“Take Advantage of the Opportunities”: Career Tips From an Honors Alumna

The Campuswide Honors Program’s Lunch with Leadership series brings together alumni and community leaders with Campuswide Honors Program (CHP) students. In informal discussions over lunch, students have the opportunity to network, ask questions, and hear some great career tips.

Winter quarter’s Lunch with Leadership featured a Campuswide Honors Program alumna, St. John Knits Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary Christina Zabat-Fran B.A. ’06/J.D. ’12. Zabat-Fran captivated the attention of students with a refreshing perspective on life after college. Alumni and community leaders donate their time for the Lunch with Leadership program. “As a fellow CHP classmate, Christina [Zabat-Fran] was always a creative, proactive, and positive person, so it comes as no surprise that she has found such success in her career,” said Honors Advisor Christina Treble. “We were so lucky to have such an engaged honors alumna come back and share her observations and advice with current CHP students.”

Zabat-Fran was also an instrumental member of the inaugural class of UC Irvine’s School of Law. Working closely with former Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, she founded several key pillars for the school, including the student bar association and the law review, for which she was Co-Editor-in-Chief.

Students were interested to hear that her tenure at St. John Knits began as an internship while in law school and later was cultivated into a full-time position. Zabat-Fran was the first one in the office, last one to leave, and continually asked for additional projects. Her determination and commitment didn’t go unnoticed. Now as one of the most senior executive leaders for the multinational luxury fashion brand, Zabat-Fran provides in-house legal expertise and guidance as the enterprise evolves and globally expands.

“Hearing the timeline of events that led up to the speaker’s [Zabat-Fran] current career was very valuable, as it showed all students the evolution most careers undergo and how to prepare yourself for it” said Mrrik Noubarentz, first year Political Science major.

Zabat-Fran credits her experience as a student leader for positively impacting her confidence and drive. She explains that being an undergraduate at UCI is an awesome time to be involved and try new things. She encourages students to say “yes” more often than “no.” “Life is long, you have time” Zabat-Fran says. “Take advantage of the opportunities, connections, and amazing access available on campus.”

Zabat-Fran advocates that no matter what your career, challenging yourself academically, as in programs like the CHP, will prepare you to appreciate the importance of attention to detail, effectively communicate, think creatively, produce excellent writing, and problem solve.

About the Campuswide Honors Program: Founded in 1988, the CHP is an academic program dedicated to promoting high standards of scholastic excellence and personal growth by combining the qualities of a liberal arts college with the unique opportunities offered by a major research university. For more on the CHP, visit http://honors.uci.edu/.