Hoya Highlight: Claude Ruibal (L'82)

Claude Ruibal (L'82)

Global Head of Sports, Google/YouTube

Describe your current position and what led you to your job:

I run Sports at Google/YouTube. My team is responsible for all Sports content on YouTube and we work cross functionally with our other Google businesses. We manage a group of key sports partners who have channels on YouTube. This includes major U.S. leagues like the NBA and MLB and international sports organizations like the IOC, FIFA, UEFA and IPL.

What has been the most rewarding moment in your career?

I think the most rewarding and memorable moments in my life have occurred when I was stretched to the limit to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile. It is really the sum of the efforts I have undertaken to get more people motivated to both follow and participate in sports, and in so doing, give them an emotional uplift. My team works every day to create new offerings for consumers they did not know they were missing. Some recent examples, before I came to Google, was the launch of a TV network in the U.S. (Universal Sports) dedicated to Olympic sports like skiing, track and field, swimming and gymnastics and working at Google to offer live and catch-up sports in new innovative ways that can only be accomplished with digital distribution. My focuses have been beyond merely entertaining our users but inspiring them to be better at what they love to do or at minimum enhance their appreciation for what they love to watch. For me, getting people to live an active lifestyle around sport participation is a way to get them to be smarter, healthier and live longer. This is what gives me purpose and motivates me every day.  

What is the best career advice you have received?

From my dad, who would not let me go to college in my hometown. He suggested instead that I go away to school. This quickly forced me to be a lot more self-sufficient and required me to explore new places and opportunities. In principle, my dad’s initial advice has led me to lead a pretty itinerate life exploring and finding new challenges and experiences in sports all around the world. So, travel, explore, get out of your comfort zone and constantly force yourself to take on new challenges and in so doing grow you capabilities, confidence and experiences with different cultures, languages, people and places to live.

What would you recommend to someone interested in working in your field?

Find any work that you can that gets you in the door of what you love to do, or if you are not sure yet, what you think you love to do. Why you may not love your first job, doing what you think you are really passionate about, whether you know it or not, prepares and trains you for what you will do in your future. So don’t get frustrated with the present. If you are doing something in a space you love, take advantage of everything you can learn today because it will really pay off tomorrow with skills and relationships.

What challenges have you faced and how did you successfully manage one situation?

For me, the most exciting challenges are in launching new things, creating something that has not existed before.  These are both the hardest and at the same time most rewarding endeavors. Getting the TV network Universal Sports launched and into millions of homes across the U.S. was a big challenge. The good news was that when I started the effort with my partner we did not know a lot about starting a cable network, which was good, because if we had we probably would not have done it. We managed the challenge with passion and a sense of humor; you need to keep your sense of humor when the going gets tough. There will always be a better day around the corner. One piece of advice I got from another entrepreneur was that with a startup you will often find that you are having the best day of your life and the worst day of your life, all in the same day! It’s true.

What skills are necessary or what prepared you the most for your career?

Having a purpose for what I was doing, being passionate about doing something that I think matters and can change other people’s lives in a positive way and enjoying the constant learning process to continually try and master your field of work, I think were key contributors to my career.

If you could have another career what would it be?

It would be entertaining/inspiring people with a talent like singing, dancing, acting, being a great athlete and inspirational speaking.

How did your time at Georgetown University influence you and your career path?

It was a great foundation in law and it provided a great ecosystem of school colleagues and professors to share your thinking with and who inspired each other. In addition, the location of Washington, D.C., was a rich environment to interact with government across all its branches, which I took advantage of while I was there. In addition, Washington, D.C., is just an amazingly beautiful city to live in.