Soon after arriving on campus, she discovered the joint MBA program. She received her law degree and passed the bar, and then fell in love with business and marketing. After earning her MBA in 1995, she did a short stint in public relations for classical music in New York.
A chance phone call with a fellow GSM alumna working at Intel led to Leyden Li applying for an opportunity there, even though she lacked a tech background. It was the beginning of a meteoric rise in the marketing ranks in the ultracompetitive global chip industry.
“That opened a whole new chapter of my life,” Leyden Li said. “I realized when I started working at Intel that I loved technology. It sent my career on a very different direction than I would have thought at the time. I haven’t looked back.”
For much of the past two decades, Leyden Li has held executive positions in product marketing and product management in the semiconductor
The most exciting things in my career have been starting something from nothing and being able to build something, whether it’s a team, a marketing campaign, a strategy, and being able to execute it and see it to completion.”
During her career, she’s been on the forefront of game-changing computing breakthroughs, including Intel’s Centrino Mobile Technology and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors. After 11 years at Intel, Leyden Li moved to Qualcomm as senior director of product marketing for Snapdragon, the company’s high-performance and power-efficient processors for smart phones, tablets, TVs and set-tops.
In September, Leyden Li took on a sales role, becoming vice president of major accounts and strategic alliances at Globalfoundries Inc., a Silicon Valley-based semiconductor fabrication firm with 18,000 employees in Asia, Europe and the United States, and more than 250 customers worldwide. Based in San Diego, she is responsible for many of the company’s major accounts.
She loves the ingenuity involved in dreaming up innovative ideas. “It still amazes me 20 years later,” she said. “There’s always something new. There are brilliant people around you all the time to learn from. It’s very humbling. That to me is exciting because every day I get up thinking, ‘I’m going to learn something new today.’ Isn’t that fun?”