Why Google UX Director Chloe Gottlieb wants her team members to be more successful than she is

4 min read
Shayna Hodkin
  •  Dec 13, 2019
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Chloe Gottlieb is a leader on the Google Apps UX team, focused on helping teams create, collaborate, and communicate with confidence. They are transforming the workplace through the design of best-in-class products like Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Keep, Sites, Enterprise Search, and Assistant. 

Name: Chloe Gottlieb

Title: Director of UX

Company: Google

Location: NYC

Age: Is a mindset

Years in the design industry: 20


On coaching as a manager

Being a manager also means being a coach. Great coaches see the potential in others and find challenges to help them realize that potential. My greatest hope is that the people on my team surpass me. And many have!

On bouncing back from failure

The first thing that I thought of was a lyric from Chumbawumba, ”I get knocked down, but I get up again. You are never gonna keep me down.” We are always learning and making mistakes. There are great days and tough days.

The question I ask is, “How quickly can you recover?” One of the most important leadership skills is the ability to continually reframe challenges as opportunities for growth.

On her mobile office

I travel a lot so it’s important for me to have my work essentials with me at all times. I have a mobile office that includes my Chromebook, security badge, Action journal, Pixel, iPhone, various chargers, and green tea.

Chloe’s mobile work setup.

On the importance of notebooks

The one tool that has been a constant throughout my career is paper. I always have a notebook with me. The physical act of transcribing thoughts to paper helps me understand and recall information. My favorite notebooks are the Action Journals from Behance. I regularly review my written notes and add key insights to Google Docs.

Her career path in one sketch

On running as a creative ritual

Ideas and solutions get unstuck with motion. I find that my best ideas happen when I’m running, so I run outside on the Brooklyn waterfront a couple of times a week, regardless of the weather. I’ve been tracking my runs with Nike+ for years. The data tells an interesting story about a person who initially hated running and evolved into a committed runner.

The question she wishes someone would ask her

”What’s the most unexpected challenge of being a leader?”

My answer would be that it’s rarely the external challenges. More often, the challenges are the limiting beliefs we have about ourselves.

What she wishes someone had told her…

  • Before starting her first design job: All those late nights designing UX mocks will be valuable down the road.
  • Before becoming a manager: Giving and receiving tough feedback is a gift (when delivered thoughtfully).
  • About becoming a mentor: There is a difference between being a mentor and a sponsor. Mentors are helpful, but sometimes people need active sponsors who help find them great opportunities.
  • About life: The relationships we have with people we love will matter most.

On the music that helps her focus

My twelve-year-old daughter, Leela, got me hooked on “lofi hiphop radio” on YouTube. She is my greatest cultural influencer.

The three designers we should all be watching out for

Jill Nussbaum, Instagram

Tim Allen, Airbnb

Lauren Von Dehsen, Google Health

Collaborate in real time on a digital whiteboard