How leading Google One is like solving a puzzle

When office life became video call life in 2020, people around the world experienced the drain of remote meetings. Larissa Fontaine might be the one exception. “Video calls can be hard because you’re just moving from one thing to the next…but I also get a lot of energy from them,” she says with a smile. “I realized I actually like jumping from topic to topic.” Holding up her notebook, she admits one caveat: “But I have to write things down! Otherwise I won’t retain it all.” 

By “it all,” Larissa means the many product teams she meets with every day. Larissa is the vice president of Google One, a subscription service that includes cloud storage and extra benefits to give users peace of mind, such as automatic phone backup, enhanced security features, family sharing…the list goes on. This role requires her to act as something of a puzzle master, making sure everything works together just right, so that different departments, partners and ultimately — most importantly — customers get what they need. Luckily, she’s up to the task. “I enjoy problem-solving,” she says. “I find it really invigorating.”

How would you describe your job to someone who doesn’t work in tech?

I say I work on Google One, which is a subscription that gives you more storage and premium features across different Google products — basically, a membership to help you get more out of Google. I work with Googlers across different areas like engineering, marketing and design to figure out how to make Google One even more valuable for our members. 

What are the most challenging and most rewarding parts of your job?

They’re the same thing: partnering with so many different teams and products across the entire company. It can be complicated trying to solve for the needs of that many product areas. At the same time, when teams come together and find a great solution, it’s exciting. I am always impressed with the creativity and collaboration required to make amazing experiences for users that also work really well for different products and our partners.

Did you always want to work in tech?

I took a mechanical engineering class in college, and it was sort of like “MacGyver,” where you have things like foam core and string and tape and you have to figure out how to precisely move an object across the room without picking it up. I loved figuring out ways to solve these crazy problems, I loved being part of a team, and I loved being super hands-on building things. I ended up majoring in mechanical engineering and then also getting my master’s degree in mechanical engineering.