The She Word: Laura Marquez, helping Google show up in the Latino community

In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re celebrating the powerful, dynamic and creative women of Google. Like generations before them, these women break down barriers and defy expectations at work and in their communities. Over the course of the month, we’ll help you get to know a few of these Google women, and share a bit about who they are and why they inspire us.


Today, we hear from Laura Marquez, Google’s Head of Latino Community Engagement. Laura is a veteran of Capitol Hill, served as a political appointee in the Obama Administration, and recently moved to New York for her newly-created role. The biggest difference between Google and Capitol Hill? Capitol Hill staffers don’t wear propeller hats on their first day of work...

How do you explain your job at a dinner party?

I am charged with looking across the company at how we can deepen and strengthen our relationship with the Latino community. This means asking ourselves the hard questions ... How can our corporate culture be more diverse and inclusive? Where are opportunities to connect with the rapidly growing Latino population? How can we expand our impact in the community, from Latino small business owners to educators to emerging Latino creators? For example, small business owners should know that they can pin their business name on Google maps for free, and every student interested in tech should know about our internship opportunities.

Why are you proud to be a woman at Google?

Women at Google are fierce, and we are redefining the face of tech. I am especially proud to be a Latina at Google. Many of us are the first in our families to attend college or move away from our hometowns—making those strides calls for a lot of grit and resilience.

I am one of the few Latinos with a dual MBA/MPA from Harvard, and back in 2005, I was the only Latino serving as a Congressional Legislative Director (and was fired up when a few others were hired later that year!). The Latinas here at Google have remarkable stories, and they have worked hard to advance our community’s economic and social well-being. I’m proud and honored to stand alongside the many Latina innovators here at Google and ensure that we have a seat at the table and among ranks of leadership.

What advice would you give to women starting out in their careers?

When I first started my career, I was one of the few Latinas working on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Another woman took me aside and said, “All you have in DC is your name. Protect it.” I took that advice to heart—maybe too much. If I were to do those early years over again, I would take more calculated risks, and I encourage women early in their careers to have the courage to do so.

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Laura and her grandmother

Who has been a strong female influence in your life?

Growing up, my grandmother was one of the smartest women that I knew. She could name all the former U.S. Presidents, knew every piece of the day’s news, and ran her household with a firm but gentle hand. Those same hands belonged to a migrant farm worker who never had the opportunity to go beyond grade school.

During Women’s History Month (and all the time, really), I hear her voice telling me that it is different for women. She wasn’t discouraging me from my pursuing my dreams, but it was her way of telling me that I would have to work harder than everyone else. It was her way of saying sometimes life isn’t fair, but as women, we persevere.

Just as my grandmother helped create a new path for her children and grandchildren, I can only hope to do the same for others and to help shape a world where women from all backgrounds can succeed.

There’s no better way to celebrate women than to elevate their success.

What are you doing to celebrate to celebrate Women's History Month?

I am working with Google’s Business Inclusion team to highlight the achievements and advice of female small business owners and entrepreneurs. Our Business Inclusion team works with communities that are traditionally underrepresented online, and teaches them how to use online tools to market and grow their businesses. We want to inspire future entrepreneurs with women’s success stories—there’s no better way to celebrate women than to elevate their success.