- Zainab osazin went from gig economy maid to tech recruiter at google with the help of mentor dion baez
New York City, 25th Oct 2021, ZEXPRWIRE, Zainab Osazin accepted a Handy job like she had done dozens of times before, but this gig would alter her life forever. When the client opened the door, Zainab exclaimed, “Oh, you’re black!.” “Umm, yea,” said a bemused, amused Dion Baez.” Zainab had cleaned many apartments in the luxury Brickell, Miami condo building before but had never seen a black tenant.
“When she finished, she asked me what I did for a living,” says Baez. “I quickly understood why she was surprised to see me here, and as the son of poor immigrants from the Dominican Republic, I still get surprised at the spaces I now occupy myself. So we ended up talking about opportunities and tech.”
Zainab sat in his living room and shared that she was paying her way through college by cleaning houses. She was a student from Nigeria at state school FIU with no internships, no money, and no network. “This tech thing sounded intriguing to me.”
She’d go on to work for Dion as an Uber street brand ambassador distributing rider coupons. “It was not glamorous, but Dion Baez would share information about metrics, strategy, and how to build models for determining a campaign’s success. Before that, I never even knew how to open excel spreadsheets or PowerPoint.”
A grueling apprenticeship followed, where Dion would push Zainab to accept nothing less than excellence. “We worked to erase any doubt in anyone’s mind, mainly hers, that she belonged.” “He pushed me hard and said we have to be better because we can open doors. He used his equity to open the door for me, but only after he saw I would be successful.”
After almost two years, Zainab would move on to landing an operations role at Uber. “I didn’t know excel at one point; then I became a SQL expert.” Soon after, Google called. “Her journey blows me away,” says Baez.
The story highlights the power of mentorship, inclusion, and having allies that guide talented people into new spaces.
Dion Baez is a marketing veteran currently leading Artist Marketing Strategy and On-platform promotion at Youtube Music. He’s previously held marketing strategy and growth positions at Uber and Facebook.
Zainab Oszain is a technical recruiter at Google. She’s previously held marketing and operational roles at Uber and Uber Freight.