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...

Save the Date for Cap and Gown’s Winter Women Welcome!

This year, Cap and Gown’s Winter Women Welcome will take place on Monday, January 23, 2017 from 7:00 to 9:00 PM at Vidalakis Dining in the Schwab Residential Center, 680 Serra St. Come hear from Dr. Margot Gerritsen, Senior Associate Dean for Educational Initiatives, Associate Professor of Energy Resources Engineering and, by courtesy, of Mechanical Engineering and of Civil and Environmental Engineering. This year’s theme is “Walking Fine Lines: How to find and keep a healthy balance and positive perspective as a woman in a male-dominated field.” Hear Dr. Gerritsen’s story and build your network with Stanford faculty, students, and alumni who support the development of women. We’ll be serving tasty snacks and desserts. We want to see you! Please see the Winter Welcome 2017 page for more information. RSVP encouraged but not required: stanford.capandgown@gmail.com.  ...

Fall 2016 FAQs on Cap and Gown Changes

These FAQs cover the changes made to Cap and Gown as mentioned in the Fall 2016 Letter form the President of the Alumni Board. What process did you go through to rewrite the constitution? After learning about the changes in the policies of the administration, we created a cross-generational task force to examine the possibilities and determine our next steps. It was serendipitous that over the summer we conducted a survey of our membership and gained insight into what our alumni members appreciate about Cap and Gown and how and why they engage with the organization. The responses to the survey informed the conversations of the task force. One thing that stood out was how many members described what an honor it was to be asked to join Cap and Gown. We didn’t want to lose that. The Actives Board met with the leadership of SAL several times last fall to better understand their concerns and requirements. Though SAL flagged our application process as out of compliance, we were able to use this method for one final year to tap 41 new members last November. Alumni-University Relations Chair Carol Benz led our conversations with the Stanford Alumni Association. Based on these conversations, the task force explored several options of how we might proceed and in the winter, we convened a special meeting of the entire board to discuss the options. At this meeting we took a moment to reflect on the essence of Cap and Gown and came up with four unique characteristics that we value in Cap and Gown: • Intergenerational community • Honoring excellence • Service •...