Carly Krasnoff (2015) and Liza Seiden (2015)

There must be something in the Short Hills water, because this week’s Campus Celebs both have a passion for marketing and giving Wash U women the tools they need to succeed in the business world. Liza and Carly head up Ellevate and, through their new speaker series, have brought powerful businesswomen to campus to shed some light on their experiences and to help students prepare to navigate their way through the real world. Read on to learn more about Carly and Liza and to get a feel for what Ellevate has to offer.




CK: Short Hills, NJ

LS: Same... awk


CK: Accounting and Marketing majors, French minor

LS: Marketing major, Writing minor

On-campus involvement

CK: Ellevate VPO, Retail Management TA, Kappa Kappa Gamma

LS: Ellevate President, The Amateurs A Cappella Group, Chi Omega, Natural Ties

Can you tell us a little bit about what Ellevate is? Ellevate is a national network of women who believe that networking and lifelong learning are the keys to business success. We hope that by supporting one another throughout our education and careers, we will one day close the wage gap. The Ellevate chapters are typically made up of working women in major cities, and they host events, webinars, and provide insightful articles and other helpful tools on their website. The Wash U chapter is one of the first campus chapters, so we’re still experimenting with ways in which we can best benefit college students.

When and how did you decide to get involved with Ellevate?

LS: My first year in Olin as a freshman was a lot about learning the ropes, but as a Sophomore I decided to get more involved in the Olin community.  I joined a business fraternity, Phi Gamma Nu, and explored the possibility of joining this club I had heard about in one of my classes, 85 Broads (the former name of Ellevate).  I felt that joining a club with a group of like-minded girls who wanted to ban together to make a difference for professional women on campus would be the perfect way to fill out my Olin experience.

CK: A member of my sorority pledge family was a senior at the time and decided to start the Wash U chapter of 85 Broads, and I was looking for more ways to get involved on campus. I also was a B-school transfer my sophomore year, so it was really helpful to have this network of resources, such as resumes and cover letters, and experienced women that were always willing to help you get hired. I was very excited to carry on the legacy my senior year! 

What are your roles in Ellevate's chapter at Wash U?

LS: As the President of Ellevate, I run our meetings and am the face of our chapter!

CK: As Vice President of Organization, I am in charge of reserving rooms and planning our events! We also have a Google Drive, Facebook page, and Twitter that we manage together. Since our chapter is still so new, we’ve both been doing a ton of work just to help get us off the ground and increase our presence on campus and in St. Louis.

Who has been your favorite speaker so far, or are there any particular speakers that you are especially looking forward to?

CK: We actually just started the Speaker Series this semester! We thought it would be a great way to learn from women that are already successful in the workforce (not that we don’t have pretty great advice to provide ourselves) and, of course, it’s helping us gain members and street cred.

LS: So our first speaker was Kelly Ainsworth, a strategic and counterparty risk manager at Wells Fargo, and she killed it! She had wonderful insight about how she continues to climb the ladder to the top, despite being a woman in the finance world.

CK: And I’m super pumped about our next speaker, this Tuesday, Maxine Clark! She is the founder of Build-A-Bear Workshop and is a big proponent of supporting women in business. I’ve actually heard her speak in my Retail Management class, and she is wonderful.

LS: Our third and final event is on April 24th and will be led by Diane Herndon, Manager and Sustainable Development and CSR Professional at Nestle Purina. I think sustainability is something that rings with a lot of Wash U students, and I’m excited to have three amazing speakers from three different industries!

Do you have your own personal female mentor that you look up to within or outside of the business world?

LS: I actually have a pretty big girl crush on Amy Poehler.  Not only is she hysterical and brilliant, but she also has an organization called Smart Girls that I just love.  It is a safe community in which young women are recognized for their accomplishments and asked to take a stand on projects about which they are passionate!  “We emphasize intelligence and imagination over ‘fitting in.’ We celebrate curiosity over gossip. We are a place where people can truly be their weird and wonderful selves. We are funny first, and informative second, hosting the party you want to attend.”  I think Smart Girls and Ellevate have the same general idea: strong women in a supportive community can only lead to awesomeness.

CK: That just made me think of Mindy Kaling, who is also the sh*t. But I was actually going to say Sophia Amoruso, the founder of Nasty Gal and author of #Girlboss. I’m going into the fashion industry, so she is definitely someone I look up to. 

What do you think attendees of the Ellevate Speaker Series will take away from these events?

LS: We hope that they leave feeling empowered!

CK: A lil’ cheesy, we know, but I actually love hearing about how these successful women started. They were just as lost and confused in college as we are. Our last speaker was an English major and had an engineering job before she got her MBA at Wash U and ended up at Wells Fargo. We all have different paths and we all have to start somewhere, but what’s important is what you make of your experiences.

LS: And maybe one day Carly and I will end up speaking for an Ellevate chapter!

Do you have any advice for women and female business students who are intimidated by networking or do not know how to go about it?

LS: I think my advice would be that everyone is nervous talking to people they don’t know! It’s awkward! So when you are walking up to someone, even some top executives, know that they want it to go smoothly just as much as you do. So just be nice! Ask questions! Show interest! And the more practice you get, the easier it gets.

CK: Agreed. It honestly does start to become more natural as you continue to make more and more connections.

For more information about Ellevate and to keep updated about all the speakers coming to campus, visit Ellevate Wash U's Facebook page and follow them on Twitter: @washuellevate. To contact Carly or Liza directly, please email them at [email protected].

Last but not least, be sure to come hear Maxine Clark, the founder of Build-A-Bear, speak about her experiences on Tuesday, March 31. RSVP on the event's Facebook page.