10 Questions with Lauren Williams
Internal Communications Associate at Twitter | she/her
Lauren Williams has always been a passionate storyteller, so much so that her father used to call her his “little CNN.” She could regurgitate news stories better than most adults at the age of six, so she went on to earn her Master’s in Journalism and Africana Studies. From there, she began working at CNN and continued to hone in on her technical and scientific writing skills by working at a health communications agency. Lauren moved to San Francisco almost two years ago and began working at Twitter as an Internal Communications Associate, where she writes and edits various communications for employees.
1. When did you decide you wanted to be in tech?
When I first learned that the industry struggled to hire people who look like me.
2. Who’s one person you looked up to when you were younger?
3. Where’s your hometown?
4. Can you tell us about a time you faced a struggle?
My previous company had difficulty paying its employees. After moving to San Francisco to be with my fiancé, the contract I worked on magically ended and I was terminated from the company. I felt low. I felt worthless. For so long, I had tied my self-worth to where I went to school and where I worked, but this time I had neither. I was out of work for a month, and it felt like an eternity. I kept trying to control the situation, but it wasn’t until I let go — until I finally accepted that what’s meant to be won’t miss me — that new opportunities began to present themselves to me. I came across an opening at Twitter and the process moved fairly quickly.
5. What’s a time you did something you were immensely proud of.
I began my career in chaotic and dimly-lit control rooms at CNN. I was an Associate Producer on a well-known show with a news anchor who was obsessed with social media but immensely insecure and concerned about what people thought about her. She often made ill-informed and loaded statements on her show. One day, she did a story on the film Straight Outta Compton and shared her surprise that the film was well-received and that moviegoers didn’t resort to violence. Her comparison had nothing to do with the film (which she didn’t see) and she insisted on posting the segment online. I pushed back and suggested that we not post it at all due to the facts that 1) it wasn’t a strong segment and 2) she hand’t seen the film but drew race-based assumptions based on her beliefs about hip hop. I felt that my ancestors gave me the strength and courage to speak up and stand my ground, which I did. I posted the segment online, and it was taken down later that night after she received negative press coverage.
6. What’s something that’s been on your mind a lot lately?
Being intentional in everything that I do.
7. Favorite food?
8. Favorite book?
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones.
9. If you could try another job for a day, what would it be?
Product Marketing Manager.
10. If you could give your 18-year-old self a piece of advice, what would it be?
Trust the timing of your process. It is a mantra I live by, and one that I am constantly telling myself when I’m downtrodden or feel like I should be further along in my career. I also tell it to other women, especially younger women who feel the pressure to compare their success to others because of social media.