How Lunchclub Helped Vivian Find Mentors, Friends And Transition To A Career In Design

Hayley Leibson
Nov 4 · 4 min read
Image Credit: Practical Wanderlust

Vivian Lee signed up for Lunchclub in San Francisco to brainstorm with peers and learn from others how to transition from a career in product management to product design. She was working as product manager for a startup in San Francisco where her work included a mix of product and customer success. Vivian also did some part-time design work in her role. “When you’re at a small startup, everyone is wearing a lot of hats. You really have to fill in the gaps where you’re needed. I did a lot of things not related to design,” Vivian explained. Out of all her responsibilities, she loved design the most. She decided she wanted to become a full-time designer and work for a design-focused company.

“I started using Lunchclub in November 2018, and I’ve been meeting a new person every week or sometimes every other week since I started using the product. I really love Lunchclub. Even if my meeting is with someone completely out of my job function — like they’re a founder, marketer, or in finance — I meet with them because it’s so awesome to meet people outside of my job function. Lunchclub allows you to meet people with different perspectives and I really love that. It’s always so awesome to meet these new people.” — Vivian Lee, Product Designer at DesignMap

One of Vivian’s Lunchclub connections was Michelle Tang, who had already made the same career transition Vivian was looking to make. “Michelle was such a cool person to meet because she was a product manager that was able to transition to become a product designer. I couldn’t believe it! I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, this is exactly what I want to do. How did Lunchclub make this most perfect connection?’” Michelle provided Vivian with invaluable advice about making that specific career transition.

Through meeting other designers through Lunchclub, Vivian was able to avoid a pitfall during her career transition. She was considering spending a lot of money on a design bootcamp, but after meeting many designers through Lunchclub that have participated in design bootcamps, Vivian discovered that she could learn those skills on her own. She was grateful for that advice, and to avoid spending money and time on a design bootcamp.

A few months ago, Vivian met Mark Temple, Associate at Atomic, through Lunchclub. Vivian enjoyed learning about Mark’s day-to-day experiences working with startups and he gave her a great overview of the whole tech industry in Silicon Valley. Vivian told Mark that she wanted to transition from product management into design. Mark then provided Vivian with valuable advice and introduced her to a UX designer at Medallia.

“Mark connected me with his UX design contact at Medallia, and she gave me really actionable advice. I met with her a few weeks later, and the meeting was wonderful. I followed her advice and here I am — I now have a job at a design agency. It was so valuable to meet Mark.” — Vivian Lee, Product Designer at DesignMap

Vivian recently accepted a design role offer at DesignMap. She’ll be working with seasoned designers and is really looking forward to her starting her new role. “I’m starting in November, but am planning to take a bit of time to travel to Maui before I start. I’m looking forward to decompressing on the beach,” she shared. Once she returns to San Francisco, she’s planning to get coffee with Mark and catch up.

Not only has Vivian met people who were able to help and advise her on transitioning her career, but she’s also made friends and found mentors through Lunchclub. Vivian had a Lunchclub meeting with Danica Tiu, Head of Digital Marketing Programs at Kenzie Academy, and they’ve stayed in touch ever since.

“I was sort of in a crisis mode when I met Danica. I remember how helpful she was during our conversation at our first Lunchclub meeting. I reached out to her again to meet up, and we met at her WeWork office and talked for over two-and-a-half-hours. She was super helpful. We’re always in touch over email and we’re going to meet once I come back from my trip. I’m going to help her on any of her projects in any way that I can. It’s great to have met friends and mentors through Lunchclub that are supportive of your career — it’s amazing.” — Vivian Lee, Product Designer at DesignMap

Hayley Leibson

Written by

Co-founder & COO at Modern Basket. Forbes 30 Under 30 2020 Consumer Tech. Technologist and inclusion advocate.

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