Alumni

The Room Where It Happens

Mahiri Wise (BA ’09) makes a career of connecting people.

by Andrea Adereti
Close up of man sitting on brick steps

With the world continuing into a digital space, there’s one thing that Mahiri Wise (BA ’09) knows is essential to maintain: the human connection.

When he first came on board at Google in the Fall of 2019, the company needed to be creative about how it would continue to share content, access its Google experts, and introduce new product details. Wise wanted to create more access to resources and insights, so developers felt equipped to innovate using Google’s technology.

With his experience working in entertainment and events and facilities management, Wise had the ability to connect with people and bring the right people to the table. His skills opened the door to quick successes in his new field of developer marketing at Google Cloud. “Shoutout to Mecca,” he says. “I know and understand what I’m good at; I get to walk into a room with a sense of humility, knowing where that line also ends.”

Among his ongoing projects include the launch of the Google Cloud Collective with Stack Overflow, where he reaches developers where they naturally gather. This allows more exposure of available resources, leading to faster industry solutions and an enhanced user communication network. He is also creating standardization in the event planning process that provides heightened consistency for internal and external partners when working with the international events planning team.

The best minds are in these underrepresented communities, and we have to tap in. Identifying those communities, supporting those communities, and then reaching out to those communities is critical to the success of Google.”

Wise is committed to increasing representation in Black and Latino communities in the world of developers. He hopes to bring opportunity and education to those who aren’t typically represented and lack the resources to consider the possibilities of a career choice such as this. “It’s about opening the doors. Letting folks know the door exists. If they knew the door was there, they would go,” Wise says.

According to Wise, Black Americans are entering corporate America ready to do great things. Still, they are often confronted by a lack of cultural diversity and disconnected experiences from their counterparts. So how does he help fellow Black developers learn to navigate these spaces? Wise says it’s about building a community. “We not only represent ourselves, we represent the community, and as a Bison, it’s a community of excellence.”

Wise stresses it needs to be more about the education and conversation behind diversity and inclusion to build a pipeline for the business. “The best minds are in these underrepresented communities, and we have to tap in. Identifying those communities, supporting those communities, and then reaching out to those communities is critical to the success of Google.”

He credits Howard for teaching him the confidence he has when he encounters a challenge at work. “When I walk into a room, I walk into it with Black privilege,” he says. “I walk into [it] knowing that if it’s a problem I don’t know how to solve right now – give me an hour, the end of the week, and I will get this done. That level of ‘I can do anything,’ I attribute to my Howard experience.” Wise says that this mentality has led him into rooms far earlier than some of his colleagues. “Sometimes, the performance can speak louder than words.”

This story appears in the Winter 2022 issue.

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