President/CEO – International Visitors Council of Los Angeles (IVCLA)
How did you get your first job in this field?
Elliott: I have always had a keen interest in all things international and my position at the International Visitors Council of Los Angeles (IVCLA) was a wonderful opportunity to fulfill those interests. It resulted from initially volunteering with IVCLA.
What was your career path?
Elliott: It was not a direct path to my current position. It began with a degree in Sociology, followed by a degree in Communications (with time off in between to raise four children.) I initially worked in Marketing & Communications for several national printing companies, but my interest in international affairs kept me involved in organizations dealing with international issues. Though this involvement I learned of IVCLA and its outstanding mission to create international understanding and cooperation.
Describe your typical day at work.
Elliott: Nothing is typical at IVCLA. I am juggling fundraising, administrative responsibilities, community outreach programs and implementation of international exchange programs; but when an international visitor has an immediate request we must attend to – that suddenly takes top priority.
What advice would you give someone seeking a career in your field?
Elliott: Whatever career you decide to seek, I think it is always beneficial to be aware of international issues. Seek out information about current politics and happenings around the world. Make sure your sources provide reliable information. Knowing the facts about what is happening in other parts of the world is critical to becoming a good global citizen. Where ever your career path takes you, knowing about the rest of the world will always be a valuable asset.
How do you see the future of the profession? What are the positions in this field with the most potential for growth?
Elliott: Since IVCLA works on many programs directly with the U.S. Department of State, in our current political situation we are uncertain what the future of some of the programs will be. However, these programs, and Citizen Diplomacy in general, have been seen for more the 85 years as critical to ensuring our U.S. safety and prosperity. The importance of Citizen Diplomacy is even more critical in these uncertain times. I am sure companies will also continue to realize the importance of “global business diplomacy.” No matter what is being said politically, business is going to remain global which means global dialogue will remain extremely important.
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