Interview with Lilian Fandriana, VP of Development at BP

sdfsd

“When I was in university about forty years ago, pursuing an engineering degree was not common for a woman. I was also a minority in the sense that I was an Asian woman in a crowd of Western men.”

Written by: Vanessa Sandra

One of the first people who jumps to my mind when it comes to women pioneering in business is Lilian Fandriana, who I had the privilege of meeting a few years ago. Not only is she currently the VP of development at BP, Asia Pacific, but she has also held the positions of President of BP Asia, President of BP Nederlands, and VP of Finance in BP Asia Pacific. Mrs. Fandriana has been very supportive of my pursuits leading up to college and in college, giving illuminating pieces of advice on how to make the most of the experience, so I asked her to share her college experience in Stanford pursuing an engineering degree that ultimately propelled her to work in the energy sector, as well as some words of advice for us here at BU.

 

Was it intimidating at all? How did you deal with the pressure, and how did you successfully make your place in university?

It was definitely intimidating–when I first arrived, I was sick to my stomach with fear. Many of the other people, especially the men, in the class were very outspoken, confident (and often picked more!) and I was overwhelmed. I learned that I should not be defined by demographics, and that always, we should always speak up for ourselves. We’re not promised anything, so we must be willing speak, ask, and demand.

 

Was your experience in the job industry similar to that in college?

In university, you still have the benefit of having objectivity with quantified scores and tests. In the job industry, there is much more room for subjectivity and projections. As I moved up the rank, I noticed more sophistication, in that though people are thinking the same way, they don’t verbalize it to you, which makes it harder for you to know how to improve. There’s definitely bias up there. Boys play with boys, and us girls have to speak up to keep up. I don’t completely blame them–I think it’s an unconscious thing that they do. They judge you based on how you talk, and they relate the way you talk to other women that they know, based on their own experiences, which could lead to a misconception about you. Now it becomes your burden, your responsibility, to make your point and make yourself heard as you.

 

Where do you see the future of women in business going?

There are several ways I see women progress in society. When I was new in the workforce, there would be people who assumed that my ideas in engineering projects were the men’s, but luckily, I had friends around me who spoke up and told them the idea was mine– work together, make friends, and boost each other up. Be confident, but also be humble enough to accept help and help others. Now as VP of development, I put a lot of focus in the women in my sector and help them when they need help.

I see more women stepping up in the high-tech industry, such as Sheryl Sandberg, and holding leadership positions there. I would love to see more female “Mark Zuckerburgs” trailblazing their way through this industry.

Also, I see the Gloria Steinbeck perspective on feminism as a bit misleading. I believe that women should be confident no matter what they decide to pursue, whether that would be in the workforce or being a housewife. I truly admire women who take pride in their lives as a housewife. There’s no shame in not working a job like mine, because all women, as well as men, are built differently. We should stop making it seem like women who have a job are stronger because that is not true. We can’t change our identity as being women–why would we want to? I love being a woman! We just have to learn how to embrace being a woman and make the absolute best of it.

Interview with Elizabeth Ryan!

elizabeth ryan

Written by: Laurel Green

HerNetwork recently interviewed Elizabeth Ryan, a fellow student here at Boston University. She is a senior in Questrom studying Business Administration and concentrating in Organizational Behavior. You may know her from her most recent position as Panhellenic Recruitment Director for Sorority Life on campus. Elizabeth ran Formal Recruitment 2016, which took about a year to plan, and was previously an intern for 5 Hour Energy and worked at Vineyard Vines. She is an active member in Sigma Kappa and has successfully secured a job for herself after graduation. She gives us advice on how to handle all your responsibilities, tips for job searching, and the role of Greek life in her college experience.

 

  1. Why did you decide to “Go Greek” and what has been the most beneficial aspect of it?

I decided to join a sorority my freshman year because my roommate had asked me to attend the third open house with her, and something about that night just hooked me. Looking back, I realize I’ve gained a lot from being a sorority woman. Most notably, I gained an incredible support system. It can be really challenging to be away from home in a new environment. Adding in the fact that you’re surrounded by 16,000+ strangers when you get to BU doesn’t really help. Even though I didn’t have too hard of a time transitioning, I found myself longing for the close-knit community I had at my small high school. I found that sense of community in joining a sorority, but it was stronger than I had ever experienced.

Having my big as someone to look to for guidance and advice, women from my new member class to call my roommates and best friends, and a little and grandlittles (and soon great-grandlittles!) to make me push myself to be the role model they deserve have undoubtedly shaped my time at BU. Essentially, the support I’ve gotten from being a sorority woman has molded me into the woman I am today.

 

  1. As Panhellenic Recruitment Director: Why did you want the position and what were some things you gained from the experience?

There is something incredibly captivating about the whole process and I became completely enraptured. Moving forward, I got really involved with recruitment for my own chapter and watched another member of my chapter serve as Recruitment Director. I developed such a love for recruitment and an urge to make everyone love it as much as I do, that by the time elections rolled around, I knew I had to run.

The most beneficial thing about being the Recruitment Director was being exposed to the incredible women in our community. It is easy to get tunnel vision with your own chapter and only really think about your sisters. Having the chance to serve on the Panhellenic Council gave me the opportunity to meet and befriend so many incredible women. I found myself constantly telling people that I was so glad to have met them, whether they were other women on Panhel, chapter leaders, Pi Chis, or PNMs. I have a deep admiration for the incredibly women in my chapter and am often in awe of them, but meeting all of these women in other chapters reminded me why I am so passionate about this community as a whole.

 

  1. You have a job secured for after graduation. What piece of advice would you give in either building a well- rounded resume, networking, internships, experience, etc.?

The best advice I have for people looking for a job is to talk to people you know. Even if you don’t think you know anyone in an industry you’re interested in, you never know! Your friend’s cousin’s old roommate could be two years into a job at a company you’d love. Even if not, you could get some great industry specific advice. The more you can know going into a job search and the subsequent interview process, the better of you’ll be.

 

  1. Is there anything you wish you would have done more of or differently in college?

There isn’t anything that really comes to mind. I’ve honestly been so lucky to have an incredible college experience; which I again owe to the friendships I’ve made through being a sorority woman.

 

Ending notes from HerNetwork:

Elizabeth shows us the importance of not only creating a community for yourself, but the importance of surrounding yourself with people who will push you and inspire you in ways you hadn’t expected. Through Greek life, Elizabeth found leadership opportunities, role models, and a community of her own within our large campus. She also gives us advice on the importance of simple communication when it comes to the job search. Talk to everyone and everyone because, as Elizabeth said herself, you never know what opportunities you may find when you expand your network. With that, thank you to Elizabeth for taking the time to answer some questions for us! And for all you reading, go out and find the people who are going to inspire you to do more and try more and hopefully you too will have an incredible college experience!

Shout out to Nancy Qian, Marketing Designer at Chegg

Written by: Kylie Wilson

To finish off our “Women of Chegg” mini-series, we interviewed Nancy Qian, marketing designer at Chegg. We interviewed her to learn about where she started her career, some of the personal struggles she’s encountered, and what tips and tricks she has for other women in business.

nancy

                              “Rather than being reactionary, be proactive. Share your                                    vision and inspire your co-workers.” –Nancy Qian

What does your current job involve? Is there such a thing as a typical day?

I’m a Marketing Designer for Chegg. I’m responsible for developing creative assets for various campaign needs.  My day to day involves photo shoots, learning about design trends that speak to students, collaborating with the copywriter to execute designs, and cranking out designs and deliverables for marketing campaigns.

What was your first entry-level job in your field and how did you get it?       

I started as a design intern at an advertising agency. I applied to a position posted on Craigslist with a portfolio of works from college. As an intern, I got to ask lots of questions since you aren’t expected to know everything. I learned the design process for different projects from start to finish and worked as a production artist. I collaborated closely with the designers and art directors to execute the designs.

What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it?        

I didn’t speak up much as a designer in my early career. This resulted in people thinking that a designer’s role is to ‘make things pretty.’ In reality, designers are also problem solvers. As a designer, I spend countless hours to make sure we’re effectively communicating our ideas through visuals.  When presenting my designs, I learned to support it with research showing the reasons behind my design choices and why specific design elements such as color or font communicate the marketing goals.

What’s one important piece of advice for young women entering the business force?

I believe that many of my prior leaders just accepted the fact that I’m quiet. It wasn’t until I began working at Chegg that I was encouraged to get out of my comfort zone. I learned the importance of speaking up when I have ideas to contribute and I found that my coworkers were more supportive than I first thought. If you speak up for yourself, your coworkers will listen to your ideas just as they’d like you to listen to their ideas—we’re here to collaborate and make a greater outcome.

Have you ever had to deal with sexism as a woman in the business world? If so, how did you deal with it?

Yes.  Sometime people assume that you are suited for a particular role or task because you’re a woman. While I don’t mind doing it, I encourage my male coworkers to also undertake these traditionally female responsibilities. You’re good at something from practice and hard work, not because of your gender.

What’s something women can do to get ahead before getting their first job in a business environment?

This is something I have to constantly remind myself because it’s not easy. When you have ideas, make sure you’re heard. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people and let them know that you’re willing to contribute and make a difference as a team player. I think we can get comfortable in our roles. Instead, rather than being reactionary, be proactive–Share your vision and inspire your co-workers.

Ending Note from herNetwork:

Speaking up helps you gain confidence. It can be especially hard for women to speak up, but the marginal benefit of speaking up far outweighs the marginal cost (potentially getting a wrong answer). Speaking up also breaks negative assumptions and sets a positive path for women to follow in the future.

Business, Fashion, and Achieving Your Goals with CEO of UNItiques, Alex Shadrow!

Written by: Minna Tang

480697_4507546681110_1471303790_n

 

  1. You will be on Her Network’s fashion panel at our Women Mean Business Conference– what do entrepreneurship and fashion mean to you?

Entrepreneurship: The lesson I have learned is never getting beaten down. I often feel threatened to quit when I look at my friends because “9 to 5” is tempting. They can relax and not worry about anything after work, but for me, I am stressed out by my work because I can never relax from it. However, “9 to 5” is always going to be there. Although I am always working, I know I am doing things I love and believe in. UNItiques is a brand new concept. There is no formula to tell me what I should do with the mistakes and failures I have been encountering along the way. Therefore, not being afraid of those uncertainties and never letting them get in your way is important. Instead of letting those mistakes stop you, sometimes you just need to find a new way.

Fashion: I am very frustrated with what is happening in the fashion industry now. Big companies have the money to make things overnight, but it does not matter to them whether these clothing items will be sold or not because they have enough money. The whole process, in my opinion, is such a waste. Clothing can and should have more of the life, in terms of the ownership. The value of UNItiques is that we want people to be more responsible with fashion and be more conscious with what they are buying and using. With the great potential UNItiques has, we will be able to create a database to be able to provide suggestions to some big companies to avoid the waste we just talked about.

 

  1. How do you draw interns to Unitiques?

One thing I learned in college is two-way communication. When we walk past a billboard, we can talk about it with people, but we cannot respond to it. Therefore, an interactive campaign is the key. The purpose of [posting on Facebook is] to find an intern for Unitiques. However, instead of going out and looking for the right person, I chose to let people come to me. When I see people putting down “marketing” or “advertising” [as interests], I will reply to them and tell them “Hey, UNItique is hiring an intern and this is an awesome place to work for!”

 

  1. Have you ever being overlooked in the business world because you are a girl?

Sometimes when I try to give a pitch to people, they say to me: “Your idea is impressive for a girl!” or “I never see girls do that!” Those words often make girls feel that they cannot even enter the business world because this is not a field for girls. What is happening to UNItiques now is that our male-dominated companies do not even consider us as a competitor. Speaking from personal experience, some of my male friends have asked me: “Why do you even bother to do this?” If I were a guy, however, I would definitely not be so discouraged. To solve this issue, I hold my head up high and make an army of supporters! Although many people doubt me because of my gender, there are more people out there that believe in me and in UNItiques.

 

  1. How did you balance school work and Unitiques? How do you balance your work and your personal life now?

There is no a perfect way, so we should just go find and create one balance that works for us. One important thing to remember is never putting too much on your plate immediately. When I created UNItiques, I became a part-time student right away because I knew that I needed to focus more on it if I want to make UNItiques successful. In life, you only get things you ask for. Since I was spending so much time and effort on UNItiques, I was asking BU to get independent study credit for it. There was never such a thing as independent credits before me, so I had to convince different people that what I was doing was worth the credits. One year later, I got the credits. Since then, BU has started giving out students credits for their independent studies. If there is no solution, create your own solution! Taking an initiative is like throwing a fishing hook out there, something will come eventually.

 

You can support Alex and UNItiques by joining UNItiques.com.                                                 Use promo code: HERNETWORK to win $200 in free concert tickets!

 

Meet Yun Chi, Graphic Designer at Chegg

Written by: Kylie Wilson

As a continuation of our “Women of Chegg” mini-series, we chose to interview Yun Chi, graphic designer at Chegg. We interviewed her to learn about where she started her career, some of the personal struggles she’s encountered, and what tips and tricks she has for other women in business.

chi

“Asking for help… means you are mature enough to recognize other people will help make you better.”

What does your current job involve? Is there such a thing as a typical day?

I am currently a designer on the marketing team at Chegg, which means I work on trying to communicate our message to our student audience through visuals & graphics. I am always designing banners, emails, and landing pages to convince students that we understand college is hard, but we can help make it a little easier.

What was your first entry-level job in your field and how did you get it?

This is still my first job! I actually interned during the summer after graduation because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do and thought an internship would give me some insight into another experience. I was a little hesitant to do only an internship while everyone else I knew was getting full time jobs, but it turns out, trying something different worked out so well, I haven’t left since.

What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it? 

Not reaching out for help – it seems like you’re supposed to know what you’re doing at your job and be on top of everything, do it all. The reality is, you will need help to do your job, and thinking you can do everything alone will hurt the entire team. Asking for help doesn’t mean you don’t know how to do your job or you can’t handle it – it means you are mature enough to recognize other people will help make you better.

What’s one important piece of advice for young women entering the business force?

Reach out, speak up – there are people who are willing to give you a hand along the way, and all you have to do is ask the question. Don’t hold yourself back because you are questioning some part of yourself – you are amazing and bring unique contributions that are worth hearing about.

Have you ever had to deal with sexism as a woman in the business world? If so, how did you deal with it?

What is hard for me to grasp is realizing when sexism happens – often I don’t understand it until after the situation is over, sometimes out of shock, sometimes because I’m in an unfamiliar situation. I’m still learning, but knowing when something is inappropriate and speaking up to make sure people understand why it is inappropriate helps keep everyone accountable for making improvements going forward.

Ending Note from herNetwork:

Though the thought of reaching out and speaking up may make you think you seem inferior compared to your peers or employees, it actually makes you stand out positively. Speaking up shows you are eager to learn and capable of taking on more work, which could lead to a promotion in the future. Also, speaking up shows people you are strong because you are fighting for your idea. A good place to start is in class. Participate to show your professors you work hard. It is a waste to hide your knowledge from your professors by not speaking in class.

Shoutout to Jasmine Pansoy, Social Media Specialist at Chegg

Next in our “Women of Chegg” mini-series, we chose to interview Jasmine Pansoy, social media specialist for Chegg. We asked about where she started her career, some of the personal struggles she’s encountered, and what tips and tricks she has for other women in business.

jasmine


“Knowledge is power. And the more you know, the more creative and                     
innovative you can be.”

What does your current job involve? Is there such a thing as a typical day?

I’m the Social Media Specialist for Chegg and I’m the brand’s voice on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. In the life of social media, things change so rapidly that I have to anticipate being able to change creative and copy on the fly as well as jumping onto current conversations that are happening in real time.

What was your first entry-level job in your field and how did you get it?

My first entry-level job in my field was a beauty editor for a startup in San Francisco. When I was in college, I had an overwhelming interest in makeup and videos. This was in the early ages of YouTube and was a creative outlet for me while I was in college. I built a personal brand online and reached out to the startup with no expectations, but hope that they would have space for me on their team with the skills I developed in graphic design school and from my own personal interests. Thankfully, it paid off!

What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it? 

One of my biggest mistakes I’ve made for myself along my career path is doubt within myself. Just because I was young and inexperienced in the post-college world, I didn’t believe in my talents as much as I should have.

What’s one important piece of advice for young women entering the business force?

One important piece of advice for young women entering the business force is to learn as many aspects of your chosen field. Knowledge is power and the more you know, the more creative and innovative you can be.

Have you ever had to deal with sexism as a woman in the business world? If so, how did you deal with it?

Unfortunately, I did have to deal with sexism in the business world. Working in beauty has its challenges, and unfortunately physical appearance plays a role in your position on your career regardless of your skillset and education. I chose to leave the environment when I was confronted with sexism. Life is too short to be stifled by prejudice.

What’s something women can do to get ahead before their getting first job in a business environment?

I believe women should learn and hone in on their strongest skills before getting their first job in a business environment. By being a master in your skills, you will exude the confidence and follow-through necessary for you to prove yourself.

Ending Note from herNetwork:

You can go far if you hone in on your passions instead of hiding them. Jasmine’s passion for makeup inspired her to enter the YouTube community, and the experience she gained from making videos and making a brand for herself led her to her first job as a beauty editor. Use your talents and interests to your advantage. Don’t doubt yourself if you’ve never even tapped into your passions. The potential for you to be great is unknown, and shoving them away before you’ve pushed yourself to new limits only hurts you.

Shout out to Christina Lee, VP of Marketing at Chegg

christinalee

Written by: Kylie Wilson

As a continuation of our “Women of Chegg” mini-series, we chose to interview Christina Lee, Chegg’s VP of marketing. We interviewed her to learn about where she started her career, some of the personal struggles she’s encountered, and what tips and tricks she has for other women in business.

                     “Assume nothing. By not assuming, everything and anything works                                                                        for you versus against you.”                                                             – Christina Lee

What does your current job involve? Is there such a thing as a typical day?

Understanding what college students need, especially when it relates to helping them get into school, get through school, and find a job once they get out of school. Essentially, my job is to connect them to Chegg, which makes their job as a student easier. It’s win for Chegg and a win for students.

Every day I get a feel for how we are performing from a business front and work with all the teams to help them solve the problems. However, problems vary all the time. Some days we don’t have enough people to get a job done, or things don’t perform the way we expect them to. I have to figure out what’s causing the problem and continually support my teams to help them be successful.

What was your first entry-level job in your field and how did you get it?

After college, I went overseas to Hong Kong to work for a real estate company doing the marketing for their offices. Eventually, I got more into the tech side of business because the Internet was beginning to boom. I saw this as an opportunity to get into technology, so I decided to create a website for the company even though it wasn’t part of my job. I was able to combine my marketing skills with my new-found interest in tech.

What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it? 

I believe you should know really well what you do inside and out to master a job. My mistake is I wish I learned the technical side of things earlier in my life. Eventually I learned about coding, media, and tech, but it was after my career had already started. I wish I had had exposure to tech earlier to help me solve problems better and earlier.

What’s one important piece of advice for young women entering the business force?

Assume nothing. Don’t assume you are being discriminated against because it can keep you from speaking up. Just think about what you bring to the table, what makes you the best fit, and prepare for a job earlier to become the most valuable person for it. If you have an interest then learn about it. Don’t do it last minute.

Have you ever had to deal with sexism as a woman in the business world? If so, how did you deal with it?

As a leader that works in tech a lot, many times I am the only female in the room. I don’t let discrimination impact how I think, so I don’t find it a problem for me to speak up. By not assuming, everything and anything works for you versus against you.

What’s something women can do to get ahead before their getting first job in a business environment?

Look into technology. Even if you don’t code, you’ll understand what engineers care about and inside out what matters. Knowing the backbone of coding gives you a better appreciation of what people bring to the table. Therefore, your ability to support and communicate with tech teams is heightened. Your overall communication and decision-making skills will be improved, which helps immensely in your career.

Ending Note from herNetwork:
At first glance, you may not think marketing involves code. Even if coding isn’t your thing (it certainly isn’t mine), understanding what goes into creating a program and the basics of how it is done is extremely beneficial. You don’t even have to be a coding expert. Beginner’s courses and languages are the perfect place to start. And what’s so cool about tech is that it’s so accessible. The Internet allows you to learn things online, like coding, so there are virtually no barriers. There are many entry paths through the Internet, but your success depends on whether you are willing to invest your time in it. Don’t let anything hold you back because you have such a great tool to utilize.