Barbara Navarro Luncheon for WIB

-Women in Business Luncheon-
18th January 2017

Last January 18th, SCC Women in Business Committee held its second luncheon aiming to bring together successful women in Hong Kong, and members of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce over a delicious lunch (this time held at: The Optimist). We were honored with the presence of Barbara Navarro as guest (Head of Operations and Strategy for Public Policy and Government Relations for APAC at Google) speaking about Innovation&Tech. Main highlights of the session could be read as follows:wib3
A brief introduction on her career and how she ended up living in Hong Kong opened the session, where she explained us the main difficulties of facing a new role in a new geographic area and a different culture; for which she recommended basically two things: being humble and open about the new situation, and ask questions as many times as needed to make things clear.
About Google, she didn’t hide it is a great place to work at. She highlighted many of the positive points as: that there are weekly meetings in Mountain View with the CEO where people is able to freely raise their concerns, that in Google everybody is pushed to collaborate with other departments as a way to share the ownership of challenges/achievements, that the working environment and offices are great to work at, among others. Regarding Google strategy and position in China, as expected she could not comment in detail, but reminded that Google has a group of people working in mainland since a long time ago.
Google really seeks creative people with strong initiative. Diversity is one of the mantras of the company that they are meant to apply to all the teams. They are really sensitive regarding carrying out as un-biased selection processes as possible. As an example she explained that they try to diversify not only on gender, sexual orientation or race, but also interestingly on accepting people from different universities (not only “ivy league”) and backgrounds.
Regarding the current hot issue of cybersecurity and digital privacy, she highlighted the importance of reading the detail/making the effort to understand the disclaimers when we push the “I agree” button. All the information that we upload on line is subject to be seen by anybody for quite a long time and auto control should be the first step to filter and manage our digital image/ footprint. She also talked about her experience of dealing with regulators both in Europe and APAC, sharing that the biggest need is common: to explain in detail the economic and social impact of Internet. Regarding social media she recommended using those platforms where we really have an interest, as not everybody needs to be on Tweeter, Facebook and Instagram. She highlighted the digital gap as the main issue to work towards improvement going forward as there are still millions of people not connected.

Regarding working flexibility, she talked about the risk of not being able to disconnect, given the easy access to working elements we have on our personal time nowadays. She said that Google is a step ahead on this sense as was very advanced in terms of flexibility long ago, and after identifying this risk started the reverse path, underscoring the importance of supporting those who decide to completely “unwire” once they are out of the office.
From The SCC Women in Business Committee we would like to thank Barbara for her great insights and all those of you who came to the luncheon. Hope to see you again soon in our next event, stay tuned to Spanish Chamber Newsletter and SCC WIB Facebook page!

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