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Career Profile

Kristina Elkhazin

Head of Industry for Retail
Kristina Elkhazin | Responsable de l’industrie de la vente au détail, Google Canada
Kristina Elkhazin | Responsable de l’industrie de la vente au détail, Google Canada
Location Born
Location Now
Education Pathway

Kristina Elkhazin is the Head of Industry for Retail at Google.

About me

I was born/grew up in: Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada and grew up in Brampton, Ontario, Canada

I now live in: Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

I completed my training/education at: Bachelor of Commerce from Queen's University and an Associate's Degree in Fashion Merchandise Management.

What I do at work

My key activities include people management, managing our sales pipeline and team operations. I also work closely with our customers to ensure we're focused on their most important business outcomes. In terms of STEM skills that I use regularly, I have to use a lot of math to help with forecasts and sales pipeline management. I don't use any specialized equipment. With respect to problem solving, a lot of the problem solving I do with my partners is to help them through change management since many are undergoing digital transformation. I do have to make a lot of decisions both for my team and for my customer. In general, I make those decisions by using structured processes like decision trees and decision matrices. I work as part of a team. I manage a team and also work closely with other teams within my same company. I do not use other languages at work.

My career path is

I did not expect to be working in Sales at Google when I was in high school. I went to school for Business and had a very deep interest in Marketing. After working in marketing roles for a few years after I graduated, I decided to pursue a personal passion and went to the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. Here I earned an Associate's Degree in Fashion Merchandise Management. That took me into a career in Retail. Here I explored being in Finance, Buying and eventually back to Marketing.

After spending a couple of years in Retail Marketing, a friend invited me to interview at Google where, at the time, they were looking for someone who had deep Retail expertise. I never thought I'd end up switching roles as I really loved the pace of Retail and being close to the merchandise but the culture of Google was alluring.

I've had a lot of failures throughout my career and I look at those very positively. I believe that if you aren't feeling uncomfortable in your role, it's probably time to move on. I believe that taking some risk is important to ensure you are continuing to learn and grow. With every failure comes an important lesson you wouldn't have learned otherwise. The important part is to feel comfortable with failure, and learn from those missteps.

I am motivated by

The most exciting part of my job is getting to work with the most intelligent people in the world. Every day, I feel challenged by someone bringing a new perspective or introducing me to a new way of approaching a problem. That every day challenge keeps me motivated to ensure my team succeeds. In addition to feeling challenged by my colleagues, I love working with my customers to help them solve their biggest problems. For many of them, the solutions are digital in nature and our team provides expertise and guidance on how to best navigate making that digital transformation. This career is right for me because this environment is very entrepreneurial and one in which I am empowered to fail fast and learn.

How I affect peoples’ lives

My career is relevant and fulfilling because the impact of what my team does is very measurable for our customers and we can see that we're helping them with their business results. It also matters because we produce revenue for Google that is then reinvested into technologies that are saving the world. An example of one such technology is Project Loon that provides internet access to remote areas that don't yet have it.

Outside of work I

I have two kids - one is 7 and one is 2. Outside of work, I spend my time hanging out with them playing at the park, watching my elder child play baseball and hosting big family dinners at home. I do volunteer regularly through work and focus my volunteer activities on advancing diversity. I work out 4 times a week at 5:30 in the morning! I know it sounds early but I really love feeling productive and that is the only time that works for the whole family.

My advice to others

My advice would be to work really hard and find success in an area that you love, whatever area that might be. Technology is moving so quickly that it will be hard to predict exactly what kinds of careers will be available for future generations. But focusing on what you love and building competencies in areas like entrepreneurial thinking, communication, leadership, critical thinking and problem solving will help to ensure you have the right skills for whatever field you decide to pursue.

When I was a student, I enjoyed:
  • Foreign Languages
  • Business & Economics
  • Math
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
  • Brought people together
  • Enjoyed doing things on my own
  • Was motivated by success
  • Liked being given specific instructions
  • Learned best by doing
  • Liked helping people
  • Organized activities for my friends
  • Wanted to be in charge
  • Felt great satisfaction in getting good grades

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