Voice Talks Returns With New Host Aug. 26
The next episode of Modev’s VOICE Talks Presented by Google Assistant will stream on Aug. 26, anchored by a new host. Google Assistant partnerships lead Megan Grace will take up the reins of Voice Talks as original host Sofia Altuna retires to go to grad school.
Grace is taking over as host in the middle of the second season of Voie Talks, which began last year as a way to make up for the cancellations and postponements of many Modev and other voice industry events due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Altuna hosted the first season and the first five episodes of the new season, leaving about half of the season left for Grace to tackle. Altuna, Google Assistant’s co-lead of global product partnerships, is going to Harvard to pursue an MBA, leaving a gap for the show that Grace will fill.
Grace’s role as Google Assistant partnerships lead has focused on communications, making her a logical fit for a show centered on the connections between voice assistants and companies working to build on their platforms. Her job involves helping major brands integrate with Google Assistant including popular communications tools like Discord, Snap, and Zoom. She’s been with Google for more than seven years, working on several voice-related programs. She was part of the team that added John Legend and Issa Rae’s voice to Google Assistant for a limited time, also worked on the global speech partnership program that has helped teach Google Assistant dozens of new languages.
“Voice-enabled assistants and technology are in their nascent stages and have the potential to impact people from all walks of life across a variety of industries, including healthcare, customer service, finance, retail and more,” Grace said. “I’m thrilled to be part of the next chapter of VOICE Talks, which will seek to uncover the myriad of benefits that this transformative technology can deliver.”
Voice Talks On
Modev and Google premiered the show’s mix of presentations, live interviews and interactions with viewers through social media in April of last year. Since that first broadcast, Voice Talks has garnered more than 100,000 subscribers and half a million views across the 12 monthly episodes and one and a half seasons. The most recent episode covered diversity and accessibility within the voice tech industry, but it’s not clear what the new show’s topic will be. The show’s producers are confident it will not miss any steps with the transition, however.
“Megan has first-hand industry expertise, along with the reputation and footing required to both lead the show and keep pace with the many prestigious industry experts featured from across the globe,” Voice Talks founder and Modev CEO Pete Erickson said. “Megan’s work has enabled millions of users In over 90 countries to use Google assistant, and her ability to communicate and connect with others makes her ideally suited to take the helm of voice talks going forward.”
The Aug. 26 episode will stream at 2 p.m. Eastern Time. Though the presenters haven’t been announced yet, the mix of developers from Google and other businesses, as well as independent experts will likely be in place. Grace said in an interview with Erickson that she is looking forward to the live chat in particular as it includes such a broad array of people and experiences.
“I’ve been an avid watcher of the show since its inception. In the middle of the pandemic, when we were all really isolated and live events were canceled, here came the show,” Grace told Erickson in a video interview. And it’s a great opportunity to hear from all the latest industry experts and kind of track the trends in the industry, so I am just thrilled and so stoked to be the new host!”