Elizabeth Shirley

Group Brand Director, Badger & Winters
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What do you do for work? Give us a few reasons why you love it.
I am a Group Brand Director at a boutique marketing/advertising agency. I oversee five brands across multiple verticals. I love that my job gives me exposure to multiple industries at once. It often inspires different thinking. Currently, I work with brands across luxury fashion, tech, health & fitness and the beauty industries. I particularly enjoy working with brands in tech and health & fitness.

With technology and the digital landscape changing so rapidly, I am always learning something new. I also love helping my clients grow their business via strategies we implement and work on together. There is nothing more satisfying that a successful case study.
Where do you expect to be in 5 years?
I aspire to be a CMO of a growing company that I believe in. I have friends who are starting businesses, and I’d love to help grow a business like theirs from the ground up. If I’m not a CMO, I’d like to own a dance shop (I grew up as a ballet dancer) in a cool, artsy town in upstate New York like Bedford or Hudson that sources product and inspiration from ballet companies around the world, exposing a local community to the rest of the world. I’d love to host keynotes and classes and become the go-to shop for all things ballet/dance in the area. I would want people to travel for the goods I curate from around the world.
In your opinion, what is wrong with the corporate world and how would you fix it?
A few things: 1) Greed and the relentless pursuit to make an immediate dollar over investing in the long term. 2) Lack of transparency between leadership/board/decision makers and the rest of the company. 3) Multi-layered/over-processed, which inhibits hustle and testing out new things.

Ways to potentially fix the issues:
– Consistent communication from leadership to the company.
– Creating a system or forum where employees can share feedback.
– Financial transparency.
– Dedication to philanthropy or service as a company and making this a priority.
– Respect for work/life balance and benefits that back up that respect (e.g. vacation, maternity/paternity leave etc.).
What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in your life?
Be empathetic. You never know what’s going on in someone’s life or what battle they are privately fighting. Work hard and save money. These are timeless/ageless values. These days these lessons can get lost in all of the noise and “millennial” assumptions.
What is your best or worst moment of this week?
I was in Nashville earlier this week for a shoot. My taxi driver was from Ethiopia. He was so friendly and started to tell me about when he came to America. He flew into Atlanta thinking he had arrived at his final destination only to find out that he needed to take another plane to get to Nashville. Two random people overheard his dilemma and offered to take him to dinner and house him for the night. To me it’s proof that despite what we hear in the media, the American dream is still alive.