Career Profile: Elizabeth - Corporate Attorney

Name: Elizabeth

Age: 28

Hometown: Austin, Texas

Current city: Houston, Texas

Undergraduate Major and institution: Bachelor of Music, Baylor University

Professional school concentration and institution (if applicable): Stetson University College of Law, Corporate Law




Take me back a decade, what did you want to be when you grew up? A broadway star and/or an attorney


What do you do now? I'm a corporate attorney. I work for a large multinational Oil and Gas company (known in the industry as a "super major"), where I manage cases and investigations in risk areas, such as Fraud, Bribery, and Corruption.


How did you make the transition from performing arts to law school? I applied to law school. haha. The joys of no pre-req requirements for admission. :)  


What was difficult about the transition? Having to put up walls. Artists are emotional and we rely on our community a lot. We are aware that choosing a career in the arts will be full of let downs when "making it" is the exception, not the rule. When I started law school, it was very new to be in such a self-preserving and goal-obsessed environment. Failure was new to so many people and not even a consideration before embarking on the journey. It's easy to feel really isolated in this environment.  My community is my everything.  Relationships are incredibly important to me, so it was difficult to have to be so guarded.


What unique strengths did your performing arts background give you? The obvious strength would be communication/presentation skills. I would also say self-awareness. As a performer, your value is measured by how others perceive you. You're constantly being critiqued, seeking out your imperfections, and trying to make improvements. I think that sense of humility and resiliency has been really helpful.


What challenges have you faced achieving your career goals? The obvious challenge would be finding a job in general. There were countless applications, interviews, and rejections before I landed a really great opportunity. In the workplace, I find it very challenging to be a young professional amongst peers that are very seasoned. It’s important to find the balance of “leaning in,” being assertive, and having the right amount of visibility, while giving deference to your more experienced counterparts and recognizing the value in being a “silent runner”.


What does "leaning in" mean to you? "Leaning in" means being proactive in how you add value. Not always waiting for the work to get assigned. Not always waiting for someone to ask for your input. For young professionals, it's a really difficult balance to find when you don't want eagerness to be perceived as arrogance.


What type of tasks do you spend the majority of your time doing? Cases and meetings. A majority of the time, I'm either evaluating a case to determine the path forward, providing feedback/ making recommendations on a report, or meeting with someone, somewhere,  about something. People love to meet! lol


What is the best part of your job? Having the ability to make an impact, despite working for such a large company....not only in the company, but in the communities we work in. A majority of my work involves managing risks for a business segment of my company that is located in a high-risk region abroad. I have been tasked with leading a global team in ushering in a culture of ethics in a very challenging location. I love that I can actually see the results of how my work impacts my company and the residents of this community. I also love that my diversity adds value in a real way as we try to understand and connect with different cultures.


Where do you see yourself in 5 years? In high school, I knew I was going to college. In college, I knew I was going to law school. In law school, I knew I wanted a job in corporate America. In corporate America, I’m having to evaluate my path in a manner I never have before. I'm realizing now more than ever how unpredictable life can be and how priorities can change. So if I’m giving a completely honest answer, I don’t know.


Can you give me an example of how your priorities have changed in recent years? Well I used to think money was everything. I now think it's more valuable to feel a sense of purpose in what you do.


Do you still perform? Yes. I do random performances here and there like weddings, singing the national anthem at random events, and my work talent show (that gets real lol). I've been promising myself that I would get involved in some local community theater, but I'm just so tired after a long work day!


What is the greatest piece of advice you've ever received? Hmmm...that's a tough one. "Success requires a lot of hard work, and a little bit of luck. There's always luck."

What advice would you give to someone who aspires to your career? Pay attention. If you’re currently job seeking, pay attention to the open roles you’re seeing. What expertise is in demand in your market, and how can you market yourself in response to that demand? If you’ve been selected for an interview, pay attention to what the employer values. Do your research. Listen to how they respond to certain answers. If you’re already working, pay attention to what your boss values most. You may be a technical wiz and very efficient in completing tasks, but perhaps your boss thinks the ability to build relationships is more important than anything else. Self and cultural awareness are key

Leave questions for Liz in the comments section below!