Office Hours: I'm senior program manager for Google Cloud where I run the go to market strategy for startups. I'm Alexa Hall.Featured

Hi everyone! I’m Alexa Hall, Senior Program Manager for Google Cloud where I run the go to market strategy for startups. In my own time, I am an angel investor with a focus on improving the lives of people living in growing globalized cities. My favorite activity is connecting underrepresented founders to strategic growth resources. Prior to Google, I spent 10 years working in non profit governance and finance. I was a funder at the Hewlett Foundation to over 250 organizations and managed $11M in impact investments. I’ve sat on boards and advised dozens of businesses on improving earned revenue and staying competitive in their markets. Ask me anything about leadership, building startups, shifting career paths, angel investing, and more!
Thanks so much for joining us @alexahall!Elphas – please ask @alexahall your questions before Friday, May 21st. @alexahall may not have time to answer every questions, so emoji upvote your favorites 🔥👍🏾➕
Hi @alexahall! Thanks so much for hosting office hours to answer questions in this community, it is so appreciated. I’m currently a Project Manager at a software company, I have 2 years of experience with PM as my title but many more years using project management skills that were embedded in other roles previously. What would you recommend to someone early in their career who aspires to be in a role similar to yours at Google to set themselves apart from other applicants? Thanks for your time!
I know this sounds corny, but I followed my passion and curiosity. I worked hard to learn what I needed to as I grew in each role (simple data analytics, being quicker at excel, financial vehicles for startup investment etc); but what set me apart was that I am active in the startup community outside of work and have built strong relationships that help me have a relevant perspective in my daily work. Go to conferences, digital events, watch youtube videos and find your people! Be seen as the go-to person in your area and it will come through when you start to interview for new roles. Also - if you enjoy it, stay on the PM path!
Hi @alexahall thanks so much for doing this! I am the founder of a gift registry for new parents to get the support they need instead of a bunch of stuff. I joke that I accidentally started a startup, but in truth that's what it feels like. I am a mother, a doula, and I saw the need for mothers to have access to funding to pay for services like mine that are not covered by insurance. I have gotten pretty far on my own, I've built the team, the platform is live and we have lots of users. I am ready to go big, and am ready to pursue outside investment. What would be your advice or next steps for someone like me whose network doesn't include investors and access to funding? How do I begin?
Hi Kaitlin, congrats on your progress! The first thing I would say is get clear on what you need NEXT. This field can make founders feel as though they are doing something wrong if they aren’t seeking large pots of VC funding immediately. The reality is most successful businesses never get (or even need) this type of funding. Find your peers who are building similar platforms and tools across separate verticals and see what they are doing as next steps - perhaps it’s strategic partnerships with larger brands, maybe it's crowdfunding, it might be investing in a more reliable site. Groups like Elpha are great for networking, also I highly recommend getting looped in with I Fund Women. For me, the best thing is to get curious - go to digital events and follow up with speakers and other attendees who seem interesting to you. You’d be surprised who’s willing to have an informational chat!
Hi Alex! I’ve continually been perplexed by the Program Management at Google. Could you provide some insight from your perspective on what the roel is responsible for? Some have said to leans more towards project management while others more strategic. What type of prior experience would be a good fit to transition to this role. And how does it differ from Program Management?
Correction - how does it differ from *Product Management.
Ah. Well, I have been in the Program Manager title at Google for 3 years and each team I've moved to has had a different set of responsibilities under it. In my current role it means running the strategy for how my team approaches a certain market segment (startups) and managing a specific program (the credits program) we use to reach them. There is no one size fits all for this role as far as I’ve seen, but some of the key competencies you would need are strong background in whatever area you are targeting - sales, marketing etc and demonstrated ability to lead a project or initiative from ideation to launch while engaging multiple stakeholders. The main difference from Product Management is that it is usually less technical - your stakeholders are business leads rather than engineers.
Hi Alexa, my question is around GTM strategy/customer acquisitionCan offer some advise on how to incentivice or motivate users to sign up and use a new beta platform?Context: my platform facilitates outdoor activities for black and brown women - supporting their mental and physical health journeys. Users can find affordable, fun local activities or earn money leading them.
Hi Chasma, there are a LOT of people out there who want to beta test new products. My main pieces of advice would be:1) Make it really easy to access (Testflight has been great in my experience)2) Set your ideal user personas and get in front of them where they are. Message people on Twitter and LinkedIn, find some bloggers/influencers to review it and share with their network etc. 3) Iterate on your approach. Try something for a month or two and then change it up until you find the right combination of activities. This article has a good resources as well:
Nice to connect @alexahall. "My favorite activity is connecting underrepresented founders to strategic growth resources." I love this!!Also, I would love to learn about your top tips for program management and for GTM.
It’s hard for me to answer this without more context, but hopefully my response to Chasma and Deena will be helpful here.
@alexahall would love to learn more about the Go to Market Strategies you put together for Startups! I am currently about to launch MediaMash is an enterprise video platform that empowers brands to turn audience engagement into revenue, and would welcome any advice or resources you could point me to!
See my answer to Chasma
Hi Alexa! Thanks so much for posting and sharing your knowledge. I love your background!! It similar to the path that I want for myself. I'm currently pursuing growth marketing (GTM) strategy as a career path and have been in digital advertising for 6 years working in NYC + Miami. Two questions for you:1. I've also considered angel investing. Do you have any resources to learn angel invesing?2. Additionally, do you have boards/communities that focus on this sector that I can connect to?Thanks so much!- Lauren
I learned Angel Investing my joining an investing group as an unpaid fellow while I did my full time job :-) I ended up liking it and later was accepted into for a formal VC investor program at Stanford. I get this question A LOT and I am trying to figure out how to engage more women and POC who want to invest. Feel free to connect on LinkedIn and I will share resources as I have them.
Thanks, Alexa! That's helpful! I sent you a connect on Linkedin. Would love to get those resources on angel investing! My linkedin is here for reference:
Hello Alexa, I am wondering if you are able to give some information on partnership process with Google. I would like to partner with Google for cloud hosting as a web hosting service provider. How do I go about doing this and what are the criteria and what certifications do I need to be considered if any.
This is outside of my wheelhouse but this might be useful
Thanks, I will check it out.
Would love some tips on how to position yourself as a leader and own the room.
This is a BIG question because I can't tell you what will work for you. Some people lead by talking loud, others do it by being silent until they have something impactful to say. It really depends. Overall, be yourself and don't get swayed by the energies of others.
THANK YOU for joining us @alexahall - you sound like you are the G :-) I'd love to learn more about how you shifted careers, going from the nonprofit / philanthropy world to running tech products - were you doing soem crazy networking or "rebranded yourself? took courses? Oh and also what is your day to day like at Google?
I get this question a lot. I’ve never been great at personal branding. It is something I am trying to work on currently. My career change was organic. I loved working with nonprofit businesses and was curious about how the public and private sectors could work more closely together. My background was in finance at arts organizations so I took that perspective to events where the focus was for-profit businesses working on problems I was already familiar with (eg. city infrastructure, cultural production, transportation). My kernels of knowledge led to conversations that informed both me and the person on the other side (who maybe knew more about real estate investing but not that much about city planning for example). My advice would be not to force yourself into what you think you should do. Don’t learn how to code if you find it stressful or dull. Build on what you already have.
Thank you so much for responding Alexa! Makes perfect sense and I am so glad you are doing something you love.
Hi @alexahall, thanks so much for being open to answering our questions!Obviously google is a highly competitive place to apply for a job at. Any resume tips or tips for the application process you can share (for google or just applying to jobs in general)? Is there anything that stands out to you when you hire? What was your experience like applying and interviewing at google?
Google is a big company and the needs of each team is different. Research as much as you can about how the role you’re applying for influences the underlying business. Form an opinion about why YOU are uniquely the person to move that work forward. After you do that, find someone on the team you’re applying to and ask to chat with you for 15-30min. Make a strong impression (be genuine and bring your enthusiasm for the job itself not just the company) and follow up as you interview. Google posts so much information about what we’re up to, plan to be well informed before you apply.