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We are thrilled that Google will join us at RES this year, where they will showcase their supplier diversity program. We recently sat down with Siofra Harnett, the Global Head of Google’s Supplier Diversity Program, who attended her first RES last year and was impressed by the business content at the sessions – and the shopping opportunities at the Artisan Market. Learn more about Siofra and her Irish roots and French nickname in our interview below. Make sure you visit their booth and apply for Google’s Supplier Diversity Program!

Tell us a little bit about yourself and Google’s Supplier Diversity Program?

Maybe a good place to start is with my name. It’s pronounced “Shee-fra” and just like me, it’s Irish. I’m so proud of Google’s Supplier Diversity Program. We’re committed to creating economic impact in underrepresented communities and our Supplier Diversity program is designed to connect more minority-, women-, veteran-, persons with disabilities-, and LGBT-owned small businesses to opportunities within Google, while helping them grow.

How long has it been in operation and how long have you been involved?

We launched Google Supplier Diversity just over 4 years ago. I was involved in a part-time capacity for nearly two years before taking the lead 9 months ago.

What did you do prior to joining Google?

Most of my career before Google was in Financial Services! Numbers were my thing, so much so that my friends nicknamed me “le chiffre” which is French for “the number” and sounds very like the shortened version of my name “Sheef”/Síof. I’ve always acted as the translator between data analysts and leaders, helping to understand problems and then working with analysts to crunch numbers and find solutions. It was all great training for the data-driven culture at Google.

Google has been a big supporter of the National Center and RES. Can you describe that relationship and why it’s important?

Google’s relationship with the National Center goes back to before we even started our Supplier Diversity Program. We value the work the National Center is doing to help Tribal Nations and Native business people grow their businesses. We know that by developing the American Indian private sector, the National Center is increasing employment opportunities for American Indians, which has clear positive impact on reservation communities.

I attended RES for the first time last year and was impressed by the business content at the sessions, as well as the networking at the Procurement Expo. At our booth, we had lots of great conversations. Also, as a bit of a shopaholic, I really enjoyed the Artisan Market.

Why is supplier diversity important for Google?

Innovation is core to everything we do at Google. Supplier Diversity is important for Google because diverse perspectives, ideas, and experiences leads to more innovation, better products and services for Google and our users.

Do you have advice for Native-owned businesses hoping to become a part of Google’s supply chain?

The first step is to send us their details by applying to our Supplier Diversity Program. I also advise businesses to understand what they do best and why they’d be a good fit for our supply chain.

What are you/Google hoping to get out of this year’s RES?

This year, we’re excited to continue our conversation with Native-owned businesses. At RES we have had the great honor to connect with many talented and innovative business owners and hope to strengthen those relationships in March.

Anything else you want to add or share?

If you are not already part of Google’s Supplier Diversity Program, apply at google.com/diversity/suppliers. Drop us a note a supplierdiversity@google.com and if you’re at RES, come say hi at our booth!