A persistent voice urging Lavendar Phan not to settle pushed her to chart her own course to professional success. Unafraid to pivot and try something new, Phan has gone from governmental consultant to Google account executive in 10 short years, discovering new strengths and passions along the way.
Phan shared her story with the Florida Polytechnic University community during the webinar “Going, Growing … Google: My Personal Journey to Success,” on Tuesday, June 30. The event was hosted by the University’s Office of Career Development.
“I want students to pick up on some of the lessons I wish I knew when I was in college,” Phan said. “Number one is the importance of networking, branching out, and tapping into your peer network. Number two, and a theme recurring within my talk, is not really settling for anything and instead really reaching for what you want and being direct about your goals and ambitions.”
Phan’s began her career in government consulting but said she soon encountered a nagging voice asking if she was truly happy.
“I squelched that voice in my head and it wasn’t until recently that I realized that voice was the voice of my ambition,” she said.
That voice guided her to take a leap from consulting to a position in business analysis for management consulting firm IntelliWare. After that, she followed the voice to seize upon another opportunity to become a technical account manager at Microsoft.
“This was the intersection of so many cool Microsoft technologies, but that nagging voice came back. Am I happy? Do I like who I’m working for and who I’m working with?” Phan said.
A contact from a Google recruiter and an eight-month hiring process led her to become a technical account manager for Google Cloud. Phan then made yet another jump from account management to sales earlier this year and now works at the company’s office in Reston, Virginia. Phan said the voice in her head has finally quieted.
“If your goal is to work at a company like Google, it’s OK for your job right out of college to not be your dream job,” she said.
Pairris Jones, associate director of career development at the University, said students have long expressed interest in having access to Google and knowing more about the company. This is why she said this webinar was such a valuable opportunity.
“Having a representative from Google share directly with students the organization’s culture and give them tips on how to begin that particular application process is truly remarkable,” Jones said.
Phan and the Office of Career Development will host two more webinars over the next week: “This Can’t be Real Life: The Amazing Google Culture,” on July 2, and “Show Me the Money: The Power of Negotiation,” on July 7. The webinars start at 11 a.m. and are free and open to everyone. Click the links to join.
Director of Communications