CEO, Ellevate Network
Kristy Wallace is the CEO of Ellevate Network, and is responsible for executing Ellevate Network’s mission of changing the culture of business from the inside out by providing professional women with a supportive community to lean on and learn from. She directs the Network’s staff, is responsible for business growth and strategy, and works closely with Ellevate’s Chapter Leaders, Business Partners, and Champions to further Ellevate’s impact.
Kristy is host of the Ellevate Podcast: Conversations with Women Changing the Face of Business and is also a regular speaker and thought leader on Leadership, Diversity, Social Entrepreneurship, Networking, and Entrepreneurialism. Most recently, Kristy was recognized as a Woman of Influence by the New York Business Journal.
Kristy strives to support women and girls in achieving their dreams. She is an Angel Investor with Pipeline Angels, an organization creating capital for women and non-binary femme social entrepreneurs; a Member of the UN Women Global Innovation Coalition for Change; an Advisor for the 92Y Women in Power Fellowship for Rising Female Leaders; on the Advisory Council for the Villanova University Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship Institute; Co-Chair of the Leadership Advisory Board for the Girl Scouts of Greater NYC; and a Board Member at Workforce Professionals Training Institute. Kristy is an expert on many of the issues facing women in business, and she is a frequent at conferences throughout the year.
Prior to joining Ellevate, Kristy was a founding team member of Zeel.com, where she oversaw operations, business modeling, brand development, partnerships, and fundraising. Kristy also served as VP of North America Ad Sales and GM of International Operations at Vault.com.
Kristy obtained her BA in English/Sociology from Villanova University and began her career as a financial analyst at KeyBank. A passionate runner, reader and world traveler, Kristy lives in Greenpoint, Brooklyn with her husband and three wonderful children.
My purpose in life is to connect women to their power, to help them succeed and invest in their ability to build businesses that positively impact the world.
Personally, I aspire to be engaged in my community, which I define by my family, friends, neighbors, and the local people who surround me every day. I’m always thinking about how I can work to make that community stronger and better. I also push myself to learn more and be better; I strive to put myself in uncomfortable situations that push me to think outside the box, to improve, and to grow.
Professionally I aspire to build and grow Ellevate and its impact in helping women succeed in the workplace – helping women make meaningful connections that provide the support and opportunities for them to succeed in the workplace.
My greatest success is the Ellevate , for a variety of reasons. It’s an event that we created truly to disrupt the conversation around equality and amplify the voices that are often unheard in these conversations – the voices that don’t have the platform or the privilege to be heard. I say it’s my biggest success because as a parent, I bring my children to this event and know that I am exposing them to diverse ideas, people, and mindsets that will help to shape them as human beings. As a leader, I see impact on businesses globally where professional women are becoming stronger leaders and managers, and our organizations are working to develop inclusive workplaces. On a societal scale, it’s important to continue these conversations and to provide the platform that uplifts the voices of people who are marginalized, helping to move our society to a place grounded in understanding and equality.
The most challenging moment of my career was when I joined the founding team of Zeel. I trusted everyone else on the team – my colleagues and fellow founding members – but I was scared of not earning a steady paycheck. I was afraid of failure. At that time, I had a new child at home, I was pregnant with my second, and I was worried about financial stability. Taking risks is scary, especially when you’re not 100% in control of the outcome, but this challenge pushed me to be a better person and a better contributor to the workforce. I learned about financial management, I learned new skills, and I learned firsthand the power we each have in our businesses to make them successful.
Fake it till you make it – like many others, I’m oftentimes in situations where I doubt myself, my abilities to be a leader, the importance of my voice in thought leadership. I worry that I will fail in some way, and I’ve decided to be intentional about pushing myself to rise to these challenges, to continue to use that self-doubt to propel me to a place of action and, ultimately, confidence. I say “fake it till you make it” and continue to push through these moments of doubt because even if you don’t believe in yourself in that moment, if you push yourself forward, you will eventually get to a place of self-confidence.
My role models are always those who use their platform to advocate and create change for others and the things they believe in. From the young girls who are the speakers at our summit, who are speaking out for science and environmental change, to Melinda Gates, who uses her money and influence to raise awareness about suffering in other countries and societies, to the everyday people who speak up on behalf of coworkers, friends, and family to advocate for them and their rights. I look up to the brave people who stand up for what they believe in and take action to make that happen.
To accomplish three things from my To Do list.
Today is going to be a great day
Hug my kids
Say thank you to someone
Approach each day as a new day, and don’t let failures or mistakes from the past stay with you
A Day in My Life:
What do you love most about Your City?
That you can walk anywhere and the walk is always an adventure of new people, new places, new things to see.
Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant?
My husband and I have a standing breakfast date at Five Leaves in Brooklyn. A great time for us to catch up and talk about what we’re working on that week and how we can support each other. We love to get the Ricotta Pancakes but don’t often because of a slowing metabolism. So we often opt for a healthier option like Eggs and Kale, a very Brooklyn choice.
What are you doing at:
6:00 AM – Usually sleeping. I’d love to say I’m up working out but chances are I had insomnia the night before, or a small child climbing in my bed, so I don’t push myself too hard with waking up early.
10:00 AM – I tend to be in meetings. I’ll usually schedule meetings first thing in the day because I’m most awake and mentally creative. Later in the day is when I focus on emails and projects.
7:00 PM – I’m usually home with my kiddos. It’s really important to me that I spend as much time as I can with them at night, because I tend to travel with work or have Ellevate events to attend. I make it as much of a priority as I can to hang out, make dinner, and spend quality time together.
11:00 PM – Getting ready for bed. I’m a voracious reader of fiction, though I’ve been trying to read more non-fiction. So I’m usually up reading on my iPhone – which I know is bad! It’s bad to be reading on your phone before bed, but it’s a guilty pleasure of mine.
What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?
I always need coffee. I try to limit it to 2 cups, but it depends on the day and the night before. Seltzer water – I’m obsessed with carbonated water. At night, I can always go for a glass of wine to decompress.
Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account?
I have a number of favorite apps:
Rent the Runway – proud unlimited user and do my “shopping” on their app
Fresh Direct – I order our groceries on my commute
Delta – I travel quite a bit and that’s my airline of choice
Slack – Because it’s our main mode of communication at work and it’s a great way to say in touch with what’s happening
What should everyone try at least once?
Public speaking – for many people it’s scary, but it’s important to have confidence in our own voice and opinions and share that with the world.
Where do you enjoy getting lost?
Within Brooklyn. I love my neighborhood and I’m always finding new restaurants or stores or streets with interesting buildings and it’s fun to walk around and immerse yourself in the place where you live.
What Else to Know?