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Elena McCoy: What Makes Great Leaders

As part of Simply CSOFT’s month-long celebration of women, today we are profiling Elena McCoy, CSOFT’s Vice President for Global Communications. We are pleased to announce that Elena was also recently selected as a board member for Women in Localization. Here she reflects on some of the women that have influenced her career and life the most and the qualities she values in leaders.

Elena McCoy

Tell us about the women in your life who have made the greatest impact on you.

  • My mom. Though cancer took her when I was only 12, my mom encouraged me to believe in myself, be friends with everyone and avoid cliques.
  • My first female boss. She was decisive, always empowered her team and wrapped meetings on time. She wrote thank you notes daily and had regular lunches with competitors.
  • My “Everyday Girls.” My besties. These stay-at-home and working moms inspire me daily. They make me better.

What do you think are the top three qualities every female leader should have?

  • Be decisive. Having vision inspires others.
  • Admit when you’re wrong. Humility goes a long way.
  • Give praise freely to your team. And when they fail, help them find ways to succeed.

You’ve met a lot of successful female CEOs and entrepreneurs. Who inspires you the most and why?

  • Shunee Yee, CSOFT’s Founder and CEO. I’m convinced she doesn’t sleep.
  • Then First Lady Hillary Clinton. I sat across from her office in the West Wing. Her strength, grace and accomplishments inspire me.
  • Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Her sense of humor while commanding a room is a gift. I ran into her recently and she is just as incredible 20 years later.
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What would you say to aspiring female entrepreneurs who are just starting out and hoping to climb the corporate ladder?

Be determined. When self-doubt creeps in, think back on how you overcame the most difficult experience in your life. Chances are that applying for that new job or promotion wanes by comparison. And remember everything in life is temporary, including successes and failures, so don’t shy away from taking calculated risks.

 

Tell us about your experience of pursuing your career while raising a family. What are some of the challenges and how do you overcome them?

My mom’s generation were the pioneers of “having it all” – a career and a home life. That expectation can leave many of today’s working moms feeling overwhelmed. In fact, many top female executives sacrifice having children at all. I like Sheryl Sandberg’s advice, that to have success at both, you need a partner who is fully supportive of your career. And if you don’t have a partner, staff up if possible. You can never have too much help with laundry, dishes and dinner.

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Elena is the Vice President for Global Communications at CSOFT International. Based in the company’s San Francisco office, she provides strategic counsel to the CEO on both external and internal communications and handles all aspects relating to media relations. She began her professional career in Washington, DC, working for both the White House under President Bill Clinton and later at the U.S. Department of State under Madeleine Albright.

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