Claire Hughes Johnson

Vice President at Google

Claire leads the Google Offers product, responsible for matching businesses with relevant customers looking for amazing deals on great places to eat, shop and play. She also founded the Consumer Operations team that today supports all Google users. Claire also serves as co-lead and executive sponsor of the Global Women@Google Network and is a member of the Diversity Executive Council.

Prior to Google, Claire worked in management consulting, developing marketing and customer strategies for large media companies, including DirecTV, The New York Times and Dow Jones. Claire's career began in Massachusetts state politics, working for the Attorney General and running gubernatorial, state and local campaigns. Between elections, Claire spent a year working on the editorial side for a Hearst magazine publication. She serves as a Trustee of Milton Academy and as an advisor to Citizen Schools. She lives in Menlo Park, CA with her husband and children.

Claire Hughes Johnson
Take a lot of risks early in your career before life starts to chicken you out.
LETTER TO MYSELF AT 20

You should have traveled/studied/worked internationally by now or at least have done it soon after you graduate. And for god’s sake, you should have never given up on knowing another language!

Otherwise, good job not following the crowd out of school and taking big risks with the whole politics/government thing. It was pretty scary that first summer but everything you learned became the future foundation for skills you had no idea would be so useful in the rest of your career. Political organizing + consulting can be a killer combination. Starting businesses or working in small/medium enterprises is great great learning since you get more responsibility. So keep doing that.

There’s a lot of pressure to live up to your “potential” and a lot of assumptions about what success looks like that belong to traditional models. Success is figuring out what you’re passionate about (and that takes time and trial and error and self knowledge and and and). Just know what you love, what you’re good at and where you can have an impact that matters. Forgot potential. Just do stuff and find out what makes you tick and keep switching when something is not right. Enjoy the journey. Steve Jobs is right: “Stay hungry. Stay foolish” as long as you can.