Suzanne ElNaggar is the Founder and CEO of VantageShift. She is a Certified Professional Coach, focusing on leadership and career coaching.
She tells us that, “I help clients to capitalize on their strengths and chart their path to success. The transitions that professionals experience – different roles, promotions, domain shifts, life-altering events – are a specialty of mine.”
Tell us about your life before the venture/ leading up to your venture?
I am very grateful for the opportunities that I’ve had in my life. I earned degrees in computer engineering and speech communication as well as a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification from the Project Management Institute (PMI). My education prepared me for the combination of analytical and communication competencies required to be a corporate leader. My career path took many surprising turns and each one led to a lateral or upward move that increased my learning and sharpened my skills. I’ve had the pleasure of working in sales, marketing, product management, support engineering, project and program management, customer success, and enablement. As a leader, I led large-scale project teams, including architecting and rolling out the use of project tools and ways of working; built a customer success function and revamped another; and created an internal enablement function. A common thread throughout my leadership roles was leading teams through transformation. During my many years as a leader, I partnered with team members to help them find their own paths to reach their career goals. I feel strongly that it is the duty of a leader to help the people working with them be the best they can be professionally. I enjoyed this aspect of leadership, which I learned was coaching, so much that I decided to earn a certification and coach full-time.
Tell us something about your organization. What is it about and how is it helpful for people?
VantageShift is all about helping people gain a broader, more comprehensive perspective that leads to a positive transformation in their lives. The primary benefit of coaching is to increase self-awareness, which is key to developing other core leadership skills such as communication, influence, and learning agility. The VantageShift tagline, “Shift to a vantage point for an elevated you” says it all. With VantageShift coaching, people can gain the self-awareness that they need to accomplish their professional and personal goals to achieve the success they find fulfilling.
What has been the response of the consumers towards your venture?
The response from clients has been quite positive. First, they recognize the value of my training and membership in the International Coaching Federation (ICF), knowing that they can trust my coaching methods and that I’m bound by ICF rules. Secondly, clients have found it meaningful that I have relevant professional experience. It’s important that coaches get the context of what clients are saying, not just the words. My professional journey through different corporate functions and in leadership helps me to understand many disparate types of work situations. Most importantly, clients have shared that they benefit from my coaching style. They use words such as collaborative, insightful, creating an environment of trust, asking powerful questions, exceptional listener, empathetic to describe their experiences of my coaching. They’ve shared with me that I’ve helped them increase self-awareness, refine leadership skills, grow their careers and achieve their goals.
How has your life changed because of your venture?
Running my own business has meant more control over what is done, when it’s done, and how. I like to joke that I now have the best boss I’ve ever had, one who really gets me! It’s been stimulating and rewarding to rediscover my innovative and creative side and to focus on work that I find incredibly fulfilling. Starting VantageShift was a huge learning curve for me. I have experience in several different corporate functions but putting it all together and having to do it all myself is new. Similar to other entrepreneurs, I set out to deliver a service that I believe in but have found that I’m spending a great deal of time on other aspects of running a business. I’ve had to learn a lot more about marketing, especially using social media more effectively, and much more time than I had anticipated is spent on business development. I’ve also had the challenge of fitting the new venture into my personal life, one that includes family members who need me and a household to run. I must be more deliberate in managing my daily schedule and engaging in activities that energize and refresh me. Because I’m not tied to a strict corporate calendar, I’m able to make more time for reconnecting with former colleagues and old friends. That’s been the best part of my new life.
What are you working on right now?
I’m always working on business development, that’s a nonstop function for an entrepreneur. Everyone can benefit from coaching, but getting the word out is a constant activity. Since it’s just me right now, I designed and implemented my own website and logo and find that updates and additions keep me very busy. I’ve also rediscovered writing. My professional journey has afforded me a wealth of experience from which to draw writing topics, especially as they pertain to leadership and career growth. I write a blog for my website called VantageShift Insights in which I share ideas on the what/how/why of coaching as well as leadership topics. I was introduced to Medium by an instructor from my coaching course and have enjoyed writing and publishing on that platform. Some of my articles there cover pertinent coaching topics such as deep listening and the art of asking questions. My articles that have garnered the most attention have been my series entitled, “Lessons in Leadership from a Rottie.” I have written a few chapters now and have a couple more in the works. The Rottie series was inspired by our adoption of a rescue puppy aged about 8 months at the time of adoption. Rottweilers are among the most intelligent breeds of dogs and are confident, strong, and loyal. They’re also playful to the point of goofiness and very affectionate. Even though I thought I was training her, she’s really been helping me learn, as well. Another constant for an entrepreneur is planning for future growth. Stay tuned as VantageShift offerings expand.
Give a motivational message for the audience/women who are reading this.
Follow your own path. You are a matchless compilation of traits, skills, experiences, and emotions; there is no one just like you and you shine with a singular light. Trust yourself to be your best source of truth and guidance.