Weekend Wisdom

Liz O’Connor ’10

5
“Be confident and speak up.”
“The most valuable lesson my seven years at Kent Place taught me wasn’t one I learned in a classroom; it was a subconscious one. KPS instilled in me the belief that my voice is worth hearing, even in situations that seem daunting.

“In college, I worked at the university development center, calling past and potential donors. Soon I was assigned the Leadership group — people who had given very large donations. Cold-calling high-profile alumni, building rapport, and then asking them to donate significant amounts of money required a level of confidence that I wouldn’t have had without Kent Place.

“After college, I leveraged that experience into an enterprise sales role at Oracle. I stayed there for three years, then moved to Texas and managed a sales team. After that I spent two years in ad sales at Facebook, and now I’m with Apple’s burgeoning enterprise sales group. Throughout my career, the subconscious lessons about confidence I learned at KPS have helped tremendously.

“The sales profession, particularly technology sales, is dominated by men. I’m grateful to the women who paved the way for me, and I feel responsible for clearing a path for those behind me. I can’t count the number of times when I’ve been the only woman in a room, or the youngest person. That didn’t stop me. And the times when I’ve felt as if people wanted me to stay quiet were often when speaking up had the most impact.

“Kent Place equipped me with the intangibles needed to navigate a male-dominated profession in a male-dominated industry: personal conviction and the belief that my opinions and ideas are worth voicing.”

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Kent Place School is an all-girls K through 12 independent college preparatory day school with a coeducational Preschool, located in Summit, NJ.