Jan. 31, 2013
STANFORD, Calif. -
Every Thursday, GoStanford.com presents an interview between a former Stanford gymnast and team manager Tori Lewis. This week, Tori interviews Kelly Fee.
Tori: Can you catch everyone on up on what you’ve been doing since you graduated from Stanford?
Kelly: Right after graduation, I worked at Google for two and half years. I really liked it there. Four months ago, I left Google and joined a start up called Capriza, which is in Palo Alto.
Tori: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?
Kelly: I have this blog that is like a satirical wedding blog and I think my greatest accomplishment is when my mom likes my posts on Facebook [laughs].
Tori: What life lesson has stuck with you from your time in the gym?
Kelly: So many. What hasn’t stuck with me? I think the lessons of the importance of short term goals, creating a plan and going after it, having the mentality of going after something as a group and having no regrets in failing are the main ones that have stuck with me.
Another thing is balancing a commitment with intensity with a good perspective on life. You should pursue things with a lot of ambition and aggressively, but not lose sight of what’s really important, which is good to remember, going into the work world.
Tori: What’s your favorite memory from SWG?
Kelly: We made up these skits to music. We broke up into groups of three or four and had to do these dances. My team went “gangsta” and we made fake grills out of tin foil. It was so flipping fun … no pun intended on the flipping!
Tori: Can you talk a little more about your academic experience at Stanford?
Kelly: I wasn’t that into school in high school, I just tried to get good grades. But once I got to Stanford, I got really into what I was studying, especially by my second year. I loved learning. I was an IR major, Spanish minor, and kind of fell into it.
Thanks to Stanford, I really found out what I love. For instance, I took a lot of Spanish poetry classes and it turns out that I love poetry, all types. That was really enriching. I also learned that I love IR, which I mainly took to not take Math 51, but I ended up loving it. Stanford taught me to be proud, not in a prideful way, of my ability to communicate, and really helped me to build those skills.
Tori: Do you have any other thoughts or reflections about your particular era with the team?
Kelly: There’s a lot of fun rivalry between the different years. But I really think our year was really special because we were really close and knew each other so well. We were so focused on achieving something together and there were no divas. That’s unique on a gymnastics team, because it’s an individual sport that gets turned into a team. There was never once, in my 4 years, a single diva. There were a couple girls on the team that had every right to be a diva because they were incredible! Especially [current Stanford assistant coach] Tabitha [Yim], who had every right to be a diva but was not! That’s definitely an overarching memory.
I know for me, one thing that was really special, was that as a freshman I was really taken care of by the upperclassmen. One girl in particular, Jessica Louie, helped me. There was really this cycle of when you come in, you’re pushed but you’re helped by the older girls, and then when you get older, you push and support the younger girls. It’s very healthy and loving, but also very tough.
Tori: Do you have any advice for the current athletes?
Kelly: Get to know the coaches really well. Don’t be afraid to pour your heart out to Kristen, because she really cares more about you as a person than you as an athlete.
Focus on whatever it is that’s in front of you. If you’re in the gym, focus on gym. If you’re in school, focus on school. My life motto is work hard now, so whatever is in front of you, go after it, and don’t think about the next thing until you’re done with what you’re working on.
I am so grateful just that I got into Stanford. Once you leave, you realize how lucky you were. The fact that you’re a student-athlete is actually a really good thing when you enter the workforce. It’s worth the sacrifice to do athletics.