Janet T. Phan | At-large Trustee

Class of 2009, Bachelor of Arts, Management Information Systems and Finance
Class of 2013, Masters of Science, Information Systems 

Portrait: Janet Phan

Why I Serve

I am a Pacific Northwesterner, a woman in STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) — specifically in technology — and a two-time graduate of the Foster School of Business at UW. I am a Husky through and through — I was even born at the UW hospital!

A daughter of Vietnamese refugees, I was the first person in my family to go to a four-year university, and thus needed help navigating the American education system. Luckily, I had several professors and counselors at the Foster School of Business who saw my potential. An Information Systems professors encouraged me to get into technology by explaining, “There are not enough women in this field, and if you get into it now, the world will be your oyster.” He eventually helped me get an IT internship at Weyerhaeuser where I found a mentor who helped open doors for me to rapidly grow my career in technology, including being the chairman of the non-profit organization that I founded.

Since earning my Masters degree, I wanted to help break down the challenges of higher education (gaining entrance, financing tuition, graduating, starting a career) especially for those who came from a similar background as mine. I want to share my story and engage with alumni looking for education beyond high school and undergraduate studies. Being on the UWAA board for the first time in 2016, I learned about so many resources available for underserved and underrepresented populations that I didn’t know about when I was an undergrad. I’d like to help bridge that gap and help more students become aware of and connect to these opportunities and resources. I am also here to fight for funding for higher education so future students can focus on the incredible engagement opportunities that UW has to offer and fully embrace being a student.


Janet T. Phan is the founder and executive director of Thriving Elements, a non-profit organization with a mission to create access and opportunities for underserved, underrepresented girls in STEM in order to bridge the gender disparity in STEM fields. The organization focuses on empowerment through mentorship, a topic she spoke about at TEDxZurich in 2020. In 2022, Janet published Boldly You: A story about discovering what you’re capable of when you show up for yourself, a memoir and self-help book looking at her hardships and life lessons through the lens of resilience and strength. Janet currently works as a Senior Technical Product Manager for Amazon’s Project Kuiper with a mission to bridge the digital divide. She previously held roles at Microsoft, The Boeing Company, and PwC.