GHC19: Do Anything

I have serious soft spot for divergent career journeys. You used to sail boats for a living, and now you are an IT Consultant. Ooh, tell me more.  This idea of “doing anything” also conjures visions of incredibly non-linear paths.  I don’t feel like Carpenter’s career could be lumped into that category.  However, she’s taken an impressive journey that shows she’s both taking risks and not repeating the same job over and over.

Let’s meet the speaker, see her path, and explore  the framework that she provided for “doing anything.”

Carol Carpenter’s Career Journey, GHC19, CR305

Carpenter’s background is that her family immigrated from China, and she grew up in West Virginia, where her father worked as a professor.  She earned a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Stanford. She worked at Apple, TrendMicro, and Google in a variety of roles, including CEO of ElastiBox.

Notwithstanding, Carpenter offered some good career advice.

  1. Find your Sweet Spot

    Comprised of:

    • capabilities. StrengthsFinder is a good way to find these.
    • passions
    • motivations (intrinsic, and extrinsic)

    “When you find your sweet spot and begin operating out of it, you will experience increased joy and fulfillment, because you will be in your most natural position.” — Bill George, “Finding Your Sweet Spot as a Leader – Discover Your True North

    Fresh off of taking the StrengthsFinder assessment and ]on a sabbatical in search of more joy and purpose, Bill George’s book “Discover Your True North” is right up my alley. Consider this book bought.

  2. Find your “kitchen cabinet” or cohort
    • psychologically safe
    • domain knowledge
    • mutually beneficial relationship

    This cabinet is diffeent than sponsors. Sponsors are inside your company and typically have some positional power.

  3. Establish your brand.
    • values (personal to you)
    • behavior: how you show-up.
    • community


I enjoyed this session and Carpenter was a very engaging public speaker.  All of her advice was sage. I’m especially excited to read “True North.”

Also, I appreciated that Carol Carpenter, VP of Product Marketing for Google Cloud, showed this slide that is relatable to probably everyone.  One of my favorite slides in her session is the one in which shows a giphy that reads, “I have no idea what I’m doing.” Who can’t relate to that?!