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Empowering Women in Leadership: Insights from CEO Elissa Sangster

Episode Summary –

In the latest episode of the “Work From Your Happy Place” podcast, host Belinda Ellsworth welcomes a very special guest, Elissa Sangster, the CEO of Forte, an organization dedicated to empowering women in business. In this inspiring episode, Elissa shares her insights on taking ownership of your career, advocating for your professional development, and embracing change to achieve success.

“Be willing to make changes and take action when necessary, without fear.”

In this blog post, we will dive deeper into the key learnings from this episode and explore how they can empower women in their professional journeys.

1. Taking Ownership of Your Career:
Both Belinda and Elissa emphasized the significance of being intentional and taking ownership of your career. If your current supervisor isn't providing a clear career path, seek out successful individuals within your organization and learn from their experiences. By building your own path and communicating your goals with your supervisor, you can enlist their support in advocating for your advancement.

2. Differentiating Between Mentors and Sponsors:
Understanding the difference between mentors and sponsors is essential. While mentors offer guidance and advice, sponsors are influential advocates who support and champion your professional growth behind closed doors. If your organization lacks a formal sponsor program, actively seek out informal opportunities to connect with potential sponsors who can open doors for you.

3. Evaluating Your Criteria for Success:
Don't be afraid to walk away from a company or a specific position if it does not align with your criteria for success. Success is not solely defined by title and pay; factors like work-life balance, proximity to home, flexibility, and a supportive network play a crucial role as well. Take the time to evaluate what truly matters to you and make changes and take action when necessary.

The insights gathered from this episode of “Work From Your Happy Place” offer valuable guidance for women seeking to thrive in their professional lives. Taking ownership of your career, cultivating mentorship and sponsorship relationships, evaluating personal criteria for success, and joining supportive communities can all contribute to your empowerment and growth. Remember, your career journey is unique, and by staying proactive, advocating for yourself, and seeking out relevant resources and networks, you can navigate the business world with confidence and success.


About the Elissa Sangster –

Elissa Sangster's career took a significant turn after earning her MBA from Texas A&M University. She joined the admissions team at her alma mater, where she discovered a supportive community of admissions professionals from universities worldwide.

This network inspired her to pursue a career in higher education administration. Elissa later moved to the University of Texas at Austin, where she played a crucial role in developing the alumni community for the MBA program.

Over the course of ten years, she served as an assistant dean, overseeing all aspects of the MBA program. During this time, Elissa was invited to join a working group focused on understanding the barriers preventing women from pursuing business leadership and entering MBA programs.

This experience led her to develop a business plan for an organization dedicated to supporting women in business.

Eventually, Elissa became the CEO of Forte, an organization that empowers women in business and has grown significantly under her leadership. Starting with just $200,000 in funding, Forte now boasts 37 employees, over 170 corporate school partners, and generates approximately $7 million in revenue. Elissa's passion for education and dedication to gender equality have made her a prominent figure in the business world.

How to connect with Elissa Sangster:
LinkedIn –
Website –
Twitter –