Bruin Career Insights

Produced by UCLA Alumni Affairs, The Bruin Career Insights YouTube live series features distinguished alumni in a unique Q & A style discussion covering a variety of professional development topics to provide insight into specific professions, industries or skill sets. As a YouTube live series, those watching have the opportunity to ask their own questions during the live stream. Past topics have included breaking into the entertainment industry, gaining insight into launching a start-up and preparing for your best interview.



The next episode of Bruin Career Insights will focus on the importance of networking in Hollywood. Check back soon for more details.

Wednesday, May 30
6 – 7 p.m.



Applying for a job can be a difficult and humbling process. You may have the right qualifications, but still get overlooked by potential employers. How do you step up your game? In this installment Bruin Career Insights, executive recruiter Katya Daniel ’08 arms you with the inside scoop on how to win the hiring process. She shares the characteristics that recruiters look for, offers tips on how to tell your authentic story and gives some practical advice on becoming the best candidate for the job.


Today’s First Gen students are our next generation of leaders, bringing with them a diverse set of skills and perspectives that can change the landscape of society and the workplace. In this installment of Bruin Career Insights, first generation grad Corey Matthews ’10, M.Ed. ’11, a nonprofit management and public policy professional, discusses how our diversity in experiences, viewpoints and abilities serve to our advantage and that of our employers.


Dave Crawford ’95 is a longtime Disney Imagineer. When he first graduated with a mechanical engineering degree at UCLA, he didn’t envision himself one day leading the mechanical engineering team responsible for creating new rides at the world’s largest theme park company. In this installment of the Bruin Career Insights, Crawford discusses his journey of success at Disney, what kinds of STEM opportunities exist in entertainment and how utilizing your mentors and advocates can help you find your best fit and career path, no matter the industry.


More often than not, job descriptions aren’t tailor-made to suit one’s interests and abilities. Rather, it’s typically the employee who conforms to what the job requires. But what if you can incorporate what you’re most passionate about into your career? That’s precisely what organizational expert Devon Dickau ’07, M.B.A ’15 will discuss on the next Bruin Career Insights live stream. The dual UCLA-degree holder with a master’s from Harvard is living his dream, landing a job at Deloitte Consulting advising both organizations and individuals on how to attain their goals. As a mentor himself and designer of mentoring programs for his clients, Dickau will share how to leverage networking relationships to achieve personal and professional success.


The world changes at a rapid pace, especially if you work in the tech and startup industries. Join us and Corinne Crockett ’10 next week as we discuss how to be nimble in the face of change and the importance of flexibility when it comes to innovation.


We live in complex times and we have big goals and dreams; not surprisingly, balance in our personal universe remains elusive. Often framed as a question of balance between competing demands at work and at home, real world balance is far more muddied than a simple seesaw of the two. For most of us, it’s a near-constant negotiation between the collection of our complicated passions and objectives set against the backdrop of a complex and contentious world. This installment of the Bruin Career Insights series, leadership development expert Crystal Schaffer explores the classic work-life balance equation. She will challenge us to think multi-dimensionally about the paradoxes that define our ideals and profile seven tools you can use to embrace the complex and find your own equilibrium.

Crystal Schaffer is the owner and president of Nu U Consulting, LLC, with a list of clients from the U.S. Navy to entrepreneurial start-ups. She is also a moderator for Harvard Business School Publishing, where she has developed and facilitated multinational blended leadership development programs for Fortune 500 corporations. Schaffer is an experienced talent management expert, specializing in leadership, strategy, organization development, and team and individual training and coaching methods. She holds a B.A. in English and communications from Rutgers College and is a Master Certified i-Lead Leadership and Team Coach as well as a New York University-trained Life Coach.


Like in any relationship, finding the right employer comes down to shared values. Taking an honest assessment of your career values, passions and work style will help identify companies most compatible with you and focus your search. In the next installment of the Bruin Career Insights series, Natalie Kim ’08 will help you analyze what characteristics to look for in an employer. From basics like geography and size, to deeper criteria like workplace culture, work-life balance or your belief in the mission, she will address these questions and make your job search a lot less daunting!

Natalie Kim ’08 is the founder of We Are Next, a resource that helps students and junior talent begin their advertising and marketing careers with confidence. She’s spent 10 years in advertising and has been recognized on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list in Marketing & Advertising. Kim was awarded the GenNext Award by She Runs It for young women who are already making their mark on the industry. Kim graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor of Arts in communication studies and a minor in French.


Establishing yourself as a reliable team member with strong leadership skills can fortify your position within an organization. You do not need to be in a position of authority in order to lead or make impactful changes. Join us and our special guest speaker this month as we discuss micro leadership and learn how you can be a leader without being the leader.

Alex Budak ’07 is the executive director of the UC Berkeley’s Center for Leadership, and a firm believer that anyone can be a changemaker. Budak mentors, coaches and advises social entrepreneurs around the world. He has given talks on the topics of leadership and social innovation all over the world and his writing has been published in FastCompany, The Guardian and Huffington Post. Recently, he was honored with the UCLA Award for Recent Graduate Achievement. He received his Master of Public Policy degree from Georgetown University and his B.A. in Geography and Political Science from UCLA.


Whether it’s a fresh start or a kick start for your career, the interview process can make or break your chances of landing the position you want. Even the smartest and most qualified job seekers seekers need to prepare for this all-important personal interaction. Bruin Career Insights: Your Best Interview explores the critical elements you need to know to make a great first impression. Learn the do’s and don’ts of how to present yourself, reduce the risk of rejection and increase the odds of getting an offer.

Brett Fisher ’00 is a management consultant and executive recruiter born and raised in Los Angeles. Brett’s depth of experience in building teams comes from working in two different nonprofit organizations prior to forming the Brett Fisher Group (BFG) in 2008, a business entity that pulls together an extensive network of talented and experienced professionals. Since 2008, BFG has successfully placed top talent with backgrounds in accounting, finance, sales, marketing, human resources and administrative professionals throughout Los Angeles.


Starting a business requires being persistent and taking risks. Most people believe entrepreneurs need to be energetic and outgoing to be champions for their business, but introverts take note: you can be a successful entrepreneur and still protect your time and energy.

Rosie O’Neill ’00, M.B.A. ’05 is an entrepreneur with a major sweet tooth. In August 2012, alongside her co-founder and fiancé Josh Resnick, she launched her first company, Sugarfina. Inspired by a third-date screening of the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Rosie and Josh dreamed up a “candy boutique for grown-ups” featuring the finest sweets from artisan candy makers around the world. Named to Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People” list, and Goldman Sachs’ “100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs,” Rosie is disrupting the sweets space with an innovative approach to confections and retail.


You are a creative big-thinker with an entrepreneurial spirit who is not afraid of hard work, can wear many hats and is always ready to learn new skills and take on new responsibilities. Your talent, personality and passion could make working at a startup an exciting challenge and be a great fit. Watch this edition of Bruin Career Insights for a special session unique to the startup job search, facilitated by Vikas Gupta ’03, M.B.A. ’11, that will help you create a plan to unearth jobs, get noticed and grow your career.

Vikas Gupta ’03, M.B.A. ’11 has a B.A. in business-economics and political science. He recently joined Baby Box, a startup in the education and baby space, as the vice president of Strategy and Product. Prior to Baby Box, he spent six years at Factual Inc, growing the company from 30 to 150 people and oversaw marketing and strategy. Gupta also gained experience at Rustic Canyon Partners, LoopNet and McKinsey & Company. He is an avid traveler, voracious reader and is currently designing a board game.


In today’s competitive job market, employers have a thin margin of error in their search for the right applicant. When it comes to identifying the right job candidate, UCLA Anderson School of Management alumna Kate Pletcher M.B.A ’07 has got the eye for talent. As the head of a full-service recruiting firm, she shares her professional insights on what qualities rise to the top and what steps you can take to stand out from the crowd.

The speaker, Kate Pletcher, M.B.A. ’07, is the Founder and CEO of Treehouse Partners. Prior to launching the firm, Pletcher owned and ran a successful franchised staffing firm in Los Angeles, served as director of Global Brand Licensing for Skechers, and worked as director of business development for bsp (a brand extension consultancy). Kate received her B.A. in journalism from the University of Wisconsin and her M.B.A. from UCLA Anderson School of Management. She is an adjunct instructor for both UCLA and Anderson on the topics of sales and leadership, serves as vice president of the business networking group UCLA Bruin Professionals, and loves helping fellow Bruins in any way she can!


From small local charities to large international agencies, there are a many kinds of nonprofit organizations. This edition of Bruin Career Insights taps into an insider’s knowledge of how to navigate a career in the nonprofit world.

Mai Nguyen ’00 is the Director of Development, Special Events for Planned Parenthood Los Angeles. After graduating from UCLA, Nguyen began her career at an event production firm with clients that included the American Cancer Society, Avon Breast Cancer Walks and Los Angeles LGBT Center. She joined Planned Parenthood’s team in 2002 and has worked in a number of capacities including database management, annual giving and volunteer management. In her current role, Nguyen oversees a robust events program that raises more than $3.5 million annually.


Entertainment can be a rough and tumble industry for a novice. In this edition of Bruin Career Insights, Brad Hall provides his insider knowledge and learn how to kick-start a career in entertainment.

Speaker Brad Hall ’91 is the founder of, the go-to website for careers in entertainment. Prior to launching the site, he had a successful career in film and television production with Warner Bros., Disney, Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon and others. Hall is also the co-founder of Reading to Kids, a nonprofit that hosts reading programs for Los Angeles elementary schools. He is a proud Bruin and passionate about mentoring young professionals and entrepreneurs.