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Alumni Profile: Elizabeth Robillard, MBA ‘06
Alumni Profile: Elizabeth Robillard, MBA ‘06

Elizabeth Robillard, MBA ‘06 knew she loved Portland, and didn’t want to leave to pursue a masters degree program. She looked into The School of Business and determined that it was the right fit to build up a roster of industry connections. The flexibility of the part-time option, along with the caliber of experienced professionals enrolled in the program, sold her on selecting Portland State University as her school of choice. 

“Prior to enrolling in the MBA, I worked at a nonprofit consultancy leading technology strategy, consulting and training for NGOs and nonprofits. I wanted to use the MBA program to transition from nonprofit to business tech solutions,” said Robillard. 
 
After earning her MBA, she worked her way through a variety of positions in tech companies like Webtrends and Urban Airship. Her roles ranged from Senior Analytics Consultant, Director of Agency Partnerships and VP of Product Marketing.

Today she is a tech startup mentor at Portland Incubator Experiment (PIE) and is now VP of Partnerships at Lytics, where she has worked for four years. 

“At Lytics, I manage partnerships and business development. I work with technologies we integrate with as well as solution integrators, digital agencies and consultancies who recommend our solution to their clients and brands,” said Robillard.

What role did PSU play in helping you obtain this position or furthering your career goals?
While I was in my last year of business school I got a job in the martech industry and that was the launching off point for several startup opportunities. 

What helped you achieve success in the program? 
Juggling, hard work, being efficient with my time. I had a baby mid-way through the program, so it took me 3 years to graduate from the part time program.

What is your experience like in the tech industry, as a woman? 
At times challenging, at times rewarding and constantly changing. Now we are talking more about women and diversity in technology and I find that more leaders and companies are investing in developing diverse talents as a competitive advantage. But there is a lot more work to be done to make our cultures inclusive and welcoming to diverse talent. 

What is your favorite aspect of working in the tech industry? 
I work in tech startups and every few months a tech startup is a new company, either because it is growing and scaling or the platform changes or the team morphs. I love all the new and unique challenges of growing a company.
 
What leadership roles have you assumed in this industry? 
I’m on the management team at Lytics. I was on the management team at Urban Airship. I also run a consultancy on the side - negotiatingatwork.com to teach people how to manage their own careers by using everyday negotiation techniques. I have a learning course available through linkedin called Negotiating your Leadership Success and a new one called: Women at Work 

How do you prepare folks to negotiate salary? Especially women?
Know what you want. Know what you are willing to trade. Prepare for the twists and turns. If your boss says yes right away, you didn’t ask for enough. There are more tips at my blog and through another linkedin online learning course called Women at Work

What sort of changes or trends have you seen for women and diversity in tech? 
Awareness of the competitive advantage of diversity in your business. But there is a long way to go. 

What sort of trends do you see for Portland (the silicone forest) in the next three years? Growth? In what tech sectors?
Medtech, IOT, Blockchain, hardware, consumer goods. We have the DNA for all of that. 

How are you currently connected to The School of Business? 
I sometimes speak to the marketing class and more speaking opportunities would be welcome. 

What would you say to fellow alumni or currents students to encourage them?
Know where you are trying to go, build your network of students and faculty and speakers. Your capstone is a great opportunity. You get out what you put in. 

Any other additional comments about the industry and women in tech?
Be part of the change. If you are in tech - get active on this issue. If you are a woman in tech or a person of color in tech - seek out companies that support and believe in you and leave those that don’t. If you are a white male in tech - be an advocate and ally.