Keani Hin - A Filipino-Polynesian’s Journey to Google
Keani Hin | Cal State Fullerton | Kinesiology
Bay Area Filipino-Polynesian native, Keani Hin, shares her journey on becoming a Google sourcer. As the second oldest child in a family of 6 siblings, Keani held many family responsibilities early on, which helped set a strong foundation for her college and career success. After attending Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory and graduating from Terra Nova in Pacifica, she was recruited to walk-on at Cal State Fullerton’s volleyball team. With a passion for health and fitness she majored in Kinesiology, but changed courses out of college and is now working for one of the top tech companies in the world. Keani trusted in her path, and she’s found a genuinely caring and helpful community at Google. Her next personal goal: creating a podcast with her best friend.
Tell us about your academic experience.
My parents got me involved in sports since I was young enough to play t-ball. I also played soccer, basketball, volleyball, and even took Polynesian dance (which I loved more than anything). Throughout high school I kept up with basketball and volleyball, but ultimately went with my passion for volleyball.
My senior year, I received a D3 scholarship to play at Notre Dame de Namur and thought I was set. But towards April-May, I got a random call from Coach Mike, from my club team, who was now an assistant coach for Cal State Fullerton’s volleyball team, telling me there’s a spot to walk on if I want it. Caveat? It’s for a defensive specialist, and I played middle blocker all my life. I thought maybe it was a joke at first, but he showed confidence in me by saying, “I know your work ethic, you can do this.”
So I took a trip down to SoCal to tour [Cal State Fullerton], and I was like hell yes - there’s sun, volleyball, and it’s D1. Long story short, it wasn’t the fairytale we’d all hoped it to be; but it was as difficult as I thought it was going to be. I didn’t play a single game, and by sophomore year, I knew that while I didn’t regret my decision at all, volleyball was no longer going to be on my path. I had made lifelong friends from that team, but I had a choice to close that chapter of my life and I accepted it.
That’s when I decided to dive into my curiosity about physical wellness and the body. I had chosen Kinesiology as a major, because I wanted to get into physical therapy or become a chiropractor. And now with volleyball gone, my time seemed endless and what better use of time than towards a job to make money.
What was your first job?
Quitting volleyball was the perfect segway into my first job. I have family who own a wellness center called Agape Wellness Center in Costa Mesa. It’s actually the first place I visited to get a chiropractic adjustment in high school by my amazing auntie and doctor, Jennifer Pa’alani Bonte. She was the person to inspire me to get into the field because - wow - after that adjustment, I didn’t see how people wouldn’t want to feel like the world was lifted off their shoulders! So after my freshman year in college, I started training as a massage therapist to get experience with the body. It was absolutely amazing. I met so many beautiful and intelligent people, gained so much knowledge from my peers and patients, including life-lessons, and felt truly blessed to have been given such an opportunity. I will always be thankful for my Bonte family for those 4 years I worked at Agape because they had given me so much more than a job to make money.
How did you get into Google recruiting?
No one ever really knows that they’re going to be in recruiting. It kind of fell into my lap. And that’s when I realized that LinkedIn is a sniper tool used heavily by these recruiters. I started interviewing and landed a position at Insight Global in downtown San Francisco. While it wasn’t a position I really knew much about or knew if I liked, I knew I loved building relationships and helping people which was what I was essentially looking for in the health realm. I was there for a year and met amazing people and learned so much, but as the year was coming up the sniper messages came once again, and I took a couple of interviews thinking it wouldn’t hurt.
Then to my surprise, I received a call from my recruiter telling me that Google wanted to hire me as a contractor for a year as a sourcer. My initial reaction was like anyone’s - surprised, excited, overwhelmed, and proud. To be completely honest, after some thought I didn’t think I was going to take it. I didn’t want my answer to be yes, just because it’s Google - that just seems naïve of me. However, after a few important conversations with trusted friends, I accepted the position and finally became a Noogler.
So far it’s been one hell of a journey here at Google. The performance bar is high and everyone works hard. It’s definitely not an easy job for most. Every day you have to make a conscious decision to do your best in every moment you have. Metrics are necessary for the job, but you can’t be run by them. But the environment and the people is what makes this company great. Great leaders make a difference in any work culture. I’m surrounded by super smart people who are also genuine, humble and always willing to help. Not to mention the food perks, shuttles, massage therapists, wine Wednesdays, puppies and so much more!
What’s next for you?
I have an internal hunger for growth and fulfillment of something more, of something bigger. While I always have [diversity] initiatives like Employee Resource Groups at Google on the back of my mind, I’ve also been interested in pursuing other passions. My boyfriend, Jordan, has always inspired me to think bigger and was the one to suggest using my voice and gift of connection with people through a podcast.
It immediately sparked something in me and now I am currently in the process of creating my first ever podcast with my best friend, Shannon. It will be about female self-awareness, listening to her inner voice, and being awakened to her life’s daily experiences. It’s definitely in the early stages, but I am so excited to share it once we get content published.
Working on it truly gives me life and feeds me energy, and I think that the universe has been leading me to exactly where I’m supposed to be in this moment. Trusting the process is a journey all in itself, but once you let go of any resistance you’re holding onto, answers begin to fall into your lap.
What advice would you give to students preparing for college?
Ask questions, ask questions, ask questions, and then most importantly take action. Repeat.
Be conscious of who you surround yourself with. Are these people who give you life and make you feel full or do they take energy and bring you down?
Making a mistake or being wrong is the most significant and critical way to learn.
School is a privilege, not a right - Knowledge is Power.
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