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Madeline Schwarz

Madeline Schwarz

Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.

I’m Madeline. I help quiet leaders speak up in a world of loud talkers and I help organizations articulate their vision in clear, concise messaging.

Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?

After years of working in male dominated fields, coming to Ellevate was like coming home. I was seeking a networking group that met during the day and I found so much more at Ellevate. At my first lunch, I met twenty women, many of whom I’m still in touch with. I sat next to the cofounders of an all women’s ad agency who became friends and later clients. I helped them refine their agency pitch and create their first conference talk which established them as thought leaders in transforming the face of advertising and marketing to women over 40.

Since then, I’ve spoken at multiple Ellevate events, mentored rising leaders and career changers within the network, and made incredible friends. It’s so gratifying to hear from members who have used what I taught at workshops to negotiate raises, confidently deliver presentations, ace job interviews and build authority within their organizations.

How would you define your professional mission?

My mission is to teach the world that communication is a skill, something you can learn like softball and knitting. So many people avoid opportunities that involve presenting and shy away from difficult conversations because they assume it will be painful. My goal is to make communication more fun so people can share their story, lead their teams and make change in the world.

What is one of your most memorable career accomplishments?

Overcoming my fear of public speaking was the single most liberating experience of my adult life. I spent the early years of my career on the sidelines being interrupted and talked over and it was frustrating! Getting comfortable using my voice changed my life in more ways than I could have imagined. It’s the reason I’m so passionate about helping introverts and quiet leaders speak up.

What project have you worked on that you’re most proud of? Why?

I helped spearhead a community organizing project that transformed an underutilized and neglected schoolyard in our neighborhood into a beautiful green space. Our council district is third from the bottom in terms of open green space in Brooklyn and the community fought for this project for over twenty years. We raised 1.9 million dollars from elected officials and during a global pandemic, a beautiful new playground and green space opened. It brings me immense pride and joy to see multiple generations come together to use a space that wouldn’t exist if the community didn’t come together to create it.

We’d love to hear more about your career path. What led you to where you are today?

I spent over a decade in the fast-paced world of retail design and experiential marketing. I loved seeing projects come to life in stores but after years of late nights, early mornings, and managing projects on 3 continents and 4 time zones, I needed a change. A layoff and a sprained ankle in the course of a week led me to a major life reckoning of what I wanted to do next. I stopped pretending I liked project management and decided to pursue my entrepreneurial spirit. From years of working with creative teams I noticed that the people who were great problem solvers weren’t always great at explaining their work and selling it to other people. What I do is give professionals creative ways to streamline communication and invite audiences into their world.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

My greatest joy is seeing the confidence people gain when they give presentations they never thought were possible. It completely changes their confidence in how they show up and lead.

What legacy do you hope to leave through your work?

As a business owner, my goal is to change the face of leadership and bring more diverse voices to the table. In my personal life, my goal is to bring more equity to education and raise a transgender child who feels welcome in the world.

What is it about your job that makes you feel it’s the right fit for you?

When I was a project manager, a client once told me I asked too many questions. What he saw as a fault, I’ve leveraged as one of my greatest assets. My natural curiosity, creativity and introspective nature as an introvert make coaching the perfect fit.

What would you say your personal superpower is?

Listening is my superpower. It allows me to take all the ideas in your head and put them together in a way that makes sense and tastes good to other people.

Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.