That was the first time that I really had someone refer to me as a person of color, and it started my understanding of my identity within the U.S. racial and ethnic context.
Daisy Auger-Dominguez '95 has helped some of the world's largest and most influential companies — Moody's Investors Service, Disney-ABC and now Google — increase and nurture diversity within their ranks.
But her path to leadership roles in these organizations and her own interest in diversity started during a most trivial moment — with an invitation to a party.
In her first two weeks at Bucknell, a student invited Auger-Dominguez to a get-together at Seventh Street House, the African-American studies residence, suggesting she should come since she was Latina.
"That was the first time that I really had someone refer to me as a person of color, and it started my understanding of my identity within the U.S. racial and ethnic context," says Auger-Dominguez, who was raised in the Dominican Republic and attended an international school before moving to New Jersey at age 16. "As a young woman of color who was recent to the country, I was curious about what that meant."
Auger-Dominguez would investigate how her identity interacted with issues of justice and equity as a member of the Social Justice College — staying on her sophomore year as an adviser — and as a dual major in international relations and women's studies.
"I used the four years I had at Bucknell to explore who I was and the dynamics of being one of a very few in classrooms, and what that meant in terms of culturally dominant views — who spoke most and did better in class, how people socialized, why the students of color sat together at the cafeteria and went to their own parties. We did all that to find community with people we felt we would instantly resonate with and understand, and to create a space of psychological safety."
She began to piece together then the elements that would inform her work today as Google's global head of diversity staffing. Tech companies such as Google emphasize user experience and are now setting their sights on "the next billion users," Auger-Dominguez says.
Living in places such as South Asia, Africa and Central America, those users don't look at the world the same way as the previous billion. "When we're creating products, if we don't have someone at the table who thinks about that experiential perspective, then we lose out," she says.
The same awareness can apply to any field, Auger-Dominguez notes. In her previous work at Disney-ABC, where she was vice president for talent acquisition and workforce diversity, she says creating entertainment that appealed to different audiences began with a diverse stable of writers and content creators.
Auger-Dominguez worked for the network during the launch of the hit comedies Black-ish and Fresh Off the Boat, which focus on nonwhite families, and dramas American Crime and How to Get Away with Murder, which feature richly diverse storylines and casts. While she doesn't take credit for the success of those shows, Auger-Dominguez says they wouldn't have come about without an array of viewpoints among company leaders, some of whom she helped hire or promote.
"You can't build a strategy on marketing alone," she says. "You have to believe in the folks who create the content you're going to disseminate to the world."
"At Google," she adds, "I'm proud of being able to help create more access and opportunity for diverse talent to be makers and to join the tech industry."
In other words, she intends to offer an invitation.
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