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Nekeshia Woods

Nekeshia Woods

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

I have been lucky to build a career doing what I love - providing strategic advice on how to grow companies. I built my career as a management consultant and in-house consultant providing strategic advice and operational support to companies entering new markets and growing their presence in existing markets. Recently, I moved to the start-up world to experience building a company from the ground-up. While my current company launched several years ago, we are still a start-up successfully building a technology platform that changes the way large financial institutions do business.

What qualities does it take for someone to be successful in your line of work?

Self-starter, dedication, and going above and beyond to get the job done.

What are some career challenges on your radar?

Navigating office politics.

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

I am a big believer that different career experiences enhance your ability to do your job exceptionally well. I took a circuitous route to get to the start-up world. I started in politics as a White House intern and later as a political appointee for President H.W. Bush. This experience taught me the importance of dedication to your job and loyalty. After serving, I moved into consulting, first as a government consultant then as a commercial consultant. During my time as a government consultant, I learned how large bureaucracies can hinder innovation and success at an entity and personal level. As a commercial consultant primarily for healthcare companies, I learned how the leadership in the private sector successfully build and run businesses. After deciding that I no longer wanted to travel for a 'living,' I made the leap to financial services where I worked on the Corporate Strategy team at BlackRock and realized the impact that technology firms were having on large financial institutions. Wanting to be a part of this change, I made the move to the start-up world.

At each stage of my career, I made moves to different firms and industries for a variety reasons but all experiences have positively impacted the way I create and execute strategy for companies.

Who are your role models?

My mother. She is the reason I have achieved so much in life and why I am continuing to be successful. She instilled very basic qualities that I often use (without knowing at this point) to build my career. 1. You can achieve anything you want, 2. Don't ever let anyone tell you no, 3. To be a great leader you have to learn how to follow first.

What is your favorite social media site? Why?

LinkedIn. It is one of the most effective ways to use your network and to start a conversation with someone you have never met.

What advice would you offer future leading ladies wishing to break into your industry?

It's not just about how well you do your job, it's equally or even more so about who you know in the organization that can help you grow your career. Often the latter is tied to the better projects, roles, and promotions.

What is the best career advice you ever received?

Ask for what you want. I received this advice when I was 24 and wanted a raise. I attempted to ask for a raise in a very ‘round about’ ineffective way. At one point in the conversation my boss stopped me mid-sentence and told me to ask for what I want. I often find myself repeating these same words - more often to woman than men.

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

I joined Ellevate after reading Sallie’s 'Own It' book. As I continue to build my career, moving to the next level is highly contingent on your work and personal network. Ellevate has eliminated the hard part of identifying successful like-minded women in the same or different industry through their network. As a result, when I attend events or accept coffee dates, I know we will have a common goal of meeting smart successful women.

Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.