Parents are KEY to Encouraging STEM Careers

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An interview with Ford Motor Company’s Liz Elser

Katherine Doble-Cannata, Liz Elser and Cristy Clavijo-Kish

Katherine Doble-Cannata, Liz Elser and Cristy Clavijo-Kish

On a recent trip to Kennedy Space Center (full post coming soon), Cristy overheard a tween girl asking her father to “Plllllllllleeeeeeaaasssseeee” buy her an astronaut uniform.  His response, “Those are for boys!”.

This scene is exactly why Los Tweens began the Celebrate Education/Educacion #CelebrateEDU series.   Our goal is to drive dialogue among our readers regarding how traditional gender roles create limitations for girls   We’re striving to provide role models for parents to share with their tween daughters that illustrate ‘grown up girls’ working in math and science-related professions.. When we sat down with Liz Elser, Ford Fiesta Marketing Manager, we talked a lot about her childhood, her tips for tween girls (and all women) and what keeps her motivated.  Her answers focused on parents, educators and most importantly celebrating educacion.

Liz Elser oversees marketing for the Fiesta brands in the U.S. and brings to life the fun aspects of the car by showcasing its users.  Since assuming the position, the Fiesta has illustrated record sales.  Prior to Ford, Liz managed a portfolio of mortgage-backed securities valued at over $61 billion as Associate Director for Fitch Ratings.  Liz holds a BA in Economics from the University of Michigan and an MBA with a concentration in Marketing from Duke University.

What do you think were the biggest influences on you growing up that drove your interest to succeed academically and specifically in a math field?

My parents gave me a strong foundation.  My father encouraged me to play sports including soccer, basketball, gymnastics and diving while keeping me active in a math-related team.  I played on co-ed teams that taught me a lot about working well with others, especially when a large percentage of my peers are men. With a degree in finance, you have to have a love for math.

Why did you pursue this career focus?

I was always very strong in math and I had great teachers that encouraged me.  I also participated on a competitive mathematics team that keep me actively engaged in learning math.

What advice do you have for parents who see that their children enjoy sciences, math and technology but aren’t sure how they can help?

I would tell every parent to be supportive and to seek opportunities where they can encourage their child to explore their interests.  My parents encouraged me to join a math league and while it wasn’t the “coolest” thing to do, I loved it. Be supportive even when you don’t understand.

In what ways does Ford encourage you to be a women and be a professional?

Ford has a very supportive environment for women.  They are accepting of our lifestyles and have created a strong culture of mentorship even among the senior female executives.

Why do you feel its important to encourage women of all cultural backgrounds to take on careers in science, technology, engineering and math?

Women of diverse backgrounds bring different types of knowledge, ways of thinking and problem solving skills to the table.  They are a huge asset in these industries.

Learn more about the Ford Fiesta and the Fiesta Movement, the search for 100 agents that will a launch the vehicle through their eyes by visiting

Like Ford Latino on Facebook to find out more.


DISCLAIMER: This post is part of the #CelebrateEDU sponsored series with Ford.  All views are the opinions of Los Tweens’ publishers.

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