Office Hours: I'm the former Director of Leadership Staffing at Google, and now I run my own consultancy. Ask me anything!Featured

I am the CEO and Founder of Ginny Clarke, LLC, my own talent management and leadership consulting business. I also do keynote speaking, podcasting and am the author of Career Mapping: Charting Your Course in the New World of Work. My podcast, Fifth Dimensional Leadership is for leaders, thinkers and future-makers dedicated to creating the conscious workplace of tomorrow.

Most recently I was Director, Executive Recruiting at Google from August 2016 until November 2020 where, including leading a team of executive recruiters, I built both the Leadership Diversity and Internal Mobility programs. Before Google, I was a Partner at Spencer Stuart, the global executive search firm for 12 years. I co-founded and led the firm’s Global Diversity Practice. Before getting into the talent/leadership space, I worked in financial services with Chase, JLL and Prudential.

I’m a native Californian, just moved back to Chicago after my time with Google, and am committed to expanding consciousness in leadership to redefine the “Future of Work” in terms that work for all, not just some. I am a single mother of an adult son, Julian, who works in the entertainment industry.

I love talking about leadership, hiring, careers, motherhood, racial equity, spirituality and consciousness - not to mention fashion, cooking and decorating!

Thanks so much for joining us @GinnyAnn596!Elphas – please ask @GinnyAnn596 your questions before Friday, October 1st. @GinnyAnn596 may not have time to answer every questions, so emoji upvote your favorites πŸ”₯πŸ‘πŸΎβž•
Hi Ginny, I appreciate this opportunity. I am a Fellow with Amazing Community whose mission it is to expand the work horizon for women 45+. I also am a late 50s public policy professional (MPP) with 19 years of experience in energy, environment and energy-tech (Sr Director/VP level). I took a care-sabbatical for 4 years in 2010, and capped that off with an additional grad program (MA 2016) in conflict management - because policy is so divisive now. My grad studies were all about tech policy issues - big data ethics, digital divide, viral content, cyber security to allow me to change industries. My primary goal is to make transparent policy both for internal and external stakeholders. Since then, while I have been applying to job, I have certified in privacy (2017) and completed two certificates in data science (2018, 2020). I have applied to > 500 policy positions (manager, director) and gotten zero interviews. What are large companies (that hire policy professionals) looking for?I would like to know for both myself and my purpose at Amazing Community. And I am also single and have a 23-year old son. He is getting a dual degree in Computer Engineering and Film. I would love to demonstrate for him that his future of work can be inspired by purpose - like mine.Thanks!Rosalie
Hi Ginny - thanks so much for joining us for Elpha Office Hours! I see on your website that only 10% of leaders actually possess the skills necessary to positively impact the teams they are leading. What are some of the skills that leaders need and that most seem to be lacking?
Great question. My observation is that a lot of people who find themselves in leadership roles started as domain experts and were promoted often for that reason, ( or relationships, or other dynamics not related to competency). They were not necessarily assessed, given feedback, or promoted on the basis of leadership competencies. Some such competencies would be (from my competency library):1. Builds organization-wide capabilities by identifying key talents and developing new skills that support the company's most important objectives and deliverables. 2. Productively engages with vaguely defined or unquantifiable problems; demonstrates comfort with paradox; and deals constructively with vexing or contradictory issues and data. 3. Acts thoughtfully and decisively. Tenacious and perseveres in the face of obstacles. Acts quickly to produce impactful, high-quality, on-time results. 4. Proactively provides regular, well thought-out, actionable feedback and career development opportunities to others. Actively seeks constructive feedback and opportunities to grow professionally.How many of the leaders you've had in your career have regularly exhibited these behaviors? Oh, and don't forget the need for humility, empathy, and self-awareness! Hope that helps.
And which ones lacking are the hardest to improve? do they get them?
Hi Ginny!I was wondering how to successfully get an interview at Google? Apply through their main career portal has not been working for me.
I don't have a magic formula. Google gets 4M applications a year. I would urge you to make sure you have all the minimum and preferred qualifications for the job and don't just "spray-and-pray." And don't focus on Google, they are plenty of great companies out there where you can build your skills and have a great time. Consider reading my book Career Mapping for more job-searching tactics, but it starts with know what you want. You deserve to have what you want and don't just follow the shining object, in this case, a big-name company. Hope that helps.
Thanks so much for taking the time for OH, Ginny. First question - can you give me an idea of how one goes about providing coaching services to large companies such as Google, Apple, Salesforce, etc. if your an outside consultant? Also, I'd love to hear a quick few lines about how you provide a conscious workplace.
Not too sure, honestly. You would be a Contractor, so I would go on their website and look for how to become a Contractor.On the other questions, creating a conscious workplace means you, as a leader, are conscious and self-aware yourself, and you connect with people on a more intentional, conscious level to appreciate who they are, without judgment, not just what they do. Less about programs and policies, more about greater awareness that allow us to connect more as humans. Hope that gets you started.
Thanks a bunch, Ginny. I appreciate your time. Yes...let us all connect more fully as humans with our unconditional support.
Hello, @GinnyAnn596Thank you for taking time to answer our questions. I am in my mid 40s and previously held positions such as director of operations and executive director with local nonprofit organizations. 3 years ago, I stepped back and took an entry level position with a nonprofit accelerator to learn more about the tech industry. I do have a 4 year degree but no masters. I’m ready to get back into director positions but keep hitting a wall. How can I come back from my self-imposed β€œdemotion β€œ?Thank you for considering this question!Best,Olivia
Olivia, first I'd say don't get caught up in titles, they can mean completely different things from one organization to the next. Having said that, aim high and don't be daunted by job descriptions requirements for advanced degrees, often that is a preference (not correlated to one's success). Most importantly, start looking at your own background through the lens of competencies, not just experience. I wrote a book called Career Mapping: Charting Your Course in the New World of Work (Amazon) and I go into detail on how to map your past and a new future that allows you to create what you want. Stop apply to random jobs and create a job search strategy based on who you know yourself to be and what YOU want! #NeverAVictim! All the best!
Thank you so much for your contributed. I don’t have experience with direct reports but lots of experience leading large projects successfully with big teams contributing. What would you recommend I do to translate this experience to show I am ready for higher level strategic leadership roles to manage a team with direct reports? Thank you!
First of all, I would express your desire to take on managerial or leadership roles (they are different) to your boss. Can't assume they know. I would ask them to support you in possibly taking leadership development courses your company might offer. I would also ask them for feedback on how you are perceived as a leader/manager (by them and others), and if there are projects you might take on that would help you develop some leadership/management competencies. Experience doesn't necessarily make you competent; you might already have what you need, but have never been able to demonstrate it, though arguably your project management with large teams should be an example. Hope this gets you started. All the best!
Thank you! Well received.
Hi Ginny! Thanks so much for being here πŸ™‚. My question is, what single thing can someone do to really make a good impression at all levels in a new job? Start on Monday! Thanks so much and have a great weekend when we get there!
The single thing you do to make a good impression is to LISTEN more than talk, and I'll add be positive and curious. Energy matters more than words, so radiating positivity and kindness will make people want to know you and work with you. Then you have to deliver on the tasks, which I'm sure you are up to. Go get 'em!
@GinnyAnn596 Thanks for offering your wisdom to the Elpha community. I am highly interested in leadership development yet I lack professional experience in the area. I am very involved in the Toastmasters community and serve in a leadership role. Any other advice to gain more leadership development experience? Also I am currently pivoting from healthcare into high tech. Do you have any advice for me to stand out as a non-traditional candidate?
From what you've told me I'm not sure what your functional experience is or competencies are. You mentioned industry sectors, but again, not sure functionally where you've played. So, if you are in HR as a specialist, for example, but want to specialize in leadership development or L&D, you can seek out assignments in your current role that might give you exposure to it. The better bet would be to consider getting a degree in the space or going to work for a consulting organization that focuses on leadership development or assessment, even exec recruiting. It's all about calling out your competencies, so consider studying job descriptions of ideal roles (from any job site) to discern what behaviors (not just experience) they are asking for and to the extent you have 60+% of what they need, make the case. Check out my book on how to highly competencies on hybrid resumes. Go make it happen!
This is very exciting! I'm a founder of an early stage telehealth startup, though I'm considering of I could be adding a consulting component to my product.How did you get your first clients as a consultant?
I got my clients from being considered an expert in the adjacent space of executive recruiting, not to mention writing a book. I also wrote thought pieces, attended conferences (as a speaker/panelist as well as attendee). network, read, manage my brand, and generally try to stay top of mind. Hope that helps!
Hi Ginny, Thanks so much for hosting office hours and spending time with us! I'm an early career professional and looking to develop leadership skills more consciously. Personally as a data scientist, I feel the skill to talk to business, translate business needs to data ideas is quite crucial. This skill can also open doors to new opportunities for leadership. What do you think are crucial skills for someone to be able to talk to both worlds (tech/data & business)? What could we do more on a daily/weekly basis? How does consciousness come into play? What other skills do you typically see in a tech leader?
Have a look at some of the leadership competencies I spelled out below to see where you can lean in and find opportunities to develop them. Observe leaders and managers around you and see what you and others respond well to and not so well to. As a technical person, communication with a variety of stakeholders is critical. I think the consciousness piece comes in as EQ to be able to connect with people on a deeper level, detect nuance, intuition, etc. to complement your analytical side. Hope that helps.
Ginny I have so many questions!1. I was the 7th hire in January 2019. Started 2020 with 20, this year went from 40 to currently 70 trying to close this year at stop 200 end of 2022. My CEO has grown my role as he grew his company. The first person I felt truly supported/empowered my career. I spread the same support to everyone at the company. Some are able to see him the same way I do. Other see him as the boss and won't open up. I implemented an engagement platform with a feature to submit anonymous feedback. Open communication is our preference but those wanting to stay unknown can. I find it easy to look past situations to try and solve problems but lately I wonder if we are still on the same page because either I cannot communicate the concept of looking at the core problem and not the details. Or I am insane and nothing is actionable unless we know clearly the details of the project and people involved. I feel this is because of the hyper growth we are experiencing. Do you have any suggestions on how to lead? Is it possible to keep a family like culture at 200 or does it become little families at a big reunion?2. For myself, I struggle with delegation. It always takes more time from me to support and I was never given the opportunity to grow others while growing myself. As the keeper of all the company knowledge I am trying to manage execution while drowning and sharing all my knowledge so I am not the only one. Any tips to better delegate? 3. How did you balance your career, family, and avoid overworking?3.
Let me focus on your first question in the interest of time. I'm a root cause person and think it is an essential skill that a lot of people don't develop and instead react to symptoms. I would try to point this out to your leader because as you scale, you keep plugging the dike, and inevitably the dam will fail. Build strong systems now so you can iterate and evolve as you grow. The second question suggests that you have your fingers in the dike too and need to delegate (the sign of a true leader). Don't fall victim to the "I can do it faster/better" invest the time in sharing the knowledge and the responsibilities to relieve yourself (and the dike) of the pressure. Don't go for perfection at work or home, it will drain you every time. Trust me, I've been there; perfection is overrated and undervalued. Best of luck!
Wow, @GinnyAnn596 - what an honour to be connected with you! So appreciate you taking the time to share your experience and wisdom with us. I'm stepping into the leadership consulting field myself c/o Spiritual Warrior Ltd (still technically in stealth - in the process of building a website!) and would love to hear what expanding consciousness in the business world (whether tech, financial services or another vertical) means and looks like for you. What have you taken away from your experiences at Google, Spencer Stuart, et al.? How have these experiences informed your current direction, focus, and strategy, at the helm of your own LLC? Regarding client work, how do you conceptualise the services and experiences you provide for your clients regarding 'goals' or outcomes? How do you define success a) with them and b) within and for yourself? Curious. Inspired. Humbled. Grateful. (And, perhaps unsurprisingly, would absolutely love to hop on a call with you to discuss further!) Thank you so much for your time here. πŸ™
Rachel, I'll try to answer at least a couple of the questions you posed. First when I talk about expanding consciousness (one of the 5 dimensions I offer related to my podcast, Fifth Dimensional Leadership), I am talking about individuals being willing to explore other aspects of their being, starts with self-awareness, maybe intuition, pushing aside limiting beliefs, behaviors, biases to make room for new levels of innovation, creativity and even joy. Remember, we didn't come here to suffer.A couple of things I've taken away from my experiences is that being educated doesn't make you smart, being smart doesn't make you competent, and how you behave as a leader determines the culture in your organization. All I have time for on that one - it's a book...In working with clients, I attempt to conceptualize their needs in terms of what they tell me, what I can learn about them, and what I know on the subject. Neither of us can accurately determine the deliverables and objectives until we both spend time together to pressure test what the team or organization can practically process and hopefully, eventually integrate. The scope will likely change, but that's what customized consulting looks like. It requires open communication among all parties. All the best!G
@GinnyAnn596, thank you so much for your generous responses here. I appreciate your candour and look forward to deep-diving into your podcast and books. Yes to pressure-testing, and an even bigger yes to not coming here to suffer. The journey of questioning, unlearning and replenishing ourselves is lifelong :) wishing you love, joy, and peace along the way.
Hi @GinnyAnn596Thank you for your interest in helping us ❀I'm from Colombia, interested in all innovation and entrepreneurship topics, currently I want to change my job, I'm the coordinator of an entrepreneurship unit of a Higher Education Institution.I'm trying to find a job within the USA, preferably remote, what would be some advice you give me in this purse? How can I become attractive to apply for a job at American companies? I felt all the remote works are mainly in programming, but that's really no my thing...I hold a master's degree in strategic design and I'm a business administrator with experience in research and business design, I speak Spanish, English and some Japanese...Thank you for reading πŸ™
I would focus on where your interests lie in terms of industry sector, then functionally (HR, adminstration,, finance, etc.). Then you have to determine if your competencies align with those of the job. I wouldn't focus on what positions are remote, then match the other things. If your competencies and experience align with the role, employers will well consider your working remoting even if the job description doesn't say so. Make them love you first and let the rest unfold. This is your chance to chart your destiny, get clear on what you want first!
Hi Ginny, thank you so much for your generosity! I've read your book Career Mapping: Charting Your Course in the New World of Work and a huge fan of your podcast. I am curious to learn - What are your suggestions for Executive Recruiting at a Startup? Thank you!
Hi Ginny! Thank you for offering your time to share your wisdom with the Elpha community. I'm a graduating senior from UC Berkeley in Urban Studies, aka city planning. My focus is in community development, systemic change via design justice, and building people power. I'm starting to look into careers related to leadership development (e.g. change management or social impact consulting) where I believe I can bring my love for human connection, equity/restorative justice, and storytelling to rooms of power where the big decisions happen. My questions: - How have you been able to introduce and facilitate conversations about cultural humility and competency to circles that don't have the background knowledge of their importance, or straight-up don't recognize their value?- Similarly related to my first question, I've had experiences when I've tried to bring up cultural competence & humility to my leadership, and been met with pushback. These can be really emotionally charged conversations because it's my/others' lived experiences vs. someone's bias. How do you reconcile these kinds of value-conflicts in a professional environment? - How, if at all, is leadership development typically monitored after training? How do you measure how effectively leadership is implementing the tools, frameworks, and strategies that you offer? Any insights you have to offer are deeply appreciated and I hope that this message finds you well! ✨
Interesting question - made me think. I guess lucky for me, I've been part of building infrastructures to support inclusive hiring of strong leaders. That's been the opening for the competency discussion and what Spencer Stuart (and other search firms) teaches. Then in trying to solve for diversity, there was/is conceptual agreement that competencies level the playing field. This argument holds for the whole employee lifecycle, but you run into trouble often outside of HR circles where few (hiring) managers have been hired, evaluated, or promoted based on competencies, nor have they been held accountable for doing such with their subordinates, so the muscle go undeveloped. Layer in individual bias, KPIs or OKRs that address profit, productivity, competitiveness, and incentives (compensation) for such things, you end up with a reluctance, even disdain for the discussions you speak of. Leadership development, just like other training and programs, can end up setting unreasonable expectations among employees because the systems intended to leverage their learning and growth (more inclusive hiring and mobility programs) aren't honored or even used. The measurement is in leadership dashboards that can go unread or disregarded in favor of the KPIs and OKRs I mentioned. However, employee engagement scores typically reveal it and leaders can choose to pay attention to those or not. The "Great Resignation" suggests that people are voting with their feet. This all starts at the very top of the house. I've only really scratched the surface, that that should get you thinking and hopefully inspired in spite of the entrenched ways. It is a new day, so don't give up!
Hi @GinnyAnn596! I am a parent as well and started my own business focusing on antiracism and DEIB. What a journey! I'd appreciate hearing how you position yourself to gain new clients. Thanks!