As an alumna from Stanford University, Irene currently lives in Hayward, CA where she is a director of Medi-Cal Business Development at Blue Shield of California. Irene has carried discipleship and biblical principles into the marketplace and continues to be heavily involved at her local church for the past twelve years. Irene is also currently a city ambassador for the National Chi Alpha Alumni Association for the Oakland, CA area.
What was your involvement in Chi Alpha like?
I served on the worship team and as one of our student leaders. I was also one of our greatest tabling enthusiasts. Every year, Stanford hosted activity fairs for prospective students for them to learn about the student groups available to join. I loved doing this every year and have some great stories of the experience.
How did Chi Alpha impact your life?
Chi Alpha was a key support system for me throughout and after college. I met some of my best friends through Chi Alpha. It kept me grounded in my faith, challenged me to grow deeper in my relationship with God and helped me maintain a godly perspective to fight against the doubts, fears, and anxieties I often wrestled with. My first roommate after college was one of the Chi Alpha pastors and now she’s one of my nearest and dearest friends. The relationships I made through Chi Alpha are some of the best ones I had throughout college and beyond.
Chi Alpha also helped me to find my church home after college where I’ve remained until this day. Glen Davis (the lead campus pastor) recommended Sequoyah Community Church to me when I reached out as I struggled to find a church home in Oakland. I’ve now been at Sequoyah for twelve years and am deeply ingrained in our community. Chi Alpha has been and continues to be an important part in my life journey. (Fun Fact: Glen keeps a list of churches where Stanford alumni attend and I was able to recommend and bring other Chi Alphans into my community because of it!)
What is your current occupation and what do you do on a day-to-day basis?
I’m a director of Medi-Cal Business Development at Blue Shield of California, which means I’m focused on driving the strategies that grow our business. We seek to serve more people in Medi-Cal (also known as Medicaid) to ensure all have access to quality care, so my team is tasked with driving those efforts. It’s a combination of strategy and project implementation.
How are you continuing to live on mission and be involved in discipleship?
I’m deeply embedded in my church community and strive to reflect Christ in how I show up in every area of my life. I’ve been at Sequoyah Community Church since the day I visited almost twelve years ago and serve on our board, sing on the worship team, and help in various ministries. I’m also open about my faith, activities, and connection to the church in my workspaces. My weekends often involve church so it’s easy to share about what’s important to me and how I spend my time in a natural way. I’m also trying to be intentional about praying for my friends and colleagues and asking the Lord how I can be a light in their lives. I strive to be a servant leader in my capacity at work and work towards displaying patient, compassion, and empathy in trying times.
How have you found the ability to give in the marketplace impacts your walk with God?
Giving is near and dear to my heart and is something I seek to grow in regularly. In business school, I attended a retreat called the Journey of Generosity, which taught us how to live a radically generous life. My desire is to be able to live on a reverse tithe; I’d love to be able to give way ninety percent and live off of ten percent. I also have a dream of writing a $100,000 tithe check; I don’t know how, but that’s been a prayer of mine for years. I’m committed to giving beyond the tithe and genuinely enjoy blessing family and friends. I’m trying to work on blessing strangers more too. I also work on making room in my schedule to give of my time, both at church and other activities that help others, such as mentoring.
What advice would you give other alumni who are trying to live on mission in the marketplace?
Pray about your work and seek God’s wisdom for both personal and career moves; ultimately it’s all intertwined. I’ve learned that God cares about my work and can help me. I’ve often found that when I was confused by work, if I prayed, I got clarity. If I asked the Lord how can I serve my team, He would open an opportunity. No matter how small I thought it may be to God, I’ve learned that He cares and can help. Releasing control to him over my life, career included, has helped me the most in trying to live on mission in the marketplace.
Over the last few years, I find myself drawn to Ephesians 2:10 as a constant reminder that God is in control, “For we are God’s masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” It reminds me that He has already been where I am going and so he has created me to step into each moment. It’s my daily reminder that my life has purpose, even when work at times can feel meaningless, and so I draw on the Scripture to keep moving forward.