Take 5 with Andrea Ellis

Andrea Ellis

Assistant Vice President for Innovation at Wake Forest University

1. How do you define success for yourself? What has helped you to be successful?

Andrea Ellis head shot photo

Andrea Ellis

If I can find fulfillment in my job while balancing life at home with my husband and four children that is success. What has helped me more than anything is the support and confidence I gain from my mentors and family, as well as observing and trying to emulate others whom I think share my same values.

2. Think of a time that you faced a challenge, obstacle, or roadblock. How did you get through that and what did you learn?

I have learned through trial and error that I need to slow down, be thoughtful and reflect on the situation when facing obstacles (all of which can be challenging for an extrovert). If I tried these approaches and still feel stuck, I may contact one of my mentors. Talking through my challenge with someone I trust usually helps me reach a resolution.

3. Who are your people (either by name or role) who help you to be successful/confident/intentional/reflective/any other descriptor you want to use? And how have they helped you?

I have a variety of people depending on the need and whether it is professional or personal. My “people” are a mixture of colleagues, leaders, and friends. I have a strong rapport with each of them that allows honest, and sometimes critical, feedback. I appreciate them holding me accountable and helping me see the situation from other perspectives.

4. How did you find your people?

I gravitate towards people who have high integrity and character, but also wisdom and experience. For me, and the small circle of people I trust in this space, we have shared values or experiences. Trust is a foundational element for me. I need to know that they have my best interest at heart, that they are loyal, will hold me accountable, and will hold my confidence as needed.

5. What advice would you give to Wake Forest students as they look for their people?

Don’t be afraid to ask others to share their story. It is amazing what you can learn by listening to others’ stories. Look for people who are smart, trustworthy, believe in you, and want to help you be the best version of yourself.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

If you are reading this information, you are already ahead of the game because you aren’t afraid to seek help and learn from others. Good luck with your future pursuits!