Sistr Q&A with Elizabeth Cowper

Next up in the Big Sistr series, we’re chatting to Elizabeth Cowper. We cover everything from the best and worst advice she’s ever received to what keeps her awake at night.

The aim of this series is to inspire you, motivate you and to let you see behind the scenes and into the lives of some of the fiercest female trailblazers in the bizz. What makes them tick? What they do in their daily lives and what’s made them who they are today? Enjoy.

Paragraph on who you are and what you do

I am VP HR for Europe for Tapestry, a global retailer and Global Head of Wellbeing for the company. I have over 20 years experience in HR, including big change programs, turn around work and work on building the right culture for an organisation.

What was your first job?

My first job was at 15, I worked in a furniture shop! My first ‘proper’ job was for the Carphone Warehouse.

Do you have a daily ritual that keeps you sane?

No not really. I go with a flow mostly!

What’s been your biggest career screw up/mistake?

I’ve made many mistakes but I have the kind of attitude that mistakes help you learn. By making a mistake you learned how not to do it next time. My biggest issue around this is trying to minimise the time I beat myself up for the mistake I just made.

What advice would you give your 20yr old younger self?

Be brave. It’s ok to try things and you won’t always be right. Trust the journey and remember, whether you think you can or you can’t, you are COMPLETELY right.

What’s the worst & best advice you’ve ever received?

Best advice, BE BRAVE hence I am passing that one on.
Worst advice, is to think things through more carefully. It works for some people but for me, I tend to trust my instincts. I would never suffer from analysis paralysis! The other bad advice is when people say things like ‘no way, you can’t do that, it’ll never work’. You never know, it just might!

Number 1 tip for nailing an interview?

Good eye contact.

Have you ever had a mentor? If so what was the best thing you’ve learnt from them?

I have a couple of amazing mentors. One of them gave me the chance to stretch myself beyond what I thought I was capable of. In doing so, he helped me gain confidence and realise I was more than thought. I encourage my team to do the same. Back to being brave I guess!

What keeps you awake at night and what’s your top coping method?

When I have a million things on at once, and it all feels like too much. Those are my nights when I can’t sleep. I listen to a guided sleep meditation which usual does the job to help me sleep. I am a fan of Insight Timer at the moment. A colleague told me about it and I like the app.

Any inspirational books/podcasts/blogs/people you’re loving at the moment?

I am loving ‘How I built this’ with Guy Raz. Guy interviews entrepreneurs and shares their stories.