Turn criticism into a compliment.
During her first internship, Nancy noticed that the Asian intern got more challenging work than she did and wondered at what point her colleagues would see her as a person who does more than serve coffee. After speaking up in a meeting she was reminded by her manager of her “subordinate” role. So Nancy decided to work on a challenging project on her own time and discovered a way to save the company money. When she had the opportunity to present the results in a meeting she ended by giving her manager a compliment for her impactful feedback that had led to this great outcome.
Focus on quick wins first to gain trust.
Nancy categorizes a project into four boxes: quick wins, strategic wins, luxuries, and nice to haves. When working as the first researcher on Google Fi, her concepts got rejected due to time pressure. She decided to take a risk and took the product to Nigeria, Ghana, and Ethiopia. While the research was costly (she was charged $500/minute for using data on her phone), she proved that launching in these countries with prevalent telecom monopolies would be financially detrimental and that her initiative could save the company significant costs. Moving forward, she decided to focus on quick wins first, gain trust fast and then focus on the fun stuff.
You cannot get fired for speaking the truth.
After failing to speak up for a female coworker, she realized that the intimidating atmosphere in the room had had an impact on her and others, too. Following that realization, she swore to speak up to bullying at all times moving forward — she was convinced that she could not get fired for asking someone not to talk to a fellow coworker in a disrespectful way.
Find your intention, not validation.
As a Haitian native and self-taught engineer, she observed that Americans seek constant validation which manifests itself in performance reviews, promotions, and titles. To Nancy, if something is not true at a farm in Haiti, it is not universally true at all. She challenged the audience to think: How would you be contributing to your tribe if colonialism and industrialism didn’t exist? Her answer: storyteller.
Recruit allies in the company kitchen.
Whenever Nancy was in search of an ally, she went to the company kitchen and approached one of her white, male colleagues. She asked them to leverage their privilege by giving her a shout out or specifically asking for her opinion in team meetings.
Be mindful of pro bono work.
point of always negotiating, and always charging white men. She only makes an exception if the pro bono work will create more opportunities for paid work or if it is something that will scale in impact to pay it forward. For example, Nancy gives free resume advice when she knows that people on the receiving end will spread her generosity and lift up others, too