SLHL: What is the biggest compliment you’ve received in your career?
Elizabeth: It’s not one large compliment that sticks out. I’d say consistently hearing a single solitary comment from my clients: "We chose you because of your excitement about our design, about our project, so we can’t help but be excited too,” along with, "No one else thought of that." I recognize that I was being told that same thing consistently. It is fuel to my fire. I want people to enjoy the process, and I want to be what is different than the other ideas out there. Not focusing on being better — just different. Those compliments remind me of why I am where I am and reminds me to never lose that love for each and every project. It keeps my motives in line with creativity, helping people and making the world more beautiful. All of that remains first and foremost.
SLHL: Who has been the biggest influencer in your career?
Elizabeth: My not-so-obvious biggest influencers would be my parents. To hear that they "brag" about my accomplishments to people no matter what achievement, save every magazine that features my work, and that they pull them out and show people inspires me. They are the first to have genuine pride and encouragement without expecting anything in return. I know that my desire to keep that up is part of the foundation that influences me to keep giving them something to beam about.
SLHL: What was a project or experience that was a turning point in your career?
Elizabeth: The biggest turning point was when I got pregnant with my biggest fan: my daughter. Without her, I wouldn't have taken a leap into being my own boss so that I could be active in her life as a working mom. She allows me to hold onto my creative outlet and stay in this industry. If she hadn't come along, would I have taken the chance on myself? Maybe, but I wouldn't be motivated to be balanced and bring such good thing to the table, knowing I have two little eyes watching me and learning by my example.
SLHL: Where do you see your field expanding in the next 10 years?
Elizabeth: I see it expanding organically. I want to continue meeting people and taking challenges while remaining reasonable with myself and seeing where it leads. Maybe I’ll go back to school to expand what I have to offer to my existing clients outside of what I do now. I would like to do more work out of state and be able to have a name outside of St. Louis, as well as do more commercial work: the type that improves and benefits cities that are in need of beautifying. If I keep my focus balanced and on what is important in life, I’ll be where I need to be in 10 years.
SLHL: What does it take to achieve a high level of success before 40?
Elizabeth: It takes the right motivation, humility, allowing yourself to be uncomfortable and allowing yourself to doubt yourself. That's what keeps you hungry to impress, deliver, execute etc., for your clients and for yourself. Imagine each scenario before it happens. Imagine success even if you doubt it. It takes practice, which may be the most powerful tool. Learn. Always be a sponge. Take risks. Look for the opportunities where people feel limited or stuck and make your solution look effortless, regardless if you are nervous inside. And have fun! Play at work, and play at home. Stay creative like a child. Be flexible, and identify what your creative clock is and milk it. But that wall will come, you will hit it, so allow yourself time for life and rest. Lastly, you’ll need support. It comes in so many different forms; no matter the form, remember to appreciate your supporters.