Sarah Ali has never been one to be intimidated by a big problem. In fact, she’s spent nearly twenty years chasing and conquering what she calls “huge opportunities” at every company she’s worked at. At YouTube, she leads teams across YouTube Shorts,YouTube Community, and YouTube Creation experiences, including today’s generative AI Dream Screen and YouTube Create announcements. We sat down with Sarah to talk about how AI is transforming the creation space, the most dramatic shifts in the creator ecosystem, and being a female leader in tech.
]The short-form content platform wars have begun. And Sarah Ali is ensuring that YouTube’s iteration of the social media phenomenon YouTube Shorts will win.
Ali, the Senior Director of Product Management at YouTube, is leading the Shorts team to encourage creator and viewer participation to make the platform the go-to app for short-form content. “I feel so grateful for the team that I have,” says Ali. “We want to be able to let anybody tell their story on YouTube Shorts.”
If Sarah Ali’s story were on YouTube Shorts, it wouldn’t start with the division she now leads at one of the biggest tech brands on earth, but in her hometown of Burlington, Ontario. After attending the University of Toronto for electrical and computer engineering, her first internship was working on a team to create a robotic arm for the international space station – a role that eventually made her realize her love for software and user experience over hardware; “That was one of the times where [for me], it comes back to users – you want the astronaut to be successful.”
Today, there are far more women in leadership roles across engineering and product management than there was 10 years ago. I’ve had the opportunity to have brilliant female mentors along the way and also to mentor other women coming up. I have seen such a shift in the amount of representation that’s really inspiring and I hope to see even more over the years as more young girls are exposed to STEM education and career paths, She said,