TheBridge profile: Tekedra Mawakana

TheBridge profile: Tekedra Mawakana

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Name: Tekedra Mawakana

Current city: Bay Area, CA

Current job: Chief External Officer at Waymo

Past job: Global Head of Policy at Waymo

Q. Favorite spot for a coffee meeting? Teaism

Q. Describe how a skill you learned in a previous job helped you in your current job. Creative problem solving in unchartered territory: In my career, I have constantly engaged in opportunities to tackle new challenges and expand my expertise. As a lawyer, I moved from telecom/regulatory to M&A and tech deals; from deals to policy to crisis. Now, I lead external engagement, which includes all the teams responsible for policy and government relations, public affairs, marketing, communications, and social initiatives.

Q. Job advice in three words? Know your craft. (This of course includes knowing what you don’t know and hiring/staffing accordingly.)

Q. How are you (or your company, org, nonprofit) currently bridging the gap between politics and tech / innovation and regulation? It’s a constant balance. Innovation will continue. Helping to inform the legislative process of the benefits of the innovation and the challenges of premature or patchwork regulation is critical.

Q. What can Silicon Valley (innovators) teach DC (regulators)? Optimism about what’s possible.

Q. What can DC (regulators) teach Silicon Valley (innovators)? The importance of bringing along the public in pursuit of innovation.

Q. Looking back, what advice would you give yourself in the beginning of your career? A career path may be linear in years, but a great career will present opportunities to start over, step back, leap forward -- always be ready.

Q. Most underrated virtue in an employee? Employees who expect the best from leadership at all times can sometimes be viewed as overly idealistic or not well-grounded. I think it’s a great virtue, and helps create a better culture.

Q. Favorite app? LinkedIn

Q. Best advice you’ve received? Keep bringing what you bring.

Tekedra’s profile was featured in #TheBridgeUpdate. Enjoying TheBridge Profiles? Sign up HERE for TheBridge Update.

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