Skip to main content
A person smiling against a grey background

Jessica Gallegos ’16


Product Manager for Generative AI, Google Deep Mind

When Jessica Gallegos joined the World Bank as an administrative assistant, colleagues said it would be impossible to make the leap to the organization’s more prestigious Junior Professional Associates program.

“I didn’t listen to that,” Gallegos told Krupa Kadiwala on an episode of the Career Conversations podcast earlier this year. She ended up landing the position she wanted, coordinating projects in Latin America and the Caribbean as a social development analyst, and now thinks of her ability to trust intuition over conventional wisdom as one of her core professional accomplishments. “If I had listened to what the safe bet would’ve been, I probably wouldn’t have taken those risks.”

Gallegos spent three years at the World Bank, where she gained valuable experience designing public sector projects. However, having experienced the complexities and long timelines of public sector work, she decided to focus on using her skills for social good in the private sector. She applied to MBA programs so that she could “make the business case for social impact,” and Yale SOM immediately stood out.

“Of all the schools I visited, Yale really did not just preach, but really believed in its mission of educating leaders for business and society,” she said. “I felt like serving society was not an afterthought. It was actually a core part of the school’s mission.”

At SOM, Gallegos served as a representative for her cohort, an experience that, she said, “taught me so many lessons about leading people and creating community.” She was also intrigued by alumni who came to campus to talk about their work with Google, especially an initiative that allows employees to spend 20% of their time on passion projects.

Gallegos completed an internship at Google and joined the company full-time after graduating from SOM. There, she has served in multiple roles, often focused on social impact initiatives, like leading a program on Google Search to connect emergency queries with reliable safety hotlines, or developing AI models to help detect skin conditions accurately. Today, she helps develop new products leveraging generative AI in Google’s Deep Mind team, and has also helped create ethical frameworks for the responsible use of AI.

For Gallegos, working in this field at a time of rapid advancement has been a rewarding experience. “We’re in an exciting moment of seeing generative AI just become massively better,” she said. “It’s crazy to be a part of shaping the direction of where some of this technology is going to go.”

Reflecting on the path that led to her current role, Gallegos advised current SOM students to have confidence in themselves and their qualifications when applying for jobs in tech. 

“Don’t discount yourself if you don’t have a background in tech,” she said, adding that her political science background and perspective as someone from groups traditionally underrepresented in tech—she is a Latinx woman—have been invaluable to her work with AI.

“Because these products are going to touch every aspect of people’s lives around the world, it’s crucial that we have a diverse set of perspectives at the table when they are getting designed.”

On the Career Conversations podcast, Yale SOM students sit down with alumni for a series of candid conversations about career paths, industries, opportunities for business school graduates, and discussions on career topics including work-life balance and creating a meaningful impact in business and society. Listen and subscribe.