July 6, 2016

Letter From Seattle

Photo by José Mandojana

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Over a decade has passed since my sister, Methea Sapp ’00 and I made the life-changing journey from a small agricultural town in Washington to the multicultural mecca of L.A. to study at LMU. I recall walking from Whelan Hall (yes, once upon a time, ladies lived on the fourth floor of Whelan!) to St. Roberts for my first class with Richard Rolfs, S.J., wondering, “What in the world have I gotten myself into?” Little did I know that question would continue to follow me personally and professionally.

After graduation, I landed a job as a development officer at Santa Clara University. Driving to work on the first day, where I knew exactly two of the 900,000 people in my new hometown of San José, I found myself wondering again about my choices. While I didn’t know the first thing about development, I quickly recognized the feeling of fulfillment from having a job you are passionate about.

Later I spent 10 years in the Bay Area pursuing numerous adventures, including jumping from a boat off Alcatraz Island and swimming to shore in my first multisport race, entering the first of many 70.3 distance triathlons, and logging hundreds of hours in the Monterey Bay to earn a Divemaster certification. I even was lucky enough to spend a few chilly hours in an underwater cage near the Farallon Islands, off the San Francisco coast, waiting for my first great white shark sighting.

My biggest “What in the world” moment came in 2006 when I received a call from a recruiter who offered me a job at this smallish search engine company called Google. Today I manage a team that is responsible for finding and developing the best technical talent from universities across North America. One of the Google traits I value the most is the company’s encouragement to give back to the broader community. I stay connected to LMU at Seattle-area alumni events and sit on the Alumni Association Board, while still keeping an eye out for more of those “What in the world” moments that keep me uncomfortably excited.

Lysandra (Sapp) Donigian ’00