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The Right Balance: Alumnus Succeeds in Tech and Cycling

The Right Balance: Alumnus Succeeds in Tech and Cycling

If he is not at his desk leading global e-commerce sales for Nest, Jon Dreyfus '05 is likely outside on a long-distance bike ride.

After graduating from the University of San Diego in 2009, Jon Dreyfus '05 landed in England, where he interned at the BBC. But it was back in the Bay Area where he found his niche. Before his current post as head of global e-commerce sales for Nest, a division of Google's hardware unit that builds connected home devices such as thermostats, smoke detectors and security systems, Jon launched his tech career with stints at Zynga and Strava.

Beyond the tech world, Jon has a foot in the local cycling community, founding a local cycling club and going on to compete in several major races, including the Death Ride, a 129-mile trip over five challenging mountain passes in the California Alps. Last year, Jon jumped at another leadership opportunity and joined Convent & Stuart Hall’s Alumni Council, which consists of alumni leaders from all four divisions and a range of class years.  

What was your experience at Stuart Hall?
I moved from Hawaii to San Francisco for high school, which was a huge culture shock. Going from a laid back environment wearing shorts and flip flops to full uniform with long pants and a collared shirt took some getting used to.  

Reflecting back on my four years at Stuart Hall, I’d say it was not easy. The curriculum was challenging, I was rowing competitively six days a week and dealing with the many ups and downs of growing up.

Throughout this developmental phase of my life, the curriculum and teachers at Stuart Hall High School were fundamental to my personal and academic growth. The school created a safe environment to learn and work through these challenges in a constructive way that set the foundations for who I am today. For that, I am very thankful.

How would you describe what you do at Nest to current Convent & Stuart Hall students?
I’m responsible for the hardware business on where we sell our products online to customers in over 15 markets globally. My function is to define the business strategy, prioritization and opportunities/partnerships to hit and exceed our revenue targets for

What advice would you give younger students hoping to pursue a career in technology?
Technology is an exciting and ever changing industry that is filled with tremendous opportunity. It’s easy to hear all the success stories of hyper growth (Facebook, Snapchat, Google, Instagram, Lyft) and expect that you’ll see similar results. The reality is that most companies fail and only a select few make the cut, so you need to be thoughtful about the company you select or start. Be passionate and excited about the opportunity but cautious and realistic about the risks you are taking.  

I’d also highly recommend securing as many internships as possible. College is the most opportune time to explore and learn where your skills and interests lie. Try a small tech company, then a more established one — figure out what you gravitate towards and can be successful at.

When did you discover your love for cycling, and what are some of your proudest accomplishments?
I discovered my love of cycling at a young age the second my training wheels came off. It wasn’t until after college that things got serious. I started riding with a small group of people in S.F., which eventually turned into a club called OneSeven Cycling. We peaked at about 35 members and were invited to compete in the Rapha Women's Prestige race, coming in fourth alongside some pro cyclists.

We operated for about two years and built something truly special. The relationships made led to many lifelong friendships, a few new jobs and even a wedding.

Where are your favorite places to ride in the Bay Area?
One of my favorite rides is the Stinson Loop, in which we ride up Mount Tam, head down to Stinson and then back to San Francisco along Highway 1. It's a nice mix of scenic views of the ocean, big climbs and some fun winding descents.

How is Stuart Hall a part of your life today?
I joined the Alumni Council last year, which has reconnected me with the school. Currently I am attending the Alumni Council meetings and contributing as much as I can to assist in defining our mission, marketing strategy and planning.

What does the Alumni Council do, and what upcoming events or initiatives can alumni look forward to?
The Alumni Council is a great group of highly engaged people that are looking to give back and build our community of alumni. We have a few events this year, which I’d encourage everyone to join.

Upcoming Alumni Events:
Sacred Heart Global Service Day — September 15, 2018
Alumni Reunion — September 28, 2018