Fitting In and Standing Out Building Bonds
Nicole Chang, Senior VP, Consulting Company

Teaching Guide for Women Inspired Program


In today’s world, highly talented women continue to face challenges that limit their success, career potential and general life satisfaction.  In partnership with the GSB Women's Task Force, the GSB Alumni Relations Office makes these resources available to spark thinking and discussion on important topics of career navigation, leadership through awkward dynamics in the work place, work-life balance, and diversity. 

These resources are designed to challenge you to grapple with the forces driving your own internal compass and gut reactions as you watch, discuss, and share a combination of both the Capstone Perspectives and Video Case Vignettes.

Women Inspired Program Vignettes

This content is designed from real stories and perspectives of diverse women with the simple assumption that career satisfaction and life success are driven by the ability of a woman to make consistent value judgments and decisions that are driven by an inspired perspective of oneself and ones life vision.  The vignettes and cases are structured to spark personal reflection around one's own values and decision-making process, which will lead to transformative learning of practical ways to address challenges.  The video case resources are made available to all alumni and the content is designed to be experienced individually, in a group discussion or with a professional coach.

The collection includes two different types of videos: Capstone Perspectives and Video Case Vignettes.  The Capstone Perspectives feature a woman’s perspective, experience or advice on a particular topic or theme.  The Video Case Vignettes focus on a particular challenge a woman faced, decisions she made, and what she learned from the experience.

Video Case Vignette Format

These case vignettes feature leaders who share their experiences and insights to help you understand the opportunities you have to hone your own thinking and career design.  The case vignettes are broken into 3 clips: the background and challenge; the decision or action taken by the leader and the results of the case with lessons learned.  At the end of each clip, take time to consider or discuss how you might handle the dilemma, whether or not you agree with the action that was taken, or what you might do differently and why.  Take heed of the lessons learned and see what advice you can take from leaders who have gleaned important insights from their experiences.

How to Make the Most from the Video Vignettes

Try to watch a combination of Capstone Perspectives and Video Case Vignettes from different leaders.  In many cases, you will see that leaders may handle the same question or challenge very differently.  Consider which approach or perspective works for you.

As you watch the videos, reference the scrolling notes next to the video, which includes a brief background on the leader, a summary of the vignette, take-aways, and questions to consider.  For every vignette, ask yourself whether or not you agree with the leader.  Try to understand what values or frameworks are driving your reactions.  If you have not yet faced a similar challenge, consider how you might use the challenge to prepare for what may lie ahead.  You may also recall a very different challenge you have faced that brings you to a similar conclusion as the challenge in the video.

As the leader shares her challenge, imagine yourself in her shoes and how you would handle the situation.  Pause the video to consider and/or discuss the challenge, how it is handled, and the lessons learned.  Think about what you might do differently or what was done well.  Use these stories and insights to consider the values and decision making processes that drive your own internal compass.

Take time to reflect on your own situation, goals, values, plans and future.

After you watch the video, ask yourself the simple question:

What will you continue doing? Start doing? Stop doing?

Additional Readings and Resources

Video Vignette: Building Bonds in Asia

Featuring: Nicole Chang



An Executive struggles with how to build relationships and close deals with partners in Asia who are used to bonding after hours by drinking and going to spas, where she is not welcome.


Background on Leader:

Nicole Chang currently serves as senior vice president, strategy and corporate development, for East West Bank.  Previously, she spent the past decade in Greater China as vice president, global business development, at Duty Free Services, part of Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey luxury group, and one of the world’s largest and most progressive travel retailers; chief executive officer of a media company producing content for broadband and mobile telephone markets; and chief operations officer of a large wine importer. Earlier, she was COO/CFO for a media conglomerate based in Eastern Europe.  Ms. Chang started her professional career as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company in San Francisco and an investment banker with Morgan Stanley in New York. She has founded several companies and currently sits on the board of the nonprofit P.L.A.C.E. Children’s Museum. She also is involved in the international art market and has a film certificate from the New York University Film School. She recently produced the short film Agents of Change: The Many Faces of Stanford GSB in China.  Ms. Chang is married with two children.



Be creative about ways to create opportunities for you to bond with colleagues and customers.


Considerations and Questions (Segment 1):

1-    Given the awkwardness of the cultural bonding opportunities, what options does she have?

2-    What can Nicole do to build relationships without compromising her own values?

3-    What risks should Nicole consider with her strategy to bond?

4-    When faced with a similar challenge, how have you handled the situation?


Considerations and Questions (Segment 2):

1-    What surprises you about Nicole’s choices?

2-    What did Nicole do that worked well?

3-    What would you have done differently, if anything?


Considerations and Questions (Segment 3):

1-    What are the advantages and disadvantages of bonding after hours?

2-    How can you address awkwardness of potential sexual advances or misinterpretation of participation?

3-    Was the participation in these events worth the risks?


Key Take-Aways

It is helpful to immerse yourself in the culture and common ways of doing business.

By spending time with people outside of work, you can get to better know them, see their perspective, and understand their concerns on familiar terms.

Bonds built outside of work can help in negotiations.

By having the chance to joke about issues in an informal setting, you can more easily work through differences when back at work.

Drinking in Asia is somewhat of a “badge of membership”.  By drinking with colleagues, you show a respect for the culture and the way things are done.