Charles Lai

Charles Lai

Job Title
Product Specialist
University of Texas at Austin
Corps Year: 
Corps Region: 
Dallas–Ft. Worth
Alumni Region: 
Bay Area

Though Charles Lai had a full-time position at Google awaiting him upon graduation from The University of Texas at Austin, he chose to defer Google’s offer in order to pursue his interest in teaching by joining Teach For America. By taking the time to return to the Dallas community he grew up in and lead a middle school classroom, Charles was able to gain keys skills that he believes gave him a leg up in his role in the consumer operations department at Google. Charles regularly drew on his teaching experience to help people and educate users on products, tools, and platforms while working for Google. He now works as a Product Specialist at YouTube.

Read more about Charles.

Career Path

A primer in early childhood development
In high school, Charles took a class on early childhood development and visited an elementary school twice a week to work as a teacher assistant. This experience fueled his interest in teaching.
Marketing Intern:
In college, Charles was introduced to the tech world through an internship with Austin, Texas-based startup
Google internships
During college, Charles interned twice with Google. He first worked with their AdWords program, and then their DoubleClick initiative. By graduation, Charles had a job with Google awaiting him.
Teach For America: Dallas-Forth Worth Corps
Charles chose to defer his job offer from Google, and returned to Dallas to give back to his community as a TFA corps member.
Google: Platform Management Specialist
After the corps, Charles returned to Google to work in consumer operations. He lead trainings on how to create support centers for products. In 2017, he transitioned to a new role at YouTube.

Q & A

How did your experience with TFA impact you, not only in your career, but as a person?

My TFA experience was very humbling. It made me realize that it was okay to seek out help or leverage the resources and guidance around me. Knowing that there are always people willing to help, as long as you're humble enough to ask, was an important lesson in life.

What skills that you acquired as a teacher did you use while working at Google?

You may not think there are a lot of directly transferable skills from teaching to a corporate job at Google, but there really are. There’s time management, a lot of planning and leadership—all those skills you learn as a teacher come into play. 

How has your experience with TFA impacted your career?

My experience with TFA gave me opportunities at Google and beyond that I might otherwise not have had. It also gave me a leg up for the position I’m in now and was instrumental in building my confidence to take on new challenges.

Related Profiles


Launch Your Career Here