Interview with Elisa Hertzler, CEO & Co-Founder
Peers: Why are you passionate about your job?
Elisa: My personal mission of why I founded Peers is to enable people to use their full potential. I noticed that in my professional, as well as private life, I get frustrated when I see people not using their skills to the fullest. I think that is why I am fascinated of what we do at Peers. Learning is a continuous journey, it is all about leveraging your full potential. And with our solution we can do it in an easier way.
And on a practical level, I love working with the team and great customers it is a lot of fun and I am learning something new every day as well.
Peers: What skills does one need to found a company?
There are lot of different skills you need, both technical and soft skills. For every founder resilience is very important, to try things over and over again as failure is part of the process. I don’t think you need to have those skills before starting as an entrepreneur but need to develop them quickly throughout the process.
Peers: What is your biggest learning at Peers?
Elisa: How to be an entrepreneur.. I am still learning that. And it includes a lot of things: building a great team, fundraising, selling the product, convincing people, telling your story to different stakeholders all of the time. Basically, making other people believe in your vision and what you do.
Peers: If you could meet any living person for a dinner, who would you pick and why?
Elisa: I admire Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice President of the European Commission for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age. She
bargained with Google and every other big companies about data rights and monopoly in Europe. She is also a woman in the business world who does not fit in the cliché concept of it.
Peers: Which fictional character do you relate to?
Elisa: A character from Scandinavian TV Series Borgen, Birgitte Nyborg. I think it is based on the real story of a woman becoming a prime minister of Danemark. She is a woman who achieved a lot, but stick to herself. She shows that a leader is also a human being, who can be emotional when dealing with real life problems.
Peers: If you could snap your fingers and become an expert in something, what would it be?
Elisa: Programming is on top of my mind. I’ve always liked numbers, despite I never specialized in that. It is such an important skill to shape the world in the future. I know it is lot of work to get there, so if I could snap my fingers to become an expert in something I would concentrate on that.
Peers: What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve ever received?
Elisa: It might sound a bit cliché, but it is a great one – “Be who you are”. Speaking from my experience, I had a boss who had a totally different personality from me. She was a strategic thinker, super rational and I always admired her work. And I thought, maybe, I am too passionate to succeed in the business world, especially working in the rather conservative mechanical engineering industry. But she convinced me otherwise. She thought that I had a gift of speaking to people and convincing them with my character. She realized that I had other strengths than herself and she encouraged me to live up to that. This tought me two things: how to be a great leader and to stay authentic while striving for my goals.