet that invests intellectual, social and financial capital in seed to Series A startups around the world. Our Collective believes in founders who build ethical, high-growth technology companies. Check out highlights from the Culture House event here.
8:30 PM: Impromptu team dinner at the hotel, where friends across different circles joined at the same table. Was fun to reflect on the successful YouTube x Culture House event from earlier in the day.
10:30 PM: Attend the AfroTech afterparty at the SoHo House with my team for a night cap. We listened to 90’s R&B, celebrated ourselves and our team at YouTube.
Today’s highlight: Culture House x YouTube party – got to meet so many incredible people in the venture capital and investing space. As Rodney Williams said, “Culture House is about us. It’s our house. You come as strangers and leave as family.” As a new angel investor, it’s really inspiring to make connections with VCs that look like me.
8 AM: Grab a coffee and pack up my things before heading to the airport.
9 AM: I’m waiting for my Uber to arrive and I feel a bit starstruck. It’s Arlan Hamilton, someone I’ve idolized in the VC space and cheered on at countless Lesbians Who Tech summits over the years. I had to introduce myself! We have a dear friend in common: Leanne Pittsford, founder of Lesbians Who Tech. I obviously used that as an excuse to take a selfie so we could share it with Leanne. I love how connected we are as Black people in tech!
11 AM: Flight home from Austin. I used the flight to work and also journal on my thoughts from the week below:
#afrotech’22 is a wrap. Felt like a family reunion and a chance to make new connections. This week was a reminder that we (Black people) are deserving.
Luxury, spaces, experiences
Peace of mind
We are so beautiful, so stylish, so joyous and so innovative. Until next year ✌🏾
Today’s highlight: At the airport I ran into a conference attendee who told me that the Culture House x YouTube event was the highlight of the conference for her. She felt comfortable in the space, made incredible connections and felt like she was at home with us.
8 AM: Wake up, needed to sleep in after a hectic week. Feels good to be home and reflect on all of the incredible experiences from AfroTech. Back to my usual coffee pour overs at home and headed downstairs to finish the last workout of my 5-day routine.
9:30 AM: Meetings back at my home office. I took advantage of YouTube’s Focus Fridays to get caught up on work and emails that had accumulated while I was off of the desk at the conference this week. Besides checking emails here and there I really pushed myself to be active in the experience at AfroTech and am grateful I did.
7:00 PM: Homemade pizza and “The L Word: Gen Q” season 3 premiere at my best friend’s house (another perk of moving to Florida).
Today’s highlight: It felt really good to be valued and seen for my contributions to Google and YouTube’s presence at the conference (and to make it even sweeter, the recognition included a spot bonus from my manager!)
Top image credit: Brandon Ruffin (Ruff Draft Visuals)