Megan Smith, former VP of Google’s secretive “moonshots” research lab Google X, became the new chief technology officer of the United States in September. In her first interview since taking that role, Smith told Fortune’s Pattie Sellers that taking the job was a “no-brainer.”
When President Obama himself called her on the phone asking her to join the administration, she said it would be an honour (despite her slight squeamishness about moving across the country from California to D.C.).
Smith also shared some of her best advice for young people: “Just go for it.”
People do things, things don’t just magically happen, she told Sellers.
“If you can find something you’re really passionate about, jump on that,” she continued. “If you’re passionate about [something] and you bring your talent, you’ll be unstoppable.”
She also said that young people should combine that “go for it” attitude with asking other people for help and listening well.
“Well, don’t listen to naysayers too much,” she added.
Smith joins the administration after 11 years at Google. She came to the company in 2003 as a director of new business development, and also worked for Google.org, the company’s philanthropy-focused arm, before she became Google X’s VP in 2012.