Community: Your Secret Weapon in the Job Search | Evelyn Chou

In an evolving job market, traditional networking methods often fall short. Evelyn, a seasoned technologist shares her insights on how job seekers can leverage diverse communities to navigate their careers. She’ll delve into where to turn when networking fails, how to invest in communities that matter, and a framework for balancing solo and collaborative job search efforts.

Key Takeaways:

Traditional networking is not enough: Learn why relying solely on traditional networking methods can hinder your job search success.

Invest in diverse communities: Discover how engaging with a variety of communities can expose you to new opportunities and perspectives.

Balance solo and collaborative efforts: Find out how to strike the right balance between independent job searching and leveraging community support.

Reframe setbacks as learning experiences: Evelyn shares her personal journey of resilience and how embracing failure can lead to innovation.

Embrace the power of community: Understand how a strong support network can provide the encouragement and resources you need to thrive in your career.

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Share in two to three sentences what your talk is about.

In this talk, I will explore how leveraging communities can empower job seekers to navigate the evolving job market more effectively. Drawing from my own experiences and observations, I will discuss where to turn when traditional networking methods fall short, how to invest in diverse communities, and a framework for balancing solo and community-oriented work during the job search.

Based on your talk, what industries are you rethinking innovation?

Tech; Finance / Banking; Retail

Share two or three words that best describe who you are as a person.

Intentional, Committed, Resilient

Describe your feelings about the TEDxLogan Circle event.

I’m feeling extremely overwhelmed at the moment! 🤣 Speaking at TEDx has been a dream of mine for years, and I am beyond elated to be selected for TEDxLogan Circle. As a regular conference host, I’ve always embraced the mentality of taking as many swings as possible without being too emotionally invested in the outcome. TEDx, however, presents a unique and diverse audience, unlike any other community I’m heavily involved in. I believe that a TEDx talk is never just about the speaker: it’s about the community it serves. I hope my talk will engage, inspire, and instill a sense of optimism within the TEDx community.

What is “your why?”

Similar to the concept of “ideas worth spreading,” I’m an advocate to normalize setbacks and failures. Growing up in Taiwan, I was trained to compete in local and national speech competitions, and I always poured my heart and soul into the preparation. While that competitive rigor shaped my approach to work and life, I realize the outcome is rarely within our full control. Living in the States for the last 15 years has also changed my perspective of accomplishment because society overestimates the positive angle of status and accomplishment. Having tried, failed, and bounced back from personal and professional setbacks, my “why” is to bring learning and light to the tumultuous moments in our lives. My other “why" is personal - my grandmother, who used to help me prepare for those speech competitions, passed away during the COVID pandemic. I want to pay tribute to her as I get an opportunity to share my ideas to a broad audience, and I know she would be smiling at me from afar.

Who are three people who inspire you to be creative and courageous?

It’s really hard to narrow it down to three individuals! I’ve mentioned my grandmother who played a pivotal role training me to be prepared and poised for any public speaking opportunities. The other person who often grounds me and keeps my self-doubt at bay is my partner, Chris. We have very different backgrounds. Chris is a biochemistry scientist and is known for his even-tempered philosophy of trial and error. I am a tenured technologist who gets riled up for small things, likes to chase the shiny new objects, and sometimes has trouble finishing things that I started. Others are the thinkers behind books that I often reference: James Clear (author of Atomic Habits), and Austin Kleon (author of Steal Like an Artist). Both influenced me to take small steps towards becoming someone I aspire to be, even though I don’t particularly consider myself a creative person.

What is your favorite way to rest and unwind?

As an introvert, I find solace in nature and energy in physical activities. I started running during the start of the pandemic, and running has been a form of active meditation for the past few years. My partner and I also like to climb whenever we have time. Our goal is to gear up for some outdoor climbing later this year!

What failure helped you innovate better?

I like to joke about being a walking failure in my daily life. As a technologist who transitioned several times in my career, I am no stranger to setbacks as small as rejections and as big as being downsized. The type of failure that helped me innovate and improve is the type where I can find patterns and have time to reflect on things I can versus can’t control. There is plenty of blanket advice such as “don’t take things personally.” I believe individuals have to go through internal transition themselves to coexist with failure. Books like “Man’s Search for Meaning” and “Power of Now” also illuminate how to internalize failure and reframe our perspective at the moment.
Picture of EVELYN CHOU


Evelyn is a connector and technologist with over 10 years of experience across diverse industries like Marketplace, MarTech, and EdTech. She is passionate about helping others navigate the workplace, gain professional clarity, and foster inclusive spaces. Evelyn is a regular speaker at national technology conferences, where she shares her authentic voice and ideas to drive innovation. Growing up, Evelyn dreamed of becoming a TEDx speaker to share her personal journey of adapting to socioeconomic changes, pathfinding across industries, and turning setbacks into learning opportunities. Aligned with the TEDx theme of "Rethinking Innovation,” Evelyn has continuously reinvented herself and transformed those around her, as she believes innovation does not happen in isolation.

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