When was the last time you exceeded expectations? A successful Silicon Valley recruiter and Board Member for MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), this month's Woman in Control relies on this question for both for her candidates, and for herself. From working through the tragic death of her younger brother to learning her way towards a six-figure income, the idea of going above and beyond has allowed her to take life head-on while creating change with non-profits along the way. Meet Elisa.
Tell us about yourself-
I am a seasoned Senior Recruiter, in the past I successfully hired for the world's largest high tech companies such as Google, Apple Tripadvisor and AOL/Verizon.
I recently consulted as Chief Talent Officer at a staffing boutique firm, we work with well known companies such as Amazon, Sony PlayStation, Dolby, and Samsung. I hire from the business side to engineering roles...I love to recruit TOP talent on a global level, I have hired for Asia Pacific, South America and US.
Having worked for such large companies like Google and Apple, how have you felt as a latin/diverse woman in a male driven industry, and how have you been able to empower yourself?
Being a minority has been an advantage because every company needs to hire diversity. I made it a point to research my competition and learn what I needed to do to stand out. In addition, I was able to take advantage of being bilingual while consulting at Apple, I hired for all of Latin America for the launch of Apple’s first store in Brazil.
I think it is fair to say that we live in a male driven world. You can choose to be intimidated or empowered. I choose to empower myself by being prepared- becoming subject expert in the projects I took on and taught myself tips/things most of my peers did not know. It is about representing yourself and being confident of what you are delivering regardless of your audience. Im my experience, women executives have helped me understand that it is important to be confident, fierce and to deliver communications with facts vs emotions. Educating your audience to understand where you are coming from in order to be on the same page can be a game changer. Try it! If you find yourself starting a sentence or making a statement with your personal thoughts...STOP. Restart and state a fact instead.
How do you define the power of hiring?
I have no power, I have the opportunity to help present talent and connect talent to great opportunities. The candidates do all the work, I think coaching them and setting expectations provides good candidate experience which allows candidates to be prepared. In the long run it makes the candidate successful.
With the gender pay gap, how would you tell other women out there to ask for a better salary and earn what they want?
Believe in yourself, know your worth, do your research, and do not be afraid to ask! Most people are afraid to ask, so they would rather complain about it which ends up holding them back in the long run because they are not motivated to excel in their position.
I learned that being part of Silicon Valley’s highly competitive market there was always going to be someone as qualified as I was. The key is understanding what is expected in the position is very important. The game changer is to understand what it means to “exceed” expectations. We are hired with the expectation we will deliver, but when you come in exceeding expectations you have more space to negotiate higher pay, more opportunities may be presented and you become more marketable at the same time.
"I think it is fair to say that we live in a male driven world. You can choose to be intimidated or empowered."
How did you become involved with MADD?
In 2001 my brother passed away due to a drunk boating accident. Edgar was in a tragic boating accident, 4 passengers were ejected from the boat while going 40 mph. Everyone was ejected, 3 passengers were able to swim back up but my brother never came back up. It was confirmed Edgar Jr drowned in a boating accident at the age of 22. The irresponsible driver had been drinking all day, he was 32 years old, this was his 2nd DUI. It took 15 days for my brothers body to come back up, 2 fisherman found his body. MADD victim services were a huge support during the two years of court in a county that was less than sympathetic and made the case a nightmare to deal with. It was the driver's second DUI but he hired a top lawyer and our lawyer gave up in the middle of the trial. Thanks to MADD they recommended a lawyer from their network who helped us finish the case.
It was a matter of time that I would go back to MADD and devote any time I had to help educate young adults and save lives in memory of my beloved brother.
How has MADD as an organization impacted your life?
MADD has supported my parents during the toughest time of our lives. Victim services made a huge difference and was instrumental in helping us close the Escobars’ vs Brosnan case. In addition, they provided resources for my grieving mother who was having a very hard time.
How has your loss of a family member strengthened you and what advice would you give to someone who is going through something similar?
I been able to turn such a painful tragedy into purpose. I started my mission with MADD in 2009 and since then have grown and learned so much about myself and my passion to touch and educate our communities. I do a lot of work with high school student, educating them with the costs of DUI and how it will affect their lives. Remind them of how many people die each year due to drunk driving. Over 10K people died due to drunk driving in 2015...Numbers do not lie!! I am highly inspired to know that I am touching and saving lives. That my audience will remember my brothers tragic story and make better decisions when drinking and driving.
In addition, I was very fortunate to connect with a great therapist for over 3 years. She really helped me personally as well as professionally. She helped me to organize my thoughts which really helped me being my mind body and soul journey.
How has your perspective on life changed?
Life is too short, each day is a gift. Try to live my life with a purpose versus anything else. I like to reference the serenity prayer, which we referenced for brothers memorial.
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” -Reinhold Niebuhr
What does counting your blessings mean to you?
It means to be thankful and grateful for every opportunity given, be it good or challenging. We learn from making our worst mistakes, that is a blessing in itself! Learning to honor what the universe is giving us and being able to see past the challenge will allow you to learn but also understand where you went wrong. I count every blessing and continue to be thankful for blessings and the many lessons each blessing has in store.
Can you tell us about the Walk Like MADD event?
Walk Like MADD an opportunity to do something about drunk driving in our community. Thousands of people in over 90 cities around the nation participate in the 5k events to eliminate drunk driving. This is my 3rd year fundraising in memory of my brother “TeamEd”, I hope to encourage for family and friends to also participate.
To learn more about Ed's story click here.
Support Team Ed!
In your career you were given an opportunity that changed your path. What would you say to someone searching for this “golden ticket” in life?
I worked hard to connect the dots, to always shoot high and dream big. Having a good understanding of your objectives and what to do to exceed expectations. Taking advantage of resources such as trainings or certifications companies have to offer. My mentality was doing anything that would make me stand out.
I was blessed to cross paths with an executive in 2008 who owned his own staffing firm and told me I was worth well over 100K which it blew my mind. He trained me and mentored me for about 6 months but it was the best training anyone could get. Sat facing him and he listened in on every conversation I had. Imagine your boss being on every call...Less than two years after I met him I started making 100K and have not turned back since!
- To view Elisa's work click here.
What does being a woman in control mean to you?
Women in control represents all the passionate, talented women that have no fear. There is no limit to what a powerful passionate driven woman cannot do and would not do for other women at the same time.
Here some of the words that come to mind when I think of women in control: Talented, Influencer, Passionate, Giving, Different, Driven, Leaders, Creative, Lady Boss!
If you could say one thing to a young girl encouraging her to be a woman in control, what would you say?
Do not let anyone tell you that you cannot make your dreams come true. If you believe in yourself, work hard and stay committed you will make anything happen. Also, remember the only time you learn is by pushing your boundaries and comfort zone.
If you want to make it to the top, push harder have no mercy!! GO GET YOUR DREAMS!!
"Believe in yourself, know your worth, do your research, and do not be afraid to ask!"
What are some of your favorite aspects of the LIA LARREA brand?
I love her entire line of purses and wallets! From the top quality leather she designs with creative concept and design of her bags. I really like her sweaters as well, you can easily dress them up or have a more casual look. Either way they feel comfortable and really make a fashion statement at the same time. The collection allows women to look and feel beautiful while feeling comfortable. In addition, Lia screams passion and helps connect and inspire women from many walks of life. LIA LARREA really empowers women on a mind body and soul level. Thank you Lia for being a true inspiration and example of what it is to be tuned in and tapped into what you are meant to be doing!!
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