Tell us about your military background.
I went to the Naval Academy and then was a Surface Warfare Officer in the Navy. I did two tours on two different ballistic missile defense ships out of Pearl Harbor. On my first tour I was a gunnery officer and the second I was a training officer. After that I completed my shore tour with ONI (Office of Navy Intelligence) as an Intelligence Analyst. I focused on wargaming and strategy at the war college.
How was the transition from the military for you?
I had one child and my husband and I got out at the same time. He ended up going to school at Berkeley for his MBA. I cold-called a bunch of veterans in the bay area. I would tell them that I was getting out of the military and what I wanted to do. I’ve found that veterans in Silicon Valley are very open to having a conversation with you and helping refer people.
What did you do to find success in your job search?
The first time I talked to anybody I went to a service academy career conference where Google had a booth, Facebook had a booth and Apple had a booth. I put my name on one of the spreadsheets and never heard from anyone, never talked to anybody, I was just never contacted. But things started happening when I got connected through the unofficial veterans network in the Bay Area. I ended up cold calling Dan Greene, a Navy Academy Grad, who was at Twitter. He then connected me with one of his friends at Google who helped connect me with the Google veterans recruiter. She then helped me find a role that was a good fit.
What do you do now?
After I finished my tour in the Navy, I came straight to Google. It’s crazy, I want to say that I initially took a 20% pay cut from when I was a Lieutenant and came in at a step above entry level. At the time I was paying for all of my husband’s student bills, paying a nanny bill, and commuting on the Google shuttle 2 1/2 hours each way from Berkeley. However, the shuttles are really nice, they have air conditioning and wifi so I was able to do my individual work on the shuttle and scheduled my face to face meetings here at Google.
I started out managing the help center for Google Docs and now I manage product support for google photos. Google Photos is free unlimited high quality storage from Google. One of the key reasons people love Google Photos is because it uses Googles search intelligence so you don’t have to organize any of your photos anymore, Google Photos does it for you! Recently we also launched Google Photo Books, so you can make photo books with all of your photos. One cool feature is automatic sharing so you can share photos with family or friends instantaneously.
How can veterans thrive at your company?
I think veterans bring a bias for action, they will generally step into a room and take charge. Google has two ops teams, financial operations and consumer operations, which is where I am. They are two teams which are super open to veterans.
What is your best advice for transitioning service members and veterans?
I would say to start early. Start thinking about what you want to do. Start cold calling and setting up info interviews to learn about what the job is. That way you’re not trying to find out what you want to do and trying to find a job at the same time. Also, one great piece of advice I got from one of my mentors is don’t take the first offer you get. A lot of people will get scared because they are used to structure and take the first offer.