Thursday, Nov. 18, 2010

Susan Wojcicki

What is the best and worst decision you've ever made?
Even though it was a start-up with fewer than 20 people, and I was pregnant with my first child, the best decision I've ever made was to join Google in 1999. Worst decision? Deciding to get a puppy and a bunny right when the baby came.

What was your dream job as a kid and why?
We have to remember that when I was a kid, the Internet didn't exist yet. So my dream job was to be either a photojournalist, because I enjoy creating new images that tell a story, or a biochemist working on a drug for cancer because I wanted to help people. Now, today I can create a different kind of art by building new services that help people across the globe. The great thing about the Internet is you can launch a product, and within just a few hours, people will tell you what they think about it.

What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?
Many women assume they can't be good mothers and have challenging careers at the same time, so they might give up trying to do both as they get to a crucial point in their career. Although it can be hard at times, it's important for women to recognize the benefits of working outside the home. Under the right circumstances, it can be great for the children and for the family overall. It's important for me to show my children the richness of life and be a role model. I find that my organizational and management skills are tested more at home than at work!

What woman inspires you and why?
Marie Curie. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, and the only woman to ever win a Nobel prize in two different fields: Physics and Chemistry. Her scientific discoveries have had profound implications for many people. She was hard-working and committed to her research throughout her life and was also a successful mother of two daughters, one of whom won a Nobel prize.

What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?
Our lives continue to accelerate as everyone is online and connected all the time. It will be a challenge for the next generation to make sure to find time to enjoy some of the old fashioned activities like time with nature, friends and family. I want to remind young women and their families to make time for real vacations, far away from digital devices.