We’ve been chatting with Google’s corporate communications people a lot since Eric Schmidt stepped down as CEO and cofounder Larry Page stepped up.
Hello, stone wall.
Anyway – one great thing about the experience is that we’ve finally been introduced to Google’s new-ish boss of all things PR, Jill Hazelbaker.
Hazelbaker is quite the shooting star in PR circles.
In 2004, she was a an aide to Republican Jim Zupancic in his failed bid to unseat a US representative from Oregon named Darlene Hooley.
In 2006, she helped Republican Thomas Kean Jr. run (unsuccessfully) for the senate seat vacated by ex-Goldman Sachs CEO Jon Corzine when he became governor. During this campaign, Democrats accused Hazelbaker of commenting under assumed names on political blogs.
“People are not afraid to personally attack you if they think it is in the interests of their candidate,” Hazelbaker later told the Oregonian.
“You have to keep a smile on your face and keep your head down and keep working. … I loved it, but you have to learn to take your lumps.”
By 2007, Hazelbaker was a spokesperson for the McCain campaign in New Hampshire.
Eventually, the national campaign started to crater and McCain had to fire most everyone. Hazelbaker was one of the few who got to stay on. She took a top job on the smaller staff and became national communications director.
That meant by the time 2008 came around – and, in a miraculous turnaround, McCain was on his way to a Republican nomination – Hazelbaker was suddenly the PR boss for a major candidate in a presidential campaign.
“It’s an incredible honour for me at this age,” Hazelbaker told The Oregonian at the time.
McCain lost, obviously, but Hazelbaker’s resume won. In 2009, Hazelbaker joined New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s campaign to win a third term.
“Jill is one of the most talented communications professionals in the country,” Bloomberg’s top press officer, Clinton campaign vet Howard Wolfson told the New York Times back then. “We are lucky to have her aboard.”
Pundits figured Bloomberg hired Hazelbaker to help get him back on the Republican line of the city’s ballot – after he’d renounced the party years earlier.
In early 2010, Hazelbaker joined Google as director of corporate communications – a wiley veteran with a ridiculous resume at a mere 29 years old.
She’s not the only one thriving under the new boss…