Concentrations

MA in English

Elissa Matulis Myers, 1982

Elissa Matulis Myers

What work are you doing now?

I have worked in association management since 1972, and currently serve as Executive Director of the Academy for Eating Disorders. I also maintain my own consulting firm, Advice & Consensus, helping associations develop strategic direction and powerful action plans to achieve their strategies. My recent clients include the Licensing Executives Society, the International Association of Culinary Professionals, the World Alliance of Retail Excellence and Standards, and many more.

What do you like about it?

When you work for an association, you do a deep dive into the field and mission that the members represent—you become extremely well-versed in a particular trade or profession. And as a consultant, I focus my attention on a wide variety of fields, allowing me to see the synergies between them. To see individuals working together to fabricate a new reality for their profession, their industry, or the cause that they care about is powerfully inspiring. To be a part of the solution that helps them to do that brings me overwhelming joy.

How did your degree in the college prepare you to do this work?

I don't even know where to begin to answer this question. My studies and my teachers at Mason taught me:

  • How to organize my thoughts
  • How to communicate
  • How to discriminate between evidence and hyperbole
  • How to research and find answers to questions small and large
  • To believe in myself and my potential
  • To speak up, speak out, and to ask tough questions.

What advice would you give current students about developing their careers?

Honestly, I had a lot of luck. I graduated in May and by August, I was still looking. I was offered a job that didn't excite me, but hey, it was a job! The night before I was to start work, an employment agency asked me if I wanted to interview the next morning for the editorial team of a magazine. I said yes in a heartbeat, got the job, and worked with every ounce of energy I could muster. I've never been a "salary man"—never worked to the rule. Then—and now—I look around for opportunities to be of use. The world is full of opportunities to solve problems or help get things done—I love to be part of the solution!

 

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