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Having joined TaskRabbit, the online marketplace for odd jobs, after nine years in management at Google, Stacy Brown-Philpot is a rare example of a black, female chief executive in the tech industry. Mentored by Sheryl Sandberg, she credits her success in part to her decision to head online sales and operations for Google in India, a move that gave her chances that would have been otherwise unavailable.
At the tech giant she founded the Google Black Network, an employee resource group which is an important part of Google’s efforts to improve diversity. Shortly after her appointment as chief executive of TaskRabbit in April, she launched a partnership with the Congressional Black Caucus, which represents black members of the US Congress, to focus the start-up’s recruiting and retention efforts on African Americans and other under-represented groups.
“I believe you accomplish what you measure and by setting some real targets and going public about them,” she has said. Ms Brown-Philpot’s multipronged approach involved being accessible in weekly office hours, a mentorship programme and creating summer internship opportunities for top black and Latino engineering talent through Code2040, a US non-profit organisation working for greater participation of those groups in technology. She is a also board member of Black Girls Code, a non-profit organisation that provides technology education to African-American schoolgirls.