Lizzie Ann Jones sees careers as stories, and hers has included chapters at major tech companies (Amazon, Expedia), running a career strategy firm (Hey Lizzie Ann) and pursuing an MBA to further hone her business fundamentals and empathetic leadership approach.
Sharing her story with her network of 36,000 professionals on LinkedIn, Lizzie is blazing trails for vulnerability in the workplace. She opens up with us about the value of authenticity, navigating big transitions and the most powerful decision of her career.
OwnTrail: How would you define vulnerability?
Lizzie Ann Jones: Vulnerability means finding strength in uncovering, defining and sharing the most uncomfortable parts of your story.
OwnTrail: Vulnerability in the workplace is something a lot of us struggle with. What are the most common reasons you see people holding back because of, and how do you suggest they move through these fears?
LAJ: One of the most common reasons people hold back in the workplace is because they subscribe to a false narrative of who they “should” be as a professional.
For example, many ambitious women I’ve encountered in the high-tech industry hold back from talking about their desire for motherhood because they believe that this is the antithesis of what it means to be a successful career woman. That’s why I appreciate communities like OwnTrail, which redefine being a strong, ambitious career woman looks like (hint: we come in many forms!)
“Sharing multiple dimensions of my life is the most powerful thing I’ve done in my career.”
OwnTrail: How has being open and authentic about the ups, downs and in-betweens helped you personally and professionally?
LAJ: Sharing multiple dimensions of my life is the most powerful thing I’ve done in my career. By being open about my wins, failures, and curiosities on LinkedIn, I’ve built a network of 36K+ connections. This has been instrumental in me being able to land job opportunities, speaking engagements, volunteer gigs, and incredible friendships. This doesn’t mean you have to be a content creator or share your life story on social media (unless that’s something that resonates with you!) What I mean by this is that every inch you step outside of your comfort zone brings you that much closer to a person, resource, or opportunity that you might not have otherwise encountered.
“My mission in life is simple: be the best version of myself so I can uplift the most people possible.”
OwnTrail: You’re in the midst of some big transitions — leaving your career to return to school among them. What is grounding you? What is lifting you up?
LAJ: My mission in life is simple: be the best version of myself so I can uplift the most people possible. Everything I do personally and professionally — from business school to starting Hey Lizzie Ann — stems from this mission.
OwnTrail: Your willingness to be vulnerable is evident in your trail on OwnTrail. What milestone(s) there that felt especially empowering to share?
LAJ: My most vulnerable trail [sic] on OwnTrail is about my first seizure in the summer of 2020. Typically, I share setbacks after I’ve overcome the situation, whereas I’m still navigating how to live with seizures and being confident in talking about how it affects parts of my life. I chose to share this milestone so others can see that there is strength in sharing the whole journey — from current setback to triumph.
“[P]ay attention to the activities that make you feel passion vs. the ones listed on your 5-year-plan.”
OwnTrail: If you could give past Lizzie Ann one piece of advice, what would you tell her?
LAJ: Invest in Bitcoin. Kidding!
My advice would be to pay attention to the activities that make you feel passion vs. the ones listed on your 5-year-plan (spoiler: the plan doesn’t work out, but the passions lead to something better).