In an interview with Recode at the Code Commerce event late this week, Bozoma Saint John discussed the importance of her role as Uber's newly appointed chief brand officer.
"It's not about me coming in as a black woman to clean up the mess. It's about me, Boz, having the talent and the ability to actually do this work," she said.
How will she "actually do" the work of cleaning up Uber's image?
"There needs to be love there … we've got to get people to be in love with the product," she said. Saint John promised that she would ensure that people would start to see Uber as more than a utility, but as something they have an emotional connection to.
Although Saint John said that her being black doesn't make a difference when it comes to how she approaches her work, she does feel that her race makes a difference. She is one of few black executives in Silicon Valley, and one of even fewer black women executives.
"I'm really, really, really proud to be in the spotlight to represent [young black girls]," she said. "However, it is also terrifying, you know, because of the pressure of it."
Saint John also discussed diversity in tech, and how she feels about a lack of representation in Silicon Valley.
"I refuse to be angry about that," said Saint John. "I don't carry it as a burden because otherwise I can't do the work, I would just be the angry black woman. And I'm not."
Saint John even admitted that although being as busy as she is has taken a toll on her personal life, her new job has already had rewarding benefits that she could not have anticipated.
"She was halfway bragging and boasting about what I do and the fact that I couldn't be there," Saint John said about her daughter's first day of 3rd grade. "It resounded to me how important it is to be visible," she said. "I want to be something that is worthy to be bragged about."
And she feels that there is a simple way to make sure that more children of color are able to brag about their parents in the same way: hire more people of color.
"The numbers matter in this particular case, they really do. We just have to open the doors, there just needs to be more of us. That is the step one. I don't want to talk about anything else until we get more," she said.
Watch Bozoma's full interview below: