Christine Elliott: Leading With Confidence and Vulnerability
In this episode of WomenHeard Changemakers, we chat with Christine Elliott, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at Moody’s Corporation and a 2023 NYWICI Matrix Award winner. Elliott began her 25-year career in communications with ABC News and later worked for American Express and Moody’s.
Currently, Elliott collaborates with policymakers, government officials, and the media to enhance the understanding of Moody’s unique value proposition as a global integrated risk assessment firm focusing on bringing awareness to corporate, financial, and economical challenges. She also oversees sustainability strategy, optimizing operations for the company.
Here’s a peek at some key takeaways from Elliott’s conversation with podcast host Georgia Galanoudis.
A Successful Career Journey is Never Linear
Elliott initially went to work at Moody’s on communications and branding function, but through collaborating within different departments and teams at Moody’s, she ended up with her dream job as the head of corporate affairs.
“The common thread for me across my career is finding something that is exciting and that I have passion for but also a little bit challenging and something that makes me wonder how I might take some of my skills from one area and apply it to another,” Elliott says, “but really understanding that I’m challenging myself and I’m growing that way. And then as I’m growing, I’m having impact.”
Elliott adds that the most important skills and values that you can share with the world are your unique experiences, insightful outlook, open-mindedness, and attitude for growth.
Finding Calmness in Chaos
Elliott is known for bringing calmness and confidence to her role. These leadership characteristics come from her personal experience: “I have two teenage daughters, so anything you throw at me in an office environment is nothing compared to what they throw at me day to day,” she says, “and that includes, trying to make them proud of me, trying to do the right thing by them, and provide the right experiences for them.”
Her parents have played an important role in that confidence too. “They really instilled in me a belief that most things are possible,” Elliott says.
And of course, working in the fast-paced TV news industry has also had an impact, teaching Elliott time management, multi-tasking, and other important job skills.
Candor vs. Vulnerability
According to Elliott, candor is her greatest strength—but it can also be her weakness when she’s too direct. However, she’s found that candor also allows for vulnerability, so she’s practicing opening up more. That involves letting both her daughters and her team see that she doesn’t have all the answers and sometimes makes mistakes.
“In the professional environment, being transparent, being vulnerable, that really takes some courage,” she says. “I think it probably takes more courage in some ways than just candor itself.”
The more vulnerable you can allow yourself to be, she notes, the greater the impact you will have on whatever stakeholder group you’re talking to. And she’s noticed that the increased transparency and vulnerability has allowed her team at Moody’s to collaborate in a more cohesive way.
Channeling the Lady Lions
When it comes to being open and showing our true selves at work, Elliott thinks of it like this: Lady lions are the ones hunting for their families, and sometimes, they earn scars while doing it. But they wear those scars with pride. And the more you do that, she points out, the more you become free to be your authentic self.
And that, she adds, will only make you a better leader: “Your responsibility is not just to make an impact in that room. It’s to hold that door wide open so that people can come through with their own ideas behind you.”
Many thanks to Christine Elliott for joining us! You can listen to the full interview and all of the episodes of NYWICI’s WomenHeard podcast here.