Vanessa Chan, Ph.D.

Working Mom, Geek, Business Person, Maker, Educator, Investor and Dynamic Speaker who helps people be whatever they want to be.
Vanessa Chan loves doing things she's never done before which has led to an eclectic career. She started as an insecure overachiever who got a Ph.D. from MIT then climbed the corporate ladder to become a partner at McKinsey & Company. By living below her means, she could leave her lucrative paycheck to bring her invention, Loopit, tangle-free headphones to life. It debuted on the Today Show & QVC and is for sale at (use the coupon code THRIVE for 50% off). She also inspires the next generation at the University of Pennsylvania as an Engineering Entrepreneurship Professor, the Undergraduate Chair for Materials Science & Engineering and as a partner at Robin Hood Ventures (an angel investment group) where she invests in start-ups. She loves to share her energy as a speaker and you can find her well-received 2018 Penn Engineering Commencement address at She is married to Mark Vanderhelm who is the head of Energy & Waste at Walmart and they have two daughters. Despite their crazy careers and geographical challenges, they are a tight knit family who camp, ski, hike, play soccer, travel and make insane birthday cakes that people think the Cake Boss made. Vanessa's approach to life has been covered in various news outlets like the WSJ, and you can follow Vanessa at @vanessazchan on social media where she's just learning to engage!
Displaying stories 1-1 of 1 in total

These Humorous Life Lessons Will Set You Up for Success

by Vanessa Chan, Ph.D.

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.