Where are they now? Vivian Yu (2017)

Where are they now? Vivian Yu (2017)

In 2007, I walked through the Pymble gates for the first time. Being surrounded by capable and driven young women for a decade at Pymble has undoubtedly shaped me to become who I am today. Currently, I’m in my final year of a Commerce degree at USYD, podcasting about impactful businesses and tech, and pursuing a career in product design after I graduate.

My journey to where I am today has been pretty unexpected. During my time at Pymble, I was often asked the question, “What do you want to do after school?” – something I never really had an answer for. My absolute favourite subject in school was Art, so I told my parents and teachers that I wanted to be an artist. After my parents quickly shut this down, I decided to study a more general degree in Business. I tried my best to retain some creativity in my studies by opting to major in Marketing and Design.

In my second year of uni (2019) I experienced a pretty life-changing moment – going on exchange to the University of Washington in Seattle. It was amazing that you could just pick things out at the Amazon store and leave, with the store knowing exactly what you took! At the university, I was also able to study entrepreneurship classes and found that most of my classmates in the business school surprisingly wanted to work in tech. This opened my eyes to a world of tech and innovation.

The enthusiasm for non-STEM students for the tech industry in America helped me discover the growing tech industry in Sydney when I returned. In my third year, I landed a design internship at a tech firm called Atlassian, where I was responsible for designing the look and user experience of software. I found that there’s a place in tech for creative people too, and that it wasn’t all about maths and coding. After all, the designer makes just as much impact on a tech firm as the engineer.

After completing my internship over summer with some newfound tech knowledge under my belt, I began to explore the world of start-up tech firms. I loved learning about tech businesses through podcasts, which kept me occupied on some long train rides. However, I found that most of these podcasts were hosted by males which also reflects the concerning statistic, that 78 per cent of founders in Australia are male. This was kind of shocking to discover after having grown up at an all-girls school. While there’s a whole genre of lady start-up podcasts, women shouldn’t need to listen to a female-only podcast to feel represented.

With the aim of changing this, I started my own podcast with my friend Sydney, another ex-Pymble girl. Our podcast is called The SproutCast, where we chat about finding your place in the world and growing an impactful career. We’ve interviewed over 15 incredible people in the tech and start-up space that are working on impactful businesses and changing the world. Our mission is to share the mindsets and experiences of our guest speakers to inspire young people to fearlessly pursue the things that inspire them.

This exposure to people creating impactful business and technology has also inspired me to have a crack as well through my own projects. Something I’m working on right now is addressing climate change by tackling food waste, which is a massive environmental and social problem. I found in a report that the largest driver of food waste in Australia is households, surprisingly more than hospitality and agriculture. Together with my team of designers and software engineers, we’re working to develop technology to help people reduce their food waste at home. Please reach out if you’re interested in hearing more!

My friends and experiences at Pymble still play a large role in the things I do today. I’ve only left Pymble for four years and am excited to discover more of what’s to come.