Alumni Spotlight: Jacky Schiestel

Alumni Spotlight: Jacky Schiestel


If you have ever aspired to work for Google, you might be convinced that all you’ll do is write code all day, program robots, and work on the most top secret projects in the tech industry. Jacky Schiestel (MAM ’04) works as a Human Resources Business Partner at Google and is a perfect example of why the company’s most important factor is the human factor. It’s true you might be doing all of those techie tasks, but if you’re Schiestel, or any other Googler for that matter, your job will depend on how you interact with people, not just computers.

Google not only encourages innovative and collaborative thinking, it demands it. “A lot of what we do in the Google culture is to think outside the box,” Schiestel says. “Everyone brings different ideas, and has different points of view.” Schiestel points to this culture as the reason she was able to make a transition from sales to human resources, something that larger companies don’t always champion, but Schiestel’s experience was incredibly supportive.

“After spending 6 years in sales, Google supported my transition into HR through a HR Global Business Rotation and a 20% project,” Schiestel says. Human resources provides a foundation for sales to succeed, and Schiestel was able to use her sales background to easily transition into an HR role. Google needed someone who knew the ins and outs of how the sales and business side of Google worked in that HR role, “That was Google being really smart about their resources,” Schiestel says.

Columbia College Chicago is a mecca of creativity, media and dedicated artists, which made the jump to Google a clear choice for Schiestel, “You can work in teams at any college,” says Schiestel.  “At Columbia, you get different personalities and you get different points of view, and I think that’s what’s so cool about Columbia.”

This diversity of viewpoints and backgrounds prepared Schiestel for success, starting as an Associate Account Manager at Google, she worked her way up to Senior Account Manager and then made the transition into Human Resources. She previously worked for the Tribune company and was consistently promoted, allowing Schiestel to bring Google a strong background in analytics, marketing and business knowledge. And, of course she got her start as a graduate of the Business & Entrepreneurship Department’s Master’s of Arts Management program, Schiestel clearly has a strong toolkit of business skills to draw from.

Schiestel’s time at Columbia included co-founding the startup Split Pillow as Director of Outreach, with now-graduate instructor Jason Stephens, a film program that provides a one day, inception to production film project for at risk, and underprivileged youth, “That was my ah-ha moment, because had I gone to any other school, I probably would never have gotten involved with something so creative,” says Schiestel. “Mary Filice had a huge impact on me… She’s one of my teachers; she was involved in Split Pillow; she was my thesis adviser. She’s just so smart, she really believed in her students, and she’s one of those people that push you forward.”

Co-founding a startup and having that entrepreneurial mindset going into a leading innovative company like Google, helped her become an innovator within her job. A through line for Schiestel has been admiration of leaders that has consistently increased her leadership ability, “Our leaders set an amazing tone, for doing the right thing for our people,” Schiestel says. “From what I’ve witnessed, that’s what constantly impresses me about the day to day at Google.