By TOM ADAMS
Elizabeth Sherman is truly an expert when it comes to communications. Graduating from Boston University College of Communication in 2005, she has an extensive track record leading teams, coordinating press conferences, developing strategic marketing plans, and executing large scale events.
Her past work in the field has lead her into her current role of Senior Executive Communications Manager for the Office of the CMO at Cisco. With eight years of Cisco currently under her belt, she’s worked in many different roles and carried out numerous multifaceted tasks. With that said, her talk was mainly focused on who she is in terms of the values that guide her everyday actions. She believes that having a strong value system has helped her truly excel both personally and professionally. In my opinion, I found the points from her presentation are of use to current college students, not just post-graduation when we begin our full-time careers.
With that said, these are some of the values Elizabeth highlighted in her presentation:
1) Authenticity is key.
Elizabeth stressed this as being arguably the most important value in guiding her behavior. In many situations inside or outside the workplace, she has encountered people she described as seeming to be “varnished,” meaning that it’s easy to detect a lack of passion or “heart” in their interactions. She uses these experiences as a reminder to always envelop herself in things she’s absolutely passionate about to avoid falling into the “moving through the motions” trap.
2) Use effective storytelling to your advantage.
As a communications professional, Elizabeth leverages storytelling as a persuasion method when compiling speeches, presentations, or any task that calls for influencing an audience. Whether it’s telling us about the events that led to her moving to Chicago for a few years to explore a new city, or her thought process behind deciding to live full-time on the Cape and work remotely, her storytelling allows an audience to fully take in her perspective and understand exactly where she’s coming from. Being a proficient storyteller is definitely key in giving people a glimpse into who you are and what truly motivates you.
3) Always listen and lead with your heart versus your head.
Since Elizabeth is effectively responsible for all the communications coming from the Office of the CMO, she’s met with numerous decisions that have far-reaching effects. She expressed that while it’s easy to always lead with logic, or your “head,” it might not always be the best choice. Being able to channel in her “gut instinct” has influenced her make many key strategic decisions both personally and professionally that have had many positive effects. Being able to fuse together a mix of both “heart” and “head” is what she believes to be most effective in high-level decision making.
Moving past her value system, Elizabeth explained that Cisco has been a truly transformative place to work. Living on the Cape, she’s far from Cisco’s Boston office. However, the company allows her to work remotely full-time so she’s able to be with her newborn and husband. This combined with her flex schedule, she’s able to work on her own time, allowing herself to be truly present in all her work obligations.
Overall, it’s clear to see that Elizabeth holds a knack for effective communication. When observing how she presents information in a captivating, interesting way while still holding an authentic demeanor, it’s easy to see how she’s moving up the ranks at Cisco and influencing people every day.
To learn a little more about Cisco, check out their website here. If you enjoyed this article, make sure to come out to BU Marketing Club meetings every Tuesday next semester!
Hope everyone has a productive last few weeks of the semester and good luck on finals!