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“Everyone’s path to empowerment is unique.” With Tyler Gallagher & Elizabeth Koraca

No matter what position you’re in, how much money you make, or what region of the world you’re living in — we all suffer from moments of self doubt and fear. People from all walks of life are not 100% confident in all areas of their life. What I love about what I do is […]

No matter what position you’re in, how much money you make, or what region of the world you’re living in — we all suffer from moments of self doubt and fear. People from all walks of life are not 100% confident in all areas of their life. What I love about what I do is that I’m able to share with people how I overcame self doubt and fear, so my clients don’t have to feel that way. So many people are surprised when I tell them that the finance executives or high net worth individuals suffer from self doubt just like the rest of us.


As a part of my series about about how leaders can create a “fantastic work culture”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Elizabeth Koraca.

Elizabeth is a Career Strategist and Media Contributor in Los Angeles & New York City. She helps business executives, entrepreneurs, and other professionals improve presentation and communication skills so they can wield more influence, excel in their careers, and attain new leadership roles. Ms. Koraca travels the globe as a coach and expert TV guest, offering a range of services, including executive coaching, career strategizing, and media and presentation training to help clients boost job performance, seek promotions, and plan new careers. She specializes in helping business and other professionals improve their image, messaging, and personal branding. Through her step-by-step program, clients learn how to deliver effective presentations, cultivate stronger professional bonds, and speak confidently to print and broadcast reporters.

Her clients include professionals at Morgan Stanley, Thomson Reuters, Pfizer, JLL (Jones Lang LaSalle), Google, Square and multiple prominent New York-based hedge fund firms, but her practice also has evolved to serve professionals across all industries.

Elizabeth is also an expert TV contributor and a regular on CNN, CNNi, Fox News, Fox Nation, Business Rockstars, and iHeart Radio. Her advice has been featured in print publications New York Magazine, NASDAQ, Yahoo, Entrepreneur and more.

Prior to starting her own business, Ms. Koraca was a financial TV news anchor for Reuters. In that role, she interviewed hundreds of industry leaders from large asset management firms and Fortune 500 companies, including Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman, and renowned investors Jim Rogers and Wilbur Ross.

She launched the Reuters/Chinese Central Television (CCTV) Singapore bureau, where she trained and coached print reporters to develop and improve their on-air skills for daily live reports on Asian markets.

Ms. Koraca also hosts media and presentation workshops for organizations such as The Newswomen’s Club of New York. She is an experienced public speaker and has hosted the Outstanding 50 Asian Americans in Business Awards Gala Dinner. She is an expert panelist for events such as the Asian American Business Roundtable Summit.

Ms. Koraca received her Bachelor of Arts from Saint Mary’s University. She also completed the certificate program, Seminar in Business Journalism and Finance, at The Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania. She is a certified Professional Coach through the International Coach Federation and attended the Center of Coaching Mastery’s Graduate Program.

Ms. Koraca is a recipient of the 2014 Outstanding 50 Asian Americans in Business Award, one of the most prestigious business awards recognizing the achievement and leadership of entrepreneurs and business executives in the U.S.

www.elizabethkoraca.com


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Early on in my career, I moved from Ontario Canada to New York City with a dream of being an on-air reporter. It had been my dream since childhood to be on television, and I was finally doing it! I was so excited and ready — but I was met with a ton of rejection. It was hard, I heard a lot of “you’re not good enough,” “you don’t have the right look,” “you’re a foreigner,” and more. It was very difficult, but it motivated me even more, and reinforced what I already knew I wanted.

When I finally got my foot in the door and landed my first job as a low-paid camera operator, I decided to give it everything I had with a laser focus on the future. Eventually I worked my way up and after years of hard work I achieved my dream of being a TV anchor at Reuters.

Ever since then, I’ve been a firm believer in setting lofty goals for yourself, understanding your why, developing an action plan and being nothing but determined in getting there. This mindset has gotten me so far in life, and part of why I love coaching is getting to share it with others.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

No matter what position you’re in, how much money you make, or what region of the world you’re living in — we all suffer from moments of self doubt and fear. People from all walks of life are not 100% confident in all areas of their life. What I love about what I do is that I’m able to share with people how I overcame self doubt and fear, so my clients don’t have to feel that way. So many people are surprised when I tell them that the finance executives or high net worth individuals suffer from self doubt just like the rest of us.

Are you working on any exciting projects now? How do you think that will help people?

I’m a frequent contributor on a variety of networks and publications including CNN, Fox, Cheddar TV, BronxNet among others. I love being able to share my tips and tricks with people to help them identify and achieve what they really want. Nothing fills me with more purpose and drive than watching someone pursue their dream, no matter what that looks like for them.

Right now many of my clients are diving into their goals for the New Year. The beginning of the year is a great time to think about new goals you want to set for yourself, and the life you want to build. We’ve been brainstorming, strategizing and scheduling action plans so every goal has the best possible chance of being achieved. There’s so much potential in a new year, and I’ve been loving helping my clients take advantage of it.

Ok, lets jump to the main part of our interview. According to this study cited in Forbes, more than half of the US workforce is unhappy. Why do you think that number is so high?

A lot of workplace happiness is tied to feeling passionate and valued. So many people aren’t passionate about their jobs — it’s not meaningful to them and therefore it becomes much harder to feel fulfilled by it. First and foremost, people should be thinking about what they really want to spend their time doing, and what they really want their life to look like — in order to find a career that suits them. After that, it’s about feeling valued in the workplace.

Managers and team leaders need to make sure they’re valuing their team. One of the best ways to do this is through feedback! Give feedback when necessary — the positive and the negative. Invest time and energy into your team by talking through what they’re doing well and what they can improve upon. Make sure they have a crystal clear understanding of what they’re working towards, and why it’s important to the organization.

Based on your experience or research, how do you think an unhappy workforce will impact a) company productivity b) company profitability c) and employee health and wellbeing?

When people are not happy and motivated at work, the quality of their work is going to suffer. This will have a ripple effect into other areas of the company, overall affecting potential profit.

In addition to this, workplace unhappiness can lead to increased stress, anxiety, depression and other mental health issues that decrease overall wellbeing and take a long term toll on workers’ livelihood. It’s a domino effect — each one affects the stability of the others. When you invest in the happiness of your team members, you’re investing in the overall success of the company.

Can you share 5 things that managers and executives should be doing to improve their company work culture? Can you give a personal story or example for each?

  1. Share feedback! Feedback, positive and negative, shows your employees that you’re invested in them and that you care about how they’re doing. You’re looking towards their future and investing in helping them get there — that creates meaning and purpose.
  2. Give a clear path to promotion. Make sure your workers know exactly how they can progress, the steps they need to take to get there and why. This creates transparency, motivation and determination — which will result in better work and better results for everyone.
  3. When hiring, choose passionate people. When you’re interviewing and assessing someone’s background for a position, listen to how they talk about their work. Do they seem passionate about it? Do they seem genuinely excited for this job? The answers to these questions will prove to be very important to their longevity in the job, and their performance doing it.
  4. Give them something to look forward to. Get to know them! What are their passions? What can you do to make their lives a little easier? This all matters a ton when it comes to workplace relationships and performance, so make sure you’re aware of it all.
  5. Perhaps giving them a day off to attend a training they’re interested in, or the option to work remotely and take care of their children. Whatever it is, it could benefit their quality of life and subsequently, quality of work immensely.

It’s very nice to suggest ideas, but it seems like we have to “change the culture regarding work culture”. What can we do as a society to make a broader change in the US workforce’s work culture?

Work culture comes from management. So as a manager, leader or boss — you need to set an example. If you treat others with respect and speak kindly to them, so will your workers. If you take vacation and take breaks to avoid burnout, so will your employees. Toxic work environments happen when managers are checked out, not paying attention and don’t make it a priority. A healthy work culture should be everyone’s top priority — because a healthy culture means a happy employee.

How would you describe your leadership or management style? Can you give us a few examples?

I try to be as transparent as possible, because we’ve all had negative experiences with managers. Either we didn’t get along with them, or didn’t feel supported by them — and I would never want someone to feel that way because of me. I know how bad that feeling is.

With more time and experience comes better leadership skills, and I always like to refer back to great managers I’ve had and consider what they would do in a certain situation. Great managers that I’ve had became mentors, and I try to mirror their skills in my style.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My mentor, Toni Reinhold, is an editor at the Wall Street Journal and someone I greatly admire and look up to. She believed in me for years before I believed in myself, and made me realize how empowered women can be, and how necessary it is to have great mentors. I am thankful to her for being my greatest advocate all those years ago, for teaching me her top journalism skills as well as her unwavering support. I have learned so much from her strength, persistence and drive. I will be forever grateful.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

Back when I was a Reuters TV anchor, I interviewed billionaire investors and top CEOs all the time. It was amazing how many of them lacked confidence and were petrified to be on television, despite all of their success. I realized after a while that my favorite part of the job was actually helping them feel comfortable and empowered on camera — which is how I got into my coaching business in the first place.

I help people take confident action towards their dreams, become better leaders and empower others in the process. I help successful people speak with purpose and confidence, shedding any insecurities or feelings of self doubt in the process. I love assisting others in developing positive mindsets and good business habits, overcoming obstacles and ridding themselves of anxiety in the process. It’s all about making people’s paths towards their dreams easier and more fulfilling — and that’s what I believe my purpose is right now.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Everyone’s path to empowerment is unique.”

I love this quote, and I’ve used it as the foundation of how I approach coaching and career strategy. Everyone’s journey is different, everyone’s interests and passions are different. You should celebrate your unique-ness and your own specific talents that you have to bring to the world. It’s a truly special thing, and something I love helping people discover and take action on.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

The reason I do what I do is to help people find their voice. I want everyone to be able to speak up for themselves and ask for what they want. If you don’t ask, no one’s going to hand it to you — and it’s so important for people to know that they have a voice and can use it.

It’s a horrible feeling to feel silenced and disempowered, and I never want anyone to feel like that. This is why I’ve turned to coaching, to share with people the tools I wish I had many years ago when I wasn’t confident in my voice and let others speak for me. Being a Reuters television anchor gave me the confidence to believe in myself and speak with authority and certainty, and that’s what I would love to teach everyone to do.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you continued success!

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