Interview with Michael Hamamoto Tribble, O4U alumnus & Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree

Michael Hamamoto Tribble

At Out for Undergrad, our top priority is empowering our students to be their most authentic selves in the workplace, but we wouldn’t be able to accomplish this hefty goal without our conference directors. Year after year, we’re continually impressed with the generous individuals who choose to set aside time from their incredibly busy schedules to help us make Out for Undergrad events the best they can be. Today, we’d like to feature Out for Undergrad director Michael Hamamoto Tribble, who was just named one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 people of the year! Our PR and Comms Director, Sam, was able to sit down with Michael and ask him a few questions.

Sam: Hi, Michael! Thanks for taking the time to chat. First off — congratulations! How did it feel to be selected for Forbes 30 Under 30?

Michael: It’s an incredible honor to have been selected. For years now, I’ve excitedly watched as friends and colleagues have made the 30 Under 30 list, and to now be able to count myself among them just feels so surreal.

Sam: And for some context, can you tell us about what you do for work?

Michael: I lead Google Cloud’s education strategy. Essentially my job is to figure out how to get Google Cloud, which is a suite of developer tools, into the hands of students, faculty, researchers, and institutions.

Sam: What’s your favorite part about it?

Michael: I absolutely love my job, so it’s hard to pick just one thing, but how about three?

The first is Google’s scale. Google operates at such an enormous scale, so even the smallest of projects can have profound impact. Similarly, members of my team and I are always thinking about ways to scale our impact; this includes partnering with different organizations or thinking creatively about our products to make our tools and resources more accessible.

The second is the people. I work with an incredible group of very talented and hardworking individuals who constantly push each other to achieve more. It’s incredibly motivating to be surrounded by folks like this.

Third is the autonomy and trust I’ve been given to approach this high impact work, not only the way I feel most suitable, but in ways that are more equitable as well. This includes scaling Google Cloud to a diversity of colleges and universities including women’s colleges, historically black colleges and universities, hispanic serving institutions, and Ivy+ schools. When I pitched this to our leadership team, there was overwhelming support because it was the right thing to do. While these past few years have required a lot of hard work, I’m continually inspired given the impact that it’s been having.

Sam: That sounds like a lot. How do you make the time for all of that and O4U?

Michael: Honestly, it’s tough sometimes, but ultimately I’m guided by my passion for the work. In addition to Google and O4U, I’m involved in a few other organizations while also carving out time to work out daily. Ultimately, it comes down to prioritization and figuring out what’s urgent versus important.

Sam: Why is O4U important to you?

Michael: From when I attended the Business conference as an undergrad, to when I volunteered for, and eventually led, the Tech conference, O4U has offered so many amazing opportunities to develop my leadership and network as an LGBTQ+ professional. Now that I’m in a position to share these opportunities with students and early-career professionals, I’m so excited to give back.

Sam: Is there any advice you want to give LGBTQ+ undergrads as they enter the workforce?

Michael: My career has always flourished, not when I chased the promotions, but rather when I focused on being my authentic self and doing the work that I cared about. My advice to LGBTQ+ undergrads would be to figure out who their authentic selves are, and let that person shine through. When looking for internships or jobs, seek out those places that will support that authentic you, and allow you to work on things that you care about; because when you’re allowed to shine, and allowed to work on things you’re passionate about, that’s when you’re your best self.

Sam: So what’s on the docket for 2020?

Michael: My role at Google has expanded to include a lot of our enterprise strategy with an expanded remit that now includes companies in addition to higher education institutions. Outside of work, I hope to deepen my involvement with Out for Undergrad, helping to mentor LGBTQ+ students in reaching their full potential, allowing them to shine as their authentic selves in their dream jobs.