Recent labor market information from the California EDD revealed continued good news for San Francisco. The sector with the largest increase was professional and business services, representing nearly half of all new jobs created over the past year. As San Francisco business majors prepare for a career upon graduation, it’s always helpful to gain as much advice as possible for the very competitive local market. One Bay Area native who has had a very successful business career is Lindsey Irvine, Global Director of Business Development and Strategic Partnerships for San Francisco’s largest tech employer, Salesforce.

(Photo Courtesy of Lindsey Irvine

(Photo Courtesy of Lindsey Irvine)

What is your background and education?

“I was born and raised near Palo Alto, where I grew up with a passion for the outdoors, an innate curiosity, and a drive to ‘do.’ I graduated high school from Menlo School and earned my B.A. from Vanderbilt University. From Vanderbilt, I received the fellowship award to work with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in the Health Communication and Informatics Research Group (HCIRB).”

“At HCIRB, I worked with technology vendors and researchers to fund programs that bridged the gap between the discovery, dissemination and application of information into the private and public sectors. It was fortuitous timing because several established technology leaders were entering the health care space. I saw an opportunity to inject health care with new technologies to transform the way consumers receive and engage with information. One of the programs I initiated was a partnership between publicly funded behavioral research (NCI) and privately funded information technology companies.

“I then worked with Adam Bosworth, former head of Google Health, to create Keas. While there, I helped lead the development of, now a market leader in enterprise health and wellness. Six years later, I accepted an offer from Salesforce – a great decision!”

How has your education helped you in your current position?

“It taught me the importance of discipline, rigor, focus and the power of persistence. I continue to apply and hone these skills in my current position.”

What career advice can you share to business majors?

“Do what makes you happy and work with people you really enjoy. Don’t be afraid to take risks, try new things and learn from your mistakes. Be open to critical feedback – it’s the only way you get better. Network. Network. Network! Focus on building new relationships, maintain them and work cross-functionally whenever possible.”

Randy Yagi is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. In 2012, he was awarded a Media Fellowship from Stanford University. His work can be found on