As part of Black History Month and our continued Let’s Talk series, I had the opportunity to speak with Elizabeth Allen. Liz has had an impressive career journey, which happened to have started at Nixon Peabody. She is currently the Chief Legal Officer, General Counsel, and Secretary at NPR. Prior to joining NPR, Liz was an associate at Nixon Peabody in our Washington, DC, office and then went on to spend 16 years at Gannett Co., Inc.
It was a pleasure to have a conversation with Liz and learn more about her background. She has worked extremely hard to get where she is today. The advice she shared is invaluable. Below are some of the pieces that resonated with me:
Find your mentors. Liz highlighted the importance of not just having one mentor but being open to growing and learning from several individuals. I loved this quote from Liz, “Everyone you meet can teach you something if you are open to listening and learning.”
Know your value. As Liz and I are both women working in a male-dominated industry, I asked what advice she offers to other women advancing in their careers. Her advice really stuck with me; she emphasized the importance of knowing your own value. You need to realize that you are in the room for a reason. Know your value and speak up when you need to.
Invest in others. She also pointed out that we need to constantly support one another. There is so much value in investing in others. When they succeed, you succeed. A large part of being a successful leader is being able to successfully work together as a team. To that point, Liz said she regrets not reaching out and asking for help or advice from her network early in her career. She offers that advice now to others: don’t be afraid to reach out and make connections and network. There is so much to be gained from others.
Love what you do. I also asked Liz about the neverending work-life balance debate. She explains in her life the balance constantly shifts—that it’s difficult to ever have true balance. The key to that idea though is finding work that you are really going to enjoy. If you enjoy what you do, there will be less push and pull. On the other hand, it is equally important to proactively make time for yourself. Understand when you need to take a break and you'll come back prepared to get back to work.
Thank you Liz for being a part of this conversation, it certainly left me feeling inspired and motivated. Nixon Peabody is very lucky to count you as a Proud NP Alumni. Below are a few highlights from our discussion: