Career Principles: Liz Li of LinkedIn

Careers are filled with endless decisions and countless opportunities. How do you figure out which path is right for you and be proactive in building a meaningful career that is right for you? On Tuesday, January 18, Cap and Gown hosted a virtual discussion (Career Principles and How To Use Them) with LinkedIn’s Senior Director of Product, Liz Li. Liz graduated from Stanford in 2006 and has been working at LinkedIn for the past 11 years. She has worked across both the monetization and consumer orgs, launching LinkedIn’s first Sales Solutions product, leading acquisition and retention for LinkedIn Premium subscriptions, and guiding the redesign of the consumer onboarding flows and success metrics to focus on long term engagement, shifting the company from purely focusing on top of the funnel growth. Despite graduate level studies in electrical engineering, Liz emphasized viewing one’s career as a product, just like what a product does for the users, a job should do for one. Personally, she valued a breadth of impact over depth of impact, no matter what the position title would be. When given an opportunity to promote to a higher position but in a different team in LinkedIn, Liz prioritized her own love of advocating for users, growing her career through her principles rather than position titles. Following her values, she stayed within the consumer organization to deliver impact to a large audience.  Li also described career principles as being dynamic, shifting as she grew and developed. For example, she specified a nice work-life balance to prioritize her family’s needs but also time for herself to improve her mental health. She...

Finding the Story and Crafting your Own: A Day in the Life of a CNN Reporter

In May 2021 and in celebration of AAPI Heritage Month, Stanford Cap and Gown hosted a virtual discussion with CNN national correspondent and Stanford Cap and Gown alumna, Natasha Chen.  Natasha is a national correspondent for CNN based in Atlanta, GA. Her reporting experience has put her at the heart of major national stories from the impact of COVID-19 to Black Lives Matter protests to anti-Asian hate crimes. While an undergraduate at Stanford, Natasha majored in Psychology and was an active member of Mixed Co Acapella, the Stanford Film Society, and the Fall ’03 Study Abroad cohort at Oxford. There were over 80 students and alumni at the virtual event  where Natasha highlighted the following topics. A Day in the Life of a Traveling Field Correspondent Her Path to her Career at CNN The Role of Storytelling in the Modern World Race Relations Reporting Being an Asian American Woman in Journalism The importance of Mentorship A particularly poignant part of Natasha’s remarks centered around why we are so concerned with thinking things in a normal, linear conventional way?  Your weird thing connects you with your tribe and it helps you stand out and be memorable.  Make sure your choices are uniquely and weirdly yours.  This resonated with the audience who were enthralled with Natasha’s remarks, lessons learned and sage advice to all women.  Stanford Cap and Gown was honored to host one of our most successful virtual events with many thanks to our very own – Natasha...

Ask an Alum: Careers are Marathons, Not Sprints

Kathy Chou:  Careers are Marathons, Not  Sprints – How to Manage Your Career Across Your Lifetime Cap and Gown Ask An Alum Series – May 28, 2020 by Ellen Merrick Petrill, ’77, ’78 In this first event of three Cap and Gown Ask An Alum virtual events, Cap and Gown member Kathy Ko Chou, ’85, ’86, spoke about the long view of careers and shared her experiences to demonstrate that making a choice today is just one of many decisions you will make about your career, family, and your life.  The Ask an Alum series was organized by Cap and Gown Alumnae Board members Eleanor Walker ‘15, Nancy Wenke Price ‘80, and Carol Benz ‘85. Kathy Chou graduated Stanford in 1985 (BS Mechanical Engineering) and 1986 (MS Manufacturing Systems Engineering.)  Kathy has been a member of the Cap and Gown Alumnae Board for decades, as past president and currently vice president.  Kathy is Senior Vice President of Sales Strategy and Operations at VMware.  In addition, Kathy has donated time to Stanford University as a Stanford Associate, Stanford Alumni Association and chair of the committee to appoint University trustees, and on the President’s search committee.  Kathy talked about her story over the 35 years since she graduated from Stanford.  “My 35-year reunion is coming up.  It reminds me, it IS a marathon!”  She talked about the marathon of our careers, the bright side of failure, taking risks, and work-life balance.  She emphasized how important it is to know your strengths and what is important to you so you can have your cake and eat it too.  Kathy talked us through her...

Ask an Alum: Building Communities in Uncertain Times

Cap and Gown Ask an Alum Series #3,  June 11, 2020 Building Communities in Uncertain Times by Ellen Merrick Petrill, ’77, ’78 On June 11, 2020, Stanford Cap and Gown invited members and guests to join the final of three virtual events in our Ask and Alum series.  This event focused on building community, featuring Negin Behzadian, ’17, MS 18, Vinita Kailasanath,BA MS  ’04, JD ’10, and Beppie Weintz Cerf, ’79.  Over 45 people participated to hear about building community and joined in breakouts to share their questions and experiences.     In this event, these Cap and Gown leaders exemplified how each of us find our way to make a difference in our surroundings by building community.  They talked about finding community, building work relationships, being intentional, and using social media apps.  Breakout groups met afterward and shared experiences and discussed opportunities with each other.  The participants of this Ask an Alum event each took away examples of how they could make a difference in their communities as well.    About our alumnae speakers: Negin, BS Bioengineering ’17, MS Electrical and Electronics Engineering ’18, now living in the Los Angeles area, is an Electrical Engineer focusing on streamlining magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) conditional labeling of cardiac implantable medical devices at Abbott Labs, building on research and experience at GE and Stanford in medical devices and medical imaging physics and engineering.           Vinita, BA Human Biology ’04, MA Biological Sciences ’04, JD ’10, mother of two and living in Palo Alto, is a Partner with law firm Arnold & Porter, focusing on commercialization and protection of intellectual...

Ask An Alum: Lessons from Graduating in the Great Recession

Cap and Gown Ask an Alum Series #1, May 14, 2020 Kathryn Kilner:  Lessons from Graduating in the Great Recession By Ellen Petrill, Eleanor Walker, and Kathryn Kilner The word unprecedented was thrown around regularly in 2020. The year brought great uncertainty and chaos as we grappled with a global pandemic, an economic recession, social unrest, and political division. While the exact factors and combination of scenarios may be unique, there have been other times of great uncertainty and challenge that we can learn from as we navigate through our current environment.  With that in mind, Cap and Gown invited Kathryn Kilner, Stanford ’08, to share about her experiences graduating in a recession for our first Ask An Alum event. Kathryn is a past president of the Cap and Gown Alumni Board and current executive committee member. Professionally, she is a technology marketer and currently works at Tableau leading global go-to-market programs. Here are some of the takeaways and nuggets of wisdom Kathryn shared when she spoke to 35 Cap and Gown members and guests about her experiences graduating into a recession.  Kathryn was a member of the distinguished class of 2008 at Stanford, double majoring in History and Human Biology.  She quipped, “I didn’t get the memo that most who claim as sophomores that they will do double majors drop one before they graduate.  I was obsessed with completing both my majors.”   Kathryn also minored in Dance and led the Cardinal Ballet.  Kathryn worked so hard up until the day of graduation senior year that she admitted, “I wasn’t able to complete a sentence on June 15,...

Save the Date for Our 2021 Spring Event with CNN Reporter, Natasha Chen!

This Spring, in lieu of meeting in person, Stanford Cap and Gown is thrilled to host a virtual discussion with national CNN correspondent and Stanford Cap and Gown alumna, Natasha Chen! Mark your calendars for Wednesday May 19th at 5PM PST to a part of this incredible event aimed at sharing insights across generations and learning from each other.  Natasha Chen is a national correspondent for CNN based in Atlanta, GA. Her reporting experience has put her at the heart of major national stories from the impact of COVID-19 to Black Lives Matter protests to immigration. While she’s busy finding the “universally human element” in stories she re-creates, Natasha is also building her career one story at a time — and balancing that with a fulfilling life as an arts enthusiast and more! Register for the May 19th Zoom event with Natasha Chen HERE! We’re looking forward to this wonderful opportunity for alumni and students to connect and hope to see you...