On Day 6 of Palo Alto High School’s Career Month speaker series Chief Executive Officer Peggy Chang, and Vice President Anthony Soohoo, discussed important skills they learned in school that helped them succeed.
Chang is the CEO of ActivityHero, a platform students and parents can use to register for camps and classes. However, Chang explained that she did not always plan on being a CEO.
“The theme of my work experiences is looking for opportunities,” Chang said. “[And] while I’m CEO and founder of a company right now, that wasn’t my life goal when I was in high school or college. A series of opportunities led me there.”
According to Chang, she originally was inclined toward working in a math or science profession. However, after getting involved in leadership positions in high school, she gradually realized her strength as a leader.
According to Chang, she joined the school newspaper after receiving a letter asking her to join. She decided to take the opportunity to explore something new and became the co-editor-in-chief by her senior year.
“A lot of the skills I ended up learning accidentally through the school newspaper really helped me through my career,” Chang said.
She advises students to take any opportunities for leadership, since leading a project can help one develop essential skills for a future career.
“Take advantage of some of those opportunities to lead something,” Chang said. “When you volunteer to lead anything, you end up being involved with the details, and engaging other people.”
The second speaker, Anthony Soohoo, is currently a VP and Group General Manager at Walmart, as well as an entrepreneur and investor. Soohoo gave some advice for students and talked about some myths about success.
Soohoo explained that the college one attends is not the main determinant for one’s career success. “I’ve actually hired, then fired, more Stanford graduates than the graduates from any other college,” said Soohoo. “School is very different from a real career, and many of those graduates are overconfident about their skills.”
Soohoo also advised students to continue seeking knowledge and experience beyond high school and college.“You shouldn’t believe that once you graduate from high school or college you won’t have to learn anything anymore,” Soohoo said. “Your learning continues at every job and role you play.”
The second week of the speaker series will continue today with speakers Paul Grewal and Christina Ballerio. Grewal is the VP and Deputy General Counsel at Facebook, and Ballerio is a real estate broker at Intero.