Watch Sarah’s webinar through HERdacity’s on demand webinar platform: Leadership: What’s Love Got to do With it?
Sarah Elliott whole-heartedly believes in collaboration among women, and lives this out in her company, Ellivate Alliance. After her journey through self-discovery, she discovered her passion for bringing female entrepreneurs together to make a positive impact.
How would you describe your biggest accomplishments in your current role?
I created the Ellivate Alliance to bring together amazing women entrepreneurs – we make magic happen through the power of collaboration! What started out as a “what if?” question for me quickly blossomed into a reality that has already surpassed my expectations. What a gift to serve as a connector for so many women who are boldly taking risks to make a positive difference in the world through their businesses!
What has made you so passionate about the Ellivate Alliance?
I know how hard it is to start a new business, especially when that business is a dream you hold close to your heart. No matter how much experience you have, how smart you are, how well-connected you are, etc. – it still feels like you don’t know what you’re doing most of the time! Entrepreneurship requires taking bold leaps, facing your fears and embracing risk. Quite simply put – we’re all making it up as we go! There is no one-size-fits-all blueprint for success.
I created what I wished I had when I started my own business a few years ago. The Ellivate Alliance exists to inspire, support and connect other women who are bold enough to make their dreams a reality and change the world! I want these women to have easy access to community, support and amazing resources at their fingertips, without having to pay an arm and a leg for it. I want these women to know they are never alone. I want to inspire them to keep going, even when things feel too hard…because that’s usually when they’re about to get really good!
What key strength serves you best in this area?
I believe in possibilities, dreams, love, the magic of collaboration and people’s innate gifts. I love connecting people, ideas, resources and opportunities in powerful new ways. Being a believer and a connector allows me to serve as a vessel that brings forth new possibilities for others on a larger scale than any of us could create alone.
What’s next for your company?
I’m excited to continue to expand our tribe of bold, beautiful women entrepreneurs and innovate new ways to learn from and support one another!
Is there one moment or experience that was transformative about helping you find your path?
I worked with a coach several years ago (when I was still a practicing CPA), and she helped me expand my view of the world by asking me questions no one had asked me before (and certainly questions I hadn’t asked myself – I was too busy!!). She helped me explore who I am, what I want, my values and why I do what I do. My answers to these questions are always evolving, but creating the space to reflect on what matters most was a huge turning point for me. I saw new possibilities for myself and my life, and I gathered the courage to take big risks to make them happen.
Has it been a challenge to balance your career aspirations with your personal and family needs? How have you managed to do this and what tips do you have?
I currently have two businesses, a spirited little boy who is almost 4, a wonderful husband, and many other people and commitments in my life that are important to me. Creating a harmonious life is definitely my top challenge, and I imagine it always will be since everyone and everything seem to change on a daily basis!
Self-care is so very important. A few things that work well for me:
- Take a personal, solo retreat/vacation. This was a recent first for me, and it was absolutely life changing. Now, this is a top priority for me, at least annually.
- Morning and evening meditation keeps me focused, sane and able to tap into depths of compassion and patience when I need them most.
- Taking care of my body through exercise and nutrition is critical.
- I’m getting better about setting personal boundaries, saying no when things feel obligatory (whether they are personal or professional), and creating space on my calendar and in my day just for me.
Together, these things help me be a much stronger and more pleasant person for the people I love most.
Who is your role model and why?
John Henry McDonald is a dear friend and mentor. He was once a homeless man with no money, no family, no education, and he suffered from various addictions. He joined a recovery program, sobered up and went on to found a prestigious wealth management firm in Austin. He’s now a retired millionaire and musician that gives back to the non-profits that saved his life.
John Henry shared his Vision Quest story and process with me back in 2013, and it changed my life. He reminded me how to dream (an innate skill so many of us lose as we grow up), and my life has transformed in wondrous ways ever since. I am living a life today that I never would have dreamed was possible a few years ago.
If you could change one thing in your past, what might that be?
Nothing – all the “mistakes” I’ve made or “failures” I’ve experienced have helped me grow and led me to where I am (and where I’m going!). I’m grateful for all of it, even the messy parts. I’m discovering that some of the most beautiful things blossom from the messiest experiences!
What would you tell your 20-year-old self?
Don’t be so hard on yourself, and quit comparing yourself to everyone else. You’re worthy and wonderful, just as you are.
P.S. You have your whole life ahead of you – slow down and enjoy it more!
What are three things you want other women to know?
- You are more powerful than you could ever know, exactly as you are. Share more of who you really are with the world, even the “imperfections” – we’re all better off when you do!
- There is no “right way” for achieving what you want. Although you can learn from others’ journeys, ultimately, you need to carve your own path. Trust in yourself and your innate wisdom, and don’t worry so much about what other people are doing (or what they think about what you’re doing)!
- Give yourself permission to dream big and bold, without worrying about how likely it is or how you’re going to make it happen. Just give yourself the space to dream on a regular basis. You’ll be surprised what you discover and what possibilities open themselves up to you!
Founder, Ellivate Alliance
Co-Founder & Principal, Intend2Lead
Sarah believes in the magic of collaboration. She founded the Ellivate Alliance to connect people, ideas and resources in a way that creates powerful new opportunities to elevate women entrepreneurs. The Ellivate Alliance provides women who are starting a business the inspiration, practical know-how and like-minded community to accelerate their growth during the critical start-up phase. Sarah is also the co-founder of Intend2Lead, a company that coaches CPAs to access the Dimension of Possible through one-to-one coaching, group learning and innovation labs. She was honored as one of the Most Powerful Women in Accounting by CPA Practice Advisor in 2017 and 2018.