Ellen Kinney recently joined EDI's Board of Directors. Reflecting on her decision, she says, "I believe strongly in the charter for EDI - in building leadership skills for current and emerging business leaders. We all need a safe place to grow and share our experiences and EDI provides a place where managers can take stock of their career and accelerate on their current path or take on a new one. Also, I feel strongly in giving back in whatever way possible. Many people have helped me in my career along the way, and this is one way in which I would like to pay it forward."
In addition, Ellen also recently moved companies from Starbucks to Amazon. At Amazon, Ellen serves as the Director of Marketing, Student and Millennials. Looking back at her career, she says, "As I have progressed in my career, I have learned that "how" you do something is more important that "what you do". This includes how you build relationships, communicate with a clarity and passion and setting high expectations of yourself and others. These are behaviors are not taught in school and are more stylistic. However, having a lot of self-awareness and a meaningful coach or friend to keep you in check is very helpful. I have also learned that closing your eyes and leaping is scary, but can be life changing.
When presented an opportunity to move to the UK to take a senior-level role at Barclays, I took the job with no practical plan in place. Only 10 weeks transpired between accepting an offer and landing in country and in that time, I sold most of my belongings, rented out my house, pulled two kids out of school, and convinced my husband to transfer his job. If I had thought about it too much, I never would have done it. It turned out to be an amazing opportunity that has shaped my career ever since and has changed how my children think about the world.
For me, my parents were and continue to be the strongest influence on me. They instilled a notion that I could do anything I wanted and that they were no limits. As 1st generation immigrants to the US, they invested heavily in my education so that I would have more opportunity than they did. My values are largely tied to an obligation to pay back their investment through my career aspirations, contributions to the community and through the messages I send to my own children. Although I grew up in a small town, my parents instilled a notion of leaving the nest as difficult it was for them to accept - so as a result, I have lived in many big cities: New York, Chicago, London, Sao Paolo and Beijing. Many of these experiences shaped my understanding and appreciation of diverse cultures and socioeconomic challenges."