This Self-Made Female Billionaire Never Let Men Define Her Career

This Self-Made Female Billionaire Never Let Men Define Her Career

Liz Elting never quit anything in her life except for the "perfect" job she landed at 26.

The linguaphile had previously worked in five countries (Portugal, Spain, Canada, Venezuela, and the U.S.), and studied four languages before graduating New York University with an MBA. The then recent graduate, eager to build a career, took a job in international corporate finance. She was the only woman in the office. And, so began the "unnerving reality," Elting describes.

Instead of doing her job, she was subjected to "Liz — phone!" every time the phone rang or asked to take messages for her colleagues. That's when she had a defining moment. She believed she was meant to lead — and she was right.

"We are who we choose to be, and I knew that if I wasn’t going to be allowed the space to utilize my talents and fulfill my potential, I would have to create that space myself," Elting said in Forbes' Mentoring Moments podcast.

Elting is now on Forbes' list of America's Richest Self-Made Women as co-founder and CEO of TransPerfect, one of the world's largest translation firms.

"It's worth noting that the traits identified as strength, assertiveness and ambition in men, are often given very different names when exhibited by women: bossy, aggressive, difficult. As a woman and innovator in the language and technology solutions industries for 25 years, I have grown to wear these titles proudly," she said.

TransPerfect came to life in her then-boyfriend, now ex-fiancé's NYU dorm room with no outside funding and is now valued at more than one billion dollars. Due to disputes between Elting and her ex-fiancé, Phil Shawe, the co-owners posed a great threat to the company’s financial performance.

As of February 13, the sale of TransPerfect was affirmed by Delaware Supreme Court, Delaware Online reports. Shawe, who did not want to sell, plans to appeal this ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Photo Credit: Facebook/TransPerfect