Tina Weyand earned her B.A. in 1996, and is currently the chief product officer at a vacation rental company, HomeAway.
CE: When and how did you first become interested in philosophy?
TW: My interest in philosophy was completely by accident. I took a “Theory of Knowledge” class at a community college where I was getting my core subjects done for an economics degree. The class was in the evening and fit my work schedule. I fell in love with it. I grew up in a closed community where questioning rules was discouraged. I was attracted to the ability to explore complex concepts, seek evidence, think critically, and communicated ideas with others. As I took a few more classes, I realized that I was also attracted to, and very good at, the technical aspect—symbolic logic. I switched from economics to philosophy and applied to UCLA, a more rigorous program.
CE: What did you like about being at UCLA? What is unique about the department and culture here?
TW: I attended two other colleges before attending UCLA and can compare the three. UCLA and its professors are focused on the discipline, art, and a culture of learning. You can feel the difference and the energy it brings. I was in the honors program and was able to take courses like astrophysics and psychiatry and psycho-biology, etc. I loved the north campus— it is beautiful. Every morning, I would go to the café at 6:30am to study. They always played “Major Tom” by Bowie. Every time I hear that song, I think of my time there.
CE: What class at UCLA made the largest impact on you?
TW: This is an extremely difficult question. There are three that are near the top: “Philosophy of Science,” “Philosophy of Color,” and “Philosophy of Life and Death.” The “Philosophy of Life and Death” class that was taught by Professor Shiffrin is the one I think about the most. It changed my perspective regarding rights and duties.
PHILOSOPHY IN GENERAL, BUT PARTICULARLY AT UCLA, REQUIRES YOU TO BE AN EXCELLENT COMMUNICATOR AND HONING THESE SKILLS HAS SERVED ME EXTREMELY WELL.
– TINA WEYAND
CE: What have you done since you graduated from UCLA?
TW: After graduating, I decided to take a year off to decide on whether to continue philosophy, law, or an MBA. Instead, I was offered an opportunity to join a start-up. After several years, I left to pursue opportunities that expanded my skills beyond product management. I now manage over 200 people who span product, design, customer insights, and product marketing disciplines, and are located in Austin, Denver, Seattle, London, Madrid, Delhi, Singapore, and Sydney.
CE: How do you use your philosophy degree in your current pursuit?
TW: Attaining my philosophy degree from UCLA paid off more than I ever imagined. First, the critical thinking skills are life skills and have allowed me to excel. Second, philosophy in general, but particularly at UCLA, requires you to be an excellent communicator and honing these skills has served me extremely well. Finally, the culture and customs of philosophy demand a curious mind and respect for the counter point of view. This has made me a better product and people leader.