‘A catalyst of trailblazers’: Life Hack Day brings together Flinn Scholars to talk careers

April 26, 2022

By brianpowell

Life Hack Day brought the Flinn Scholars community together April 16 at the Arizona Opera, next door to the Flinn Foundation, for the annual career-development event. About 60 Flinn Scholars currently attending Arizona’s public universities had the opportunity to meet and network with Scholar alumni and select speaker-based sessions that covered a wide range of topics. The sessions were led by Scholar alumni as well as Dr. Eric Reiman, CEO of Banner Research and a member of the Flinn Foundation board of directors, and Dawn Wallace, Flinn Foundation vice president, civic leadership.

Below are some thoughts from Scholars who participated:

Sakina Lord
2021 Flinn Scholar
Northern Arizona University

Life Hack Day is a brilliant representation of what it means, to me, to be a Flinn. The speakers are true Flinns: gracious and passionate people who are excited to help their community. Participating in Life Hack Day empowered me to not disregard the non-traditional path out of fear that it may not work and the world will leave me behind. The speakers at Life Hack Day are a testament to the Flinn community and network. When one individual had a slight interest in an area, the speaker was more than happy to share their experience, knowledge, or admittance of lack of knowledge and reference to connections that could help enable that individual.  

I enjoyed how real and honest the speakers were about their daily lives and the strength they drew from many failures. I was inspired by each of their dives to do what was valuable to them rather than what the world deems high-status. Ashley Davidson spoke to the 200-plus papers she submitted to get 12 published, and the numerous publishers who turned down Damnation Spring. Bart Steiner spoke about his failed companies and what he did and did not like about his work and his field. One commonality between all the speakers I enjoyed was the sense of consistency and integrity, in dedicating time to their passions daily, and turning down dishonest and unethical prestige and environments. 

I feel I already knew that Flinn alumni were a valuable resource, but this event helped me understand the true depth and extent to which this network reaches. I also underestimated how interesting and impactful academia and research positions can be as a career. Before Life Hack Day, I had not considered these paths, but, after conversing with some speakers, I am now actively looking for research opportunities. 

Sometimes our paths are set, other times we don’t yet know what paths are available. Sometimes we need to pivot, to trail hop, or trailblaze. To me, Life Hack Day is a catalyst of trailblazers, sharing tools, connections, and building a network of both knowledge and resources through our stories. 

Netia Unger
2021 Flinn Scholar
Arizona State University

My experience at Life Hack Day was impactful. This type of event can be intimidating because you’re talking to people who have very successful careers, but it was quite the opposite. I felt so comfortable with each group and speaker.

In addition to information that will help further my desired career in the medical field, speakers shared valuable life skills as well. It was refreshing and encouraging to hear from fellow Scholars in similar situations share different approaches for pursuing their passions. Different paths for my field were opened up that I had not previously known about.

Life Hack Day immersed me into the community and also furthered my connections by being able to connect with alumni who have offered to provide further guidance. I can’t wait for next year’s event and am so glad to be a part of this ever-growing rich community with the Flinn Foundation. 

Chandler Chang
2019 Flinn Scholar
Arizona State University

Life Hack Day is a must-attend event. You can never overestimate what you might learn: rich wisdom about finances, mental health, career and resume-building, or just personal life. It’s a truly one-of-a-kind networking experience that brings people established in their professions here with the goal to enrich the lives of the current Scholars.

Isn’t that beautiful? No awkward formalities, no trying to impress anybody, just straightforward conversation and advice about whatever could be on our young adult minds. These kinds of events truly reinforce one of the greatest qualities of the Flinn community. Even across our different disciplines and life experiences, we have an innate desire to stay connected and help each other wherever we can.”