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Inside YouTube

Work Diaries: Chief of Staff plans Veterans Day activities and events

  • By Mike Benedosso
  • Chief of Staff, VP of Americas at YouTube
  • Nov.12.2021
Work Diaries: Chief of Staff plans Veterans Day activities and events
Five days in the life of one YouTube staffer, featuring alpaca farms, Halloween puns, working with veterans, and much more.

We’re peeling back the curtains with our series, Work Diaries, where you can experience the inner workings of YouTube. How do decisions get made? What goes into a product, feature, or policy? We’re asking YouTube employees to give us the low-down during a five-day work week.

Featured today: Mike is a Chief of Staff for the VP of Americas at YouTube. He supports his executive by coordinating horizontally across all of the VP’s leads in an org that manages YouTube’s top partners, creators, and media companies that post on the platform.


Remotely working from an alpaca farm in Pennsylvania.

Remotely working from an alpaca farm in Pennsylvania.

Monday

6 a.m.—Up early to hit the road after a three-day weekend. Over the last few days, my wife and I were remotely working from an alpaca farm in Pennsylvania. (Did I really just say that? What is my life?).

7 a.m.—This week started off with a bang. My team found out we are getting a new leader (my manager), and we can’t be more excited. She’s a rock star, and we’re thrilled she’s joining our org. As the Chief of Staff, it’s one of my responsibilities to ensure this new VP of Americas for Content Partnerships is onboarded effectively and learns the org quickly and efficiently, so I hit the ground running in getting a few plans in place.

11 a.m.—I send out a monthly newsletter to the org that consolidates all the wonderful work our org achieved in October. Best part: I included a number of ridiculous Halloween puns. Some say that it’s not professional while others think they’re fa-boo-lous (hold for laughter).

3 p.m.—As a CoS, I get pulled into a lot of meetings, but my favorites are one-on-one syncs where I get to learn about what my colleagues are working on, challenges they’re experiencing, and how I can help.

Today’s highlight: Did you not see that boo-tiful Halloween pun I included???

I spend 20% of my time helping lead VetNet. We're planning our Veterans Day activities and events.

I spend 20% of my time helping lead VetNet. We're planning our Veterans Day activities and events.

Tuesday

8 a.m.—As a side gig, I’m fortunate that Google allows me to spend 20% of my time helping lead the Global Employee Resource Group for military veterans, military spouses, service members, and civilian allies, called VetNet. As the global co-lead with Jeff Hamel, I’m helping plan our Veterans Day activities and events. This year, we’re filling the week with multiple external speakers, panel discussions, and plenty of volunteer opportunities. Luckily, VetNet has a number of wonderful volunteers eager to help make these events happen!

10 a.m.—I was asked to help lead a project that affects our partners. While it’s exciting because I might be able to drive real impact, it’s also terrifying because I know nothing about the subject. My fears dissipate when I remember that I don’t know much about anything. Knowing nothing is, well, sort of my thing. I built my whole life around knowing nothing. So I should be okay. ;)

10:30 a.m.—Thirty minutes into digging deeper into that topic, I realize I will not be okay. This is a complex subject. Uh oh...

11 a.m.—Nevermind. My colleague Jesse is an all-star who took time out of his day to help me understand the topic. This is one reason why I love working at Google: People are friendly, and there’s always an expert for every topic who can get me up to speed :).

4 p.m.— I help lead a team meeting with all of YouTube’s Content Partnerships leaders for the Americas. They’re a fun and amazing group in charge of our strategies for a wide range of spaces including Shopping, Sports, Film & TV, Gaming, Learning, Health, and many more! It’s always insightful to hear what they’re working on and how YouTube can help elevate the ecosystem they look after.

Today’s highlight: Our Veterans Day events are lined up for the entire week! I can’t wait to see them live.

Helping our Strategy and Operations team craft a strategy presentation.

Helping our Strategy and Operations team craft a strategy presentation.

Wednesday

10 a.m.—Great news! Today, Google.org announced providing $20 million in grant funding and in-kind product donations to support economic empowerment for veterans and the military community. Part of that funding includes a $10 million cash grant to Hiring Our Heroes (HOH) to support the launch of Career Forward, a program to provide over 8,000 veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses with the training and career support they need to prepare for in-demand jobs via free access to the Google Career Certificates. This is the largest grant in HOH’s history!

It’s so fulfilling to work at a company that supports military veterans, military spouses, and transitioning service members. I’m so proud! #GoArmy #BeatNavy (sorry!)

1 p.m.—Last year, I was lucky to be selected as a participant in the Presidential Leadership Scholars program, a curriculum with a diverse network of leaders brought together to collaborate and make a difference in the world. We had our Fall cohort today, and it was exciting and energizing to meet with people working hard to change the world.

4 p.m.—I am helping our Strategy and Operations team craft a strategy presentation to our senior C-level leaders at YouTube and Google sales. We’re five weeks out and already building the deck, so we have plenty of time to gather feedback and refine it.

Today’s highlight: Google.org announcing $20 million in grant funding and in-kind product donation to support the military community!

Meal time with my 15-month old son.

Meal time with my 15-month old son.

Thursday

8 a.m.—One component of the Chief of Staff role is ensuring the financial health of our org’s operating expenses, so I reviewed our budget and what we spent across all our different teams to make sure we’re on pace to hit our forecast.

11 a.m.—I got to meet my new manager today! She’s fantastic: bold, energetic, excited, brilliant. Imposter syndrome plagues many Googlers, and I’m no different. When I chat with Tara and her team, I constantly wonder if I’m smart enough to hang. But then I remember I was a boxer in a former life. (You can obviously tell by my nose). First rule of boxing: keep your head up, your chin down, and keep fighting! Oh, and watch the carbs.

5 p.m.—Working from home has its benefits: I get to see my 15-month old son every now and then. Working from home also has its distractions: My son is an endless Italian eating machine! I take time out of the day to feed him, knowing that he will be hungry again as soon as I put away the remaining food.

Today’s highlight: Meeting my new boss!

On “Focus Fridays," I connect with veterans, military spouses, and transitioning service members.

On “Focus Fridays," I connect with veterans, military spouses, and transitioning service members.

Friday

10 a.m.—Every six months, Google holds “Performance Reviews” where your performance is gauged against objective metrics, OKRs, and your peers. Today, my interim-manager delivered my performance score. It was a big confidence booster!

1 p.m.—YouTube holds “Focus Fridays” for the org, where meetings are avoided so we can spend dedicated time on our projects and life admin tasks. I always block one to two hours of my Friday afternoons to connect with veterans, military spouses, and transitioning service members to chat about Google, their transition to civilian life, and more. It’s rewarding to pay it forward. I remember getting out of the military and not knowing what to do. I thought I could live purely off my good-looks, but my three brothers quickly reminded me that I have a face for radio and a voice for writing. So, I went to business school instead. (Go Bruins!)

3 p.m.—One of our org’s great leaders is leaving YouTube for an amazing opportunity, so we found time to meet as a team and wish him well before he departed. We’re going to miss him, but we’re also proud of his next adventure.

Today’s highlight: Saying goodbye to Malik!


Interested in a career at YouTube? Peruse through open positions here.