Aerica Shimizu Banks, Forbes 30 Under 30 and Googler On Motivation & Validation

Aerica Shimizu Banks

Aerica Shimizu Banks works at Google, served under the Obama administration, and was on the Forbes "30 Under 30" List in 2018. So what is it like to achieve so much before your 30th birthday? What is that pressure like moving into your thirties? And what has spurred her on toward these achievements? In this episode Hilary interviews Aerica Shimizu Banks and we learn how her values shaped her career decisions and the surprising way she landed her job at Google. 

Aerica Banks is on the patent strategy team in Google's DC office, where she monitors the legislative and legal patent landscape and integrates diversity and equity initiatives into Google's legal and patent strategy, such as the Google Legal Summer Institute, an educational leadership program for underrepresented law students. She is also the COO of the Asian Google Network. She was named a 2017 Tech Titan by Washingtonian Magazine and joined the 2018 Forbes 30 Under 30 list for Social Entrepreneurs. She also cofounded BEACON: The DC Women Founders Initiative.

Previously, she was a political appointee in the Obama Administration, worked in government relations for The Pew Charitable Trusts, and advanced environmental justice policies in Washington state. She holds a MSc in Environmental Policy from Oxford University and a BA in Environmental Studies and Public Affairs from Seattle University.

Episode Highlights

“If you are nourished by validation then you will starve.” -Aerica Shimizu Banks

“Your work is not your worth, but it can be a reflection of what you care about.” -Aerica Shimizu Banks

“Part of owning your power is learning to say ‘no.’” -Aerica Shimizu Banks

Hustle Hack: Sheryl Sandberg gave the graduating class of Harvard Business School this advice: “If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat. Just get on.” This reminds me a bit of a Aerica’s story with Google. The first job she applied for with the company was not her dream job. But the organization aligned with her values and she knew there was great potential to move into her desired field. So she was offered a seat on a rocket ship and she accepted. And today she gets to not only work at a dream company but also work at the crossroads of her passion, calling, and skills. 

Moment of Grace: I was so struck by what Aerica said about motivation: “if you are nourished by validation, then you will starve.” This is coming from someone who has many accomplishments and awards under her belt. And it’s a great reminder: if those things are what we fill our tank with, we will run out of gas. It reminded me of what Jim Carrey said—“I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it's not the answer.” I encourage you to do some soul searching. What DOES drive you? When you look back on your life and you reflect on the moments where you were the most at peace, the most happy—It probably wasn’t because of recognition. So don’t get distracted by that. Walk in your purpose. 

Connect with Aerica Shimizu Banks:
Instagram: @erikashimizu

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This episode is sponsored by Get Your Dream Off the Ground.