Member Spotlight | Elizabeth Flanagan
Graduate Student at University College London, Pursuing an MSc in Global Governance and Ethics, Founding Member & Contributor at Women H2H
I am an all or nothing personality. If I am not passionate about something, frankly, you will be able to tell. I love to travel. I love to do things that people tell me I cannot do, but I am not a rule-breaker, which is extremely counterintuitive. I love to write and someday will finish the books I am working on. I love learning and would stay in school for the rest of my life if I could.
I have a deep knowing that everything in life is temporary, so I try to savor the good to the fullest and remember that the bad will always pass.
Currently, I am working towards a Master's of Science in Global Governance and Ethics at University College London. Before pursuing my postgraduate degree, I was an assistant teacher in English Language and Culture in Madrid, Spain. I graduated from Indiana University in 2019, where I achieved degrees in Spanish, International Studies, and Environmental and Sustainability Studies. With a minor in Communication and Public Advocacy, I also have a passion for hearing out and empowering those who may not have a voice on a given issue at all levels. I have a passion for learning and teaching. I’m most myself when I am challenging myself and those around me to get comfortable with the unfamiliar, and am a proponent of change. The projects and opportunities I like to take on are those that create the biggest impact on the community that I am serving, and therefore the world.
When it comes to the role of women today, what inspires you, and what alerts you? I have been lucky enough to grow up in a world that has been positively affected by all women before me crusading to make it better. It is now my responsibility to say thank you and continue on the crusade. It is not perfect, and it probably never will be, but I will keep striving to open doors for those who come after me as was done for me. What does alert me about this “gladiator” role women have taken on is that some people still underestimate. Even in professional settings, some people, usually men, interrupt and silence. However, I am inspired by the women in my life who don’t let this frustrate them for more than a moment. They point this out, use it as a teaching moment when possible, and move on from there!
What’s your goal around that and why is it important to you? Why is that a priority for you right now?
The general goal of my life is to always have something ahead that makes me nervous. I know that if I am nervous I am on the right path. If I am nervous it means I care and will give it my all.
At this moment especially, having these big things in front of me that would typically make me nervous has excited me more than anything.
I think this situation of monotonous isolation really put the value of new experiences into perspective.
How would you like your CV to look at the end of your career? I have no idea. I have never had a concrete answer to any questions about my long-term future. Up until recently, I’ve always thought this meant that I did not have any serious goals or vision. However, I think I recognize now that at the end of the day, I have much less control over the events of my life than I would like to admit. For the good and the bad.
So, I will continue to create opportunities for myself and put myself on paths that will create a better world. However, I will always be open to something bigger and better that comes along – so who can really know!
What is success for you? This definition changes for me, but right now I think:
Success is the huge smile on my face when I think of something that I am proud of. I guess that means that success is not the thing that I did, but the feeling I get knowing what I achieved.
What would you like your legacy to be?
I would like to have helped other people feel loved and limitless – because everyone is that.
What are the biggest challenges you personally have/have had as a woman? How are you/did you try to overcome them? One of the biggest challenges I have faced as a woman is not changing myself. Whether physically, my personality, my goals, what have you, I have struggled not to change myself to meet other people’s expectations of me.
I think this will be a constant battle because there will always be parts of us as women that other people do not accept. As simple as it sounds, to remedy this, I am learning to love myself unconditionally.
Who or what would have made it easier? What do you wish you would have done then? Outside factors created the challenge within me, but I am the only person who is responsible for fixing it.
I do not think anyone or anything could have done more than they already did to help me. That being said, I am so grateful to have a powerhouse support system in my mom, sister, aunts, and grandmothers. I know how unusual that is and how fortunate I am to have that.
Who do you follow on these subjects? Are there authors, influencers, leaders, sites, blogs you follow? I love Gretchen Rubin, and my favorite book she authored is Better Than Before. I regularly listen to the “How I Built This,” “Ted Radio Hour,” and “On Purpose” podcasts. Each morning I will put something on while I’m getting my day started. Whether an audiobook, podcast, or music I love, it really helps set the tone for the day.
Do you participate in other women groups or communities? What have you seen work in such communities and what was missing for you? Women Heart to Heart is the only group I am involved in and I feel so lucky to be welcomed here. Because of my age, I often worry that I do not have anything to offer or contribute in these circles, but being in H2H has changed that.
I feel like I am valued and respected, and that makes me feel limitless and loved – the two things I want to make other people feel.
How do you see your role in building this community? And is there anything else you want to add that you think would be helpful for us to know as we are building this community? I see myself bringing in a different generation of women to Women Heart to Heart. I hope that I can inspire and collaborate with more young women in this community because it has truly changed the way I look at the world. H2H has reassured me that we are in this together and we are not alone.
I cannot even imagine how many paths of women my age could be altered through interacting with this amazing network- WomenH2H.