Wojcicki's essay in Fortune, which placed her at No. 16 on its last Most Powerful Women ranking (Wojcicki was Google's 16th employee ), is not the first time the longtime Googler has written a highly personal essay or op-ed to address issues related to women in leadership or technology roles. In 2014, she wrote a commentary in the Wall Street Journal titled “Paid Maternity Leave is Good for Business,” about being the first Google employee to take a maternity leave and how she was about to go on her fifth one. While she outlined how paid leave improves productivity and morale, she also shared how “joining a startup pregnant with my first child was risky, but Larry [Page] and Sergey [Brin] assured me I'd have their support.”
I advise students to read plenty of examples of strong essays in advance of beginning any brainstorming or writing. There are a number of books on the market and websites to help. Then I like to choose a couple of those sample essays and have the student identify three things or traits that were revealed about the writer/applicant. For example, family is important as revealed by the catchy beginning that showed the writer/applicant having a deep discussion with an older sibling. Or the writer is profoundly interested in studying French and is willing to take on challenges outside her comfort zone as revealed by the reference to studying abroad in a full-immersion exchange program. Or the writer values community as revealed by the eloquent description of her role within the corps d’ ballet, and how she provides support to and draws on the strength of her fellow dancers. Then I ask, “what do you want to reveal about yourself that’s important to you?”
Examples of potentially disqualifying evidence
Past due accounts, discharged debts, late payments, collection accounts, civil judgments and/or bankruptcy; failure to exercise fiscal responsibility commensurate with income; failure to follow all traffic laws; numerous moving and non-moving violations; at fault traffic accidents; terminations or suspensions from work; reprimands or counseling for poor work performance (including Military service); failure to meet obligations (for example, auto insurance, auto registration, selective service registration, IRS requirements, child support obligations, etc.); law enforcement contacts, arrests, and convictions (as appropriate); other than Honorable discharge from the military.