Seattle Network Q&A

Members of the Seattle chapter of the Cal Aggie Alumni Association gathered to show their Aggie pride on Picnic Day

There are nearly 30 regional Cal Aggie Alumni Association chapters around the United States. Regional Chapters host professional networking events, social hours, and community service projects, among other gatherings. We recently interviewed three Seattle network leaders who are working to maintain their Aggie roots in what many are calling the next “it” city for tech and healthcare industries.

To learn more about our Seattle network, please visit the chapter’s web page by clicking here.


Lani Chan '05

As a communications employee for CBRE, which oversees Microsoft’s global real estate operations Lani Chan uses her UC Davis degree (English, minor communication) every day. She moved to Seattle for a change in scenery after working in politics for six years. “Moving to Seattle has led to both a career shift and a newfound appreciation of the outdoors!” she said.

What interesting CAAA event have you attended recently?

Last month, the university hosted an event featuring Chancellor Katehi and Dr. Daniel Greenstein from the Gates Foundation, talking about the state of undergraduate education in the 21st century. Guests had an opportunity to ask the Chancellor questions, and she graciously and thoughtfully answered them. There was an incredible turnout. I think we all came away from the event with a broader understanding of how UC Davis is trying to do it all: keep up with increasing educational demands; hire the best industry experts, lecturers, and professors; operate one of the nation’s top academic health centers—all while continuing to pursue key research opportunities to make the world a better place.

What’s unique about being a Seattle UC Davis alum?

Those who are new to the area often describe experiencing a difficulty in making new friends, a phenomenon known as the “Seattle Freeze.” Our events definitely bring some reprieve in that regard. Call me biased, but Aggies to me are such warm and community-oriented people. There’s always a sense familiarity and comfort at our events, and people new to our network always remark at how friendly and welcoming we all are. We may live in Seattle, but we’ve kept our Aggie spirit.

How can interested Seattle alumni get involved?

With a target of one event per month, we could really use an extra hand! Please let us know if you have ideas, an event space we can use, know people who can help, or can make a few calls for the group. We rotate between professional networking events, social hours, and weekend activities with the hope that we can capture a broad spectrum of interests.


Stephanie Fiano MBA '11

Stephanie Fiano and her wife moved to Seattle to pursue a career in healthcare strategy and business development after graduation. She is currently the COO and Healthcare Strategist for Trialomics LLC and volunteers her time to help lead the UC Davis Seattle alumni network.

How does the Seattle Aggie network connect?

There are approximately 1,500 Aggies in the Puget Sound region, and we’re figuring out how to best connect the noticeably diverse alumni. We hold a mix of social events (happy hours, hikes, and sporting events) and professional opportunities (panels, industry experts, firm nights) and fine tune the topics as we get feedback and additional participation.

What interesting CAAA event have you attended recently?

I enjoyed hearing about the Amazon partnership with UC Davis from the Amazon team actually working on the effort. One of our alums is at Amazon and we got a sneak peek at the new locker system being implemented. It was a great moment to see how UC Davis continues to be an innovative university.

What’s unique about being a Seattle UC Davis alum?

The backgrounds of the alumni are noticeably diverse. I’ve met individuals who graduated undergrad from UC Davis before I was born and others who have just graduated (so in their early 20s). It’s always interesting to see how the generations come together over a common bond and it is really neat when younger professionals find mentors. Also, Seattle is the next “it” city; there is tremendous growth in industries (tech, healthcare, biomedical) and movement in the startup/entrepreneurial space. So there is a plethora of opportunities to network and meet new influencers/leaders.


Victoria Brookins '13

Victoria Brookins is an education account manager for Pearson and hopes her career path will lead her to a place where she can leverage her linguistics and Spanish majors from UC Davis to develop student programs or work on instructional development and design.

What led you to Seattle?

The drought! Kidding. But truly I love being around water and Seattle is this beautiful marriage where city life and nature come together and exist harmoniously. It didn’t hurt that the food and beer is out of this world. My fiancé and I traveled here for work and to visit family and after our trip we couldn’t shake the feeling of how much we loved Seattle. We both decided to uproot and start our lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

How does the Seattle Aggie network connect?

The ways in which we connect are really limitless. We have monthly events that our members can attend, but our network leaders are also really receptive to being an advocate for the group and making an effort to connect to the individual member. Sometimes that means coffee, an email, or happy hour. Our members can choose if they want to attend social events, community service outings, professional events, etc. They pick the location and type of event that works for them. We have a Facebook group and a LinkedIn group that we keep updated with cool UC Davis news and to update each other if there is an event someone is attending, or a professional opportunity.

What interesting CAAA event have you attended recently?

We recently held a professional panel where we had Seattle alumni from Expedia, Nordstrom, Union Bank, a managing director at Navigate Consulting and a startup consultant all in one room, talking about their professional experiences, their best memories at UC Davis and their advice for other professionals in the room. I learned a lot that evening and it was inspiring to hear from such a diverse and successful group of alumni.

What’s unique about being a Seattle UC Davis alum?

We have a really unique mix of people up here and every- one is passionate about their city and their work. I think Seattle itself is unique and innovative and captures some of those things that I loved about UC Davis. The companies in Seattle recruit a diverse group of talent and some fantastically smart people—a number of those people are our UC Davis alumni! The groups that come to our events are full of Aggie Pride, and I love seeing that even though we live hundreds of miles away from Davis, we all have a story about the time we ran into someone wearing UC Davis attire and struck up a conversation.