How Clennita is making Google better for users—and for Googlers

“I’m always doing something around my own personal development, and I’ve always thought of technology as a means for helping us be better people and have better lives, enjoy our lives, and increase our self-awareness,” says Clennita Justice, a self-described “self-help girl.” Clennita's curiosity about how things work and her avocation for self-awareness propelled her into a career where she works to improve Google’s product experiences for users. In seven years, Clennita has touched many parts of Google, but her current role connects best with her passions. As a Senior Program Manager in Product Strategy, she focuses on product excellence, ensuring that Google’s products’ usability and features are best-in-class.

Clennita’s focus on the user has been core to her work since she joined the company working on Google Books (now known as Google Play Books). On that team, she saw opportunities to incorporate the user’s perspective into product development. Clennita suggested the support team participate in early bug bashes on the product to ensure that the people who would ultimately be trusted to solve customer problems were well-versed in the product itself. “It was clear they needed to understand the product to help the user,” she explains. “It was fulfilling to me because naturally I have always thought about the user first.”

After scaling Google Play Books to 69 countries, Clennita was ready for something new. She expanded her role on the Google Play team to ensure all Play apps met the highest accessibility standards and realized that this kind of work—enabling users—was what she wanted to focus on for her next step. “I think it’s awesome that we’re seeing the importance of creating products that are not just essential to the user, but right for the user,” she says. Now, Clennita works in Product Strategy, managing an in-product tool that is designed to do short surveys that gauge user satisfaction.

Satisfaction and trust, Clennita says, are key to enabling Google to move forward with new technologies. Clennita shares a story to underscore her point: A friend of hers worked in the Obama administration as an advisor to the Pentagon and represented a group of technology advisors who wanted to sit down with tech company leaders. Clennita got the director of the self-driving car project to speak with the group. The comments and questions between government and tech company leaders cemented a key idea. “What hit me was Google has to seriously work on its reputation for having reliable products so there’s an embedded trust in the user’s belief that, for example, Google won’t crash this car. All of our products have to have the same level of trust. That crystallized in me my desire to be part of the effort to change the company to focus on the ability to land on the moon rather than launch the rocket,” Clennita says.

It was fulfilling to me because naturally I have always thought about the user first.

And her focus on improving things doesn’t stop with her core role. Clennita is a member of the Black Googlers Network (BGN), an employee resource group for Black Googlers and allies. She says the climate around diversity is better than it used to be industry-wide, but, as someone always ready to make changes for the better, she has suggestions for what could be improved: More training, education, accountability, and planning around inclusion; more general support for what people of color face at work and in the world.

Clennita herself provides one pillar of support by mentoring others both formally and informally, at Google and elsewhere. “I’ve been in tech a long time, so I must be doing something right,” Clennita says. “My thing is, whatever I’ve done right, I want to be able to share my experience and give people insight about what they can do to resolve their challenging situations, especially if it’s early in their career.”

Clennita Justice

Sr. Program Manager, Product Strategy

How Clennita is making Google better for users—and for Googlers

“I’m always doing something around my own personal development, and I’ve always thought of technology as a means for helping us be better people and have better lives, enjoy our lives, and increase our self-awareness,” says Clennita Justice, a self-described “self-help girl.” Clennita's curiosity about how things work and her avocation for self-awareness propelled her into a career where she works to improve Google’s product experiences for users. In seven years, Clennita has touched many parts of Google, but her current role connects best with her passions. As a Senior Program Manager in Product Strategy, she focuses on product excellence, ensuring that Google’s products’ usability and features are best-in-class.

Clennita’s focus on the user has been core to her work since she joined the company working on Google Books (now known as Google Play Books). On that team, she saw opportunities to incorporate the user’s perspective into product development. Clennita suggested the support team participate in early bug bashes on the product to ensure that the people who would ultimately be trusted to solve customer problems were well-versed in the product itself. “It was clear they needed to understand the product to help the user,” she explains. “It was fulfilling to me because naturally I have always thought about the user first.”

After scaling Google Play Books to 69 countries, Clennita was ready for something new. She expanded her role on the Google Play team to ensure all Play apps met the highest accessibility standards and realized that this kind of work—enabling users—was what she wanted to focus on for her next step. “I think it’s awesome that we’re seeing the importance of creating products that are not just essential to the user, but right for the user,” she says. Now, Clennita works in Product Strategy, managing an in-product tool that is designed to do short surveys that gauge user satisfaction.

Satisfaction and trust, Clennita says, are key to enabling Google to move forward with new technologies. Clennita shares a story to underscore her point: A friend of hers worked in the Obama administration as an advisor to the Pentagon and represented a group of technology advisors who wanted to sit down with tech company leaders. Clennita got the director of the self-driving car project to speak with the group. The comments and questions between government and tech company leaders cemented a key idea. “What hit me was Google has to seriously work on its reputation for having reliable products so there’s an embedded trust in the user’s belief that, for example, Google won’t crash this car. All of our products have to have the same level of trust. That crystallized in me my desire to be part of the effort to change the company to focus on the ability to land on the moon rather than launch the rocket,” Clennita says.

It was fulfilling to me because naturally I have always thought about the user first.

And her focus on improving things doesn’t stop with her core role. Clennita is a member of the Black Googlers Network (BGN), an employee resource group for Black Googlers and allies. She says the climate around diversity is better than it used to be industry-wide, but, as someone always ready to make changes for the better, she has suggestions for what could be improved: More training, education, accountability, and planning around inclusion; more general support for what people of color face at work and in the world.

Clennita herself provides one pillar of support by mentoring others both formally and informally, at Google and elsewhere. “I’ve been in tech a long time, so I must be doing something right,” Clennita says. “My thing is, whatever I’ve done right, I want to be able to share my experience and give people insight about what they can do to resolve their challenging situations, especially if it’s early in their career.”