Elizabeth Elting: The woman who has braved all odds to break barriers

The Editorial Team
  • A linguaphile who has the heart of a philanthropist, Elting never stopped short of realizing her potential as an entrepreneur and co-founded.
Elizabeth Elting: The woman who has braved all odds to break barriers

“Focus your efforts on building the best team, finding the right salespeople and hiring the most skilled project managers.” Elizabeth Elting

She was born in Westchester County, New York, in February 1966 and by the time she was into her 20s, Elizabeth Elting was a pro. A linguaphile who has the heart of a philanthropist, Elting never stopped short of realizing her potential as an entrepreneur and co-founded (with one-time fiance Phil Shawe in a college dorm room in 1992) TransPerfect, the world’s biggest language solutions provider, and served as its CEO for 25 years.

In 2016 and 2017, she found a place in Forbes’ list of the Richest Self-Made Women with a net worth of $420 million. But those are more about the ornamental aspects of her success as an entrepreneur. Elting’s real success lies in translating her wealth for supporting the women and marginalized.  

In 2018, Elting was about to sell half of her company when she launched Elizabeth Elting Foundation and this has made a heavy contribution towards achieving economic, social and political equality of women and those who are marginalized. One of her initial philanthropic steps featured association with the American Heart Association (AHA). According to an article in Inside Philanthropy, Elting said: “I first got involved with AHA about eight years ago, while I was still running my company. Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women and men in the United States, so AHA made sense.

And now, in these last two years, I’ve really ramped up my focus.” Elting involvement with the AHA soon started making an impact and she now champions several aspects related to women while backing the ‘Go Red For Women’ initiative — a movement within the AHA that allows women to come together, raise awareness, monetarily back life-saving research and contribute towards improving the quality of life of women everywhere. The involvement in the AHA has, in fact, helped Elting  to find other nonprofits to back.  

Elizabeth Elting’s multi-philanthropic approach 

Elting discovered the Brooklyn-based The Campaign Against Hunger (TCAH) which works towards dealing with hunger and building health in New York City. She helped to set up a blood -pressure kiosk at TCAH and it is a key partner of Elting’s foundation now. Elting proudly announces today she supports a great deal to ensure food reaches the underserved people of the society.  

Last month, Elizabeth Elting Foundation launched Halo Fund — a major initiative involving millions of dollars to provide relief as a measure to fight Covid-19 pandemic which has claimed almost 100,000 people in the US. The initiative includes funding research, healthcare workers who are fighting up front, public health resources and support to the vulnerable communities. Since Elting herself is located in NYC, the worst-affected city in the US, she has found a big opportunity to do what she loves — serve people.  

“At a time like this, it’s impossible not to wonder how you can help,” Elting was quoted as saying by PR Newswire. “The economic and human fallout from this pandemic is obviously going to be immense, and the need to step up and help others couldn’t be more urgent. How we respond to this crisis, whether we answer this call to action with everything we have, will define us for years to come.” 

Elting is also concerned with the welfare of the women and marginalized communities that have been hit by the virus and are economically suffering. Elting has taken up an initiative to provide food and medical supplies to needy families and individuals and supports an organization named Do Good Auto Coalition — a non-profit team of automotive dealerships that are delivering services voluntarily. 

Besides, Elting has kept her involved in several other initiatives, including encouraging girls to grow a passion for mathematics to address the issue of gun violence which she feels harms women and marginalized communities more than anybody else.  

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For the aspiring women entrepreneurs, Elting offers a lot of lessons to learn: 

Diversify the main passion:  
If you have a passion for one particular aspect (like Elting has in philanthropy), it is always good to put to use that passion by exploring different avenues. That not only makes you known to be an innovative entrepreneur and enriches your followership but also makes you achieve a diversified business which can be monetarily beneficial.  

Help fellow women: 
Elting has done all the hard work and after reaching her position, she reaches out to help other women entrepreneurs who are still in their formative phases and women through various initiatives. This is something every entrepreneur can learn from. The more you help other women, you contribute towards growing a valuable network which in turn, helps your own business to get bigger. Put special focus on spreading women’s education and awareness, in whatever form you can.  

Lead from front during a crisis: 
Elting has taken a special interest to provide relief in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and it is a noble thing to learn from her. Rise to the occasion when chips are down and sow the seeds that will help your entrepreneurship in favorable times. The coronavirus pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for the world but it has also given birth to opportunities for the smart and farsighted.  

Not to be affected by personal relations: 
A unique part of Elting’s story is that she grew TransPerfect with her one-time fiance Phil Shawe but the duo’s relationship soured so much that they not only got separated themselves, the business also got hit. In 2018, Elting left the company following a prolonged legal battle with Shawe but the entrepreneur in her never got derailed. She found her own foundation and has only expanded her horizon and is catering to the needs of other women and marginalized. This is the spirit that women entrepreneurs need to have to break all barriers.  

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