ELIZABETH MCCOURT ’91: FOLLOWING A NONLINEAR CAREER PATH

Elizabeth McCourtA published author in fiction and poetry, a law school graduate, a recruiter with 16 years of experience and now, an entrepreneur. Elizabeth McCourt ’91 has achieved a lot since graduating from Maryland Smith, and she can tell you firsthand, careers do not always follow a linear path

Elizabeth attended the University of Maryland because of her interest in business and politics. While in school, she discovered she was also a skilled writer, so she took a variety of literature classes in addition to her business classes. She even worked on Capitol Hill her senior year. But after discovering the multitude of opportunities within other corporations throughout her 300- and 400-level courses, she landed her first job out of college at Morgan Stanley.

With politics and law still an interest in the back of her mind, Elizabeth earned her law degree and worked as an attorney for four years. However, with the help of her undergraduate business degree, she eventually found her place in recruiting. With 16 years of recruiting experience, she came to realize that thread throughout the entirety of her career was her desire to coach people and help elevate their skills. Because of this, she founded the McCourt Leadership Group, which is a global executive leadership coaching and consulting firm.

“Entrepreneurship can happen slowly and develop over time. It doesn’t have to be this big ‘all at once’ thing,” Elizabeth says. She took her time to slowly develop her business into what it is today, and she’s proud of and grateful for the opportunities she’s given to mentor and inspire people. And she doesn’t forget where her foundation came from. She often comes back to Smith to connect with students and alumni through class panels and webinar opportunities. Her biggest piece of advice for Smith students is to take classes outside of your comfort zone. “Take business courses that interest you, but also take a course that strikes a wild hair. Language. Shakespeare. Take something off the typical path to flex your brain in a different way.”

For Elizabeth, it was these non-typical (as a business major) literature courses that helped her become a published author of Sin in the Big Easy, a mystery novel. She is currently working on her second book about leadership development from the nonlinear path, which reminds all professionals that you don’t have to do what is expected of you, and you can always craft your own path.