Currently CEO of Cygnus, a Do Big Things company.

Formerly BlogHer Co-Founder & COO.

Also advising, authoring, and advocating.

Known as the co-founder and COO of scrappy start-up-turned-global women's media company BlogHer, Inc., I'm now focused on leading Cygnus, a data analytics and visualization dashboard being purpose built to serve progressive causes, campaigns, and companies. I also do a lot of public speaking, writing (check out my debut book available now) and boot-camp-style short-term consulting with entrepreneurs, thought leaders, and organizations. 

My guiding principle: Innovation + Empathy > Innovation  + Efficiency

What I have done

In 2005, after almost a decade in tech, including being one of the earliest practitioners to help organizations bring marketing and social media together, I co-founded BlogHer. I served as BlogHer's COO until we were acquired in 2014 by SheKnows Media, where I eventually served as Chief Community Officer until 2017.  As COO, I worked across every business function including sales and service, marketing, content programming, and G&A. I most notably ran BlogHer's conference line of business, and owned our PR and social media strategy, including conducting and presenting consumer research that validated the market we created and presaged industry changes. 

BlogHer was a movement that created a market, ultimately becoming a national women's media brand with 100 million web users, thousands of conference attendees, and >$30 million in annual revenue. In addition to owned and operated properties and conferences, our network grew to aggregate and curate 3,000 publishers and 12,000 social influencers. We paid $36MM to those creators over the last five full years we were a standalone business. 

At the forefront of the social web revolution, we built value for women online. Through BlogHer's community practices and my individual ones, I modeled how to build community, grow a business, support diversity in words and action, and defend transparency and civility as content, community, and commerce collide online.

What I do now

As a consultant I acted as a business catalyst, working with executives and entrepreneurs to identify, prioritize, and strategize their next big leaps. I worked with leaders at every level to assess opportunity, prioritize objectives, build strategies, and plan action. I absorb nuanced value propositions, market trends, and data to transform ideas into assets and crossroads into next level achievement. 

I’m now putting all of those skills and that experience to work bringing a nascent software company, Cygnus, to market.

I still do some short-term consulting, primarily a public speaking coach helping authors, executives, and entrepreneurs. As a trained performer, longtime public speaker and company spokesperson, and the person responsible to program the main stage at BlogHer Conference for 13 years, I transform how leaders communicate their vision and get their key messages pulled through. I have worked with entrepreneurs to perfect their investment pitch, executives to prep for major appearances, and authors to create compelling keynotes out of their published work. 

Elisa is the speaker whisperer. Her genius is taking the kernel of your idea and partnering with you to craft a story and message that is authentic and resonates. .
— Lisen Stromberg, Author and COO, The 3% Conference

As a speaker, I have delivered keynote presentations and conducted high-profile interviews across the globe to audiences numbering in the thousands. I inspire makers, creators, entrepreneurs, executives, and thought leaders to own their expertise and manage fear and risk to make bold leaps. And I'm the best damn moderator/interviewer you'll find.

A sampling of speaking engagements include: INFORUM@Commonwealth Club, TEDx, DLD Women, Blackberry Live, SXSW, Women's Leadership Summit, and at corporate HQs, such as Google, Coca-Cola, GoDaddy, Guidewire, and LinkedIn. I have interviewed luminaries such as Martha Stewart, Christy Turlington Burns, Gwyneth Paltrow, Tig Notaro, Kim Kardashian West, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Luvvie Ajayi, Gale Ann Hurd, Caterina Fake, and Guy Kawasaki. Check out my Speaking page for more highlights, upcoming events, and my speaking topics.

As a board member I work with organizations to innovate their operations, build their networks and communities, and enhance their messaging to their constituents. I am an Astia Advisor and a Founding Fellow of the Society for New Communications Research and serve on numerous boards, including for the NanoSTEAM Foundation, The What, Hack the Hood, Our Hen House, and have been on the SXSW Interactive programming committee for thirteen years.

Awards and Accolades 

I have been named a Social Media Legend by the C-Suite Network, a Top Woman in Media by Folio, one of the Alliance of Women in Media's Sixty@60 honorees, an NCWIT Hero by NCWIT, and was honored with a 2018 Purpose Award by Egami Consulting.

As a member of the BlogHer founding team, we were named among the Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs by Fortune, the Most Powerful People in New Media by Forbes, the Most Influential Women in Technology by Fast Company, the Winning Women Class of 2011 by Ernst & Young, and the Most Influential Women in Bay Area Business by the San Francisco Business Journal. In addition, we were awarded the Social Impact Award by the Anita Borg Institute and the Iris Awards Vanguard Award by Mom 2.0 Summit.