A grassroots effort by two Finance Googlers changed how we speak to each other

At Google, grassroots cultural change can come from anywhere in the company, not just from the top down or from People Operations out. In 2015, two Googlers on the Finance team partnered to bring an innovative workplace training, called Trans @ Google, to many of our offices across the globe, from the Americas to APAC.

It started with Kevin and Marnie, who work together as part of a larger team. Marnie identifies as gender neutral (and uses the pronoun ze). Kevin, who had served on a global LGBT leadership council at his previous employer, realized that though he was passionate about diversity work, he still made mistakes in using Marnie's preferred pronouns, and that transgender individuals' experiences can often be left out of broader LGBT conversations. Kevin says, “I realized there was a space for dialogue here at Google.”

Marnie, who had done a trans training in business school, was also interested in sharing knowledge across Google. When the two connected, it was just the beginning.

Marnie and Kevin brought their concept to their teams and, with the support of leadership, were able to get their training off the ground—and indeed, it flew. 175 Googlers attended the first panel in Sunnyvale.

LGBT trainings aren’t unique to Google, but executive support for the initiative stands out. “What we realized is that Finance is actually a really big supporter of initiatives like this,” says Kevin. Indeed, the organization’s leadership challenged Kevin and Marnie to push further. “Marnie and I both were really emboldened to continue to explore these ideas in addition to our day jobs. I sit on our Finance diversity working group. Google already has such an amazing culture, and we're proud to have been able to contribute to shaping it in ways beyond just our day-to-day roles in Finance.”

For Marnie, Trans @ Google was just a start, and ze is now partnering to further the discussion to include race. “We’re addressing race head on,” ze says. “There’s so much trust.” Rather than pushing back, Marnie says leadership’s approach has been to ask how they can support these initiatives. “It’s amazing to work at a company that embraces change. We’re lucky.”

So what’s next? Kevin says more—more training in more countries to reach more colleagues. “Our 2016 plan is to reach more Googlers than we did last year, continue to expand the diversity work across Finance, and to keep going with what we feel passionate about.”

A grassroots effort by two Finance Googlers changed how we speak to each other

At Google, grassroots cultural change can come from anywhere in the company, not just from the top down or from People Operations out. In 2015, two Googlers on the Finance team partnered to bring an innovative workplace training, called Trans @ Google, to many of our offices across the globe, from the Americas to APAC.

It started with Kevin and Marnie, who work together as part of a larger team. Marnie identifies as gender neutral (and uses the pronoun ze). Kevin, who had served on a global LGBT leadership council at his previous employer, realized that though he was passionate about diversity work, he still made mistakes in using Marnie's preferred pronouns, and that transgender individuals' experiences can often be left out of broader LGBT conversations. Kevin says, “I realized there was a space for dialogue here at Google.”

Marnie, who had done a trans training in business school, was also interested in sharing knowledge across Google. When the two connected, it was just the beginning.

Marnie and Kevin brought their concept to their teams and, with the support of leadership, were able to get their training off the ground—and indeed, it flew. 175 Googlers attended the first panel in Sunnyvale.

LGBT trainings aren’t unique to Google, but executive support for the initiative stands out. “What we realized is that Finance is actually a really big supporter of initiatives like this,” says Kevin. Indeed, the organization’s leadership challenged Kevin and Marnie to push further. “Marnie and I both were really emboldened to continue to explore these ideas in addition to our day jobs. I sit on our Finance diversity working group. Google already has such an amazing culture, and we're proud to have been able to contribute to shaping it in ways beyond just our day-to-day roles in Finance.”

For Marnie, Trans @ Google was just a start, and ze is now partnering to further the discussion to include race. “We’re addressing race head on,” ze says. “There’s so much trust.” Rather than pushing back, Marnie says leadership’s approach has been to ask how they can support these initiatives. “It’s amazing to work at a company that embraces change. We’re lucky.”

So what’s next? Kevin says more—more training in more countries to reach more colleagues. “Our 2016 plan is to reach more Googlers than we did last year, continue to expand the diversity work across Finance, and to keep going with what we feel passionate about.”