CEO and MSU Alumna accomplishes leadership goals through determination and focus
For a young, prospective student with interests in advertising and marketing, the thought of becoming a CEO may seem daunting. However, Elizabeth Ross, CEO and President of Periscope, achieved just that through years of growth and grit in the advertising industry--and she credits Michigan State University and the College of Communication Arts and Sciences with helping establish that path to success.
Ross rose to her current position in 2015 after being on the board for the American Advertising Federation, successfully working with big name companies such as General Electric and General Motors and serving on the boards for Forbes and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. However, she didn’t just succeed in the marketing sphere right out the gate. She began her journey in the classroom.
The Career-Classroom Equilibrium
Ross fostered her work ethic through varying internships, picking up new critical skills she could then apply to her studies. She values the balance between attending classes and getting work experience and stressed the importance of gaining insight into the workforce while pursuing a degree.
“Working gives you such a different perspective than school, it forces you to critically think and solve problems--learning your craft in school and then balancing problem-solving at work.” said Ross.
The CEO notes there were plenty of influential and outstanding professors guiding her along the way. The entirety of the program worked for her, as opposed to one particular person or aspect. On campus, she became involved with student organizations and joined Pi Beta Phi, a premier female fraternity. This paired with her experience producing magazines for a society of professional engineers in Lansing bolstered her resume and built a foundation for her CEO-worthy career.
One of the internships she attended post graduation led to her position at J. Walter Thompson, a marketing and advertising firm, and that persistence set off a chain of successful business ventures and career evolutions. She started in Graphic Design, but knew the world of advertising was her calling. She took advantage of every opportunity in her workplace, jumping into different titles and duties and learning the ins and outs until she found Periscope.
“When you’re focused on growth, you move faster than if you’re attached to things that keep the company stable. My guidance is always to be a part of how a company grows.” said Ross.
The Daily Life of a CEO
For Ross, no day is the same. Whether she’s traveling across the country or sitting in meetings with some of her associates, she is focused on growth--a theme that has followed her since her time at MSU.
“I really love when I think of creative ideas that make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, My favorite part of what I do is doing that and working around people that come up with those ideas.” said Ross.
Serving on several boards and being an active member of several different foundations has given Ross a fresh and broad perspective on business. She seeks to continue her support of organizations such as the Make-a-Wish Foundation and branch into more public companies. As a parent of three, Ross values companies that are passionate about their missions. All this ties in with her goal to continue growing and to bring different outlets of expertise into her company.
Point of view is something Ross wants to ensure ComArtSci students take advantage of developing during their time at Michigan State.
“Develop opinions about new technology, new ways of connecting with people, new experiences you have so you can be a really smart partner to your clients,” said Ross. She encourages the exploration of technology and expanding curiosity, because it can help you get that foot in the door and begin personal growth.
By John Castro