Liz Kelly, EO San Francisco
CEO of Brilliant Ink
Joined EO in March 2012
What inspired you to join EO?
LK: Last year, I became involved with EO San Francisco’s mentoring program. My business wasn’t big enough to qualify for EO, so the program helped companies like mine get there. It worked! My business doubled last year, and the support I’ve gotten from my mentor really convinced me of the benefits that come with joining EO, so I took the plunge. I joined because I want to be in the company of other high-energy entrepreneurs who are fully committed to growing their businesses. I feed off of other people’s creative energy!
How did you get started in your business or industry?
LK: I joined with a PR agency in Chicago, Illinois, USA, in the middle of the dot-com craze, and that’s where I learned the ins and outs of employee communications. I was on a communications team that worked with clients on several large projects. I could see that getting your employees on board could make or break a business, but it’s often an afterthought.
What’s the hardest thing about entrepreneurship?
LK: It can be lonely. There are lots of decisions that can only be made by me, and sometimes I’d love to have a knowledgeable, sympathetic ear to help me work things out. This is one of the reasons why I’m excited to get involved with Forum.
What’s the next big step for your business?
LK: I want to build Brilliant Ink into a nationally recognized consultancy, so there are marketing and business development activities we need to undertake to get us there. I believe in practicing what we preach. I can’t tell companies to invest in their people, and not do the same. I’m working on programs that will assimilate new hires fast and help them perform at their best. We’re small now, but I don’t intend to stay this way for long.