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  • Writer's pictureBaker Institute Team

"I am eager to pick the brain of each entrepreneur."

Ada Tao '19 | FinTech

Major | Accounting & Business Information System

Minor | Japanese

Hometown | China

I chose to apply for the LehighSiliconValley Program because Silicon Valley has been the hub of innovation for the United States. As a senior student at Lehigh University, I want to grasp any opportunity I can get before I start working full-time. Half-way through, LehighSiliconValley has exceeded my expectations in every field. I get to hear inspiring stories from each brilliant entrepreneurs and working alongside top-notch Lehigh University students.

LehighSiliconValley has four tracks this year, Arts Entrepreneurship, FinTech, Software Engineering, and Start Up. Technology changes the world at a speed no one has imagined before. FinTech has disrupted the existing financial models, and the only way to survive the disruption is by being on the top of the technology. Having the finance and technology background, I am so excited to learn this for the remaining days in Silicon Valley, one of the indisputable top fin-tech hubs.

Today, the LehighSiliconValley cohort met at Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center with the Baker Institute Team, Lehigh@NasdaqCenter at Lehigh University: Shannon Varcoe ‘15, ‘16G, Lisa Getzler ‘11P, Chris Kauzmann ‘13, ‘14G, Samantha DeWalt and three amazing Lehigh alumnae, Sandy Stelling, Managing Director, Process Engineering at Alaska Airlines, Ann Lewnes, the Executive VP; CMO of Adobe, and Nadine Elsayed, Marketing Communications Specialist. Today’s session is about hearing Lehigh alumnae’s paths to success and how they approach talent recruitment and development.

Sandy spent eight years rotating in four different roles in the Boeing company. Trying out different roles keep her motivated at work. After Boeing, she chose a different career path and worked in the Alaska Airlines. In the recent merging with Virgin Airlines, she oversees the merger of different systems.

One thing I learned from Ann Lewnes is that no matter you are male or female, you always have to advocate for yourself. Use the mentors help long the career paths but in the end, “you are your self's biggest advocator.”

The life journey both Ann and Sandy shared are inspiring. As a senior in Lehigh, having no fear and being open-minded will help me along my career path. In the afternoon panel session, Ann, Sandy, Nadine, and Samantha talked about how to prepare interviews better and how to deliver the high pitch. The idea behind the elevator pitch is not to repeat the whole resume, pick the highlight and find things that make you differentiate yourself from the other people. When talked about the weakness, an authentic weakness will always win the recruiters over. Something more important is finding a way to spin it.

The LehighSiliconVally program keeps me motivated. I am eager to pick the brain of each entrepreneur. Half-way through the program, I am excited to see where the program will eventually lead me to.

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