Jennifer Chien, ’06, receives Jon Blum Outstanding Alumni Mentor Award from BEAM, Stanford Career Education

Jennifer “Gem” Chien, ’06, was honored with the inaugural Jon Blum Outstanding Alumni Mentor award during Stanford’s Commencement season.

The award is named in honor of Jon Blum, ’84. It recognizes an alumna or alumnus who has strengthened the Stanford community by engaging Stanford students in candid career conversations to help these students to identify their passions and develop their potential.

Blum has provided for exceptional service and leadership for Stanford. He embodies extraordinary commitment to career education and mentorship for Stanford students.

Jennifer Chien and Jon Blum at BEAM awards ceremony. (Image credit: Ahmad Wright)
Jennifer Chien and Jon Blum at BEAM awards ceremony (Photo: Ahmad Wright)

Blum was influential in establishing the Stanford Alumni Mentoring (SAM) program in 2002, and in providing valuable alumni perspective during the crafting of BEAM’s Vision 2020.

At BEAM (Bridging Education, Ambition & Meaningful Work, Stanford Career Education), Blum is known as the epitome of a “connector,” continually growing his own network so that he can mentor students personally as well as connect them to other alumni who might be of service.

Chien is a technical program manager at Google. In her mentoring profile Chien states, “I was once told that if I studied diligently and got good grades, my merit would speak for itself and all good things would come.

“Since then, I have learned that one’s network and communication skills are equally (if not more) important soft skills that are critical to professional success.”

Her philosophy on mentoring is mostly about listening and asking leading questions.

“I want to help people answer their questions for themselves,” she says. “I share the decisions I made at certain points not as a way of telling my mentees what to do, but to help them in their own decision making. Their decisions shouldn’t necessarily be the same as mine because it’s not about me, it’s about their need and the narrative they want to tell.”

Of volunteering as an alumni mentor, Chien says, “I enjoy giving back because people helped me as a student. I wouldn’t be where I am today without that, so it’s my version of paying it forward and hopefully inspiring my mentees to do the same someday.”

An active mentor since 2006, Chien connects regularly with Stanford students in both one-on-one meetings and through Stanford programs and events. She is described as “unbelievably intelligent, entrepreneurial and innovative.” She shares her time and talents with Stanford students in a range of ways, whether it is through one-on-one mentoring, conducting resume reviews and mock interviews, group mentoring, or connecting students with other alumni professionals.