Last Wednesday we sat down with Katie Biber, and chatted about the theme of challenges. For Katie, she found challenges (and success) in making the switch from politics to tech. While it was a lot to wrap her head  around a completely new industry (in fact, she compared it to reading War and Peace in Chinese), she finds it rewarding in so many ways. Thank you to Katie, Digitas, Fuddhism,, 20/20, and our volunteers!

Below are some of the key highlights that were captured.

Be yourself. Be the best version of yourself.
This is the best way to be successful. She is very forward with work that family is a top priority, and she knows how to draw lines and be unashamed of those lines.

Be a contrarian.
As a guiding principle, not caring what others thought led to much happiness for Katie. In making the switch from politics to tech, it was a relief to not do what everyone always expected as the next step. In fact, many of her friends questioned her choice to work at at Airbnb – coming from a world of risk-averse lawyers, this seemed too risky. She believes in skating towards where the puck is in life.

Choosing work is all about choosing the people you’re going to work with day in and day out.
If you feel like you’re interviewing with stupid people or unethical people, don’t choose them. The interview process is usually the best a company has to offer, and people’s worst traits only go downhill from there. Work with people who make you better!

Mentoring is best in an authentic environment.
When searching out a mentor, look for someone who is blunt and willing to be clear with you about your shortcomings.

Not overthinking other people’s motivations.
There was one point in her career when Katie was working at a famous law firm and she worried constantly about what a well-known partner thought of her and her work. When Katie was told by an associate that this person spent more time worried about his own problems than her, it was a freeing moment. She learned to stop obsessing about the perceived reactions of other people.

If everyone wants to do something, it’s already too late. 
Katie firmly believes that when and if everyone wants to do something, you’ve missed the opportunity. That’s why she works in crypto – it’s not figured out yet