Amir Baghaipour, Partner Engineer, Google Cloud – In conversation with MediaAgility on the importance of Diversity & Inclusion

With Agilites from 4 continents working together to design solutions for global businesses, Diversity and Inclusion are non-negotiable for us. D&I was also one of the many key topics we discussed at Growth 2020, our internal conference. 

This new video series presents the best of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion panel discussion at Growth 2020 where Google Cloud leaders shared their views about the importance of diversity and inclusion.

The next episode in the video series features Amir Baghaipour, Partner Engineer, Google Cloud. The following are some excerpts from the panel discussion. (Watch the first and second episodes)

Question: What is Diversity and Inclusion (D&I)?

Amir: I think opening your work culture to different types of people. It is accepting different people, different genders, different races into your organization. And the ‘I’ part is really valuing their perspectives, valuing their contributions, celebrating their culture. 

I think we (Google) do a really good job of it. When we have Culture Club, we celebrate things like Diwali, Persian New Year. I think it is great to be able to have the opportunity to share our culture with our colleagues and really enlighten them as to why we think the way that we do or what our cultural background is. 

D&I in the work context is really just embracing and accepting different perspectives, valuing different ideas, even if they are different from your own. And what makes Google great is that we are able to really voice how we feel and what we think. And at the end of the day, one of our core principles is to disagree and to commit. Even if we don’t agree with each other, we agree that we need to reach a decision to move forward and continue building products and serving our customers.

Question: What is Unconscious Bias?

Amir: What unconscious bias to me is really, you know, the solution is bringing consciousness to the unconscious bias.

But unconscious bias in and of itself, I think is a product of our conditioning. And when I say conditioning, I mean how we were raised, the environment that we grew up in, the types of people and the mindsets of those people that we were exposed to. And I think, you know, for people that have never left their hometown or their family village, there is a lot of unconscious bias there. And it is hard to break out of that.

But when you are in the company of people that value D&I, they really help you open your mind so that you can understand other people’s perspectives and ways of looking at things.

So the key is really to accept that we all have unconscious bias. (A) acceptance and then (B) to really bring awareness to that. And understand that, “Hey, maybe I’m uncomfortable in this situation because of the way that I was raised or the environment that I grew up in.” And work to actively change that mindset, to open up your minds to new ideas, new possibilities, and other people’s perspectives and opinions.

Question: How has been your experience with Diversity & Inclusion?

Amir: When my perspective, my input, my contributions were valued and I felt that I was able to really bring my full self to work and the social groups that I was a part of, it really allowed me to embrace the growth mindset and start propelling my career. Advancing through the ranks of the different consulting positions that I had and eventually making it to Google, which has really just been eye-opening. The level at which people are able to be themselves at work and bring their full selves in every day is really astounding. 

And it allows me to do my best work and it allows me to really bond with my colleagues in a way that I never thought was possible.

Question: How can we overcome Unconscious Bias?

Amir: I find that trying to practice empathy really helps me understand where another person is coming from. If somebody expresses a sentiment or opinion and kind of doesn’t feel right, I like to dig a little deeper and understand where they are coming from, why they think the way that they do, how their life or their experiences might have shaped the way that they look at something. So next time you find yourself in a disagreement or talking to somebody where somebody says something and you maybe don’t agree, try and dig a little deeper or try and understand where that person’s coming from. I think that’s one part of it.

And then the other part is just being more open-minded, really just accepting other people’s perspectives and cherishing that. And really celebrating the different perspectives from all the diverse viewpoints that you have in a room. 

I think when you work at a company like MediaAgility or a company like Google, where diversity and inclusion are promoted and celebrated, it really gives you the opportunity to understand deeper where people are coming from.

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    Diversity and Inclusion at MediaAgility

    We intentionally, deliberately, and pro-actively choose Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in all that we do. We are committed to removing all unconscious bias in our hiring process, communication, and operations.