The She Word: Nishma Robb, storytelling for change

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.

In our fourth installment of the “She Word” series, we talked to Nishma Robb. At Google, she is the Head of Ads Marketing for the UK and Ireland. But at home, she's best known for helping her twins chase unicorns and search for rainbows.

Why are you proud to be a woman at Google?

I am proud of all the women I work with and encounter at Google—we are a community that embraces every type of woman. I’m inspired by these women who are bursting with ideas and the ability to make things happen. They have the passion and force to change the world and make a difference for women today and for future generations to come.

How do you explain your job at a dinner party?

I tell stories to shape people’s perspectives of how we help businesses and brands grow through our advertising solutions.

If you could ask one woman from history a question … who would it be and what would you ask?

I loved “Jane Eyre” when I was a little girl. And my twins are reading about the Brontë sisters in Bedtime Stories for Rebel Girls—they pour over the book every night, learning about the wonderful stories of incredible women (and I recently invested in a Kickstarter campaign to bring the book to print!). At one point in her career, the wonderful Charlotte Brontë (the eldest of the sisters) sent her poetry to a famous poet and his response was “I do not like your poems at all: literature is a man’s business.” If I could go back in time, I’d ask Charlotte how she picked herself up at that moment and persevered.

What’s the last book you read or show/movie you binged?

I recently saw “Hidden Figures.” I love this movie for so many reasons. It’s empowering, uplifting and joyful. Please go and see it! The last book I read is “Mad Girl” by Bryony Gordon—it’s an honest, insightful autobiography about her experiences with OCD, depression, bulimia, alopecia and drug dependency. I hope it helps to remove the stigma of talking about mental health, and gets the message out that there is no such thing as “normal.”

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

Take your time. Pacing your journey is so important. Sometimes in our constant rush to progress and achieve, we do not savor opportunities or take advantage of exploring new challenges to discover our strengths. It is okay to make mistakes—it’s good to take risks and make mistakes, so long as you learn and build from them.  

What do you hope to accomplish on behalf of women everywhere?

I want to radically change the way women are represented in our world—in film, media and advertising—so that little girls (and boys) realize there is no such thing as “girls’ jobs” or “boys’ jobs.”