Interview with Elizabeth Walsh, WBEC-East

For this year’s International Women’s Day, our team at Slice is proud to celebrate women across the marketing and communications industry through an interview series.

This interview is with Elizabeth Walsh, the President of the Women’s Business Enterprise Center – East. Read our full interview series here.

How do you define your leadership?

From the identified models of leadership, I would likely fall into the “Servant Leadership” philosophical ideal. The important part of the word leadership to me is the “ship.” Partnership, fellowship, guardianship, citizenship, nonpartisanship, membership, championship. These “ship” words represent to me inclusivity and the embracing of all folks and ideas. I think true leadership is based on authentic empathy and understanding of all constituents in your sphere of influence, both internal and those even marginally impacted.

How has your leadership changed in the past year?

Wow. Everyone has been changed by 2020. I think I’ve slowed down and become more empathetic to people’s lives. When you’re talking to people (via video) in their living rooms, it creates a different level of intimacy and understanding your staff and the familial obligations they may be juggling.

Can you share a story that demonstrates a key learning for you in your leadership journey?

When I worked for a community college, I was conducting interviews for a few staff positions, with my immediate supervisor. I would explain the position and jump into the interview. My boss (who was a great leader!) Nancy took two candidates off the list right away. They were visibly confused by my intro speech and how I talked (I’m from Philly – was it the accent or the quick cadence – who knows?!). She said, “If they can’t understand you in an interview, they won’t understand you on the job.” Realized then that even if I am a good leader, I’m not the right leader for all.

Who do you follow on social media that you would recommend to other women leaders?

Most recently Amanda Gorman, and all of the WBE (Women Business Enterprise) business owners that I can find!

Thank you to Elizabeth for taking part in our interview series. And be sure to read the entire series!

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