From L’Oreal to Google: SFU Beedie alumnus Stephanie Wong talks careers and motherhood
Apr 08, 2022
Riding rollercoasters at the Google conference in Disneyland and visiting the L’Oreal Paris skincare labs in New York are only a couple of the many career highlights on which Stephanie Wong can look back fondly over the past ten years.
After graduating from SFU Beedie, Wong started out working in brand strategy for L’Oreal’s flagship brand, L’Oreal Paris. Then, as an Account Executive at Google, she led some of Google’s top clients through their digital transformation journeys, serving as a trusted consultant to C-suite leaders in the food, beverage and restaurant industries. Now, Wong is a Strategy and Operations Lead on Google’s Global Go-to-Market team, where she serves as a thought partner and trusted advisor to Google’s executive leadership and solves strategic questions across Google’s global technical services organization.
“So many aspects of my education at SFU Beedie played a huge role in preparing me for my career,” says Wong. “The diverse extracurricular and leadership opportunities pushed me out of my comfort zone and got me used to trying new things. One of the highlights of my time at SFU Beedie was the co-op program—I did five co-ops during my undergrad. Sometimes it felt like I was working more than studying!”
During her time at SFU Beedie, Wong did not shy away from opportunities to get involved. She participated in SFU’s Leadership Empowerment and Development (LEAD) program, a program that brings together diverse students in a multi-disciplinary environment focused on leadership. She took part in various case competitions. And, perhaps most memorably, Wong founded the SFU chapter of Young Women in Business (YWiB), which continues today with new faces carrying the torch.
Wong had racked up numerous accolades by the time she graduated in 2012, including the Gordon M. Shrum Entrance Scholarship, the HSBC Women in Business Leadership award and the 2012 SFU & ACE BC/Yukon Co-op Student of the Year award. In 2020, she was accepted to Columbia University to pursue her master of science and informational knowledge strategy—all while juggling, at the same time, being the mother of two little girls.
As someone who has always advocated for women in business, Wong is now more aware than ever of the systemic barriers that women face in the workplace. After having her first child, the experience of becoming a working mom profoundly changed Wong’s perspective on being a professional woman.
“It was only when I became a mom that I truly realized women are undeniably amazing,” says Wong. “The pandemic has shown even more that women, especially mothers, have had to shoulder impossible responsibilities both in and out of the home. However, I feel deeply optimistic by the changing tide of amazing men and fathers who are committed to being equal partners in the home, including my own husband.”
As for advice to other young women in business, Wong says she is still figuring it out for herself. But she has a few wise words that she wishes she had known while still at SFU:
“Double down on your strengths and don’t spend time trying to improve your weaknesses,” says Wong. “Also, who you pick as your life partner will be your most important career decision. And focus on improving your habits—just try to become one per cent better every day.
“My experiences at SFU Beedie allowed me to appreciate the diverse perspectives of my fellow classmates and feel deeply connected to the community around me. For that, I’m forever grateful.”