Alumna of the Month: Liz Ericson
“I mostly remember moments with friends and teachers like Hayat, Joanne, Philippe, Helene. I remember the tiny writing in the cahiers and adding powdered soap to paint to make it more like oil paint with Chantal.”
When asked about her time at the International School of the Peninsula (formerly the Peninsula French American School, PFAS), Liz fondly recalls memories of a nurturing educational environment and time spent with friends. A student at ISTP from 1986-1992, Liz went on to attend Castilleja for the next seven years, the highlights of which included becoming an All-American water polo player and finding a love of history and math, in particular.
While at ISTP, Liz developed a strong international perspective and an interest in language that has remained with her. She kept up her French studies to both AP levels 5 and 6 and after graduating High School, Liz continued her education at Stanford, studying International Relations. While there, she spent a summer as a bartender near Bordeaux and also studied abroad in Paris (two of the four times she has lived in France.)
|Liz Ericson, ISTP Alumna|
ISTP had a strong influence in shaping Liz’s international mindset. Within the diverse community of the school she enjoyed making friends from different cultures, in an environment that celebrates difference. When asked about the impact of her international education, she says “ISTP primed me at a very young age to build relationships with people not that similar to me: in my small class of just 11 students, we had Vietnamese, Polish, British, Swiss, and of course, French and Americans. Throughout my life, I've been drawn to more diverse and new situations in my education, professional and personal life.”
After graduating from Stanford, Liz joined Google about a year before the IPO in the business operations team. Developing an itch to be in Europe after a year or so, she moved to London to join the Product Marketing Team, leading marketing for Google Maps, Earth and Gmail and also developer outreach efforts, as Android was getting up and running. At this time, Liz also did a six-month assignment to the Paris office to step up Google Maps marketing there. Her love of international education and adventure persisted and after six years, Liz moved to Singapore and then Fontainebleau to achieve her MBA at INSEAD. The class had 75 nationalities across 500 students which created a wonderful patchwork of people and personalities and working styles.
While at INSEAD, Liz applied to McKinsey and received an offer to join. She was originally hesitant of this new career path and says “I thought I would not last 18 months. I'm the ‘Google girl’, not a management consultant." After a year of experimenting, she found herself working on a due diligence project for an eCommerce retailer which she loved and ever since, she has worked with consumer-facing clients: Retailers, Consumer Goods, Quick-Service Restaurants, Apparel, Travel, and recently, Flip-flops! Liz helps her clients think through the scale of disruption that digital and analytics is driving in their industry and how to change their strategy and operating model to remain relevant and competitive in an increasingly unfamiliar consumer and competitive setting.
Liz also chairs the women's recruiting and global recruiting efforts at INSEAD, she is a member of the McKinsey global Reputation Council and a leader of their Consumer Digital practice in Europe.
In an increasingly international world, Liz credits ISTP with instilling in her a sense of global belonging. Her international mindset is demonstrative of life-skills reflected in the IB Learner Profile that is an integral part of an ISTP education. On the difference her education at ISTP has made to her way of thinking, she says “Aside from the number of times I have heard "but you don't *sound* American"...I think the biggest influence is down to the comfort and appreciation of people not like me. There is plenty of proof that diversity is a good thing from business decision making to personal perspectives...but for me it's a simple question of getting to see the world from many more angles than I would or could by sticking to a more local world.”
Thank you to Liz for sharing her story and her perspective with us, we wish her all the best in her future endeavors!
*In 2020, the International School of the Peninsula (ISTP) formally changed its name to Silicon Valley International School (INTL) to better reflect its bilingual programs, location, and international values.