The Influence - Episode 3: Connector & Digital Health Innovator: Elizabeth Keller. OntarioMD.
Sometimes in our “first impression society” it is easy to miss genuine spark and intelligence until you get to know someone (which is sometimes rare in this fast paced, need for “immediate access to info” world in which we live in where we forget to put the device down and listen…). This is really where Elizabeth comes into the story. Unassuming and humble on first appearance, it’s the “getting to know process” with Elizabeth that pulls you in. Excited, genuine, personable and very (really) successful at her job, it has been a pleasure to watch her growth journey over the years. The reason I comment on the idea of first impressions is the fact that even Elizabeth thinks that she has been underestimated although apparently to her that has meant it takes some of the pressure off - more about that later.
If memory serves, I was on the hiring team that brought Elizabeth into the consulting space back when Price Waterhouse was a thing (don’t count the years please). From junior consultant to now the VP Product and Strategy at OntarioMD, Elizabeth’s rise to national and international prominence as an expert in digital health has been fun to watch on the sidelines over the years.
For me, the influence has come from watching the journey. Coming in an out of the story over the past 20 years has created a pause – some thinking - about whether the rise and extension of her network has been purposeful. Does she think it is an accident? How does she think about or analyze the path to get to where she is today? From junior consultant at a global firm to well-known (and multi-award winner) in the digital health space is an impressive journey.
“By design, I have made sure that I am curious and stay curious”, Elizabeth told me over coffee and our now (almost regular) hangout in the Yorkville part of Toronto. She talks openly about the importance of meeting people but not just that – it is about hearing about what they are doing which then adds to her motivation and inspiration to up her game; to improve her own performance or how she can build better teams.
Now we are getting somewhere. It is at this point of our coffee chat where I remember all about her ease of conversation. This natural curiosity has led her to focus on promoting other people. “The first 20 years of my career was about me. Now I am excited about promoting other people.” Part of this is taking breaks from her (paying) career to support charitable causes. While many of us are trying to fit in this sort of community commitment in between 50-60-hour work weeks, she sometimes steps away taking personal time to “give back”.
So, about that underestimation thing. Is it because she is a woman (I write as I still cannot believe we are talking about this but unfortunately, we are…)? “It’s simply not a driver anymore. It is not a lens I worry about. For awhile it was, but I just needed to understand that and get over it”. Her development and connection work with other female business leaders has really supported this perspective, “It was not going to be a barrier that I allowed others to put in my way”. This was a precursor to the important advice that she shares with any new (and young) member of her team, “be self aware and honest with yourself”. She certainly exudes this sense of confidence and patience. A person who feels comfortable in her own skin and helping others do the same.
And then it becomes clear that as much as she has influenced others (like me) she has learned how to be influenced as well, to be open to hearing both positive and negative, to listen, reflect, learn and then most importantly, take action.
To learn more about Elizabeth, go to: www.linkedin.com/in/elizabeth-keller-62126216/
To learn more about the Author, go to: www.linkedin.com/in/scottnowlan or visit: www.saunusnetwork.com
The Influence is a series of articles about people that have made a difference in the careers and/or personal lives of people. It is a personal account of life’s lessons from which we can all learn. None of the people interviewed or participating have been paid for or are paying for this article. I am grateful for their support, honesty and advice over the years.