Lisa graduated in Winter 2010 with a double major in Finance and Business Management. She currently works as a Program Manager for Intel in Portland, OR, where she manages the employee events/engagement group, called Great Place to Work, for 18,000 Oregon employees and their families. Lisa spent 2 years prior to that working as an analyst for Intel’s compensation & benefits group.
What do you do on a typical day at work?
This is a very interesting job in that every day is a bit different! My job is basically to find events and strategies to engage our employees and help create a positive culture here at Intel — a pretty broad scope, but it makes for a very interesting job! Today, I started the day off meeting with our local NBA team, the Portland Trailblazers, to negotiate our contract for the upcoming season and discuss the budget for tickets we’d be providing for our employees. From there, I came back to the office to meet with our employee user experience team to help formulate a survey for our employees to figure out their preferences for events and recognition. I had lunch with some of the folks from my rotation program a few years ago (they’re still some of my best friends!) and then met with one of our engineering groups to help them strategize for an event to celebrate the end of a large project. I finished off the day by tackling some of my inbox requests and heading to downtown Portland to hand out 500 tickets to a show for our employees. Working those events is one of my favorite parts of my role- I really enjoy meeting people and getting to see them go do something cool!
How did you come across this opportunity?
The Great Place to Work program is something I’ve always been interested in and had a passion for- I love working with people and love exploring the community! The program only has one paid position in Oregon and relies heavily on volunteers to help with events and planning. I knew when I came into the company that I didn’t have the experience yet to know how the intricacies of how events worked, so I signed up to volunteer. I spent a significant number of hours working events and planning new experiences for our people, all the while learning an incredible amount about program management and developing a network that I now consider family. When the role became available, it was a daunting thought to manage the entire program from budget to volunteers to events and strategy, but I had a lot of encouragement from that network and applied for it. I truly believe it was the time spent volunteering and gaining insight into the program for those couple of years that allowed me to earn the position.
My father was always a huge advocate for being patient and finding what you love- I remember him telling me to think about what I would do for free, and it was there that I would find my true passion. In a way, I did a small part of my current role with no pay but lots of joy for the first couple of years, and now I’m fortunate enough to be paid to do it.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
Hands down, being able to watch our people experience new things with their families and see them relax and enjoy themselves is the most incredible reward in this role. Intel is a great company to work for, but is definitely a demanding culture- we work hard and I get to help us play hard. For many of our people, their hard work is also something that impacts their families- to figure out ways to help also reward their families is wonderful.
The other aspect of this position that I love most is our team. While I’m the only person who gets to do this full time in Oregon, we have a volunteer staff that is absolutely amazing, and does this for all the right reasons. They have an inspiring passion for people and we have a culture among this team that is very similar to a family. It’s a role where I genuinely feel like I get to come to work with some of my best friends every day. I also have a manager who is one of the most open-minded and encouraging people I’ve ever worked with- never underestimate the power of a great manager for your career and experience!
Any advice for students looking to enter this industry or company?
I would absolutely say that I encourage people to not be afraid to try new things, and to be patient about finding your dream job at a large company like Intel. Those jobs may not always be available, but if you’re flexible and perform well, somehow you always seem to end up where you want to be. I always thought I would come out of school and know exactly what I wanted to do- that it would come to me instantly. I joined Intel as part of a rotation program and landed in a first job that I learned a great deal from in a well-respected group. However, I came to learn I wasn’t passionate about that work. I would tell folks that it’s okay to not know exactly what you’re passionate about up front, but be open to new experiences, take everything out of each job that you can, and most importantly- don’t settle. Keep seeking out your passion! I found my current role by exploring volunteer opportunities that I was passionate about while doing my regular job, which led to me finding a fantastic position for myself. I also know that I won’t be in this role forever. I would say to always keep exploring – so you never stop gaining new skills – and never stop learning more about what you like to do. It’s liberating for me to know that a year from now, my career could be completely different!
Lastly, I would say that having a balance between work and life is so critical, especially in demanding roles or at a fast paced company like Intel. No job is perfect- I have my days here that are tiresome when people don’t love an event that I plan, negotiations don’t go the way I wish they would, or we have 5 events in a week and I just want a nap. It’s on those days when I take a step back and remember my family, my fiancé, and activities outside of the walls of Intel- that allows me to find balance again. I used to think that, without question, more hours at work equated to more success. I’m learning that having time away, other interests, and a good relationship with your family are the tools you need to come back to work with a renewed energy and perspective.