Get to Know Tekedra Mawakana, The CEO in Charge of the $30B Self-driving Company ‘Waymo’

According to sources, women make up a lower percentage of top management roles in autonomous tech companies than men. When women play dominant roles in such an emerging industry, it is regarded a triumph, since it is somewhat ahead of the predicted 8.2 percent of women managing Fortune 500 and S&P Companies in February 2021.

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According to Forbes, the statistics for women of color are less than adequate, but they are still worth celebrating. This is why Tekedra Mawakana’s appointment as co-CEO of Waymo is regarded as a watershed moment in her career.

Waymo began as part of a self-driving initiative as part of a Google experiment in 2009. However, after the international tech company’s restructure in 2016, the project was rebranded. Waymo services can be found in Arizona, Phoenix, and San Francisco, where its commercial self-driving taxis are in operation. According to Waymo, the company’s first aim is to provide safe driving and reduce the number of fatalities on the road.

Tekedra is one of the people that is advocating for this. She has spent several years working on five continents with top global brands such as Yahoo, eBay, AOL, and Startec. She joined the self-driving tech startup in 2017 and was lured to the company because of its purpose. According to the University of California, Berkley, she had lost two of her uncles in a car accident and saw working at Waymo as a way of reducing such tragedies in the lives of others.

Choosing this role, on the other hand, meant she began in an industry with no standards. She had to traverse a maze of chores while assisting in the development of the first commercial service, inspiring what the business culture should be, and establishing objectives based on the operator collective.

Tekedra’s career advancement has served her well at Waymo. Since the beginning of her career, she has taken on assignments that allow her to take a step back and consider her next move. When she joined Waymo in 2017, she was appointed chief operational officer.

It was a hazy regulatory environment, with poorly organized technological standards, and getting the market to embrace self-driving had its own set of obstacles. She did, however, leverage her experience advising several CEOs on how to advance their commercial interests to solidify her position at Waymo. According to Forbes, the corporation is now worth $30 billion.

Tekedra believes that her capacity to communicate has been a key factor in her success. She confesses that, while it can be uncomfortable to express one’s ideas or concerns at a level where women of color make up only 1% of decision-makers, it is critical to stand out.

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