"If you find someone who is on the path to success, stick with them."
Sydney Becker '20 | Software Engineering Major | Computer Science and Business Hometown | Livingston, NJ
As I write this post on the bus back to the hotel for our final dinner, I am glad to have the opportunity to reflect on a long but exciting week out West. I must admit that my initial expectations for this trip were low, and I wasn’t quite sure what I would really be doing out here. However from day one it became clear that I was part of a truly unique and immersive program that would come to teach me an incredible amount both about myself, my peers, and about Silicon Valley.
On Saturday, my peers and I visited the Nasdaq center to hear from remarkable Lehigh alumni and to build our strengths and assets. I have been fortunate to hear Ann Lewnes ’83 speak previously about her experiences as CMO of Adobe. However this time around her insights resonated with me more clearly given the environment that we were in. The core program up until Saturday had focused on entrepreneurship, and one common theme I picked out from all of our speakers was that great people build great products which build great companies. This idea segued well into our day of professional development at the Nasdaq center, where we focused on building upon our existing strengths. One thing that Ann said that stuck with me was, “if you find someone who is on the path to success, stick with them”. I have this quote starred and underlined in my notebook because I keep coming back to it after each session I attend.
For the past few days I have been on the Software Engineering track, and we have visited small, medium, and large sized companies alike. I found that the entrepreneurial spirit seemed to persist no matter where we went, both on a company and an individual level. What interested me the most was the individuals who always seemed to push their limits, persist in their goals, and invest in themselves regardless of company size. In the beginning of the program, I thought I would only see such qualities in the CEOs of small startups who had to work extra hard just to establish themselves. However throughout the progression of the program, I found that the same ideology exists in even the lowest employees of a big global company. To me, this embodied how entrepreneurial spirit might exist in individuals even when they are not in startups. Those who strive to better themselves carry the same spirit as those who strive to better a product or an industry.
Upon this realization, I found myself still looking back to Ann’s quote from over the weekend. “If you find someone who is on the path to success, stick with them”. Ann’s quote came in from the context of a great mentor she had, who she chose to stick with in order to propel her career. However, I now interpret her quote a bit differently. I want to be the person who is on the path to success, and stick with myself. One should believe in their own abilities, invest in their capabilities, and persevere through their own challenges. If you know that you can be something great, you should invest in your own potential in the same way that a venture capitalist invests in a product with great potential.