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By rethinking our organizational culture, we can find not only success, but meaning at work.

Author, Private Equity

Lavin Exclusive Speaker

The way we work—and the way we think about work—has never changed more rapidly than in the last few years. We have a unique opportunity today to make work better for everyone. Carrie Sun spent years at the highest levels of Wall Street, first as an analyst and then working directly for the founders of two of the world’s largest hedge funds. In her acclaimed memoir, Private Equity—hailed by Harper’s Bazaar as “the work memoir of the year”—she recounts how her dream job as assistant to a billionaire eventually burned her out, and how the lessons she learned from her unique experiences can help us change the culture of work for the better. An honest and authentic speaker, she reveals how to reconcile the “mismatch” between companies and employees that can lead to burnout, how to boost fulfillment and purpose for yourself and your teams, and how we can all win at work and in life.

Carrie Sun was born in China and raised in Michigan. Her first book, Private Equity, is “a riveting, thoughtful memoir” which “surfaces deeper questions around what it means to be successful in America” (Fortune). In it, Carrie tells the story of how she became the sole assistant to the billionaire founder of one of the most prestigious hedge funds in the world—and what that high stakes, high pressure environment did to her physical and mental health. It’s a brilliant exploration of how our current system of work is failing to empower us, and what it would take to create a new system together.

Private Equity has been hailed as “stylish” (The New Yorker), “insightful” (Booklist), and “wonderful” (Jay Caspian Kang, The Loneliest Americans). New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Danler says that “Private Equity is a young woman’s reckoning, set at the summit of money and power that asks the most universal of questions: how much of ourselves do we owe our family and work, and how do we find the courage to make our days our own?” Mychal Denzel Smith, author of Stakes Is High, writes, “Private Equity gives us an opportunity to reflect on our own relationships to work, and to think about how we might make a different way in the world.”

Carrie holds an MFA in creative writing from The New School and a double BS in math and finance from MIT. She lives in Jersey City with her husband.

Speech Topics

Future of Work
Private EquityHow to Make Work Better for Everyone

You don’t have to sacrifice your life for your work, or vice versa, says Carrie Sun. The author of the acclaimed memoir Private Equity, Carrie knows firsthand what it looks like to question your relationship to your work, and how you can use that to change the culture around you and make work better for everyone.

In this highly customizable talk, Carrie draws from her own experience on Wall Street to show you how the leaders and companies that are winning right now do their work, and what you can learn from them to compete in this new world, retain talent, and prepare yourself and your company for the future of work. She shows why individual solutions to burnout and turnover aren’t enough, and how we can work together as a team to boost purpose, motivation, and resilience. A dynamic, hopeful speaker, she explains how we can start to reframe common situations at the office in a more compassionate, empathetic way, and how that can catalyze a company culture where everyone is equipped to do their best work.

“I hope audiences walk away with a renewed excitement and optimism about their work,” Carrie says. “I hope they feel more motivated and determined, believing that change is possible.”

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Grit at School
From College to CareerChoosing Your Path and the Journey of Self-Discovery

Carrie Sun wrote her first book, a novel, in the third grade. It took her 30 years to write her second one. “It took me a long time to cultivate the courage to pursue my dream,” she says. “I took many detours. And yet I couldn’t have gotten here any faster.”

Carrie graduated early from MIT, climbed the corporate ladder to the highest levels of Wall Street, and became the assistant to the founder of one of the world’s largest hedge funds—before leaving to write her hit memoir Private Equity. In this inspiring talk geared towards college audiences, Carrie draws on her unconventional career path to offer a holistic view of success: one that isn’t marked by how much money you make, but by your own journey of self-discovery and self-improvement. She shows audiences how to move closer to the life they want, give themselves permission to make mistakes and take detours, and become the people they want to be.

“I hope college audiences walk away from my talk feeling a little less alone, knowing that someone before them has had all the same anxieties and struggled with the courage to live life on her own terms, and yet eventually came out on the other side,” she says.

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Your Asian Background Is an AssetHow You Can Use Your Cultural Heritage to Your Advantage

How can you use your Asian and Asian-American cultural heritage to your advantage, in work and in life? Carrie Sun knows. The Chinese-American author of the hit memoir Private Equity, Carrie reveals the life lessons she learned from her household and culture—and the ones she had to unlearn.

In this talk, Carrie discusses the unique struggles and opportunities that people from AAPI backgrounds have—from the tension between finding your own identity and honoring your parents’ sacrifices, to the difference between having opportunities and having true freedom (particularly with respect to career). She reveals how her parents’ story of moving to America and starting over inspired her in her own life and career, and what she’s learned from them.

“The key to using your AAPI background as an asset is knowing what values you’ve inherited from your cultural history—and then deciding for yourself which ones you would like to keep, and which ones you’d like to amend or discard,” she says.

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