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Speakers visit for Career Week presentations

Photos and Design by Valerie Chu

After a week of guest speakers and hundreds of student attendees, the annual Career Speakers Series concluded on March 25.

Junior Allison Dayton, the president of the Career Speaker Series committee, said the goal of the series is to give students the opportunity to learn about possible careers by inviting guest speakers working in a variety of jobs.

“I decided to get involved because I thought it’d be really cool to meet professional individuals and expand my knowledge of potential career choices,” Dayton said. “There’s a lot of people where you read their job description and you’re like, ‘That’s really cool. You can get paid for this?’ … So I’ve reached out to a lot of cool people.”

Sophomore Saumya Kundu, who invited panelists from the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and broadcast journalist Janelle Wang to talk at the Speaker Series, said she was excited for her peers to get to see the people she helped bring on. 

“Meeting the speakers was really cool,” Kundu said. “I got to introduce the Women in STEM panel, and they were really amazing, and just hearing their talks really inspired me. And just getting a reply back from Janelle Wang was so cool to me because she’s from NBC Bay Area News and I don’t think that they always read their emails and reply back, and just getting that reply back was really cool.” 

Career Speaker Series parent volunteer Ellen Kissmeyerfreund agreed. 

“I enjoyed a lot of the questions that (the students) made and the content that the speakers shared,” Kissmeyerfreund said. “And I liked the way the organizers brought in people from different industries, apart from what is obvious — they brought creative industries, they brought environmental speakers — all the subjects that are so important, so new, so applicable.”

Jayson Oertel, the head of strategic partnerships at Adobe, said he had a great experience speaking to students as part of the Career Speaker series, especially since he knew students were listening when he got a question about something he had shared early on in his talk. 

“It was funny. I was concerned thinking there wasn’t going to be anyone that was going to show up,” Oertel said. “And you know, I had a pretty packed room. I would say it was probably three-quarters of the way full, so maybe 350 people. Everyone seemed to be listening.”

Oertel said he wanted to emphasize the message that everyone should pursue their passions, especially creatives, who he defines as anyone working at a job with a lot of freedom to be impressionable to an audience. He said he learned a lot from his journey as a creative and wants to make the path of other creatives easier through sharing his advice. 

“We’re told ‘no’ our whole lives, but then all of a sudden, we’re much needed at a different point in our life because we do have that creative thinking,” Oertel said. “So I just want people to be creative. Go out and do what you love. Don’t let ‘no’ stop you and be passionate about it.”

Kevin Brown, an executive recruiter with CBPartners who helps large enterprise companies employees hire across all levels, said he was excited to be a guest speaker for the series, especially since he is a 2010 alumni. 

“(I) definitely wanted to highlight the fact that as a student, you’re not a finished product,” Brown said. “I mean, I’m walking proof of that. Most people I went to high school with probably didn’t have the highest hopes for me or my career. So you’re not finished; it doesn’t stop here.”

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