We had the good fortune of connecting with Lisa Elia and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Lisa, what habits do you feel helped you succeed?
I exercise regularly, including cardio, strength training, and stretching at least 5 days a week. Exercise helps alleviate stress, makes you mentally sharper, and builds lung power, which is important if you want to be a good public speaker. I’m a big believer in lifelong education. My work entails a lot of research on various topics and industries, which I enjoy. I also listen to audiobooks and podcasts on business, psychology, and society while I exercise and do things around my home. Having depth and breadth of knowledge is very helpful in my work.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
My company is called Expert Media Training and we prepare clients for media interviews, presentations, speeches, and investor pitches. What sets me apart from most people who do what I do is the combination of business strategy, expertise in the field of communication, and decades working with the media. My approach to training is comprehensive and deep, so my clients make quick and profound transformations in their communications through our work together. I studied communication with a public relations focus in college and worked as an account executive at marketing communication firms for a few years before starting my own firm when I was 27. When I moved to Los Angeles in 1996, I was working for a celebrity fitness trainer helping her launch a second company and I secured for her so much national publicity that people started to notice. She had taken a position as a contributing editor to a magazine, so she couldn’t participate in other press opportunities. I felt that it was time to move on. I wrote on a piece of paper, “Reduce hours, take on freelance work, earn more money.” Within two days, someone who saw my press placements asked me to promote her product and within two weeks this new client had referred me to several others. Within a month I had a thriving PR firm. My PR firm grew well through word-of-mouth for years. When the Great Recession of 2007-2008 hit, I started to increase my online presence, which was a good move. For a long time, I loved running my PR firm and enjoyed managing a team of 4 or 5 people. I never aspired to have a large firm because I enjoyed being highly involved with each client. I always loved working with my clients on strategy and media interview preparation. Around 20 years ago, clients then began asking me if I could prepare them for presentations, speeches, and investor pitches. I had done a lot of public speaking through the years, but I had to educate myself thoroughly to help clients with investor pitches. I started phasing out my PR clients and narrowing my focus to solely training in the 2010s. By around 2015, my firm finished our work with our last remaining PR client. I’ve enjoyed my journey and the varied experiences I’ve had along the way, but I especially love my life now. Without my background in PR, I wouldn’t be as good a trainer as I am, but I’m happy that my life is more streamlined now. When I had a larger team to manage and a constant flow of inquiries and meetings to juggle, I would get burnt out at times. It was not unusual for me to work 70-80 hours a week. PR work can have an infinite quality to it: there’s always more that you can do and you can feel pulled in a lot of directions. As a trainer, no one ever expects me to be anywhere other than where I am at any given moment. I can turn my phone off and focus 100% of my attention on my client when I’m in a training session without thinking about anything else. It feels luxurious after years of hustling in PR. My life is much more balanced now. Some of the best lessons I learned along the way were to trust my instincts about what is and isn’t the right direction for my business, understanding that not every client is the right fit for me so it’s okay and will serve the prospective client and me if I say no sometimes, and that it’s crucial to work with team members with whom I share a sense of gratitude and mutual respect. What I want the world to know is that you really can start a business with nothing. I started my first PR firm by borrowing a friend’s computer and printing out business cards and cutting them myself. You have to take risks to get the most out of life and you have to check in with yourself periodically to see if it’s time for something new. If you allow your career to evolve as you evolve as a person, you will never be bored and you can create a fulfilling, interesting life that you love.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Day 1: Drive to Zuma Beach for a beach day because it’s gorgeous there and people usually need a little rest after traveling. Lunch at Moonshadows Malibu for an awesome ocean view. Get massages at home from Soothe.com. Dinner at Bandera in Brentwood. The live trio, comfy booths, warm atmosphere, and delicious food never disappoint. Day 2: Visit the Getty Center to look at art and then have lunch at the restaurant upstairs, which has spectacular views. Then, drive through the canals of Venice and walk around Venice and Santa Monica. Dinner at Sushi Roku. Day 3: Hiking at Los Liones Trail, which is beautiful. On a clear day, you can see from Catalina Island to Downtown. Drive through the curvy roads of Malibu and the Hollywood Hills to look at the homes and the views. Drinks at The Biltmore downtown because it still has that classic 1920s glamour and history. Day 4: Horseback riding at Griffith Park. You don’t even have to be good at it. The horses will go slow. Dinner at whatever casual restaurant we stumble upon because we’ll be tired and dirty. Day 5 & 6: Drive to Santa Barbara to shop, visit art galleries, and enjoy lunch in one of the restaurants with a great view. Stay overnight and then take a boat to the Channel Islands the next day. Bring a picnic and enjoy hiking one of the Channel Islands. Day 7: If my visitor is a first-timer to LA, we’d have to go to Beverly Hills to shop and walk Rodeo Drive. Then, high tea at The Peninsula in Beverly Hills. Do a quick driving tour of the highlights of Hollywood — the Capitol Records building, the Hollywood sign, and some other landmarks. Dinner at Yamashiro at dusk so you can see Hollywood from above when it’s still light out and then after dark. It’s spectacular! We’ve been quarantined for a while so writing this is bringing back fond memories of good times when my friends and parents visited and nice weekends with my husband (outside or our home).

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Shakti Gawain’s book, Creative Visualization, changed my life. I read it when I was in my 20s and it changed how I viewed what was possible and what I was capable of accomplishing. Over the years, I gave at least 20 copies of that book to friends and clients.

Website: https://expertmediatraining.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lisaeliainsta/
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lisaelia1/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MediaTrainingUS
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ExpertMediaTraining/
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/lisaelia

Image Credits
The first photo is of me and my husband, Dean Erickson, founder of Bionic Capital. (I have no recent candids of me by myself.) The second photo was taken by Sandy Grigsby.

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