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Meet Trae Watson - From U.S. Diplomat to Meta & Google to Mentor

I'm a Global Incident Manager at Google. I've previously held positions as a Business Risk Assessment Investigator at Meta (Facebook) and as a U.S. Diplomat most recently posted in Kyiv, Ukraine. I have 10+ years experience working with others to efficiently and sustainably overcome complex global challenges related to risk, incident/crisis management, intelligence, public policy, and technology.
Trae Watson

Manager, Global Law Enforcement Relations & Incident Management, Bumble | Ex-Google | Ex-Facebook | Former U.S. Diplomat

Why did you decide to become a mentor?
I became a mentor because I wanted to be a part of the support system that helps others navigate school, careers, and life. I witnessed, firsthand, the value and positive impact of others sharing their knowledge, experience, and wisdom with me. I didn’t know, what I didn’t know and was fortunate enough to have mentors, most notably my father, to help me understand the range of possibilities that existed. This played a large role in shaping me as an individual and as a professional. I hope to positively impact others in the same way.

How did you get your career start?
I started my career as a U.S. Foreign Service Officer, working out of various U.S. Embassies around the globe. I pursued this path after spending a week (in high school) with a family friend whose father was a diplomat. At the time, I didn’t understand that it was possible to make a living traveling to exotic places, meeting interesting people, and solving tough challenges. All the things I enjoyed most. My friends' father, unknowingly, served as my mentor just by allowing me to observe him. This experience expanded my perspective and gave me a head start at building the skills necessary to be a strong candidate for the role.

What do mentees usually come to you for?
During my career, I’ve secured interviews and/or offers from some of the most well-known and competitive organizations (Google, Amazon, Meta, Netflix, JP Morgan Chase, McKinsey & Co., and the U.S. Foreign Service). Through these experiences, I’ve learned helpful tips/methods that will help others bolster their candidacy, thrive in their roles, and leverage their experiences to achieve more than they believed they could.

My approach is to shine a spotlight on the potential people already possess and enable them to broaden their perspective and the range of possibilities that exist for them. I believe success is accompanied by encouragement, empowerment, and accountability. I will provide that and help bridge the gap between where they are and where they want to be.

What’s been your favorite mentorship success story so far?
I had a client who was a former NFL player turned creative space director. He needed coaching to assist in scaling his company and identifying key strategies for growth. I worked with him to clarify the vision/values of the company and assisted him in problem-solving for the needs of his business. I provided foundational calls to action that he said: “played a pivotal role in exceeding his company targets and goals”. It was a new challenge for both of us but having a person to bounce ideas off of can make all the difference.

I also served as a mentor for a student who had recently relocated to a new country for school. She was struggling to find a path that aligned with her interests and skill set. We worked together to identify her wants/needs and she landed on a path that she now identifies as her true passion. She completed her studies and is successfully working in the field of her dreams and running her own successful business.

What are you getting out of being a mentor?
Being a mentor is the best! Partnering with someone on their success journey and seeing the lightbulbs go off when they know exactly what they need or want to do is incredibly rewarding. The transfer of knowledge is and will always be important. Even the smallest bit of knowledge can help to encourage or empower someone to do the greatest things.

Stepping into my role as a mentor has helped shape me as a leader and regularly reaffirms my belief that people are a business's greatest asset. The development of people is the most important aspect when looking at longevity and positive impact. I assist leaders in minimizing distractions and moving to action to develop their people and accomplish their goals.

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