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Alumni Spotlight

Deena Shakir '00

Deena Shakir is a successful business professional. She and her husband Mehdi have two children, 6-year-old Lana and 4-year-old Adam. She earned a joint BA in Social Studies and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from Harvard, and an MA from Georgetown's School of Foreign Service, funding her education through a variety of merit scholarships and side ventures, including co-founding her first company while in college.

She is currently a partner at Lux Capital, a venture capital company focusing on emerging, futuristic ideas in science and technology investments. In addition, she is a lecturer in management at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Prior to joining Lux, Deena was a partner at Google Ventures where she led several investments, including early-stage products in healthcare and directed social impact investments at Google.org.

During her career, Deena has had diverse experiences as an aspiring anthropologist, journalist, diplomat, aid worker and technologist. This was demonstrated by her role as a Presidential Management Fellow at the U.S. Department of State under Secretary Clinton, where she helped launch President Obama's first Global Entrepreneurship Summit in 2010.

Deena is a Forbes contributor featured in both print and broadcast sources such as Fortune, CNBC, and Marie Claire. She was named a "Top 30 Under 40 in Healthcare" by Business Insider, “Top 9 Women to Watch in Venture Capital" by The Wall Street Journal, and “Top 50 in Digital Health" by Rock Health.  She holds memberships and fellowships within renowned leadership networks. Deena recently gave an interview with Bloomberg Technology on International Women's Day regarding women getting hired in the tech field.

After watching Deena's interview, ACDS Speech and Debate coach, Chris Wardner, shared that, "We weren’t competing in speech and debate during Deena’s tenure. However, after Deena took my public speaking class I reached out to the Leland coach and let her know that one of the most engaging and articulate 8th graders in the world was coming her way.  Deena commanded the room and the respect of her peers in a way well beyond her years."

When asked in what ways her years at ACDS had an impact on her career and who she is today, Deena commented, "I have such fond memories of my time at ACDS, including making some lifelong friends who I still communicate with and see regularly." Her favorite tradition was the yearbooks!  She related one of the memories she'll never forget was the time when all four of the Shakir siblings (Omar´99Zade´06, and Laith´04) were at ACDS; "My mother came to pick us all up, and the Pre-K teacher reported that Laith, aged 4, had said to her, ‘What am I, chopped liver?’" Another fond memory was of her older brother, Omar, playing Rumpelstiltskin in the school play. During her years at ACDS she met Jessica Lee´00, who has remained her lifelong friend.

Deena Shakir collage

She advises younger alumni and current students to "Nurture and maintain those friendships." When asked what she would say to prospective families considering ACDS for their children, Deena said that ACDS is, “a beautiful, warm community, and has incredible teachers who become lifelong mentors.”

Deena was active in middle school community service, including serving as the chairwoman of the winter “Nacho Sales” fundraiser. Her ACDS 8th grade classmates voted her “Best Leader," and she has certainly confirmed that vote!

Visit Deena's website to watch her interviews, listen to her podcasts, and much more:  https://deenashakir.com/

ACDS is proud of our alumni and their accomplishments. Below are a few more alumni spotlights that show just a small sample of the exciting paths they forged after graduating from ACDS.  Please contact us to share your ACDS alumni story.

More Alumni Spotlights...

Matt Hunt '12

Matt Hunt attended Almaden Country Day School from Kindergarten through 8th grade and is a member of the Class of 2012. He attended Archbishop Mitty High School and went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Motorsports Engineering with a minor in mathematics from Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) in 2021.

Matt’s proudest professional accomplishment is being part of the Indianapolis 500 Car Race this year (2022) and winning the IndyCar championship in 2021 with Chip Ganassi Racing. He worked on each car as a mechanic and engineer. 

Deena Shakir '00 and Laith Shakir '04

Deena Shakir is a successful business professional. She and her husband Mehdi have two children, 6-year-old Lana and 4-year-old Adam. She earned a joint BA in Social Studies and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from Harvard, and an MA from Georgetown's School of Foreign Service, funding her education through a variety of merit scholarships and side ventures, including co-founding her first company while in college. She is currently a partner at Lux Capital, a venture capital company focusing on emerging, futuristic ideas in science and technology investments. In addition, she is a lecturer in management at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. 

Maxwell Love Snowboarding

Maxwell Love’19 is a vibrant, well-rounded learner whose resume-to-date belies his youth. As a junior at Oakwood School, he recently completed a research summer internship at UCLA into the analysis and remediation of cytotoxicity of cigarette smoke in the lungs. He will submit his resulting research report to the nationally renowned Davidson Fellow Scholarship and the Regeneron Science Talent Search. Maxwell also testified to the San Jose City Council on a high schooler’s perspective of the vaping epidemic, assisting in the successful effort to pass legislation banning flavored e-cigarettes.

Hannah Conradt '12

Hannah Conradt ’12 graduates from the Fashion Institute of Technology with a BFA in Special Occasion Fashion Design in 2022, but has experience and accolades that would rival a professional 10 years her senior. She has sewn costumes for Twenty Pilots including the iconic red cloak in their 2018 video Jumpsuit, and for Hailey Williams of the rock band, Paramore. Hannah has worked as a wardrobe assistant for a Lifetime movie in LA, helped costume an entire two-cast NYC-based production of the opera The Barber of Seville, and completed a summer internship in the Seattle Opera's costume department.

Hunter McKown

Hunter McKown '15 attended ACDS from the four-year-old program through 7th grade but left early to pursue high-level ice hockey. His greatest accomplishment to-date was earning a spot on the US National Development Team, a two-year program in the United States Hockey League. Their team won the gold medal at the 5-Nations tournament in Sweden in 2019. He earned a full-ride scholarship to play Division 1 hockey at Colorado College.

Megan Cronan '05

Megan Cronan ’05 attended ACDS from the 4-year-old program through 8th grade. After attending Presentation High School, she graduated from Santa Clara University in 2013 with a degree in civil engineering.  She is a Professional Engineer (PE) and received the American Public Works Emerging Leader Award. Megan currently works as a senior civil engineer for HMH, a land development and engineering company in San Jose.  Megan was the project civil engineer on the Westfield Valley Fair mall expansion. She was recently selected as the project manager for the VTA Phase II Bart Extension, which includes, among other things, four stations and a five mile tunnel.