"Women Worth Watching" Award Winner: Elizabeth L. Elting
Diversity Journal – September/October 2011
I have come a long way from co-founding TransPerfect in my dorm room at the New York University Stern School of Business in 1992. Last year, the company reached more than $250 million in revenue. With approximately 1,600 full-time employees in 66 offices around the globe, TransPerfect is a top five woman-owned business and the third largest language services company in the world.
Starting from my dorm room with $5,000 in startup funding from credit cards, I set a goal: In six months, the company would move into office space. It did. I continue to set specific goals with my team each year.
This focus on goal setting and an employee-friendly corporate culture has helped me achieve my competitive advantage. To gain the customer service edge, my employees listen and go above and beyond their clients’ needs. “You don’t need a novel idea – you [just] need to do it better and ‘wow’ the client.”
One of the biggest challenges I have encountered was maintaining the absolute highest level of quality and service as the business scales. Providing outstanding quality and service, or put more simply, spoiling the client, has always been my highest priority and the key to TransPerfect’s success.
I have been able to take the business from a dorm-room start-up to a multinational company, adapting to each new phase of the company and changing my approach accordingly. Throughout the entire process, I considered myself blessed that I have had the opportunity to continually learn and grow as I master the art of leadership at a growing business.
My CEO leadership style matures along with the company. Through the years, I acquired collaborative, hands-on and trusting leadership skills. These skills allow me to empower employees to excel in their individual areas through trust and education.
As I have matured as a CEO, I’ve learned that winning isn’t easy, and it’s not a popularity contest. I focus every day on seeking the best for my employees and company.
I have formed an entrepreneurial, team-building type of environment wherein employees are part of a professional organization with clearly stated goals and visions. TransPerfect is known as a great place for overachievers. People who want to control their own destinies flourish in the meritocracy that I have created.
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