Spotlight on Elena Potek
Meet Elena Potek: Turning silence into support when you need it most, Elena is the Founder of Empowered Conversation.
Tell us about Empowered Conversation!
Empowered Conversation re-envisions the way we have hard conversations with one another. By activating our tool, we give a text-message heads up to the person in your life you want to speak to, providing them with a link to a video that educates and prepares them on that topic. Starting with sexual assault disclosure conversations, we are piloting this fall with the sorority system at The University of Michigan. I know there's been times in my life where I didn't reach out for support because I was afraid of how people would react, or, conversely, didn't speak up to support someone I loved because I was afraid of saying the wrong thing. This tool bridges those gaps by allowing both individuals to walk into the conversation feeling empowered and prepared.
How have you branded yourself?
"You are your own best teacher." I used to be really avoidant and, honestly, terrible at having hard conversations. I've done a lot of work on myself to get to a place where I have been able to personally experience the transformative power of feeling supported by and connected to others. That's why I feel so passionately about my company and the impact it can have. This tool is about empowering you to have the conversations you feel you need to have. I've never been someone to feel it is my place to tell you what to do or how to live your life. I want to create tools and pathways to help people become their best and boldest selves, but that will look different for everyone. And that's one of the coolest parts about being human.
What accomplishment are you most proud of to date?
Dropping out of grad school. It's counterintuitive for that to be something I'm proud of but it taught me a really important lesson. It so much harder to actively leave something than passively stay in it. Especially when it is a more well-established path to take. Leaving school pushed me to value what my heart was telling me to do above all else. And that was, and continues to be, one of the scariest and most freeing practices that I ask of myself on a regular basis.
Confidence Boost Power Song: Levels by Avicii. Always.
Spirit animal: Hummingbird. They flit between places and organisms to nurture and connect them all; I'd like to hope that my, sometimes highly erratic, passions and experiences will one day create that same positive impact on the world and those around me.
Words you live by: To hope is to gamble. It’s to bet on the future, on your desires, on the possibility that an open heart and uncertainty is better than gloom and safety. To hope is dangerous, and yet it is the opposite of fear, for to live is to risk. -Rebecca Solnit