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The Importance of Resilience: How Fei Has Achieved Success & Her Advice to Others

Meet Fei Fei, Managing Vice President, End User Product, who joined the Gartner team four years ago. In her recent TedTalk, she shared about her upbringing in industrial China, and how it motivated her to achieve long-term success as a leader. Below she’s sharing her experience and insights.

November 09, 2020

In your TedTalk, you spoke about resilience and how it helped you overcome childhood adversity. Can you tell us a little bit  more about your background?

Oh, this is such a long story! As I mentioned in my TedTalk, I was born in Industrial China, where both of my parents were uneducated factory workers. As a young kid, I had a bunch of odd jobs to try to try to make ends meet. Eventually, I graduated from high school and became the first member of my family to attend college. Then, I made my way over to the U.S. with just $50 in my pocket and 2 suitcases full of books to start graduate school. 

After graduating from Harvard University, I moved to Silicon Valley and then Santiago, Chile, where I worked for large name-brand technology companies. 

How did you come to join the Gartner team? 

My husband and I relocated to Connecticut for his job four years ago. At the time, I  was still working at a company in Silicon Valley and with a team I loved. I wasn’t quite ready to leave, but that’s when I found Gartner. 

What drew me in? The company has so much to offer: A great culture, the opportunity to work with some of the most talented people, getting to solve challenging problems for our clients – I could go on. 4 years and 2 kids later, I look back and don’t regret the decision I made, not even for a second. 

What career advice do you have for someone looking for a job?

First, don’t start a job that will limit you. Find something where you can develop a full skillset: problem solving, commercial knowledge, people skills. Look for rotational programs (Gartner has a few!) that will help you to finesse a variety of skills. 

Next tip? Be confident, and believe in yourself. As I mentioned in my TedTalk, I had a very humble upbringing and came to the U.S. with a basic understanding of the English language. I wouldn’t have dreamed I’d be standing next to some of the world’s top talent and problem solve alongside them. Whether you’re in school or at work, you can succeed as long as you believe you’re no less than others.

Lastly, make careful and selective choices when it comes to your career. One single decision could put you on the fast track towards success or set you back. Make sure a career move puts you towards something better, not because you are running away from something bad. 

You don’t have to be the smartest kid in the class. You don’t even have to be the second best. You just have to put in the work and remember that time is the greatest equalizer – we all have 24 hours in a day. It all depends on how you use it. 

What does resilience mean to you? 

When I think about resilience, I believe discipline and determination are key. If someone tells you that you can’t do something, you feel the need to prove them wrong, right? Keep going and don’t ever give up. For more on resilience, you’ll have to check out my TedTalk!


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