Career Advice from Alumna at Google

Ashley Singleton behind a table holding a microphone

Ashley Singleton presenting at the Favatas Lecture Series event.

Ashley Singleton ’12 (marketing), product marketing manager at Google, was the featured speaker at the 2022 Favatas Lecture Series. Reflecting on the first ten years of her career after graduation, she detailed three key periods and what she learned from them to secure a position at Google. View photos from the event, taken by Julia Pham.

Investing Your Time Wisely (0-3 years)

  • Finding your first job is your first full-time job
  • The value of your degree is highest on the day you graduate and depreciates over time
  • Pursue jobs that will provide experience and build your career
    • A great title at a bad company and limited impact won’t accelerate your career
  • Always say yes to gain new tasks and responsibilities
  • Gaining more experience allows you to find what you’re interested in

Refining Your Career Direction (4-6 years)

  • Establish your brand by determining what you like and dislike
  • Market yourself toward your strengths and passions
    • Ask yourself what you’re good at that other people aren’t
  • Strengthen that brand by uncovering opportunities through demonstrating expertise
  • Take the initiative and show what a better version looks like instead of asking
  • Build political capital by focusing on what leaders care about
    • Find a connection point to the leaders and mention it frequently

Becoming A Top Performer (7-10 years)

  • Anticipate what leadership will ask and deliver
    • Putting yourself in the frame of mind as a leader will help you ask and answer these questions
    • This will make you an asset to your organization and more valued by higher-ups
  • Overprepare for meetings and presentations by asking for as much feedback as possible and adding extra info to your slides
    • Ask for feedback after your presentations, both what you excelled at and what could be improved. Make sure it’s specific feedback about how you can grow
  • Transition how you evaluate opportunities from new to strategic
    • New doesn’t necessarily mean good, so be picky about the projects you accept to make your brand more well-rounded

We also sat down with Ashley Singleton after the event to ask her questions about her undergraduate experience. She gave insightful answers to students who may be feeling lost before they graduate, a period that she did not cover in her keynote speech.

Q: What does it mean to be able to share your story with RIT students?

A: “It’s a great opportunity to share my perspective through my undergrad experience and give back what I know to students.”

Q: How has RIT prepared you for your career?

A: “The most important aspect of my undergrad education was the required co-ops. In terms of current students, it forces them to think practically about how college is a moment to develop the foundation of their careers. Additionally, I participated in Greek Life and met my best friends through that community. I’m still connected with them to this day.”

Q: What does it feel like to return to campus?

A: “It feels familiar in a nostalgic way. It’s a humble reminder of where I’ve been. When I came here, it was the beginning of the future for me. Coming back, I can reflect on how far I’ve come.”

Q: If you had the opportunity to tell your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?

A: “When you’re starting off, everything will feel new. You’ll be nervous, but always be willing to learn and be competent in what you’re learning. You will feel more confident in yourself and that will show when you’re presenting.”

Q: What would you tell current RIT students who want to end up at Google like you?

A: “You need to figure out what you want to do that isn’t your end goal. Work at other companies first to figure out what you prefer and where you excel. Trial and tribulation will help with getting to that end “position,” and there will be less anxiety when an awesome opportunity arises. It’s almost like you’re practicing.”

Q: 10 years ago, did you think you would be working at Google?

A: “Honestly, no. I thought I would be a successful marketer with some team management experience within an industry I liked. I didn’t have a specific company in mind that I wanted to work for but working at Google was a dream come true.”

Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

A: “10 years is too long of a time to accurately plan things. Within the next couple of years though, I want to continue product marketing. I could see myself moving into other industries and with a focus on software instead of hardware. Regardless of what happens, it would be an extension of what I’m doing now.”

About the Favatas Lecture Series

The Favatas Lecture Series was established by Louise Woerner and Don Kollmorgen, who named the annual event after their godson and Saunders graduate, Dionisios Favatas ’01 (international business), also a contributor to the endowment. The endowment was established to promote a relationship between recent RIT-employed graduates who would discuss the real world of business with RIT students.

Woerner is the founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of HCR, Inc., and the 1989 winner of the Herbert W. Vanden Brul Entrepreneurial Award from the Saunders College of Business. Kollmorgen is a long-time consultant to the health insurance industry, and Favatas works as head of marketing clouds, customer data platforms, and identity solutions for Capgemini.