How Google is Addressing Accessibility and Inclusion with Kyndra LoCoco
We are happy to be joined on the show today by Kyndra LoCoco. She is the Accessibility Partner Programs Manager at Google and she chats with Martyn about her work in the disability community. Kyndra shares her background, her journey to becoming a googler, and her personal connection to the disability community. They also touch on topics such as how Google addresses accessibility in their products, verbiage changes in the community and much more.
Contact Mai Ling: MLC at mailingchan.com
Contact Martyn: Martyn at martynsibley.com
How Google is Addressing Accessibility and Inclusion with Kyndra LoCoco
[00:00:00] My very first initiative that I wanted to do coming into the team was just
understanding what are the gaps? What are we missing here? What do we need to actually
build? How are we going to shorten these gaps up? And I think that that was probably the
[00:00:19] Welcome to exceptional leaders with Mai Ling and Martyn where we give you
front row access access to intimate conversations that are shaping the way the world is
supporting disabled people. If it's happening, it's being said here. I'm Martin Sibley and I'm
Mai Ling Chan. And today we are talking with Kendra Lococo. It's an interview by Martin.
[00:00:41] And what I really loved Martin is it's kind of pulling back the curtain at what's
going on at Google and how that all got started. So thank you so much for this interview.
Yeah, it was a really nice one. I think, you know, we're all quite taken by the brands, the big
tech giants. Obviously you interviewed Alan Brightman and we had such a, I [00:01:00] like
your expression, a peel back the curtain
[00:01:02] and then we saw those founding parts of, of how. Microsoft, you know, vented
into assistive tech. So I think that's something really cool to, to almost bring more up to date
now with the Google side of things and what they're doing. And to be honest, most of all, it
was a sort of a personal journey of Kendra, a personal connection to disability and how she
sort of made a career out of it, which is really interesting.
[00:01:29] Yeah. And what's really big, um, in the company that I'm with Cognixion is seeing
women in tech really take on huge roles. Um, and that's, you know, something that we've
been pushing for our Tryin to get past the glass ceiling, obviously, you know, in all areas of
business. But, um, my company specifically, we've been at least 50% women on the coding
team and then also on the, you know, executive team.
[00:01:51] So just so exciting. I loved how she said challenge accepted when they said it
would be really hard to work at Google. Yeah. Yeah, she's [00:02:00] definitely. Yeah, but I
would sort of go out forge away and yeah. Push, push. The envelope is another little
expression we use. I don't know if that transfers over to the U S and I guess that's quite a
nice segue that one of the, without doing too much of a spoiler alert, but one of the things
that I talk about in the interview of Kendra is the language of disability.
[00:02:20] And we know that it has divides within the community. But it al so differences
across countries as well. And I just find that it's something you and I have spoke about how I
say disabled people, the kind of UK preference. You say people with disabilities and yeah, it's
kind of nice just to have a little touch base on that.
[00:02:40] I mean, has that come up in your world and did more recent meetings or anything
for you, Mai Ling? Absolutely. Um, and even on one-to-one levels because I really get to talk
directly with a disability thought leaders. And so I've been taught and I put that in quotes is
that it's people first language. So a person with disability, a child with autism.
[00:02:59] And [00:03:00] I was actually corrected by one of my colleagues who has a
disability. And he was like, no, I don't want to be referred to as that I'm I'm disabled. You
know, it's not that big of a title. And then I am actually at the point of editing our second
book, which is becoming an exceptional AAC leader, augmentative and alternative
[00:03:19] And I'm requesting that we title. This one area is persons with disability or people
with disability. And whenever you're using that in a sentence that the P is capitalized and the
D is capitalized. And so my editors were like, is this a thing? You know? Cause if it is, it has to
be consistent throughout the book.
[00:03:37] So we're kind of in the, in the middle of making that decision. And here's a good
question. Do you have a recommendation on that? Well, my, my frame of reference has
been having let's at the NGO scope and understood the notion of the social model, which is
that I have spinal muscular atrophy as my condition, my health condition, and some would
say, it's my [00:04:00] disability.
[00:04:01] The social model says that we're disabled by barriers. And I think for me, with
having quite a physical health condition, as opposed to like being blind or deaf is, is very,
very apt because as a wheelchair user, if a transportation or a building has steps that
disables me and if a person. Presumes, I'm not cognitively capable because I'm sat in a
wheelchair that disables me.
[00:04:29] So I've always been a big proponent of the social model and the social model
languages, disabled people disabled by barriers. But I totally understand that with different
kinds of health conditions and again, different countries, et cetera, et cetera. It's very, yeah.
Kind of different preferences. And I suppose it.
[00:04:51] And that's something that Kendra and I get into an interview, but it just starts to
pose the question. Does the language create a barrier in itself? And does it create [00:05:00]
fear from people worrying, they kind offend and say the wrong thing. And is that the thing
we need to be focusing on? Is it. Not the actual barriers and the assistive technology and the
inclusion part rather than getting too hung up on the language.
[00:05:16] It's, it's a really interesting one for me anyway. I love it. And you know what, I'm
going to crowdsource and I'm going to ask my colleagues and friends. I'm going to put that
on my Facebook page and ask. What they feel I'll let them vote, you know, what they think
the best languages, because there's definitely, um, a full pie area that's been coming up with
using outdated language, you know, not being in the know of, of what is up and coming, for
example, pronouns, you know, the right use of pronouns and how to be sensitive to it.
[00:05:43] It's just so important. Yeah. And it's funny when you and I, before we started
recording, it's like, ah, there's not that much to catch up on this week and this is already so
interesting and it's just fired off something else in my, my last weeks. I I've not yet done a
live on this, but I [00:06:00] think by the time this episode goes out, I will have done a video
[00:06:04] But it's basically around Nike and they've done this new trainer with an adapted
for wear adaptive technology called Flyease. Um, what this whole case study, if you like, has
thrown up is that there was a disabled person involved in the design. So the shoe is very
much about being adaptive footwear. But because they want it to be for everybody because
it's actually useful.
[00:06:33] Even for people that don't have a disability, the marketing, isn't speaking about
the fact that a disabled person inspired and had an involvement in the design. And I am
conflicted, let alone, we get, you know, there's polarization in general of different groups
and different in a, all this stuff we're aware of in society has a polarization, but I'm confused
because I think, [00:07:00] you know, in a way we should talk about the fact that it had
disabled people in mind, but we don't want to always.
[00:07:07] Pigeon how and exclude groups. And so I'm still working in my own head where I
feel about this, but what, what are your thoughts on that in general? Mainly. Yeah. It's great
to hear your perspective on it. I definitely saw the Nike ads and then I also saw the
controversial posts in different disability focused.
[00:07:24] Facebook groups. So it's been really interesting to know the behind the scenes
again, on the development of that specific shoe and how it's just being marketed for
mainstream. So, yes. Um, I think that we've come a long way and that we really need to give
credit where credit is due and it's important and essential.
[00:07:42] And so this will be interesting if this filters back to, uh, Nike, and if they end up
doing any additional promotion on this. Yeah. And I mean, the last point on that, and, and it
does come from the Plains of run in purple go, which is a social influencer marketing agency,
but it's [00:08:00] not born out of, Oh, we just want Nike as a client and we want to make
[00:08:05] It's a genuine. And I synergy is that in marketing, you have the story told by the
community for the community. So even if a product is for everyone and a brand is for
everyone, you still market within segmented communities. And so I hope at the very least
they do work with disabled talent and disabled influences to add, and also not lose that.
[00:08:31] That innovation by disability, which is part of the story, which should be told to
everybody. Cause it's funny. Yep. So you hear that anybody who knows anybody at Nike,
please let them know. They need to get in touch with Martin Sibley at purple goat. So we get
that probably doesn't surprise you whaling, but I'm already chipping away behind the scenes
as will happen.
[00:08:49] I'm sure. I'm sure. But you never know, you know, somebody knows somebody
really well once the land lend their weight to this. Cause I, I, in the end it's about, and I think
this is why I brought it up. It's about [00:09:00] the coacher. And, and the language and the
being proud of being disabled is all part of the same thing.
[00:09:07] So we won't solve this in one episode, unfortunately, but it's certainly a very
interesting conversation. No, I love it. And I love that we're talking to you as the listener to
be a part of this and help us to continue to change the language and the story out there. So
that actually brings us. To why you're important to us.
[00:09:23] We want to continue to ask you, please, if you have time and you can drop an, a,
a podcast review for us on any of the channels that you're listening to us, that would be
great. That's on Apple, Spotify, you name it. We're out there. Um, we really need to freshen
up the love for the podcast. That'd be wonderful.
[00:09:41] And also we want to connect with you. So follow us on Facebook, Instagram, you
can go to our exceptional leaders.com page. Sign up for our mailing list. This is all new. We'd
love to. Really start connecting with the people who are listening to us and let us know what
you want to hear. And if you have any great referrals for a guest, and I [00:10:00] do want to
thank you too, we have been getting some messages from everybody and we only have 26
shows, which is really important.
[00:10:07] Um, Martin and I obviously are doing this for free. That's a great way to put it,
you know, and in addition to all of our many day jobs and other things that we do. And so
we're super selective, but we definitely want to get everyone's information and we're going
to find, try to find ways that we can incorporate the information into the shows.
[00:10:23] So thank you so much. Yeah. And it's, uh, I was going to start build on that point
mailing and w we're so in, in rhythm now, and see, you know, in semantic, I, as I say in
Italian, that we're kind of almost telepathic now, but yeah, just, just building on your point
there. I think it's really important to us that people give.
[00:10:43] Feedback about what they'd like and future shows as well. So yeah, as much as,
as the general there, the reviews and the likes and the love, we want way more of that
always, but yeah, definitely help us to make this show even better. And so we'd just love to
hear your ideas for [00:11:00] guests and new ideas for topics as well.
[00:11:02] So do we want you to really feel part of this show in the creation of it as well?
Excellent. Well, are you ready to share Kendra with everyone? Let's do it.
[00:11:15] Kendra. Thank you for joining me on today's podcast episode. Um, we met sort of
back like some old, some time free shred, Maddie Polly. Who's a man about town. He's done
all that. The travels and the fish Tacoma. Boy, it's a. At DMV. And I think you and him
connected in the U S and he kindly introduce display for me.
[00:11:36] We have one of those talks. I think we could have chatted for hours about the
passion for inclusion and tech. And I was like, well, let's just make a podcast out of it. Cause
it was, it was such an enjoyable chat with you that, and then we can sort of shadow these
topics and your experience and knowledge with the class list and then say, thank you for
coming on the show festival.
[00:11:57] Thanks for having me a pleasure. [00:12:00] And I guess, yeah, if that's, will it just
be great that they're sort of shrink and I, when we do our talks, we call it the rays play
wolves that be like the, the general backstory of you guys, just to have that where you're
from in the States, kind of any of the studies you've done.
[00:12:14] And of course, how you ended up working in Google would be great to start there
if that's okay. Sure. So I'm originally from, um, central California, a small town beach town
called Pismo beach, close to San Luis Obispo. If anyone knows that better. But, uh, I
originally got into accessibility cause my mom actually has Ms.
[00:12:35] She's a wheelchair user. So I've sort of been brought up as this ally, so to speak,
but I ended up working for. The national Ms. Society in college. So I was very much so on the
non-profit side, I quickly realized I wanted to be the person. Yeah. Then on the other end
giving the money. Um, and instead of asking for it, I think that non-profit work is amazing
and incredibly difficult.
[00:12:58] And I just commend everyone who does it. [00:13:00] And so I was in class one
day and this professor was talking about this. Company called Google. That was relatively
new at the time. And how cool it was that they had these beanbags and these cool chairs to
sit on. And, and, you know, they have some of the smartest engineers in the world there,
and it just really peaked my interest.
[00:13:20] And I think that he had kind of mentioned something that was in the sense of like,
It's almost impossible to work there, which one I'll be bunk right now is not true because I
work there and I'm not the smartest person in the world. And so for some reason, I'm that
kind of person that really likes to prove people wrong.
[00:13:38] When they tell me I can't do something. So I had got this notion in my head that I
was going to work at Google and I didn't know how, I didn't know why I wasn't an engineer,
but I figured, you know, this large company, they have to have more than just engineers at
this company. Right. And so for the next couple of years, I moved back to San Louis.
[00:13:55] I finished up at Cal poly. California Polytechnic state [00:14:00] university for
those who don't know it. And basically about two years after I graduated, I graduated
around some of the worst economic times. So it was a rough two years trying to look for a
job when I graduated, but I decided to just move up to the Bay and start networking and just
try and meet people and see what I could find.
[00:14:18] And it turns out I met someone who knew someone who knew someone, a
recruiter, and, um, So I went and I applied for this job that essentially was top secret at the
time they couldn't tell me what it was. I didn't even know what I was interviewing for and I
got hired. And so I was like, yeah, whatever it is, I'll, I'll try it out.
[00:14:37] I'll put my foot in the door there. And that being the Google shopping program,
which was really exciting, cause I also had a lot of retail background and, and business
background. And so I, I spent four years building out the original shopping program for
Google. And once that came to an end, I was able to, at some point in that time become
full-time with Google.
[00:14:58] Uh, and after [00:15:00] four years decided, okay, this is my time to now really
find what I, I came here for a really fine with it. I'm passionate about. And that's when I met
Eve who's our now director for Google accessibility. And we just really, by don't say that
word, we really vibed, um, really enjoy each other.
[00:15:17] And you know, at the time it was sort of like, we have this amazing team we're
expanding rapidly, you know, there's a million things we need to do. So it's not necessarily
one hat you'd be wearing. We just need someone to come in and kind of do a lot of stuff.
And I love those kinds of roles because you can kind of shape it.
[00:15:35] The way you want to. So I was, I was all game for that. So, um, I've been on
accessibility now for about coming up to about four and a half, almost five years. So it's
been, it's been a really fun ride and I've gone from. Sort of managing communities, launching
a global disability support team. And now I'm, I'm working mainly with partners as a partner
manager, so really, [00:16:00] really exciting stuff.
[00:16:01] But that is in a nutshell how I got here. Impressive. You you've covered off a lot of
interesting moments and experiences Erin in. Yeah. It's just sort of reflecting on, you know,
from my journey. That was the. I am. Yeah, I have a disability of, she mentioned your, your
mum has a mass, so there's that I guess, you know, lived experience connection of disability.
[00:16:24] Um, I, my first job out of uni was a not-for-profit and that was that, you know,
great to, to get stuck in it, the coalface of how to make the world better, but then
particularly as tech. Has swept across our couch for the last 10, 20 years. I've sort of noticed
that the great work, the charities and the not-for-profits still do today, they can't do it on
[00:16:51] There has to be that collaboration with business, you know, have governments
just across all the different sectors. And yeah, it just sounds like [00:17:00] that similar
journey where there is a goal life goals and professional goals, and this sort of gradually bit
by bit. You know, move more and more. Uh, your, your passion was a finger pointing about
the networking side is really interesting.
[00:17:15] It's fascinating how you could end up as someone I was chatting to earlier, uh,
picked up a client at a marketing agency, just out drinking. Like, you know, I ended up and
then I won't mention who they are. That sounds a little more fun than how I network. But if
it is, you know, the, the, the ways that there's collaboration and that words come, come
together a bit, like shrin connecting us, it's always really fascinating as well.
[00:17:42] So yeah, really juicy, interesting, uh, touch points in your journey that really. So
I'm going to guess when we, when we look at the sort of community side of disability and
the barriers that we know, whoever they be, the physical environmental barrier, the digital
barriers that the [00:18:00] attitude or the, all those barriers that are faced.
[00:18:03] Day-to-day. When was it that you were able to start looking at that more? I
dunno, systematically is the right lab, but when do you feel like you had more impact in
playing a part in trying to have more inclusion of more people with a disability? I would say,
um, Obviously my entire life, uh, as I kinda mentioned, was my eyes were open, so to speak
to a lot of the community.
[00:18:29] So I, I never felt like I necessarily needed to more educate myself or have that
empathy, so to speak, which unfortunately, sometimes I still feel like there are people that
you kind of have to start from that ground zero of empathy building and, and it's always
disheartening. So I was lucky in that sense, I would say.
[00:18:46] Um, and I definitely call it lucky because I think it's, it's amazing to have that
perspective. I think that when I really started feeling like I had a major impact on a
community was probably from like day one of coming [00:19:00] on the accessibility team,
because like I said, I was given so much range and so much, um, opportunity to sort of
analyze the current market and understand what we had and what we were missing.
[00:19:12] So. At the time we only had one community, um, and it was called it's still is called
ice-free. And it's essentially a community that is on a simple Google forum. And so we really
felt like looking at a lot of other, the companies and believe it or not, we actually talked to all
the other companies were all very friendly and Microsoft's been amazing at this journey.
[00:19:37] Uh, we spoke to Facebook and Apple and, and we really learned and understood.
You know, what is it that you have on the community side? What do you feel like works
best? How do you reach out to the community the most? And just like you said, Howard,
how are you diversifying it? We also know that there are sometimes problems of us feeling
like we're in a Bay area bubble, right.
[00:19:56] That, that we, we don't want to just learn from each other when [00:20:00] we're
all pretty high-tech here. Right? Like that's not sometimes the typical person. So we really
wanted to make sure that we also diversified in a number of ways. So I think that. Coming in
and doing that analysis right away. I mean, that was my very first, very first initiative that I
wanted to do coming into the team was just understanding what are the gaps?
[00:20:22] What are we missing here? What do we need to actually build? How are we going
to shorten these gaps up? And I think that that was probably the most valuable because that
really ended up launching multiple communities, multiple campaigns, social media, And then
it also launched a disability support team, which as I said, became a global team.
[00:20:41] So I think that that was probably one of my most exciting accomplishments,
especially because I didn't come from a huge customer support background or especially,
you know, call centers and things like that. So I really had to. Just take what I could and learn
as fast as I could. And I think I put in my [00:21:00] report at one point, learn fast, learn
quickly, fail fast kind of thing.
[00:21:03] Right. So I think that, I won't say that I had impact on day one, but maybe that
people could see right away, but impact in terms of where we were going in the direction of
the company and my role. Yeah. It was like day one week, one kind of thing. Just doing that
analysis was really eyeopening. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:21:21] And I know from the couple of tasks we've had, you're, you're the least studied
ego players today. I know it's all about the community and the broader. Good. And yeah, I
guess the question was in that study as your career progressed to that, the roles that you
were moving into, where. Your route enabled you to move the needle more, which is yeah,
exactly as you've just, yep.
[00:21:41] Go ahead. Well, one thing you were saying in that opening section was used the
word like an ally. She mentioned your relationship with your mom and Ms, but I I've had a
few people I've spoke to on the podcast, move different parts of, I was caught at the jigsaw
puzzle of inclusion. It has saved many.
[00:22:00] [00:21:59] Different parts, you know, not just in business, but just, yeah, it's just a
massive web of areas of how we can make the world more inclusive and lots of amazing
people that don't have a disability. And I always said, says, it's sort of like it, obviously it's
coming from the militant disability, right. Wing where it's very much should always be a
disabled people leading.
[00:22:24] And no, one's disagree with that as a general, you know, you want the voice of
the disabled consumer and you want leaders with a disability, but I also think it's a little bit
sad where people that have that passion and care, I much feel slightly kind of could about
that, their role and know, just be interesting to hear your.
[00:22:45] Experience on that? Like how, how do you feel about being such a big player and
has it ever caused any difficulties or, or witnesses for you on, on that area? Of course. I,
[00:23:00] I think you're, you're right. You're hitting the nail on the head right now because
I'm not sure there's a great solution for it. If I'm being totally honest.
[00:23:08] And, and there are certainly times where even I have a thought or an idea of how
we could improve something, but what we tend to do at least at Google is we have
communities, internal communities that we reach out to. And so, you know, I might have a
great idea in my head and I'll, I'll send it out to the community and say, Hey, what does
everyone think about this?
[00:23:30] And someone will say something that I hadn't even thought about or completely
knock it down. And it's, it's not to be taken personally by any means. It's a learning
experience. I will say that. At times it does feel like you sort of need to have this thicker skin
for, for being within the accessibility space.
[00:23:49] And, and it's not because people are mean it's just because you have to be really
open to hearing people's feedback and you have to be okay when it's not necessarily
[00:24:00] going your way. And that's something that I've had to learn over the, over the last
four and a half years of being an accessibility. And I think over time, you start to get a better
feel and understanding for why people with disabilities might be saying things that they're
[00:24:15] And I know we were talking a little bit about, about jargon and wording before
this, and even that is a big debate, right? So I think that it's just one of those things that you
have to be. Okay with you have to be open-minded and you have to be able to take in and
on the other, on the flip side too. I'm so I guess, proud of Google, at least internally that we
can have these open conversations where I can actually say, well, here's why I don't
[00:24:43] Here's why I disagree. Please let me know, like, if I'm missing anything. And then
so we genuinely try and have these conversations that are very open and understanding and
I feel comfortable saying. I understand, I don't have a disability as, as a preface to this, so
please let me know what I might be [00:25:00] missing here.
[00:25:00] And they're very comfortable saying, okay, well here's what we go. Here's what
happens. Or here's what we go through on a day to day, or this is why you're wrong. And so.
Yeah, I think in the end you just have to be really open to that and okay. With it. Yeah. I think
that's the narrative around, I've had that word ally use quite a lot.
[00:25:18] And the sort of, you know, when you're part of a community and an industry and
leading, and whether you have a disability or not, there's that, that we've just touched upon,
but like what you also just said in your answer, I have a disability, but I like other people with
the same health condition as me still have different life experiences, let alone if someone is
blind or deaf.
[00:25:42] Right. So it it's always about that. Uh, research and insights part that you get the
voice as many people as is possible. That's definitely important. I've always said the most
valuable things I've ever done to increase my business and industry knowledge in the
[00:26:00] very specific niche of disabilities was always related to learning from other
people, whether it was going to conferences, introducing myself and connecting.
[00:26:07] With LinkedIn messages or asking people for a warm referral, hearing other
people's stories and finding pearls of wisdom has been a priceless part of my journey. And
ultimately my success with various offerings is directly related to these. That's definitely why
I created this podcast for you. And also why 13 other amazing disability leaders and previous
podcast guests join me to write a book for you for less than $15.
[00:26:30] So you can get intimate stories and priceless startup journeys from. 14
exceptional disability leaders, including my cohost of this podcast, Martin Sibley. So I invite
you to go to Amazon search for becoming an exceptional leader and get this buck today.
Now let's get back to our amazing interview. So, um, you mentioned about the partnerships,
you have the role that you're in now.
[00:26:54] Can you tell us a bit more about when you sort of say partners? What, what does
that mean? And, yeah, just be good to hear some [00:27:00] of the stuff you're up to at the
moment or what you're allowed to tell us, of course, as well. Yeah. Um, so partnerships is
95% of my role now. I mean, I. I, I pretty much focus on that.
[00:27:14] So we have, you know, relationships with universities and nonprofits and even
companies and companies like yourself. Right. And so it really, it's a huge range. It's a, it's a
very wide range of what kind of, we're kind of re really. Well, I'll even say like government
policy. So it goes into this very large range of, of partnerships.
[00:27:36] Um, and everything is, is dependent on, I guess, you know what we're doing and,
and what we're focused on for the year. So. I'll I'll name just a couple. And, and, and these
aren't exhaustive of an entire list, but, uh, in the U S for example, like American foundation
for the blind national Federation for the blind, we have, um, national association of the deaf
and, and, and the list goes on and on [00:28:00] and on.
[00:28:00] And so I think that. What we really try and do with most of these partners is
better understand how we can improve our products for their community members. And so
we do a lot of user research. We do a lot of development. We have some folks on an
advisory boards that come in and advise us on sayings on various things.
[00:28:21] And then there's those kind of, one-off like really fun campaigns that we do. I
think, you know, a couple of years ago we worked with the Christopher Reeve foundation
where we donated up to a hundred thousand Google home minis. And so, you know, those
are some of the fun one-off campaigns we like to have.
[00:28:36] And then of course, a lot of it is I sit on the United spinal associations council
board. Um, so we have monthly meetings, uh, where we actually come and listen to
members from their community. Talk about various products, whether they're Google
products or not. So it's just really great to get those insights, but overall, a lot of what we do
is just building rapport with [00:29:00] organizations.
[00:29:00] So one, they know that they can reach out to us if they have any feedback or
they'd like to have an open conversation and two, so we can make sure that what we were
actually building and what we have planned on our roadmaps is what their community is
hoping for and needing. So it's, it's just really great alignment to have basically.
[00:29:20] Yeah. Yeah. I don't see my agenda cause it'll just ponder when it's okay. Now
you've got the disability community and there, I'm sure that you've referenced a few ways
already different ways of interacting and partnering with that community. Cause we're,
we're a pretty big community in terms of numbers. I don't see, you were saying some of the
other leaders like the Microsofts and that well, that there's ways of partnering.
[00:29:47] We have them. So I can imagine there's a lot of different ways of, of partnering all
for that, that greater good of, you know, the, the mission. I mean, sort of taking that
perspective, looking to [00:30:00] the future. Well, what sort of, you know, illegally current
trends and. Kind of how far we've come the last say decade around accessibility, uh, for, for
the community of disability, for Google, as a company for this sort of tech sector, just
because to get a copy of your thoughts on sort of where we are and what some of the
challenges, but some of the opportunities that are going to be in, in the next five to 10 years
[00:30:26] I mean beyond product development, because we all know that Google
Microsoft, everyone wants to build better products all the time. Right. So, um, beyond
product development, I think that some of the things on my end I would really love to see.
Um, and I started seeing a pretty big shift. The last two years I'd say is storytelling.
[00:30:48] I think that there's just not enough storytelling. And I think that. You know, we're
having a lot of conversations internally around how we want to tell stories and make sure
that we're telling stories appropriately and [00:31:00] authentically. And I think that, you
know, some of the things that we've definitely seen this year are that we haven't done
enough in is intersectionality between communities like the disability community and the
black community or LGBTQ plus communities.
[00:31:15] And I, I don't think we've done enough in that sense. So. Over the next year. I I'd
really like to find, um, and support these communities more and really tell their story in an
authentic way. So that's hopefully what, what happens on my end? Yeah. So, so when you
say bad sex, now let's hear purple guy for those listening that haven't yet caught up on that
[00:31:37] I'm running their influencer marketing agency around disability, and we had a
client that was all about fitness and very much for the black lives matter. Um, campaigning
and all the things that were going on in the thick of 20th century. And, you know, it should
continue to count in 2021 and beyond very much to your point that I can draw weight.
[00:31:58] We wanted to make sure [00:32:00] we had influences with a disability. That
we're comfortable on camera doing workouts and also from the pain community, as you say,
niche and the UK, we say niche, but that, that was as niche as we've gone, but it, but it's so
important exactly what you were just saying that, you know, well, when you've got those
difficulties of being from a minority community, But when you, you are a member of two or
three or four, you know, that there's so much more barriers coming back to that word.
[00:32:33] I used it at the beginning, so that's really great to hear that know Google it
companies like Google. And generally as a, as a tech world, we'll be looking to support that
intersectionality a lot more. So that's really, yeah, yeah, absolutely more towards the end of
the interview, but I just wanted to give you the opportunity.
[00:32:52] Is there anything else that. You wanted the chance to mention while with chats in
Kenya? Yeah. I'd actually loved and dive a little bit into the [00:33:00] jargon because it was
something we were chatting about before. And it, I think it's so interesting. And I'd love to
hear your perspective on it because, um, well just for context for, for everyone, I think the
main one was.
[00:33:11] People with disabilities versus disabled person or disabled people. Yeah. And you
were saying in Europe, you use disabled person and mostly in the U S we use people with
disabilities. Um, or we call it people first language, but ironically, just this year, there's
actually been a lot of discussion around whether or not we should move towards disabled
[00:33:33] And almost, you know, in a capitalized D sense where we have, you know, a lot of
pride for the disabled culture, uh, similar to the deaf culture. And so I'm just really curious to
know, you know, your perspective on that and, and just maybe spend a minute on it.
Absolutely. Yeah. We've already touched upon niche and niche, which is separate to
disability, but it's that different ways of pronouncing a word between the [00:34:00] UK and
[00:34:01] So yeah, within the disability side of it in Europe, more broadly, like I think France
says handicap. Which in UK is really bad. So even in Europe it's different. Right. But my
perspective growing up in England, I've always said disabled people because it's under what
we call the social model. So I have a health condition, which is called spinal muscular
[00:34:28] But I am a disabled person because I'm disabled by the barriers of society. And
that's why I always talk about barriers in those different ways. And I know in the U S person
first, because it's sort of saying that we're not. Defined by a disability where a person. So as
even in the UK, people sometimes say person fairs, language.
[00:34:52] So it's a nightmare and it's really hard to not offend anybody. I think, you know
what I'm going to pass no level. [00:35:00] It's always been more about the intent someone
has. So if someone's saying any kind of word, Because that'd be Ignacio, derogatory wrong.
And if someone says it and it's maybe not the way I would say, yeah, I would, you know,
either look to educate them.
[00:35:15] When you talk about that sort of level one educational side of it all, or they just
be like, you know, w w we'll say all different versions and that's cool. Cause we all have our
right to do so. So I think. Language is very important around politics and civil rights, and it's a
way of empowering a community and it sort of the community should.
[00:35:38] Define what language it prefers to use. But as we just said, that will vary globally.
And even within a nation. And in the end, I would say that we shouldn't let that become a
barrier towards inclusion because sometimes the politics of inclusion and the language can
cause more of a barrier. So, yeah, that's just my [00:36:00] two Pence where it'd be good to
[00:36:01] Your thoughts is one that Kendra. You know, I, on, on a very personal state, my,
my mom was always kind of embarrassed of her disability. And I think that it, it. It always
made me angry. Um, which I hate to say because I'm not the person with a disability, but I
guess I always wanted her to have this pride in it.
[00:36:22] Um, and, and I think that's part of, kind of why I went into accessibility because I
want to make sure that if, if myself or anyone else in my family ends up having a disability,
that they don't have to feel that way anymore. So, you know, she's always preferred. Not
even mentioning disability in any way since, you know, and, um, so she even says handicap
still, and I'll be like, mom, no, don't say handicap.
[00:36:49] And she's like, I can say what I want. I'm the person with a disability. And so I have
to respect that. Uh, you know, but coming from, from Google when we were very much, so
people first wording and, you [00:37:00] know, it's hard to take sometimes. So I think that
you're so right. I think this is probably one of those things.
[00:37:04] That's a, to be continued moment and, and not this point, you know, it's more of.
How do you prefer to be referenced and, um, you know, just try and be as thoughtful as
possible. Uh, but it is interesting to see, see the different cultures and, and, um, I did notice
that going into France versus London, for example, and you know, it's very, it's very
[00:37:26] So I think for the time being, we'll probably stick with people first, but I do know
that there is a very large shift and movement to go into the disabled person. With a capital
D. So I'll be really interested to see what happens over the next year or two. But like I said, I
think this is probably a to be continued thing.
[00:37:46] Yeah. I hadn't heard about that in the USA. So that's really interesting tonight.
There's that conversation happening at the moment, but I think your point about pride is the
most important area because. When we look at the civil rights and the [00:38:00] political
side, uh, have you heard of hashtag Crip? yes. Yeah.
[00:38:05] So that that's really vital if disabled people, as we say in the UK come together
and it's that unified vote. We have a lot of power on what sort of political party or policies
could better represent the rights of disabled people. And obviously we have, we call it the
purple pound in the UK, but the spending power of disabled consumers, it's the same say I
do feel like if we can instill a sense of pride and belonging and cultural coming together.
[00:38:38] We're more likely to get the political change and the business change that we all
need in the world. So it could be a powerful tool if it's used, right. But it comes back to
leaders and who gets to choose, you know, it's such a thing. So definitely a to be continued
for an interest. Absolutely. [00:39:00] So now we've got, we touched on that.
[00:39:01] It's such an interesting one. All right. Well, um, unless there's anything else you
wanted to mention, I just wanted to say I'm really big. Thank you for your time. And, uh, to
be continued on a number of levels. I think there'll be lots, lots of interesting stuff coming in
2021, hopefully yet. Not. As difficult.
[00:39:19] And where does 2020? We should. Well, it's not off to a great start. I think we'll
do our best in 2021. I feel that the next couple of months for different reasons will be a bit
bumpy. I mean, I'm coming from the UK perspective and just the, the virus perspective of, so
you guys have got the change over of president as well, but I hope March, April one way or
another things will pick up, but yeah.
[00:39:47] But yes. Thank you so much for having me really appreciate it. Thanks so much for
joining us for this episode. And I invite you to connect with me firstname.lastname@example.org.
We also [00:40:00] want you to let us know what you think about the show ideas and how
we can continue to help you or referrals to a great guest through our Facebook group at
exceptional leaders podcast, or email us at.
[00:40:10] X leaders email@example.com. Yes. I tell you today, granted that I know we're
both really mission-driven people and for me, it's always been this big mission to have a
world that's fully inclusive people. And in the end, that's probably why we bonded and come
together so well on this podcast, exceptional needs is poke class because we get to meet
cool people, give them a platform to share that.
[00:40:34] Sorry, I'm ready to just make such an impact in the disability world. I love it. Also,
if everyone listening, please do head over to disability arises.com. This is the magazine that I
founded about 10 years ago, and we've got a free mailing list there for all the latest article
news and discounts. For the show and that show kind of thing.
[00:40:55] And definitely, definitely do get your fucking calming, exceptionally [00:41:00] the
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"Kyndra LoCoco is the Accessibility Partner Programs Manager for Google. In this role, she cultivates relationships with non-profits, advocacy organizations, training centers, rehabilitation centers, schools, universities, companies, governments and more. Kyndra has been with Google since 2012 and the Accessibility team since 2016 and currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Disability Rights Advocates. Prior to her current role, she built the Google Disability Support team and managed the Google Accessibility event programs. Before accessibility, she worked to build Google’s largest retail space, Google Shopping Express (now Google Shopping) and before Google, she worked within the disability focused non-profit sector with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Kyndra holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from California Polytechnic State University (CalPoly) in San Luis Obispo."