Stirratt told students she thought about what she wishes she knew in high school. Below are some of her insights about planning for the future, standing out in a crowd of achievers, and what drew her to Facebook.
For the Rest of Your Life, Be Ready to Course Correct
Stirratt asked students to imagine their future careers and shared that she was a “math and science nerd” determined to study engineering. When it became clear she was not destined to be an engineer, she pivoted to advertising. This turned into a lifelong passion. Stirratt’s take away: “No matter what you think you’re good at this very nanosecond, be really open to talking to people and learning from new people. For the rest of your life, be prepared to course correct. Because nothing is ever set in stone; your passions are going to change. Your experiences are going to drive you in a different direction.”
Stirratt told students she received eight job offers before graduating college. Her secret to success? She would track down human resources executives then boldly walk up and pitch herself. In person. She hustled and it paid off.
Similarly, as a young professional at Grey Advertising, she went after her dream job at Cosmopolitan magazine by sending unsolicited monthly advertising analyses to the Ad Director. Eventually, it worked and Cosmo actually created a job for her.
Stirratt stressed that this drive and ability to stand out is more important today than ever: “No matter how smart you are...unless you hustle and flow, you will not be able to differentiate yourself. We are living in a world where everyone has access to information. What are you doing that’s unique to you?”
No Mobile, No Marketing
When a student asked where marketing was headed, Stirratt replied: “Television advertising is not going away anytime soon. Where that content is consumed continues to evolve. You guys know this better than anyone: It’s all on mobile. If you cannot market effectively on a mobile device, then you are not going to market effectively.” Stirratt also discussed the increasingly impressive potential of Artificial Intelligenceand Virtual Reality.
Facebook: It’s About The Mission
The “number one” reason Stirratt joined the Facebook team is its clear mission. “It is a company that so completely mirrors my values...You want to make sure you’re surrounding yourself with people you can flourish with...All driven in the same direction to fulfill our mission to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. One of my favorite posters at Facebook and the underlying theme for every single interaction is ‘assume good intent.’ And I recommend you do this in all your own interactions. Put yourself in [others’] shoes, show empathy, and try to figure out what answer you are trying to get and what common goals you may have. When your entire company behaves that way, it’s pretty remarkable.”
When a student asked if current news about Cambridge Analytica gaining access to data on Facebook had changed the company’s culture of trust, Stirratt said that the privacy discussion has been a catalyst for Facebook to develop new technology and practices to better protect the Facebook community. Stirratt described immediate privacy measures the company is putting into effect and acknowledged the ongoing challenge of being a platform for billions. In the end, Stirratt says “we believe the good we’re doing in connecting people all over the world outweighs the challenges.”
St. Luke’s School is a secular private school in New Canaan, CT for grades 5 through 12 serving 25 towns in Connecticut and New York. Our exceptional academics and diverse co-educational community foster students’ intellectual and ethical development and prepare them for top colleges. St. Luke’s Center for Leadership builds the commitment to serve and the confidence to lead.