Leadership Through Mentorship

Sarah Friar, the 2014 Financial Woman of the Year, mentors Kaitlyn Busler, a 2014 FWSF Scholarship Recipient over coffee on the Stanford campus

Each recount the meeting below…

Sarah Friar

Sarah FriarI first saw Kaitlyn in action at the luncheon to celebrate the 2014 scholarship recipients. Every winner had an amazing and touching story. What stood out about Kaitlyn was her focus…on the energy sector (particularly on point for Pat Yarrington who was closing out her year as the Financial Woman of the Year). She seemed to have a clear picture of exactly what she wanted to do and why. Also as a Stanford GSB alum I was delighted to see that someone with such a strong point of view was going to be leaving her mark on the class of 2016.

We connected post lunch and agreed to meet at school in the Fall. It was serendipidous that her brother was a fellow Square, so we seemed to have connections on multiple levels.

In October over coffee, Kaitlyn's focus was apparent yet again.She was in full control of our conversation, had prepared in advance and knew exactly what she wanted to discuss. This is something I appreciate very much when asked to provide mentorship. It's much easier and feel's much more useful to react to direct questions and provide practical examples than to just let the conversation wander. A great way to help use our time wisely.

It was fascinating to see how the business school was already impacting Kaitlyn's sense of focus....it actually made me smile to remember how sure I was of next steps on day one of school and how unsure I was 365 days later, but slowly the focus came back....just in different ways. For Kaitlyn I think this is good change - by introducing new experiences, new industries, new personalities the GSB is bringing her growth.

We discussed working in more male-dominated industries. How to manage change and embrace it. Lastly we talked about family. That was one of those areas that fell into place for me at school — I knew I wanted a family and a career and I didn't want to choose. I hope my advice resonated and there's a few small pieces that Kaitlyn will select and add to her own mosaic. And I look forward to staying in touch — she taught/reminded me during coffee of the power of being focused and going after everything you are passionate about.

Thank you to the FWSF for providing the platform.

Kaitlyn Busler

Kaitlyn BuslerI first met Sarah Friar at the FWSF luncheon in June. I introduced myself at the end of the luncheon and followed up with her via email. Since I was still living in NYC at the time, we decided to meet for coffee in late October when she and I would both be on Stanford's campus.

But my second encounter with Sarah occurred at the FWSF Financial Woman of the Year luncheon on October 2nd. My brother actually works for Square, so I knew that she was a smart and enthusiastic leader. But I was completely blown away by her speech at the event. She was incredibly inspiring, articulate, down to earth, and funny. Her colleagues at Square clearly respect and adore her, yet she remains "squarely" focused on achieving big things at Square. After that event, I was even more excited to sit down with Sarah later that month.

Sarah and I had coffee in mid-October at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where I am a current first-year student and Sarah is an alumna. We talked about a variety of subjects, including her unique career path in which her first job was in gold mining. But Sarah was always passionate about technology and she transitioned into a tech-focused role at Goldman Sachs. We both shared personal stories of success and struggle while working at investment banks. Sarah was genuine and honest with me, opening up about how she has made major life decisions, and how often times, decisions aren't as life-changing as they seem. It was encouraging to hear that someone as busy and successful as Sarah still prioritizes what is most important to her: family. She advised me to take career risks, do what I love, and don't hold back. At the same time, she reassured me that I, too, will be able to have a family one day and still achieve my professional goals.

It was one of the few conversations I've had in life where I really felt like I learned a lot in such a short conversation. And while all of her tactical and professional advice was invaluable, I think the way Sarah carries herself was my biggest takeaway. For someone with such great successes, she is modest, kind, and genuinely cares about the lives of those she affects. Sarah is focused on paying it forward and gives credit to those who helped her along the way. Those are the lessons I will remember as I advance in my career.

I am tremendously grateful for being able to meet with Sarah. Thank you to the FWSF for giving me the opportunity to do so. Sarah and I plan to stay in touch.

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