Title: Vice President of Growth, EdFuel; Director of Operations, ZeeMee
Company: EdFuel and ZeeMee
Location: Washington, D.C., and San Francisco, California
Education: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Kenan Flagler Business School
"I'm fired up to be serving two great organizations that are moving the needle in their respective fields," says Lin. He is vice president of growth for EdFuel, a nonprofit that develops education leaders, particularly those working outside the classroom. He also serves as director of operations for ZeeMee, a Silicon Valley-based startup that offers students free social media portfolios designed to connect them with life-changing opportunities.
For Lin, education is elastic, evolving, and never-ending. But even as he explores new frontiers in this industry, he eventually hopes to return to the classroom, which is where he began his career.
How do you see the talent development industry evolving in the next five to 10 years?
What we're seeing now is that Generation Z connects, interacts, and learns in a completely different way. These individuals have never lived without social media and the Internet. I anticipate this affecting the talent pipeline in the next few years regarding recruiting, placement, and fit.
On His Career Path
My first job was teaching high school with Teach For America. As a new college grad, I thought that the "learning part" was over, and all that was left was doing. I was so wrong. Learning never ends, but how learning happens changes significantly. I'm most excited about the opportunity to work at the intersection of technical and adaptive challenges in education.
The education industry has a great mix of talented and focused individuals. That's what makes it fun and challenging. By the same token, a lot of benefits and resources that are taken for granted in the corporate world—particularly around talent development—can be challenging to procure and implement. I would encourage those working in talent development to keep the not-for-profit world in mind for collaboration and conversation.
3 Qualities for Success
Curiosity, persistence, and a focus on data.
The most important thing I've done is be a teacher. No matter where my career takes me for now, my goal is to make it back to the classroom.
On Staying Current
I'm a firm believer in having real and genuine conversations with people; that's my number one. EdFuel regularly publishes research pieces (Hidden in Plain Sight and the Blueprint for Success initiative) that help me stay plugged in. It's important to keep in mind that there are simply not a whole lot of resources out there right now for folks in the education field to rely on. That's why we do what we do, make it free and creative commons-licensed, and collaborate with great organizations like Bellwether Education Partners, the Bridgespan Group, the Broad Center, Education Pioneers, and many others.
Advice for New Professionals
Focus on the competencies you currently have and those you need to develop. What does your organization need the most? In which areas do you currently excel? Once you've created a blueprint for your competency development, engage your manager early and often for development planning, and don't be shy about evaluations.
"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." —Wayne Gretzky