Alumni Spotlight: Elizabeth Dodson, MBA ’97
Elizabeth Dodson, MBA ’97, is Co-Founder of HomeZada, an online and mobile home management portal that helps homeowners manage their largest asset, their home. Elizabeth’s career reflects the adaption to change – she had experience in the corporate world before joining an early stage startup that grew into a successful acquisition. Elizabeth’s most recent venture is being a co-founder in her own consumer internet start-up (HomeZada). In this interview she discusses her MBA experience and her passion to mentor other entrepreneurs and women through various organizations, such as the Sellinger Alumni Mentoring Program.
Why did you want to get your MBA?
I love to learn and because I love to learn, I wanted to add more value to my career. I received my BS in Business from Stevenson University, and an MBA was a natural progression to educating myself and providing me with additional experiences and knowledge that could be used in my career. The added benefit is that my MBA provided more value to my personal life by helping me focus on time management, team and communication skills.
The Sellinger MBA program offered the most amount of flexibility because I was working full time and also offered an experience to connect with other business professionals. Not to mention, it is a reputable MBA program.
What about your Loyola experience helped you get to where you are today? What values do you hold closest? What experience did you gain?
The commitment of education that Loyola is quick to highlight is very important to me. An education is definitely what you make of it, however when you are a Loyola graduate, the commitment to give back in other areas is prevalent especially with the mentoring program. The values surrounding a Jesuit education of honesty, discipline and commitment are especially important to Loyola and myself. I extend these values in my own company and with people I meet.
I am most surprised by the team environment that the Sellinger MBA program provided. This team environment is indicative of the necessary collaboration among staff at organizations to run a successful project, department or organization.
What are some of the roles you’ve held in your career?
I like working for smaller startup type companies that provide a lot of growth opportunity. When I work for smaller companies, I am fortunate to hold many positions in many departments that provide me with an understanding of how departments and roles need to work together to build a successful company. I have been fortunate to have multiple roles and responsibilities throughout my career to give me a broader view of an organization. Some of these roles are: Marketing, Business Development, Inside Sales, Outside Sales, Partner Management, Partner Recruitment, Financial Management, Project Management, Digital Marketing, Social Media, and many others. Many of these roles are needed for me to run my current company, HomeZada. My MBA experience provided me the necessary information to give me the confidence to run my business.
As a female entrepreneur and one specific to technology, celebrating women in business and technology is important to me and the industries I serve. I have written pieces for many blogs and publications, have been interviewed as a representative of my company and have spoken at events and podcasts to celebrate startups and female entrepreneurs.
I am board member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) and currently mentor individuals in the Loyola Mentoring Program and also the ACP (American Corporate Partners) program that supports returning veterans.
Why did you decide to take part in the mentoring program?
I wanted an opportunity to give back to a university that provided me a lot of skills, knowledge and confidence. Mentoring gives me the opportunity to help others identify their potential. Living in California, far away from Loyola, I looked for an opportunity to give back to the university and remote mentoring became the best opportunity.
My mentor/protégé relationship is very important to both myself and my protégé. We communicate via Skype using video technology to share experiences as if we are in the same room with each other. We speak once per month for about 1 – 2 hours each time and focus on details from the previous time together and what assistance is necessary to move through any particular challenge.
Can you share the difference or impact you made as a mentor on a student’s life?
I hope that my skills and experience have helped my protégé view their situation with new eyes and also view their opportunities and options to their fullest extent. Oftentimes, when another individual can see a new perspective, this perspective can help a protégé look at their existing situation and their new options with a new view.
What is the benefit that you have received from being part of this program as mentor? What have you gotten out of your experience, or what have you learned that you’ve applied to your business or life?
As a mentor in the Loyola program, I was able to connect with my protégé and provide support. I was able to learn about her job, her company, her team, change in the company and change in the methods in which they distributed their products. I was able to gain new experiences about a new industry while also helping her find her place and leverage her talents.
The leadership skills I learned at Loyola have been enhanced in my current career and these experiences were helpful in sharing examples of how my protégé could see new perspectives.
What advice would you give those considering becoming a mentor in the program?
This is a great opportunity to connect with others to share individual experiences that could be helpful to the success of others. And as a mentor, you may learn new strategies, industries and techniques that could also be helpful in your current role.
The Sellinger Alumni Mentoring Program pairs a current or former MBA student with a seasoned professional MBA graduate for a six-month period of insight and guidance. Mentoring gives Sellinger alumni the opportunity to stay connected to the University and counsel a student or alum, while protégés gain personal career consulting.
Those interested in participating as a mentor or a protégé for 2017 can register online at alumni.loyola.edu/mentoring. The application deadline is April 14, 2017. The program begins with an orientation on June 8, 2017, at Loyola’s Timonium Graduate Center.