“I am a female and also a minority. Risk-taking is a must for me. If I do not take risks, nothing is going to happen.” — Lisa Ellis.
Lisa Ellis is one of those rare friends that you meet in life who is a constant source of inspiration, positivity, hope and grace. Lisa and I first met through work; Lisa is an incredibly successful executive who is the CEO of a major television & film company as well as the CEO of a private equity firm. She has held executive positions at SoundCloud, Ltd, Sony Music, Reebok, PepsiCo and CBS Radio. Not only is her professional life insanely accomplished, but her commitment to giving back is even more impressive. I remember inviting Lisa to attend an event that I was hosting for Baby2Baby and she sent me a handwritten note saying how sorry she couldn’t attend along with a huge supply of diapers to donate to the organization; I was blown away by her generosity and thoughtfulness. But, as I would soon learn, that is exactly how Lisa shows up in the world every single day. So, as you an imagine, Lisa was one of the first people that Violet and I wanted to interview so we could share her wisdom & advice.
Is there one piece of advice that you wish your 9 year old self would give you today that would make an impact on your career?
My advice is to study hard what it is that you are truly inspired to do. If you are uncertain about your choices yet, explore a lot of things. Try new things, have a diverse group of friends that bring you different exposures. If all of your friends are the same, with the same interests, and do the same things, you will not have a multitude of exposures to things you would never find. It is important to love school and work, so the way to do this is to find what you are passionate about and dive all the way in!
Was there a time you messed up and felt like you’d failed? how did you bounce back?
I mess up and fail all the time, but I am successful more than I fail because I do not let the failures slow me down. I also learn from mistakes. Learning from mistakes requires you to be honest with yourself. If you have an honest communication about why you made an error, than the error becomes learning. Many people become victims, and blame failures on other people. If you own your failures, that becomes a strength.
How did you learn to embrace risk-taking?
I am a female, and also a minority. Risk-taking is a “must” for me. If I do not take risks, nothing is going to happen.
What’s the most important leadership lesson you’ve learned and how has it proven invaluable?
The most important lesson in leadership is to “listen” and “hear” people. If you do not listen and hear, you will never understand what motivates people, you will never receive invaluable information, and you will never be “followed”. Leadership is not “given”, it is because people follow your lead and want you to teach them.
What is the most fun part of your job?
Everything. Even the stressful days are fun. Everything in my job is fun because I am doing what I love. Bad days will happen no matter what you chose to do for a living. So you better do what you love, or else the bad days will be traumatic, heavy and even seem worse than they actually are.
About Amy Powell:
Amy Powell is a recognized industry leader and pioneer in the next generation of digital marketing & content creation. As an entrepreneur and founder of multiple digital, film and television companies, her expertise spans across digital marketing, story-telling, brand-building, content creation and business intelligence.