Meet Liz Sara, Chair, National Women’s Business Council and CEO, Best Marketing LLC, Champion of the Arts and More!
This is her interview
What’s been the most surprising thing that has happened on your journey to Wisdom?
On that bumpy and often irregular road, I learned very early on that it isn’t what you know that often gets you where you want to go, but rather it is who you know. Ever since that lightbulb (or highway sign) illuminated, I value the role that colleagues, friends, mentors and other business associates play in helping me accomplish whatever I set out to do. I witnessed that having the skill and experience is essential, but it is not always enough. You need to know the right people to open the right doors at the right time. It’s really all about the importance of networking.
What’s your typical day like now? How is it different from your daily routines in the past?
As a marketing strategy consultant to early and growth stage tech companies, my work in that “territory” involves high speed, rapid decisions and “on call” availability. These companies are changing how consumers or businesses do things differently, so time is of the essence. This has been my work world for nearly 20 years and I love every wild moment of it. What’s different is my added role and activities as Chair of the National Women’s Business Council. Since I was appointed two years ago, we focus on helping female founders with their unique challenges in starting and growing their businesses. We do that by identifying a common problem, such as access to capital, then making recommendations to Congress, The White House and the SBA on how to remedy it. So, I’m still dealing with entrepreneurs. On one hand it’s broader since it goes beyond just technology companies; on the other hand, it’s narrower since we focus only on women.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
First and foremost is the variety. While my clients all deliver innovative software solutions to enterprises, each of them tackles a different business problem or a different job function obstacle or even a different industry challenge. I never see the same thing twice. Following variety is the overall job satisfaction I derive from my work. I get a great sense of accomplishment when I see how my involvement actually helps these companies gain market traction, customers and revenue. And regarding my role with the NWBC, it’s been rewarding to experience the receptivity to our advice and suggestions that will help women entrepreneurs. And it’s gratifying to hear from female founders around the country that they welcome and appreciate our role on their behalf.
What advice would you give a woman over 40?
If you don’t absolutely love what you are doing, take the leap and do something else. If you’ve ever dreamed about turning an avocation into a full-time vocation, what are you waiting for? There are vast resources available from the private sector to the government, on the neighborhood level to the national level to support women entrepreneurs at each life cycle stage of her company. From incubators, to Women’s Business Centers, to grant opportunities, female pitch competitions and angel networks, there has not been a better time to start a business. NWBC and other women’s business organizations, local and national, will play a role in your future success.
Tell us about any community projects you are involved in and why you support them?
I have been a long-time supporter and champion of the arts and performing arts in Washington DC. It’s a world about as opposite of technology as it gets. It enriches my life and brings great personal gratification and delight to watch a ballet, hear a symphony, attend a play or view a new art installation. It showcases creativity and inspiration on an entirely different level than technology. It transports us outside of and beyond our daily life. I’ve been running an opera company for quite some time, the Opera Camerata of Washington. Though I cannot sing a note, opera rolls the best of all performing arts offer into one all-encompassing multi-sensory exhibition for me.
If you had the power to solve one and only one problem in the world, what would it be and why?
That would be to provide education to every woman in developing countries. Education is really the first step towards independence. And equality. There are too many places in this world where women are second class citizens. Education starts the process of opening opportunities for work which opens the door to self-sufficiency which ultimately leads to greater independence and equality.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t sweat the small stuff. I’ve always been highly motivated and ambitious throughout my life. I’ve always worked hard and performed well, mostly because I always loved what I did. Youth, however, lacks the frameworks for putting things in proper perspective. Don’t let the little, insignificant things slow you down or sidetrack you. Keep them in proportion, focus on what is really important and keep moving forward toward the big picture.
What do you do for fun/relaxation?
Travel. Both local and abroad, though due to the pandemic it’s been strictly local. My last trip before the world shut down in Spring was to Egypt. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves history, architecture, art and a glimpse of what it was like to live in a very different time and extraordinary place.
You can also listen to Liz’s interview on The EntreprenHer Show here: https://anchor.fm/entreprenher-show/episodes/Meet-Liz-Sara–Chair—National-Womens-Business-Council-eice7o