Human Resources

C-suite career advice: Elisa Steele, Jive Software

Name: Elisa Steele

Company: Jive Software

Job Title: CEO

Location:  USA


What was the most valuable piece of career advice that you received?
My dad always gives me the best advice about tapping into my own personal strength and getting the right thing done—no matter how hard it seems.

What was the worst piece of business advice that you received?
Optimise for the short term and worry about the rest later.


What advice would you give to someone starting their career in the tech industry?

  1. Be passionate! Don’t try to have a career in an industry you don’t care about. It won’t work.
  2. Listen. Actively learn from people around you as you develop your own perspective and beliefs.
  3. Do your homework! Be prepared. Be the person in the room who is ready!

In my first job out of college as an enterprise sales representative at AT&T, I learned that being prepared and getting to know your customers inside out was critical in succeeding and gaining trust in business relationships. I think this is truer than ever for people starting their careers today. Don't get so caught up in the technology you're building that you lose focus on who is using it—everything comes back to people and human behavior. 

What tips would you give to someone aiming for a c-level position?
Never stop learning. No matter how many situations you’ve managed, you have never fully learned all that there is to know. Be flexible, be open and be a great listener. And for young women aiming for c-level positions, I'd encourage them to believe that they have huge potential in this world. Nothing is off limits to them, even in fields that are stereotyped to males or females. 

Are you particularly proud of any career advice that you’ve given or the career route/development of anyone you’ve mentored?
Don’t be tempted by short cuts! They don't pay off.


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