“Prove people wrong” Laura McElhinney from Horizon Media

Nov 30, 2022

Welcome to the Pass the Mic and the Defining Moment series. We’re giving powerful women the opportunity to make the world their mentee. These rockstars are joining us to share their stories and sage advice with up-and-coming women.

Meet Laura McElhinny, EVP and Chief Data Officer of Horizon Media. Laura dropped by our podcast booth at Advertising Week New York last month for a Pass the Mic interview. She is a speech pathologist by trade who landed in the media world untraditionally and thrived. Laura learned to create her own path and take what she wanted. And if you want to hear just how she got there, check it out below.

Learn to like challenges.

Learn to Like Challenges, Laura McElhinny – Pass the Mic

“I don't like to be told what I can or can't do. And I'm in an industry that's predominantly male driven, just historically, and I like a challenge. I like to prove people wrong, and I don't like to wait. So, I think that from my perspective it was really about making myself uncomfortable, not waiting until I thought I could do it, just knowing that I could if I was given the chance.” –Laura McElhinny

Make yourself uncomfortable.

Make Yourself Uncomfortable, Laura McElhinny – Pass the Mic

“Make yourself uncomfortable every day because when you're uncomfortable, you breed innovation. You breed growth both personal and professional. And that is a life lesson. And don't ever let anyone tell you you can't do something. If you want it, you can do it. It may take a little bit longer, but if you want it, you can absolutely do it.” – Laura McElhinny

Believe you can have it all.

Believe You Can Have it All, Laura McElhinny – Pass the Mic

“I went to an all female school. And for me, a family was very important. So, I'm the youngest in an Italian family. My mom did work. I still worship my mom and my dad, two parents working. And my mom is in the medical field and just a powerhouse at what she does. 

And this teacher was asking everybody in class, you know, ‘What are your career ambitions?’ And I had made a comment that a career is extremely important to me, and it's fulfilling, but family is more fulfilling for me. And I really couldn't wait to have a family of my own. And this teacher told me, like she went on this rampage, of how I would be nothing more than a wallflower, and it really pissed me off.

And that was the driving moment that made me believe that I can have it all. And I am going to have it all. I was 28 years old, and I became the vice president of a very large advertising agency at the time. I was very young. I was the youngest officer. I was driven by that comment, and I wrote her a letter thanking her for giving me the drive and the ambition that I needed to be successful.”  – Laura McElhinny

We can all learn from Laura’s enviable drive and determination. For more empowering anecdotes and advice, check out more Pass the Mic content.

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