Living abroad, especially in a country where you don’t natively speak the language, is never easy. It’s even more of a challenge if you start a company there. And that’s is exactly what Elizabeth J. Taylor did.
An avid fan of Rick Steve’s Europe (she would fight to watch it on Saturday mornings at the age of eight) Elizabeth took up French as part of her college studies. Required to go abroad for her major, Elizabeth decided to use her last semester at Vanderbilt University to intern and take classes in France. That small taste of living and working abroad wasn’t enough though, she wanted to live in France full time and really immerse herself in the culture.
As graduation loomed in front of her, Elizabeth wasn’t able to find a job in France. Unwilling to deter her dream to live and work abroad, she started looking for jobs in wider Europe, determined to make a place for herself in another world.
In December 2012, shortly after graduating, this Colorado Springs native was contacted by a Munich based firm for strategy and innovation management. They thought she would be a great fit for their company so she joined them in Germany to start her new life there. Not knowing a word of the language, she started reading Calvin and Hobbs in German and surrounded herself with German speaking friends and colleagues.
Over time, some of her work friends started going off to found their own companies and private ventures. Recognizing her keen eye for strategy and marketing, they began to turn to her for advice. Soon, word of mouth spread and she was being contacted not just by former colleagues but their friends as well. As a result, Elizabeth and a German colleague with a background in law, teamed up to found Sollertis Strategy.
A sort of consulting firm for startups, they help them to get off the ground and navigate key points of failure and position them to raise funding. Since many of the companies they assist are very small, they typically pay Elizabeth and her partner in equity and a small fee. Not paid entirely in fess it can get risky for them so they work hard to carefully hand select companies that they really believe in and which they want to work with.
One of her favorites at the moment is a Turkish bio-tech company which is figuring out how to convert waste into fuel. Not only are they a great team to work with, Elizabeth loves the fact that their company could really do a lot of good and have a meaningful social impact on the world.
As Elizabeth’s company expands to other countries, she finds herself traveling more and more. Often she goes between their biggest hubs in Munich, London, France and Turkey but sometimes she travels to California, specifically to Los Angeles and the Bay Area to work with both American companies and companies which have relocated there from abroad.
When she’s not traveling or working, however, Elizabeth likes to enjoy the beautiful city of Munich which she calls the, “Off the radar center of the universe” a place where you can “walk into square or club or restaurant and meet famous or fascinating people.” A four-year vegan, she’s always on the lookout for new vegan-friendly restaurants to try. Though they were scarce some years ago and it was sometimes hard to be vegan in Germany, there are a lot more places to eat now with Oktoberfest even offering an option for vegans.
An avid sports player growing up, Elizabeth participated in everything from karate and running to ice skating and basketball. These days, she keeps her passion for skating alive. Managing to find a pair of skates at a consignment store there, Elizabeth loves to glide around listening to music. With the Alps so close by, she also enjoys hiking and rock climbing there.
As for how she came to join about.me, one of her friends in college had a page and she immediately clicked the “Claim Your Name” button to sign up. She loves getting compliments and exploring the people who took the time to look at her page. She also likes brightening someone else’s day with a compliment of her own and also reaching out to people with interesting pages. “I once had a great conversation with someone who complimented me. We talked about a conference we both went to – I would have never connected with that person if it weren’t for about.me.”
To learn more about Elizabeth, be sure to check out her about.me page.
Eliana Arredondo is the Community Manager for about.me. She is a graduate of Stanford University.