Bonita C. Stewart brings more than 20 years of marketing, technology, and industry expertise to Google, where she oversees the company’s Partner Business Solutions for North and South America. She manages strategy development and revenue growth plans for large partners across all verticals using Google products, including DoubleClick publisher technology, advertising exchanges, search, video, mobile and social.
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"The best way to predict the future is to create it," says management guru/management consultant Peter Drucker. That quote became my raison d'être, and the Harvard Business School opened the world of business in ways that I never could have imagined. I took a zigzag approach to life and my career, climbing corporate ladders (IBM, Chrysler), swerving through the jungle gym of entrepreneurship (One Moment in Time, NiaOnline), and landing in Silicon Valley (Google). HBS gave me the freedom of choice and sheer confidence to believe in the power of "fearless experimentation."
When my father passed at the young age of 47, I was a freshman in college. Such sorrow drove me to follow in his footsteps as a willing pioneer. He was one of our country's first African American Air Force pilots, trained to fly the world's first supersonic jet. It was during a trip to South Carolina to sell my grandmother's home that I discovered a speech my father wrote on the Trail to Success, in which he memorialized the four Cs (Character, Concentration, Culture and Courage). This became my mental compass and force shield for life. At every chance I have openly shared his wisdom with others.
To all women of color, I say while we need to "Lean In" we will do best if we TEAM UP. Surround yourself with those who believe in the diversity of thought, race and gender. Today we live in an acceleration of everything. Seek the contrarian career path. With new, disruptive technologies opening unexpected fields you should challenge yourself to have the confidence to explore and find both your passion and your purpose.