Google’s Oddball Behavioral Interview Questions: Sharing Your Story

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COLORADO – A close friend’s (who is like all of my Filipino “Aunties”) son Phillip, a program manager at Google recently gave me some pretty rad encouragement: Share your story.

As did Pastor Ben Garate during his sermon at iglesia este mañana: how the average Google employee is 31 years old.

As Demetri Martin put it in This is a Book, there is no formula, no algorithm for how individuals like you and me get from point A to point B:
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Growing up between upstate New York and California was idyllic.
Vacationing in Cape Cod and Ontario, Canada. Trips back west to Mexico, Laguna Beach, Del Mar, the Redwoods, San Francisco or Grants Pass, Oregon.

Dad, a surfer from Hawaii turned worship minister and engineer, was at the mercy of the 80s-90s tech boom (remember AOL, Atari, Nintendo 64, IBM typewriters and printers?); and endured the rise and fall of companies like Eastman Kodak, Xerox and Danka.

Mom was an artist and floral designer from Venice Beach dedicated to educating (yes, my sister and I were homeschooled till middle school) and preparing five adopted children to thrive as citizens in the global arts, education and business community.

Nina, my sister was adopted in Southern California, too. She was a ballerina before she evolved into a Rotary Exchange student traveling Europe and living in Sweden for a year. She then settled in Washington, DC with Teach for America, and was named among the coveted Cherry Blossom Princess winners as ambassador for Sweden in 2006.

After obtaining her Master’s from George Mason University, Nina joined KIPP as an educator serving underprivileged communities in the greater metro area. She lives with her husband Doug, former staff to Senator John McCain and daughter, Elsa Grace on Capitol Hill, in the Eastern Market neighborhood.

And then there’s me. Perhaps because I came from what my AP Literature teacher called such a cultural “anomaly”: a family out of the United Colors of Benetton (summary below); I guess it was only natural I turned out a complete disparity from convention or status quo. Out of instability: Stability.

Russell Phillip Fernandez (Filipino, Hawaiian)

Jeannette Marie Fernandez (French, Canadian, Italian, Hispanic)

Nina Elizabeth Smith (née Fernandez) [Caucasian: Irish, Swedish, Nordic]

Byron Isaac Fernandez (Asian American: Vietnamese, French)

Mark Samuel, Anthony John and Matthew Joseph (African-American)
[Mom and Dad adopted 3 biological brothers when we moved to Rochester, NY from Southern California).

Our family’s Roma lifestyle suited me growing up. In New York I began with gymnastics, but evolved into scholarship: training 6-7 days a week for the Olympics in figure skating, and medalling at the Regional level. My favorite competitions were the biannual Empire State Games in Lake Placid and annual North Atlantic Regionals.

After that came a brief stint with lacrosse before realizing piano was my true passion, and I began practicing 4-6 hours a day to prepare for Conservatory at university.
I would hear something and just sit down and play it, and my math grades were remedial so my Mom thought music training would help (apparently the Mozart effect she raised me with crib side wasn’t enough ;)

Then scholarship for piano performance at Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory turned into a transition to Public Relations (PR) and Marketing with psychology minor.
I realized business acumen in writing and communications, married with an intuitive understanding of the mind and human motivation, would be an essential aspect of my career, regardless of industry or function.

I failed in Cleveland, many times. I nearly evaporated in Vegas from 2009-2010, consumed in a haze, a pseudo-reality that nearly took my life.

But in 2012 I finally went home, to my family, and put them and the community before my stubborn, sick, beaten down shell of a self. Regaining personal wellness, power and belief in the Colorado community of Montrose has been humbling and inspiring.

Van Gogh was onto something: For my part, I know nothing with any certainty. But the sight of the stars makes me dream.

As I look toward the next chapter along the journey; I take with me the memories, people and places I have had the ears to hear, the eyes to see and the hands to hold.

And I’m ready once again to step into the unknown.

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Dave Matthews Band ‘Pig’ Alpine Valley 2002

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SAN FRANCISCO
“Love, love — love. What more is there?
There’s bad times, but that’s okay
We just look for Love in it.”

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2011 Cleveland Asian Festival: Japanese, Chinese, Dirty Knees, Look at These…

CLEVELAND – Yes, the title is compliments of Seth McFarlane and Family Guy, which my buddies and I quote religiously, appropriately and (always) conniving-ly. And since blogging’s taken over my life, a series I am ashamed to admit I’ve not had time to keep up with, nor any television for that matter.

Seems bloggers don’t have time for TV [ Jeff Bullas’ 29 Reasons Why You Should Be Blogging and Not Watching Television ].

Pretty crazy, almost seamless transition: blogging is so pervasive you are no longer merely a spectator of news and the media — you become a part of it. Call it positioning, inserting yourself into the here and now: it’s pretty ubiquitous. I’m fascinated by the concept of how social media and the digital age has led to the convergence of multiple industries across media channels, especially in PR and inbound marketing.

But anyway, it was beautiful today. So an old friend, mentor and fellow alum of Baldwin-Wallace College and I headed out to the Cleveland Asian Festival on the East side. She went last year but I wasn’t able to go (think I was out of town). She mentioned there were a bit more vendors/tents up this year (CLE PRogress duude!), and the event was held just on Saturday rather than through the weekend.

filipino mestizo Mary Toale flea market Vietnamese cuisine Cleveland

The aromas wafting  through the air, vendors, flea markets and people-watching reminded me of home (Southern/Northern California, Vegas, Rochester, NY) — and it felt great. Nostalgia kicking in again.

Being raised in an eclectic household, specifically Filipino and Hispanic-Italian, and growing up traveling essentially made nutrition a huge part of my life. I love to cook –and many of my closest friends, family and colleagues are also requisite foodies. My theory on fitness: balance sustainable, organic and a minimalist (support local farmers!) diet, allowing the occasional indulgences, with an active (or in some cases, hyperactive) lifestyle.

Presto.

Upon arriving, we naturally wove our way over to the food area. Beginning with steamed pork and mushroom dumplings (siu mai) — arguably one of my favorites from the evening — we progressed to chicken skewers, egg rolls and sesame taro puffs, which are notoriously doughy, but sweet (and filling).

And nooo, I don’t know these things off the top of my head lol (biological parents I never knew were Vietnamese and purportedly Caucasian). In fact, friends often roast me for being a banana (yellow on the outside, white on the inside). C’est la vie…

The heat was sweltering (finally some sun!), so we cooled off with a concept I hadn’t heard of until today called FrütIt reminded me of Red Mango out in Vegas/California: a Korean take on nonfat, all-natural, gluten-free yogurt with probiotics and no artificial sweeteners [ Yelp review here >>http://bit.ly/mMk1eT ].

Apropos, she went with Classic, an iced lemonade, and I got one called Terrach, which had strawberries, blueberries and lemon in a raspberry/blackberry base. It was as refreshing and tasty as gelato (Italian ice), a pleasant surprise.

Before turning in, we also stopped by the indoor pavilion/bazaar of specialty shops, where I couldn’t pass up spring rolls with Thai peanut sauce for $2.99 to take home…

All in all a good day.

thai peanut sauce asian vietnamese shrimp Cleveland asian festival