Skylar Cook, 28

“Nobody can tell you who to become, that is a choice you make yourself.”

In their own words

Personally, I am proudest that I am the first person in my family to have attended and graduated college. I was raised by a single mother who I watched struggle my whole life. I was surrounded by addiction and the challenges that come with a low socioeconomic upbringing. By choosing education and choosing to break the cycle, I set the example for my future children that life does not have to be a constant struggle and success and happiness are direct results of the choices you make in life. Thanks to education, perseverance and determination I am where I am today. I chose a different path and decided I was more going to be more than a statistic. Professionally, I am most proud that I was among the first (and the youngest) employees hired full time in KC by a world-renowned company such as Google. Since my start here 5 years ago, I have helped launch a service that has changed the competitive landscape in this industry and directly helped bring abundant connectivity to families across the country through my work in real estate partnerships. One of my favorite parts of my job is seeing the direct impact our company has on this incredibly deserving community.

My service to the Kansas City community includes giving back to organizations that can change the lives of Kansas City’s young people, including: mentoring for the Community Leadership Program between Google and area college students, serving as a Board Member on the 2018 March of Dimes Young Professionals Board and volunteering for the Down Syndrome Guild KC Prom since 2011.

KC Story

I am born and raised in the KC Area (Fort Osage High School grad). As a kid I always thought, “My dreams are too big for this town. I can’t wait to get out.” And then our city underwent a beautiful transformation. Suddenly, we had a tech scene, a unique culture, great restaurants, forward thinking businesses, an entrepreneurial spirit… at some point leaving became the last thing I wanted to do. I stayed in KC for college getting my BA in Communication Studies from UMKC and was lucky enough to have landed my job with Google before I walked across the graduation stage. Kansas City is my home. I am obsessed and in love with this city. Kansas City has grown into a beautiful mix of small town and big city. We have all the attractions of a major metropolitan areas (arts, food, culture, tech) while retaining a hometown, neighborly attitude. The people here are go-getters and familiar faces. I’d like to think we do this better than other mid-sized cities in the country.

A day in the life

On a typical morning, I’m woken up by French bulldog kisses, one of my favorite parts of the day.

If I’m not traveling to meet in person with one of my external partners who sit in a different city, I head to our office in downtown KC. My days are filled with internal and external interactions. I have several standing meetings with my external partners (owners, operators and developers who have or are interested in partnering with Google Fiber for their communities across our markets nationally) where we discuss business updates on each side, strategy, new opportunities to further our partnerships and address any ongoing questions or concerns they may have. It’s extremely important to keep open channels of communication to maintain strong partnerships. Also in the mix are internal meetings to discuss  process improvements, communication updates, programming development to create new ways to contribute to overall business objectives and cross functional team meetings to ensure all groups are involved where needed. (e.g. legal, product, marketing etc). Lots of podcasts (everything from politics to true crime to Game of Thrones fan recaps) and bad 90’s pop music keep me entertained during long working sessions. After my day with my Google Fiber family I head home to my actual family, my husband and 2 puppers.

Legacy

Resume accolades are great but I would rather be known for the journey and obstacles I overcame to achieve those accolades. I’d like to be known for my fighting spirit. Nothing has ever been enough to keep me down or make me believe no is an answer. People that grow up in the home and environment I did typically become a statistic. They become part of a vicious cycle. I said to hell with that, clawed my way out and vowed to be an example of what can happen when you don’t use your situation as an excuse and commit to making good choices.

I work in an industry dominated by males. For a very long time I was the only female on my team and on more than one occasion my external partners were surprised that a young female walked into the office for a meeting with the CEO to discuss plans for a major construction project for their multi million dollar communities or negotiate an agreement that is fair to both sides. In order to do my job effectively I had to learn to be confident in who I am and what I was saying despite who was in the room. This confidence was gained through experience and finding and trusting great female mentors and sponsors.

Whoa

I will play it cool when we first meet, talk politics, weather, current events etc., until we get to know each other, and then… BAM! I let my nerd flag fly. I am OBSESSED with Game of Thrones. My husband and I are reigning Game of Thrones trivia champs and often times stay up at night reading quiz cards from our GOT board game. Recently we hosted a massive season premiere party complete with real pig heads, giant turkey legs, GOT Jeopardy and a house sigil competition. I spend my free time reading show recaps, book to show analyses, researching fan theories and listening to GOT-centric podcasts. The obsession is out of control at this point. I’m also a Harry Potter fanatic and play on a weekly trivia team. Our trivia team has a newsletter one of us creates each week and we vote on a weekly MVP of the team. #Nerdlife.

Protip

Nobody can tell you who to become, that is a choice you make yourself. Decide who you want to be and become that person through hard work, good choices and perseverance.