SGI Reunion next Wednesday, 9/23!

16 09 2015

Hi everyone,

You may already know that the genesis of the KIT List was my personal “keep in touch” email list of my friends at Silicon Graphics. Now Google resides in our cool headquarters. Wow, time goes fast!

Many SGIers are still on this list as they’ve moved to other companies. In fact, they’re the whole reason the KIT List turned from my personal email list to a job opportunities email list. It grew just by word-of-mouth to what I jokingly call “72,000 of my closest friends!”

I’d like to make sure we reach all SGI folks (employees and consultants like me!) so they know about this year’s reunion.

I’m sorry! This is not a KIT List event, it’s just for SGI present and past employees, consultants and contractors. But I’ll do a KIT List event on another date!20130719-134939.jpg

Wednesday, 9/23
The Patio
412 Emerson
Palo Alto
5:30 – 9:30 PM

Please RSVP so The Patio can staff up for the night:

Also, please help me by passing the word to other SGI folks so we don’t miss anyone!

Thanks so much,


Free Phone Interview Preparation for Women on 9/16

4 09 2015

Hello Everyone,

The Silicon Valley and Bay Area are quite robust with free and low-cost career and job resources.

One upcoming event is worth attending since so much of the job search process depends on successful phone interviews before you ever meet the team in person. It’s always a smart idea to keep those skills fresh, especially if it’s been a while since your last search, or to pick up some essential tips if you don’t feel you project your best over the phone.

This event is being conducted free-of-charge by the experts at CareerGenerations in a unique spot in Palo Alto called Deborah’s Palm Women’s Center.

The details are below and feel free to share this with other women who’d benefit from this free training!



Free Phone Interview TYoung businesswoman outside on phone with digital tablet in handraining for Women

Wednesday, Sept. 16

5:30 – 7:00pm

Deborah’s Palm Women’s Center 

555 Lytton Avenue

Palo Alto, CA  94301

Parking is available behind the house (cross streets are Webster & Cowper) at 555 Everett Court.

Employers are starting the interview process with the often challenging “phone screen.” Come and find out how you can best prepare yourself for these meetings so you can move on in the interview process as smoothly and quickly as possible!

The session is free, but pre-registration is required. Light refreshments provided.

Join this fun, interactive session where you’ll learn how to leverage your strengths, distinguish yourself, and be more comfortable during phone interviews.

No cost. Pre-registration is required.

Please note this session is for women only.

To Register, please click here. 

If you have problems with the link, below is the full URL:

About Deborah’s Palm:
Deborah’s Palm is a non-profit organization offering all women a place to unwind, connect with others, discover new options, and restore a sense of well-being. In a warm and welcoming environment, women can find encouragement and support via professional counseling, access to resources, activities, classes, mentoring and community service projects.

Meeting this Saturday: “Getting a Job in the Digital Age: The Anti-Advice Talk” by Noted Anthropologist

12 05 2015

Hi Everyone,

There’s a great event coming up this Saturday by our friends with the Career Actions Network, which is a remarkable organization through MPPC (Menlo Park Presbyterian Church), that provides free services to help get people connected into jobs.

Presented by an anthropologist, Ilana Gershon, who was a visiting professor at Stanford, this is relevant information to those who want to change jobs (not only people who lost their jobs, but also the employed 50% who want to change jobs).

As a visiting professor at Stanford, Ilana spent last year researching job transition in Silicon Valley. She collaborated with the Career Actions Network while she was doing her research, and she is currently on their Advisory Board.

This is worth attending. Pass
the word and bring a friend!



MPPC Career Actions Meeting 5/16:
“Getting a Job in the Digital Age: The Anti-Advice Talk” by Noted Anthropologist

New Attendees pre-register here (its free):

Saturday, May 16

ODCMV Fellowship Hall at 1667 Miramonte Ave., Mountain View, CA


9:30am: Coffee/networking

9:55am Topic: Getting a Job in the Digital Age: The Anti-Advice Talk

Guest Speaker: Ilana Gershon

About the presentation:

What do you need to do to get a job in this digital age? Do you need a LinkedIn profile? Are hiring managers looking for your personal brand? Ilana Gershon is an anthropology professor at Indiana University who thought asking job seekers, hiring managers, recruiters and HR how hiring works might shed some insights into what is actually going on in contemporary US as hiring and the nature of work changes. She did a year of fieldwork in the Bay Area, trying to figure out what has changed about hiring since the 1980s. Find out what an anthropologist has to say about hiring these days.

About the speaker:

Ilana Gershon is a cultural anthropologist at Indiana University interested in how new media transforms highly-charged social tasks, such as breaking up or hiring in the United States. She has written about how people use new media to end romantic relationships in The Breakup 2.0: Disconnecting over New Media. Her current research addresses how new media shapes hiring in post-recession U.S. companies.

In May or June, she will have a new edited collection of imagined career advice for real jobs around the world. If you want to know how to be a professional wrestler in Mexico or a magician in Paris, pick up a copy of A World of Work: Imagined Manuals for Real Jobs (Cornell University Press, 2015).

100 Scholarships for Girls to attend Summer STEM Program free. Deadline 4/1/15

27 03 2015

Hello Everyone,

At a great event I attended last night, Women of Influence, hosted by Tech In Motion, I heard from an impressive panel of women start-up founders and CEOs on a host of topics. But one that was clear is the vital need to encourage young girls to explore and feel confident in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).

I also heard about a special program by ID Tech and that is providing 100 scholarships to young girls to attend the STEM Summer Program free of charge (at various locations nationwide).

NOTE: The deadline is 4/1 to apply!
Please see the details below.

Please help spread the word and share this with friends and parents of young girls and teens!

Thank you all,


20150327-161017.jpg100 Scholarships for Girls to Attend Summer STEM Program free

Application deadline 4/1/15

Girls can apply for a scholarship at

The world needs more girls in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). That’s why iD Tech has partnered with to give 100 girls scholarships to attend iD Tech Camps — free!

At this weeklong summer program, students ages 7-17 create mobile apps, design video games, mod with Minecraft, build robots, code with C++ and Java, produce movies, and more.

Programs are held at over 100 campuses nationwide.

In addition to iD Tech Camps for girls and boys ages 7-17, we also offer all-girls programs for ages 10-15, half-day camps for aspiring innovators ages 6-9, and 2-week, pre-college academies for teens ages 13-18.

Project Management Bootcamp sign ups for classes starting 4/7

26 03 2015

Missed it last time? Due to its popularity TechSF, a service of BAVC, theBay Area Video Coalition, is offering another free intensive Project Management Bootcamp (with job connections included) starting April 7th!

Many people from the KIT List signed up for the last Bootcamp and they’ve asked us to post this to our community again. This is an excellent opportunity to get some key training to open doors for you in the world of project management!

Project Management Bootcamp

Do you excel at managing projects? There are over 12,000 project management jobs in the Bay Area starting at $50K annually and nearly 10,000 jobs starting at $70K a year.

Get certified and get paid to do what you do best. Plus, you’ll have your own personal job coach for up to one year who will connect you with employers looking for project management candidates.

When: April 7th-May 28th, Tues/Thurs 6pm-9pm
Where: AcademyX, downtown San Francisco

Apply here ( if:
– You have some project management experience
– You are passionate about organization
– You love making order out of chaos
– You have a High School Diploma
– You are at least 18 years old
you are a U.S. citizen or have permission to work in the U.S.
– You have been laid off, are unemployed or underemployed



Salary Negotiations: An Art and a Science

24 02 2015

By Lisa Stotlar

Negotiating salaries and other benefits can be hard. It’s hard because it involves risk. It’s hard because you don’t do it very often.

I love making this process easier for people. There are some tricks of the trade I’ve picked up that I hope can help demystify the whole thing for you. Let’s start with why you might not do it. Fear. It is a powerful emotion and can be very useful in this situation. Distinguishing whether the fear you’re feeling is a warning to prepare well for the negotiation or a sign to avoid the whole thing altogether is a good first step.

Group of Business People with Green Business

I’ve had lots of clients who negotiate successfully and some who don’t. The difference is in the preparation, understanding/managing fear, and reading the employer’s signals during the negotiation. I call all this the “Art and Science” of negotiating. The “Science” is the formal prep you do beforehand and the “Art” is the tap-dancing you will need to do in the moment because you never know what they’ll throw at you in a conversation.

The “Science”

Books, web articles, and/or a good career counselor/coach can teach you the science of negotiating – the concrete how-to’s, the math of it, the “if this happens, then do this” scenarios, i.e., all the “homework” you need to do to prepare for the negotiation as well as how to handle your fears. But if you don’t work on your Art too, things can go badly, quickly.

The “Art”

Be sure and pay attention to the subtle clues you can collect during the whole interview process. By the time the offer arrives, you ideally will have a sense of whether the hiring manager/company is flexible, has some wiggle room in the budget, has rigid HR restrictions, really wants/needs you for the role, etc.

All these things give you an idea of how much you can ask for and how carefully you need to tread during the meeting. Remember to be fully present, listen carefully, and assess where the delicate balance/threshold is in the conversation. For example, if the person says his/her “hands are tied” and can’t give you X, then you need to hear that and thank them for letting you know rather than push the issue. Trying to stay on some script (the Science) would be a bad move at this moment.

Here are some real examples of how these things can play out well when you mix Art and Science:

Real Stories as Examples

One of my clients was offered $20K more than the fair market value for her type of job. She didn’t ask for more money, but she did negotiate other things. She had done her homework and was fully ready to negotiate, but the Art of this was to recognize that they were already going above and beyond for her and so it would have seemed odd/out of touch not to recognize that. She happily accepted the offer after a little back & forth about the start date. She wanted a real vacation before starting and was able to get that.

Another was offered a position at a major university. It was a very good offer, but he was coming from the corporate world and had been used to negotiating fairly hard. I recommended that he soften his tune for this if he really wanted the job. Universities often have clear guidelines about what they will and won’t offer. So gently asking if there was any flexibility in the salary was going to be a much better approach than assuming there was more money and simply throwing out a higher number. It turned out well. The hiring manager went back to HR to negotiate on my client’s behalf. The manager and my client were in a sense already a team – bonding over this issue. He ended up with just $2K more, but the positive relationship with this manager was worth its weight in gold. And he did get some other perks including the ability to work from home fairly regularly and to attend at least 2 national conferences every year.

Another client was afraid to negotiate, but was determined to do it and really worked hard on preparing. But … in the end, I actually recommended that he not negotiate salary or a signing bonus. I could sense the offer was a bit precarious and he was desperate for the job. He wasn’t able to fully recognize important nuances in conversation partly because English was his second language. Every time we role-played, he was very forceful in his language and tone. He ended up negotiating a later start date, plus 2 weeks off for a pre-planned vacation, and some tools he needed for the position like a laptop and cell phone. He’s been in the job for about 6 months now and loves it. He feels he negotiated well and I agree.


If you decide you want to negotiate the salary, remember the whole exchange needs to be a Win-Win. You want to get something (Win), but they need something too (Win). So if for example, you’re offered a salary of $100K and their range is $95-115K, then you need to ask for more than you ultimately want to end up with in order to bring their final offer amount up.

For example, let’s say you want to bring the offer up by at least $5K – then nicely ask if there’s some flexibility with the salary because you were “hoping to get something in the $110s, if possible.” This will hopefully get you a final offer of $105-110K. That would be more money for you (Win), but still less money than the high end of their range (Win). You both get something out of the deal.

Note: If you had just said directly – I’d like $105K, the middle ground (Win-Win) would have yielded you about $103K. So know going into the discussion where you want that final number to be and then plan your strategy accordingly.

Lots of things to potentially ask for …

When thinking about negotiating, think about all the things you might want to negotiate for. By expanding your options, you will have the overall Win-Win results you want. Consider …

  1. Title
  • Title can affect money and future titles
  1. Money
  • Base Salary
  • Salary increase at 3 or 6 months if meet specific criteria
  • Bonus (annual, at 3 months, signing bonus, etc.)
  • Commission
  • Profit sharing
  • Stock options
  • Overtime $ or Comp time
  • If not being given medical, etc., ask for additional $ (up to 30%)
  1. Time
  • Request time off for a scheduled vacation, surgery, etc.
  • Request a specific start date so you can have a real break before starting
  1. Schedule
  • Work remotely X days/week
  • Work off-site
  • Flexible work schedule
  • Later or earlier starting (or ending) time every day or on specific days
  • Longer lunches when you want them – or the ability to skip lunch and leave earlier
  • 4-day work week (10 hours/day) or some other variation you need/want
  • Work part-time or work part-time at particular times (for example, summers)
  1. Benefits
  • Medical/Dental/Vision/Disability/Life Insurance
  • Vacation days, comp time, wellness/personal days, doctor appointment & sick time, other?
  • Pension, 401K
  • Matching investment program
  • Parking costs/train pass
  • Childcare subsidy
  • Gym membership
  1. Training
  • Conferences
  • Association dues
  • Tuition Reimbursement for you, your children
  1. Equipment
  • Cell phone, laptop, car, etc.
  • Equipment for your home office if you’ll be doing work from home
  1. Relocation
  • Moving expenses
  • Mortgage assistance

By thinking about negotiations in a much larger context than just salary, and remembering to aim for the Win-Win, you can end up with a much more robust offer.

Remember, no matter how it all plays out, end the negotiations on a high note. Be grateful that they tried to get you a good salary, even if they ultimately aren’t able to offer you what you exactly want. Being gracious about the process and giving them a final “Yes, I happily accept” answer will start you on a very positive path.

I wish you all the best in your next negotiations!

About the Author:
Lisa Stotlar, MA is a career counselor/coach for CareerGenerations in Palo Alto, a career services firm she co-founded with Ellen Shulman, MA in 2010. She has successfully helped thousands of people discover and celebrate their gifts and find meaningful work – and negotiate all sorts of Win-Win packages. For questions about negotiating or other career topics, you’re welcome to schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation with Lisa or her colleague Ellen at and if you’d like to know more about negotiating and gain some invaluable practice, sign up for their March 11 $mart Negotiations Workshop.

10 F’s for a Fabulous ’15

8 01 2015

I have to confess that I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions, in fact I kind of stink at them! I’ve started some years with great intentions (usually too long a list!) that didn’t last long…or I gave up entirely and didn’t make ANY resolutions. Hey, then there’s nothing to break!

But I’m approaching this year differently. I’m just going to choose ONE thing on which I’m going to focus, and really give it my best. It doesn’t mean I won’t be working on other things, but keeping it simple and keeping to one big commitment more likely to stick.

I also am also giving this new year the theme “Fabulous ’15” as the motto for this fresh, opportunity-filled year.

My wish is that you also have a Fabulous ’15 — and that this is a very special year for you in which new experiences, people, opportunities and adventures come to you and your families.

When I thought of the “Fabulous” theme, other words starting with F (OK, just the clean words!) came to mind.

Take a look at some of these ideas and see which one resonates most with you for your own focus to make this a fabulous year:

1. Fight

Stand up and be counted for a good cause. This is not a call to arms, but an idea to shift our energy off our own goals and challenges and to dedicate it to protecting or advocating for others or for your community. I love the lyrics from Don Quixote’s song in “Man of La Mancha,” “To dream the impossible dream…to right the unrightable wrong.” The full lyrics are here.

There are so many needs out there, it can be overwhelming. Yet if all of us choose just one special cause, person or issue in which to some extra time, we can really change the world!

2. Fearlessness

I’m striving myself to not let fears, real or imagined, hold me back. The old adage, “Feel the fear and do it anyway” is the way I’m choosing to go. For high performers in this valley, the fear of failure often thwarts innovation and new directions.

I’m resolving to be more audacious in my goals and dreams. To embrace risk in a positive way and push myself out of my own comfort zone. When we think of the amazing things that are accomplished, it’s often on the heels of what seemed like failure. I’m encouraged by the famous failures-turned-success of Edison, Churchill, Disney and Lincoln. This article profiles just a few who risked failure time after time — which led to remarkable achievements that changed the world for each of us.

Where can you rush in where only fools dare to go? Let’s go forward boldly and dream audaciously!

3. Finish

Is there anything that has been on your life or “To Do” list that you’ve been meaning to get around to but it still languishes? How about dedicating some special effort into finally wrapping up that item or action so you won’t be haunted by it — and feel a sense of accomplishment instead? After struggling to revamp the KIT List web site, the new site is almost ready. I will feel SUCH relief when it’s done! Stay tuned for news about the new, more robust site being up!

4. Faith
No matter where we are in our spiritual walk, there’s always room to grow more deeply in our faith, and to work on our own rough edges that life, family, friends and experiences help to smooth.

In these recent years when I’ve said goodbye to loving parents, close friends and people who’ve inspired and touched me, my faith has given me the strength to face the tough stuff, envelop me in grace to see the meaning in the difficult times and to see how there is a gift and blessing that comes from even the hardest things.

I’ve also been deeply grateful to friends who’ve been there for me, and I hope I’ve been there for them in their own challenging times. Illness, death, and hardships come with being a participant on this Earth — and faith and friends give context, meaning and hope to not only endure but to ultimately flourish and grow into a better person as a result.

5. Foundation

Is there something you’ve been wanting to do to build or strengthen for your future? A new skill to enhance your career marketability — or just to learn something that has always interested you? Better financial planning?

I’m an excellent procrastinator for many things on my life “To Do” List. I’ve found that what has really helped me is to have a success team of friends that you meet with monthly (and even do mid-month check-in calls) to help you keep on track and provide what I call “gentle accountability.” It’s good to keep the group small with 4 – 6 people who will commit to each other and to meet regularly. I’ve had various groups over the years who’ve been an incredible help in my setting and reaching short-term and long-term (still in process!) goals. It’s so wonderful to help and encourage your fellow group members and to see the large and small things accomplished. How about starting a group of your own?

Also, my sister, Kelly Connelly (and co-moderator of the KIT List) has found Michael Hyatt to be an excellent resource for free tips, webinars and podcasts on how to really accomplish the things you want in your career and life. He’s upbeat, interesting and highly informative. It’s worth checking out his resources and get things really moving for yourself. Listen to a podcast while driving and get motivated!

6. Forgiveness

This is an opportunity for grace. Are there things you need to forgive in yourself, or in others, that will free you for better things? The greatest part about the remarkable story of Louis Zamperini in the book and recent movie, “Unbroken,” is not just his courage and resilience, but his freedom when he ultimately forgave his captor and persecutor in the Japanese prison camp where he was the special target of abuse and torture. Forgiveness through faith ended up freeing him from PTSD and alcoholism — which saved his marriage and restored his life and family.

Another favorite book is “The Hiding Place” by Corrie ten Boom, who hid and saved over 800 Jews during World War II, but was ultimately captured and sent to the notorious Ravensbruck concentration camp. Her sister died there, and Corrie experienced much suffering while trying to help and inspire faith and hope among fellow prisoners. But she, too, was able to forgive a brutal guard, and the entire nation, and she spent time after the war helping to heal and rebuild people in shattered Germany. Corrie dedicated the rest of her life as a “Tramp for The Lord” (the title of her 2nd book) traveling the world to share the story of redemption, love and forgiveness.

7. Fitness
This is that time of year that we all start with renewed zeal for exercise and health. I don’t happen to one who loves this naturally, so I have to find ways to make it fresh, fun and more enjoyable. I’ve found it a HUGE help to have workout buddies. I’ll get my reluctant tail to the gym or out on a bike ride when I’ve made a commitment to someone else.

Thank you to my friends and family over the years who have been great fitness buddies. I may not like working out, but you make it much more enjoyable! Is there someone who can help you try a new sport or new routine?

8. Friends and Family
It goes without saying how important family and friends are in enriching our lives. We all know that time is precious and fleeting. No matter what our age, health and just being alive can’t be taken for granted. Work and other commitments make far greater demands on our time in this era. What are ways you can build in more device-free time with those you love and experience new things together?

During this holiday season, my family and friends actually spent time doing old-tech games like Charades and Taboo (pretty hilarious). We also did hikes and bike rides, cookie baking/decorating, going to the beach (the source of this blog’s photo! Carmel was beautiful and we saw a large pod of dolphins frolicking in the waves. What a delight!) and other relaxing things that were just a great way to spend time together.

Slowing down and finding new ways to enjoy time together will reap many rewards in our over-programmed society. Also, is there a way to add new and interesting people into your circle of friends? They can open up new horizons and experiences for you, too.

9. Farewells

People, habits, jobs…it’s hard to accept that change is a natural and important part of life. Sometimes we have to say goodbye to loved ones who’ve died, or to jobs that no longer fit us, or to habits that don’t serve us any longer. I’m learning to embrace change more (it’s a challenge for me!). Instead, I’m looking to find ways to try to get ahead of the change curve (what new trends, learning, skills, talents will be tapped?). I realize that while nothing really ever stays the same, how can I make change work to the positive — and mitigate any possible negative impacts proactively?

10. Fun!
In the midst of the hectic pace and overbooked lives so many of us face, let’s be sure to allow ourselves time for pure FUN — with family, friends and new people. Now that even kids’ sports have become so competitive and stressful, we’ve lost the element of fun, learning, exploring, making mistakes and bumping into new and unexpected things! We need free time for true “re-creation.” Unstructured time without electronic devices allows for better ways to tap into our creativity. A good laugh, or even a smile, releases endorphins into our bodies. When was the last time you allowed yourself to just have fun?

I know, this is a long list, but just choose ONE thing to differently.

You’re more likely to be able to stick to it for the long run this year. Keep it simple and avoid the temptation to have a long laundry list of resolutions. Choose one theme on which to focus and REALLY make a difference that you can appreciate and be proud of at the end of this bright, new year! I’m going to do the same.

If you’d like to share your own ideas or themes for the New Year, please add your comment below!

Kelly, Amy and I wish you a FABULOUS 2015 ahead!


Your KIT List Team:
Sue and Kelly Connelly, and Amy Plunkett


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