Changing the Conversation, Panelist Introduction: Liz Elting

In case you missed it, we have our semi-annual women’s event, Changing the Conversation: Empowering Women in Business, this Thursday. In anticipation, we want to introduce you to one of our panelists: Liz Elting, CEO, TransPerfect.

We asked Liz to share with us a bit about herself and her background, and here’s what she had to say:

Audience of April's Changing the Conversation event.

Audience of April's Changing the Conversation event.

Describe a challenge that you’ve overcome in your career.

One of the biggest challenges I faced was very early on in my career. Right after graduating from NYU with my MBA, I took a position doing equity arbitrage in the proprietary trading division of a French bank. As the only woman in the office, I immediately noticed a disconcerting trend amongst my coworkers. Whenever the phone rang, wherever I was, whatever I was doing, they would shout across the office, "Liz—phone!!!” This was obviously a bit confusing for me as I was not brought on as an assistant, office manager, or other position that would make some sense of this behavior. Sadly, it’s not hard to figure out why this happened. It wasn’t because answering the office phone was part of my job description — it wasn’t — nor because I was the juniormost employee — I wasn’t. It was because I was a woman. Facing that reality of what others would assume and expect of me, despite my advanced degree, despite my intellect, and despite my hard work, was crushing. I had never quit anything in my life and, though the feeling that I had somehow failed began to set in, I knew I hadn’t spent those years studying, honing my skills, and working my tail off so I could make coffee and take messages for my colleagues. So after a month on the job I gave my two-weeks’ notice. With the deeply-held belief that I deserved to lead, I knew that if I wasn’t going to be allowed the space to do so, I would have to create that space myself.

What is a piece of advice that you wish you could give your former self?

You know your value, don't let anyone ever make you think you're less than. Keep dreaming big, putting in those long nights, and making sacrifices, and know that your hard work will pay off in the end. Believe in your ideas. Know that “bossy” and “difficult” are labels given to women who have the courage to lead and the gall to speak their mind. So be bossy, be difficult, and don’t let anyone ever make you feel like you should be quiet or apologize for your strength and ability to lead. Don’t ask permission, and if you aren’t given the space to be a leader, go create that space yourself.

What are you currently reading/watching/listening to?

  1. Reading: The Sociopath Next Door by Harvard psychologist Martha Stout 
  2. Watching: The News, Documentaries on Netflix, and Premier League and MLB with my family 
  3. Listening: Jimmy Buffett, and a mix of my favorite classics from the 70's and 80's.

To learn more about Liz and our other panelists, don’t miss our event! See below for details, and click here to register.

Changing the Conversation: Empowering Women in Business
Thursday, September 8th
eMarketer (11 Times Square)