Leadership and Mentorship:
Catalytic Elements for Growth
As a professional in the Central Florida business community, Elinor Steele-Zegelbone began her career as an executive assistant within Tupperware Brands where she blossomed under the wing of the Chairman and CEO. When she needed extra leadership training to advance her career, she went back to school for an MBA, and has since made a prolific impact on the company and those around her. In an interview with i4Biz, Elinor shares her experiences, keys to success and advice for tomorrow’s female business leaders.
Q: As the Vice President of Global Communications and Women’s Initiatives and respected leader in the business community, what is your best advice for professionals looking to take their careers to the next level?
A: Keep a positive attitude and take advantage of opportunities that will help you gain leadership skills and find the very best sponsor that will believe in you and
Q: Speaking of sponsors, we know you’ve had strong mentors throughout your career. What is your best advice for anyone looking for a mentor? Any considerations they should take into account?
A: When looking for a mentor, you want someone you can trust completely, that has unquestionable integrity and has had successful experiences in career and life that they will share with you. It is important that your mentor does not merely give you advice, but helps you build your skill base and is also a source of personal encouragement, confidence and honesty.
Q: You have become a mentor to many women around the world through your work at Tupperware Brands and beyond. How can other successful women support and encourage the next generation of female business leaders?
A: I believe that it is our responsibility to extend a hand to other women. We must fill the pipeline with talented, experienced and inspirational women for the future. We must build a community of women that connect with and help other women. We call this community the Chain of Confidence.
Q: After starting at Tupperware Brands, your mentor, Rick Goings, Chairman and CEO of Tupperware Brands encouraged you to go back to school and earn your MBA, which you did at Rollins College Crummer Graduate School of Business. While studying at Crummer, what had the most impact on you or made it a unique experience?
A: There were a number of professors that impacted me in different ways, but most of all was the realization that they cared for the students beyond the classroom.
The Crummer experience was not just the gaining of business knowledge, but how to apply it personally; how to be an inspirational leader and make a difference wherever you are.
If I had to single out one experience, it was the Global Business Practicum that I was able to lead, along with Dr. Mark Johnston, to Guangzhou, China in 2000. We were a team of six MBA students that undertook a marketing challenge for Tupperware China and produced recommendations that were immediately applied in the business there… and are still being implemented today. Our business had about ten outlets in 2000; today there are over 5,000. The business model has been contemporized and expanded over time and is successful and continuing to grow today.
Q: What do you love about working in Central Florida?
A: I started at Tupperware Brands as a temporary employee, but it only took a couple of days before I knew that I wanted to make it permanent. And that was 25 years ago! It was the welcoming, warm and inclusive culture that made me want to be a part of this company with a heart. During that time, Central Florida has become my home with those same qualities: a growing culture of inclusivity and opportunity with a tremendous heart.