Education: Vassar College; Fashion Institute of Technology
Career: Communications entrepreneur, CEO and founder, in 1991, of Kaplow Communications, which offers media relations, social media, digital marketing, content creation and more for clients like Microsoft, Target, Shiseido, CVS and the Avon Foundation.
NYWICI Involvement: President, 2013-2014, 2016 Matrix Honoree
NYWICI: What is the most important attribute of a leader?
Liz Kaplow: It’s not a single attribute, but a group of attributes that make an effective leader. First, a leader should create a shared vision; second, she must identify and nurture the unique talents of her team; and finally, she should be able to inspire them to success.
What’s the best advice you’ve received?
My father, who was a textile-industry executive, taught me that in business, as in life, you can’t force a sale. Not only do you have to believe in what you are selling, it has to be as good a deal for the other person as it is for you.
What change in the role of women in the workplace was the most significant for you?
I was very fortunate to “grow up” in business surrounded by strong, focused and accomplished women. They showed me that, if I put my head down and focused on doing the best possible work, I could achieve anything. I still believe that today.
Relate a challenge you overcame early in your career.
After working in public relations for about a decade, I had young children. I wanted to be there for my girls, but didn’t want to give up the joy I found in my work. There wasn’t the technology that makes it possible for women today to retain their corporate or agency jobs with some flexibility. The only option I had was to start my own business. With the help of a very forward-thinking husband, we made it work. I would sometimes work from home on Fridays so I could go to my younger daughter’s school to help serve the pizza lunch. Many years later, my daughter told me that she never actually knew that I was working on those days. She felt that I was there for her 100%. I think that’s an important lesson for us all. Being truly present in the moment allows us to have many different lives.
Any reflections on the word feminism?
I view feminism as a way of life –something smart women and men practice by offering career opportunities, providing equal pay and valuing good work. With that said, there is still work to do. During my term as NYWICI president, I became aware of the challenges facing mid-career women and became a fervent advocate for the advancement of women at all stages of their careers. What that means is that each of us must take action every day – supporting one another, being a mentor to the next generation and modeling those feminist behaviors to those around us.
What change in the communications business most impacted your career?
I can’t think of another industry that has been through more change over the past two decades. That constantly changing landscape has made me open and nimble, and receptive to new ideas. I’ve become a continual learner and I like that, because it means my career keeps changing and growing. My mother, who is an artist, taught me to approach every situation like a blank canvas that is a chance to create something new.
Do you have a favorite NYWICI moment?
As president, I helped NYWICI bring shape too its story encapsulated in two pillars: first, helping members advance at every stage of their careers, and second, reflecting the changing landscape of our industry Especially meaningful were the intergenerational panels and seeing women at all stages of their careers connect and learn from one another.