Popular Google software engineer Anthony D. Mace is leaving the search giant to constantly engage in diversity and inclusion.

Anthony D. Mace

A year after Anthony D. Mace joined Google as a software engineer in 2013, the company first publicly released its diversity figures. He knew the numbers were probably low, but he didn’t realize how low.

When he learned that only 1% of technology roles involve black people, Mace set out on his personal mission to help increase that number while working at Google. Now, after years of watching slow progress in Google and the technology industry in general, Mace is branching out on his own, creating a consulting firm that seeks to help both companies and employees achieve greater representation.

Google’s DEI key voice

When Mace joined Google in 2013, he received a personal welcome call from then-company chief of staff Laszlo Bock. “It was pretty special,” Mace said in an interview with CNBC.

The following year, the company became the first of many to publish its diversity figures, which showed that 2% of Google’s full-time employees were black, and only 1% of technical positions were held by black employees. Shocked by the statistics, Mace felt a personal responsibility to help those numbers grow.

To do this, he began sharing his story of coming out of a hard house in Compton, California.

“Over the years, I’ve moved from the world of Compton to the world of Google and Silicon Valley, and it gives me a unique opportunity to build bridges in a way that may be impossible for others.”

For the first time, he shared his story in an email to a company that eventually went viral. Then, in 2018, he shared his experience in a Buzzfeed video titled “My Unlikely Way to Become 1% at Google,” which garnered 5.3 million views. He also wrote an article with Google’s public relations team, he said, for the Huffington Post entitled “Google would never hire a man like me,” explaining how his environment and self-doubt nearly prevented him from applying for a job in Google.

“I received emails from people inside and outside the company that I had never met,” Mace said, adding that he was humiliated by the response.

Mace, a full-time engineer at Google, has been a key voice for a variety of technology companies. Now he wants to use what he has learned to increase representation.

Anthony Mace

Many told Mace that he inspired them and made them feel seen and heard, he said. Google recruiters told him that his coaching work helped get various contenders at the door and succeed during the interview, he said.

But becoming a key voice for the DEI was also a failure: he had to combine the work of the DEI with the fact that he works full-time as a software engineer, and says he sacrificed a promotion because of the time spent on these initiatives.

Mace said he also had an impostor syndrome.

“People have told me that I’m fine, but I’m also well aware that in the minds of some people I’m a different employer,” he said of his feelings. “So at the very beginning I had this secret suspicion that I was treated differently because I’m a black person who works in technology.”

Part of the motivation for continuing his work, he explained, was “the fault of the survivors,” Mace said.

“I had several friends who were shot when they were 18 and 19,” he said. “When you see such a tragedy and are so close to it, you start asking what made me so different that I deserved to escape, and they didn’t?”

But much of the motivation, he said, came from his faith and hope for justice among underrepresented workers. He said he feels responsible and passionate for giving people more chances.

Mace, whose authentic communication and sincerity attracts people, says he tries to be honest when asked what it’s like to be a black person at Google.

“I say that I had a good experience, but there are no guarantees, and I want us to be honest in this,” he said. “There are people who have had a horrible experience, and I want to remind people that no matter how much I like being at Google, you can do things differently.”

He also acknowledges the challenges he sees companies facing in trying to implement new programs dedicated to diversity and inclusion. At Google, he said, he saw spectacular diversity and inclusion programs that were either suspended or changed in another direction.

“I don’t know many companies that work harder than Google to make a difference; however, one of the challenges I’ve seen is a strong commitment to any direction,” Mace said. “Often, you have a program that works well for a year or two and then vaguely moves in a different direction, or there is a shuffle or reorganization, and it can be difficult to consider things over a long period.”

“A real moon shot”

Years went by and Mace found that his personal brand deviated from the Google brand, he said.

“Google is an advertising company that organizes information about the world, and during my stay there I helped with this as a software engineer – that’s why I was hired,” he said. “But I became more interested in organizing information for the under-represented in technology, who had a hard time finding resources and information on how to navigate technology as an industry.”

In late 2021, Mace said he saw a window of opportunity for full-time employment of DEI after observing the aggravation of the job market, record layoffs and technology-seeking jobs looking for better financial security and working life flexibility amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Seeing the need and response to my own history over the last few years, everything has gone well, now I want to do it more than just in my spare time,” Mace said. “I realized now is really the time, and when the pandemic begins to weaken.”

Mace’s last day was mid-February, and less than a week later he used his savings to launch Morgan Latimer Consulting, named after African-American inventors Gareth A. Morgan and Lewis H. Latimer.

Mace has two main goals: to help unrepresented people get jobs in technology if they want to, and to help companies understand how to get and retain those workers.

An influential software engineer at Google, Anthony Mace left the company eight years later to pursue his own consulting firm on diversity and inclusion.

Anthony Mace

Working with companies, Mace had to explain the importance of DEI to businesses, which over the years have shown that it improves business results and product development.

“There are people who see this as just a PR problem, that it’s not a real problem,” Mace says.

Silicon Valley has been slowly evolving in retaining colored staff, paying close attention to hiring.

“They can attract people all day, but they still don’t support them enough to stay, as you can see in the numbers and in people’s experiences,” Mace said.

Mace says part of his conversations include getting to know companies about how minority talents view them. In particular, there is a significant lack of trust.

“Most companies either don’t know or don’t understand why there is a lack of trust, they usually see side effects such as lack of participation,” he said. “We expect that if we throw money at it, we will make progress, but it’s harder.”

He says firms sometimes ignore existing mechanisms that could help the problem, such as organization, support systems and mentoring.

“It’s important for me to help these companies understand why such things happen, and give some recommendations on how to address them,” he says. “FAANG companies, in particular, often feel they want to invent the wheel, but often shouldn’t.”

Mace cited the example of Inroads, a nonprofit organization that creates career paths for underrepresented students. This has helped him secure a job in technology, but still receives no support or recognition.

He also plans to help companies think about how much their performance reviews are included, he said. He added that expectations and actions should be clear to employees.

“It’s not enough for a company leader to have a DEI-focused initiative,” said Jason King, senior deputy director of corporate relations at the University of California, Irvine. “It requires a solid structure and game plan, because once you stay on the gas, you have to implement it, and that’s just one thing that Mace does great at.”

Helping others through the door

For those just entering the door, Mace says she dedicates part of Morgan Latimer Consulting to the porch, such as interviews that were difficult for candidates.

He said that before being hired by Google, Mace did not pass his first interview with Google in 2011, despite receiving tips from a company recruiter. Historically, black college students studying on Google’s own campus program told CNBC about problems and failures during their own processes. As a result of the failed interviews, they felt upset and were unlikely to try again.

Porsche Kibble-Smith, head of diversity and inclusion in the launch of the Karat technical interview platform, said Mace’s services fit well because of his ability to communicate with students and share advice – a break from the often standard practice of technology companies abandoning share feedback on interviews.

An influential software engineer at Google, Anthony Mace left the company eight years later to pursue his own consulting firm on diversity and inclusion.

Anthony Mace

“One of our biggest problems we’ve found is that most engineers have less information about the hiring and interview process in particular, and it gets worse when they come from outside the industry,” Kibble said. -Smith. “It’s even harder to get information from peers if you don’t have a network.”

Mays offers three different packages. The $ 199 “basic” package helps candidates “Find out if you’re ready with a realistic coding interview,” while the $ 549 “Pro” package tracks progress and growth by helping with algorithms and data structures. Finally, the $ 899 package offers all of these benefits, as well as “in-depth topics and behavioral interviews.”

The two more expensive ones can be broken down into monthly payments, and most of them come one-on-one with Mays.

Mace says she hopes to give people “high quality” training courses at an affordable price and regularly shares free tips and advice on her social networks including Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.

“There are so many predatory services that just repackage information in free access and charge a fee,” Mace said. “I understand it’s a capitalist society, but I have a desire to gather information in the hands of people who often don’t have the access or the means to pay for it.”

An influential software engineer at Google, Anthony Mace left the company eight years later to pursue his own consulting firm on diversity and inclusion.

Anthony Mace

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