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Let's Get Coffee with Elizabeth Nelson

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Dave Wilkin
Ten Thousand Coffees Team -
November 24, 2019

Anything about inclusion, Elizabeth is your go-to. I sat down for lunch with her in Minneapolis to chat all things inclusion, talent mobility, and how to help a global company create the real human connections that form high performing and inclusive teams. She’s a guest lecturer at University of Minnesota, Twin Cities and Mentor with Best Academy and BestPrep Minnesota.

Why should someone share a coffee (or tea) with someone new - a colleague from a different team or department - in their company? 

Strong network connections are an invaluable currency in today’s world – and you never know what opportunities or learnings may come from a simple coffee connect until you make the effort. 

Side note:  I don’t drink coffee or tea.  Hot chocolate is my hot drink of choice!


In person, via skype, or both? 

With the global nature of work today, it isn’t always possible to meet face-to-face – so a virtual conversation (ideally with video) is always great too!


Who is one person that helped you in your career and what was the ah-ha moment you had with them? 

My current mentor and former boss, Maira Lazdins has been my career advocate and sounding board for the past 10 years.  I appreciate that she helps me move past self-doubt and uncertainty towards action that is aligned with my goals and ambitions.    


What's advice you'd share with other professionals about the importance of meeting new people? 

Be sure to nurture your network – it’s not about the quantity of connections you have, but instead about the quality of the relationships you form.

Compare: the job your "18-year old self" thought you'd have vs. the job you have today? 

When I was 18, I was entering college to become a physician and today I work in the world of HR, diversity and inclusion. I love that the themes of driving positive change, helping others and building community have continued in my life regardless of my career choice. 


In general for others wanting to grow into a career like yours, how much of it is formal training vs. informal experiences? 

In my role, continuous learning is the key to success – and that comes from practical experience, external research, webinars and more. Staying curious and seeking diverse viewpoints has helped tremendously in my career. 

Ten Thousand Coffees is an enterprise talent development platform for informal learning. We help companies scale and measure informal development by enabling colleagues to learn from each other. Whether it’s for career development, culture transformations, or learning programs - our data-driven smart matching technology connects colleagues based on their goals, interests, and role. The Future of Work is transforming organizations: informal development between colleagues is where talent mobility and culture sticks.

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