3 Top Career Tips for Diverse Professionals


by Wim Dodson


Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing three successful diverse professionals on behalf of EmployDiversity, to discover their personal philosophy for a successful and happy career.  Each one had a significant insight to share.

Nick Moezidis is Founder and CEO of Napa Technology, which manufactures digital pouring technology for the wine industry.

Another one of our interviewees was Maricela Prado, Medical Researcher at the Stanford University Medical School and is Founder and CEO of HT Scientific.

And, most recently, I talked with Amazon Senior Quality Assurance Engineer, Jean Lu.

Nick left me with an insightful way of approaching my life goals; Maricela passed down an aphorism her mentor shared with her; and Jean shared a bit of advice that young and experienced professionals can use to get ahead in their careers and stay at the top of their games.


Think Condition, Not Money

Nick suggested that instead of using monetary goals to guide his decisions, he prefers to think about the context he’d like to build for himself. Instead of thinking he’d like to make a million dollars this year, he focuses on how he’d like to be living by the end of the year, for instance, traveling to Europe; spending more time with his family; or developing a new business line.

He finds himself motivated by the feelings the future state evokes in him, and gauges success as to how well he lodges himself in the reality.


Words for the Wise

Most Americans (and, I’m sure, a few others as well) know Benjamin Franklin’s famous saying, “The Early Bird Catches the Worm”. Maricela lives by a more pumped-up version of the aphorism advocated by her mentor, a Stanford research scientist: “Be the first to rise and the last to go to bed”.

This is a brilliant encapsulation of the passionate life. Individuals who feel there’s just too much to do, see, learn and share just do not believe there is enough time in their day. Instead, they spend every available hour expanding themselves and serving others in the best way they see fit.

Though it’s easy to interpret the expression as a formula for overwork, I prefer to see it as a reminder to make the best of every minute you have. It’s a guide to help determine whether you’ve done everything humanly possible to live any given day to the full.


Curiosity Drives Success

Jean, the Amazon manager, thought she’d be a teacher when she was young. Curiosity, however, kept getting in the way. She found herself always curious about how things work. After she completed undergraduate studies, she continued to study engineering. Before she worked at Amazon, she worked at Apple.

In the EmployDiversity interview, she observed that as a product manager it is impossible to know the nature of every technology, or how every part works. She asks the experts, she said, as many times as she needs in order to understand the role any piece plays in a project. Once she firmly understands the concept or the technology she can move on.


When Outsiders Become Insiders

Each of the interviewees is a first-generation immigrant to the United States. Nick from Iran; Maricela from Mexico; and Jean from China. What they shared was a thirst to learn, a drive to fulfill a vision of themselves in a future life, and the desire to contribute the best of themselves to others.

Though each of the insights was drawn from personal experiences, we can all benefit from them. Their stories - which you’ll hear in the podcast interviews - provide splendid models for any of us who feel excluded from mainstream society, but who still yearn to make our marks.

Listen to EmployDiversity Original Podcast Interviews here.