Last Friday, Dys ID and Forte co-sponsored the Day in the Industries trip, providing fifty students inside looks at Goldman Sachs and Facebook’s New York offices. The trip offered students insight into diversity within the financial and technology sectors.
At Facebook, students met Peipei Zhou, a Global Clients Solution Manager. She has been with Facebook for five years, longer than 91% of people at the company. Facebook is growing rapidly, with employees of ranging ages, expertise, and prior work experience. To accommodate this growth and create collaboration, employees sit at desks on open floors and eat for free at the company’s several food stations. Interestingly, the only coffee counter in the NY office that charges employees is Gimme! Coffee, an Ithaca based brand – a small piece of Cornell’s culture at Facebook!
Peipei and her family moved to the United States from Shanghai when she was fourteen. Her parents started a Chinese restaurant in Pennsylvania but was forced to close when another restaurant opened across the street. They relocated to Texas, where Peipei attended high school and the University of Texas at Austin on a full scholarship. She worked at Procter & Gamble for ten years prior to joining Facebook.
Peipei shared this career advice with students:
You rise and fall to your expectations.
Set your sights on a goal and work towards it. Without an ambitious North Star goal, you will not advance. When Peipei enrolled in school in Texas, she declined the ELS English classes despite the fact she spoke little English. She insisted she integrate into the traditional English classes, preparing her for Advanced Placement classes and later college. Without high expectations, Peipei would not be where she is today.
Focus for impact.
Peipei uses a teacher’s planner to organize her priorities and track her progress. Her top priorities – her fiance, parents, and health – take the top rows, followed by work. She advises people to identify their top priorities and let the rest cause little stress.
Be gentle with yourself.
“We are often self critical, especially in our twenties,” Peipei explained. “Have I found the right job? Am I advancing?” are questions young professionals often allow to linger. However, by focusing for impact and accepting shortcomings, it is possible to start again stronger than before.