There is a lot of wisdom to be gleaned from those older than us because they have seen and experienced so much more than we have. Think of all those popular articles like “What I would tell myself at 20, 30 40..if I had a time machine”. I love reading the authors’ life-lessons and I enjoy asking established Entrepreneurs and C-suite Execs for advice and stories on how they got where they are. That being said, I am a huge advocate for diversity of thought to create real innovation (see: my article published on Daily Hive on traveling to Tel Aviv, Start-up Nation) which means actively seeking out perspectives from those younger than us as well!
I like to still think of myself as extremely youthful given my boundless energy, and facial AI algorithms that state I’m a teenager when I’m not wearing makeup.
However! I also celebrate that I am a graduate with several years of professional work experience, including my own businesses! And so, in the spirit of learning from diverse perspectives, I’m excited to be interviewing UBC B.Comm 2018 candidate Claire Song as part of my Entrepreneurship Interview Series!
Who is Claire?
Claire is an ambitious, young individual whom I met at a C100 Hackathon, where she was interning in the Fall of 2018 before completing her Business Degree. I attend every C100 event possible as part of my mission in this new city to go to events and meet with people every single day. I have volunteered with many Canadian Organizations since arriving, and plan to keep representing Canada! At the C100 events, I was immediately impressed with her warmth and energy and was excited to learn that we were both arranging meetings with Facebook (a dream company for both of us!). She was interviewing for post-grad roles and I was building up my network and meeting my “Heroes” – people in exciting roles I aspired to grow into one day.
I consider her an entrepreneurially-minded individual because she dove out of her comfort zone, by taking the big risk of moving to a brand new city, and fully embraced the possibilities and adventures in San Francisco!
Shared Experiences in San Francisco
We had a few interesting shared experiences, like witnessing our first robbery in broad daylight at Starbucks! We consoled a female student after someone ran away with her macbook (PSA: Stay vigilant and never leave your valuables unattended!). We also shared interesting apps we were using, like Citizen to be aware of crime or SoloLearn to pick up new skills like SQL! (More on cool apps later, I promise to update this post soon, so save this page, now!).
Claire knew she had a limited amount of time in San Francisco given her 4 month contract with C100 and I’m excited to share her lessons from that time here with you all!
Thanks Claire, for agreeing to this! Can you start with telling us: What is the C100?
The C100 is a nonprofit organization with the mission to accelerate Canada’s technology economy. The team at C100 is very small (roughly five people) but these people work tirelessly to establish and create meaningful relationships between successful Canadian entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and in general, Canadians in the tech sector.
What attracted you to C100?
Well initially, I had heard of great things about the organization from senior students in my university and they highly encouraged me to take the leap of faith and move to a new city with the C100. Personally, the C100 non-profit organization stood out for me as a great place to do an internship as it was very much focused on building a community.
Community and service are both very big values of mine and I want it to end my undergraduate internship experience in an organization where I felt that I was doing something “good” and meaningful. In addition, C100 gave me the opportunity to network with some of Canada’s most successful tech leaders, as well the team was super supportive of my learning objectives which were in digital marketing as well as database implementation.
Awesome! I agree, there is a huge benefit in working for a small team early on in your career, in order to develop multiple transferable skills at once! At my first role after University (a resource-strapped non-profit) I learned basic Accounting and Human Resources along with Marketing and Government Relations even though my degree was in Biochemistry! Since I’m also new to San Francisco, and planning to share my expat experiences with my community, I’d love hear about your experience with the city itself!
What were the biggest surprises about moving to SF?
How much I genuinely loved it! I had visited the city for 2 days in early 2018 and I remember standing in Pier 39 thinking to myself “I have to come back here – MAYBE for my next co-op?” I’m not sure what it is, but something about the city felt right to me and just 4 months later, I was lucky enough to receive an offer from the C100 to work in SF.
My dreams came true!!
I think one of the biggest surprises for me was the fact that my intuition was right. I did not know at the time whether coming to SF was the right decision for me, but I did know that I felt something in my heart told me it was right. The surprise for me was the fact that I ended up still loving it, and that the initial gut reaction I had to the city still remains with me today.
What are some of the differences between SF and Vancouver?
I would say that Vancouver and San Francisco are similar in many ways. I think that Vancouver and San Francisco both share the laid-back type of feel as well as nature surrounding both the cities. The people, I find, are also similar in the fact that they are very friendly and approachable. If I had to speak on the differences, I would say that San Francisco feels more like a bigger city version of Vancouver since Vancouver, in my opinion is still more “sleepy.”
I agree with all of this! So, would you move back to SF? Why?
Currently, I am at the end of my undergraduate degree and I am looking for opportunities in growth marketing/user acquisition in SF.
I can honestly say through my internship experience in San Francisco and with the C100, I fell in love with the city. For me personally, it seems like a great place for me to start my early career as I believe it will allow me to be with incredibly smart people in an environment that I feel comfortable in.
Your enthusiasm is contagious!
What was your favourite part about living in SF?
My favourite part is the environment and the people. For people who want to go into tech, this city is absolutely amazing as it is filled with brilliant minds and is just the most “up-to-date” with new trends and technologies.
I feel that people in general here are very laid back while being extremely hard workers, which are the type of individuals I want to surround myself with. In addition, it has the west coast vibe which I love (as I am from Vancouver, Canada) and I still get access to nature!!!
So True! So now that we’ve enticed others to come here, what would be your advice for other Young Professionals who want to move to SF?
If you are interested in coming to SF, don’t let anything stop you!
I know a lot of people have initial fears and worries about moving to a different place, but whether those fears are due to financial reasons, leaving the comfort of your home, uncertainty over x,y,z, I think it can help if you start talking to people who have already made the jump.
If you reach out, through my experience, I found that everyone is super helpful and welcoming which can make the transition and preparation easier! After a bit of preparation, just make the jump!
Thanks for sharing your experience Claire! Some SF company is going to be very lucky to hire you! I’m going to include your contact details
Yujin Claire Song, President, Co-op Student Association of Sauder
B.Com Candidate 2018
Sauder School of Business
Other Day Trips and Weekend Adventures Claire embarked on from SF
I was also impressed with how Claire balanced her work with fun weekend trip with new friends, including Disneyland and LA which are both totally on my BUCKET LIST (view here).
Send me a message over on IG:@poymeetsworld if you’re planning a trip to any of those places or coming to California and want to tackle an adventure together!
Mark my words! I am getting my own Minnie Ears before the end of the year.
And then let’s see if the AI continues to identify me as a teenager 🙂
LA is also on my Bucket List!
Here is my list once again – send me any advice if you have completed these yourself, or suggestions on what else to include!