Category: Fall 2020, Georgetown Magazine

Title:Personal Reflections: Bserat Ghebremicael

Author: Interview by Jeffrey Donahoe
Date Published: November 18, 2020

Bserat Ghebremicael

The Black community is significantly and disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Add to this the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and all the deaths that the larger world never hears about. That’s incredibly hard on the physical and mental health of a lot of Black people. Many Black people come to workplaces across the country where coworkers or leadership do not talk about any of the injustices in society today. That’s why, in our digital community, we are now focusing a lot more on wellness, support, and action.

To support well-being and drive community, this summer we designed virtual concerts each bringing together more than 250 Black Googlers and allies. Around the time of the protests, we drove a fundraising campaign, accelerated through a much larger virtual concert called Music for Good, which raised money for on-the-ground social justice organizations like the Movement for Black Lives and The Bail Project, to not only support scaling the nationwide protests but also support those who were incarcerated as a result of participating in them. This virtual concert in particular brought in some much-needed positive energy after months of constant devastating news, as well as $350,000 in fundraising from Black Googlers and our allies.

“The core of all my work is really about solving for the gaps—the gaps in access, opportunity, and support.”

Bserat Ghebremicael

Nationally, there’s only a small percentage of Black people working in tech companies. I think that Google is doing a better job with diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) than most. Within the small percentage of Black people in tech, most of them are men—you don’t find a lot of Black women, and especially Black women in software engineering, so I work harder to support their needs and share opportunities as they come

As a Georgetown student, I was leading a lot of conversations around race and socioeconomic status. During my sophomore year, I, alongside two great friends, created an event series called Ignite the Dream, a forum to reflect on the stories and state of underrepresented groups on campus and more broadly in the United States. During my junior year, I co-founded BRAVE, an event to celebrate and focus on Black women, provide access to opportunities, and advance discussions about race and gender, with intersections of additional identities such as sexual orientation and being an immigrant, on campus.

The core of all my work is really about solving for the gaps—the gaps in access, opportunity, and support. This is apparent in my core role, supporting developers by building relationships to offer more holistic solutions to support their businesses cross-Google, and in my work within DEI, doing all that I can to ensure underrepresented groups have a more equal playing field within tech and society at large.

As Global Events Lead for Google, Bserat Ghebremicael (B’17) helps web and app developers use Google products. She’s also a digital community organizer supporting and mobilizing Black Googlers with an emphasis on Black women.

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