Career Month to feature diverse speakers

Sophia Yang and Joseph Kessler

Jayson Oertel, leader of global marketing partnerships and influence marketing for Adobe, speaks to students during Career Month in 2022. According to Career Vocational Education Assistant Karla Larson, the event has been student run for 17 years, with a team of students preparing months in advance. “We have a student committee that starts meeting in September or October of the school year and there are weekly meetings, especially starting in December, January,” Larson said. “The students reach out to speakers and are the liaisons between the school and the speakers.” (Photo: Maxwell Zhang)

From artificial intelligence to politics to higher education, Palo Alto High School’s upcoming Career Month kicking off on March 21 will offer students a wide variety of industries to explore.

Career Month is an annual event exposing students to various career opportunities in the community through a series of guest speakers. 

Student organizer freshman Brendan Giang said Career Month is an event intended to expose students to possible career pathways and general information about future options. 

“It [Career Month] is to expose students to all kinds of careers and possible pathways,” Giang said. “It [Career Month] gives them information that allows them to reach out to people who have traveled those pathways for information, advice, anything from questions to answers and everything in between.”

According to Career Vocational Education Assistant Karla Larson, the diversity in careers and often unconventional paths of the speakers are what make Career Month special.

“It’s [Career Month] just a great opportunity for students to connect, specifically with people in the careers that they maybe want to be in, and learn about new careers,” Larson said. “And oftentimes, the speakers have odd paths of getting to that career. We hear that sometimes your paths change and that’s okay.”

Student organizer junior Joy Ji said students who are part of the Career Speakers Committee draw upon their networks, including parents, teachers, and Paly alumni to invite a wide range of professionals to speak at Paly. Committee members also reach out to potential speakers by cold calling and emailing. 

“This year, we actually have the former director of the Stanford Graduate School of Business coming to speak, as well as the head of AI research at Ericsson,” Giang said.

In addition to featuring STEM professionals, Career Month will also highlight a wide variety of other fields, including Kathleen Foley-Hughes founder of Ada’s cafe, who will speak about running a mission-oriented small business with neurodiverse staff.

Career Month speakers will present throughout campus on March 21 and 22 at Haymarket, Performing Arts Center, Media Arts Center, Associated Student Body classroom and Library classroom 541.

Details for Career Speakers can be found in this slideshow. Students have until noon next Wednesday to sign up on Infinite Campus.