Author Archives: Liz Brenner

Three Lessons From My Sabbatical

palmRecently I had the opportunity to participate in our SAP Social Sabbatical Program for Local Engagement. What does that mean? I got to spend several weeks of my time consulting with a local non-governmental organization (NGO) to help solve one of their business challenges.

Chester County Futures is an amazing non-profit organization making a big difference for select, low-income middle school and high school students in Chester County, PA.  Their goal is to empower students through education and prepare them for post-secondary education and future success. We partnered with their team to supplement their 12th grade curriculum with additional coursework. read more »

Three Ways to Grow A Culture of Innovation At Work

skateWhen I was 10 years old, all I wanted was a skateboard. Because my parents refused to buy me one, I did what any resourceful 10 year-old would do – I asked my grandparents for one.

 My Grandpop was a frugal guy – there was no way he’d run out to buy me one…what he did offer to do was build me one.

 It wasn’t fancy. It was essentially a piece of plywood with some wheels screwed into the bottom but, after a few modifications, it worked and I learned to ride. read more »

Reflections From 10 Years In

5035918427_d0252f88e3_bExactly ten years ago, I was wrapping up my 2nd week in a new job at a new company. I was also 6 months pregnant.

As with every new role, I was a little nervous. But this time things felt different – the stakes felt especially high. I was working for one of the most admired companies around and they took a chance on me – even with my upcoming maternity leave. read more »

Giving Thanks For Work

IMG_427722We started a new tradition in our house this year – it’s called a Thankful Tree. This is a paper tree, taped to our basement door, with taped-on construction paper leaves.  It isn’t fancy but it is an opportunity for our family to document what we are thankful for.  It is more than just a fun craft project – it is a chance to think about the things that are important to us. Some of the “thankful leaves” are silly – like ice cream or days without homework – but there are glimmers of real reflection and thought like health, a happy family, and a comfortable home.

This exercise got me thinking about all of the things in my work life that I am thankful for. Each and every day I feel lucky to be where I am in my career but sometimes it is nice to write those things down as a reminder. Here is my Work Thankful List for 2015:

TRUST – My company trusts me with the gift of flexibility. Because of this, I have the opportunity to be part of my family’s daily routine, to not miss out on events at school, to take my kids to an appointment or to be with them when they are sick. This has a huge impact on my life. In my eyes, I get to “have it all” – a balanced family and a successful career.

EMPOWERMENT – I’ve been given the opportunity to shift and evolve based on business needs – both as an individual and a team. Even better, the chance to work on new projects that are personally important. Right now, I’m working with a rock star cross-organizational project team to inspire employees to embrace social media. How cool is that? My company is particularly good at this. Don’t believe me? Check out this inspiring story behind the One4 Project.

PEOPLE – Our team, located all over the world, is amazing and supportive. Each day I learn something new about someone and it helps me appreciate the diverse cultures and backgrounds that make each person unique. My role also gives me the ability to connect with people all over the world – both inside and outside of my company.  In fact, some of whom inspired me to write this very post.

What are you thankful for this year?

Follow me on Twitter. Connect with me on LinkedIn. Read my blog.

6 Ways To Be An Entrepreneur At The Office


How many times have you read a job description or spoken to someone about an opportunity – inside or outside of your organization – and they are seeking someone with entrepreneurial mindset? Have you wondered “what exactly does that mean and how can I embrace my inner entrepreneur?”

read more »

Three Things Millennials Want Their Managers To Know

lego“He just doesn’t get it.”

This was the phrase I heard over and over again during a recent mentoring discussion with a young professional. She was referring to her manager. And based on the information she was sharing, I agreed with her. This discussion got me thinking – what are the things millennials wish they could tell their managers? read more »

Embracing Your Intuition at Work

Picture2Intuition is a funny word. Some call it gut feeling, others say inner voice, or it can bethat feeling in the pit of your stomach when I instinctively know something is wrong, or conversely when something is right even though the facts say otherwise.

Sometimes we shy away from embracing our intuition at work because it can been seen as irrational, based on emotion, and all about feelings instead of facts. InMalcolm Gladwell’s book, Blink, he talks about the power of those first 2 seconds of a situation where we make a fast decision (although he doesn’t use the word intuition) and many times this can lead to better results that working through mounds of research.

Disclaimer – before you get worried, I’m not at all saying we should make all decisions using intuition.

Recently I had the opportunity to speak to a group of women on this topic. Here are the five situations (including a quick tip to get started) I shared where embracing your intuition might help you in the office:

Situation 1 – Taking Risks  

Ever see a job description for your dream job and then get scared off by the requirements – either the years of experience or the potential impact to our home life? Ignore the job requirements and ask “why not me?” Many times the listed requirements are a guide, not a rule.

Growth comes when we are operating outside of our comfort zone so don’t be afraid to take smart risks and say yes to opportunities. Use your intuition to guide you to the right opportunities – and then once you get them trust that you will succeed.

Intuition Quick Tip #1 – When considering a new opportunity ask yourself – “what is holding me back from saying yes?”  If it is fear, maybe it is time to take that risk.

Situation 2 – Making Smart Decisions

Just as important as saying yes, is knowing when to say no. I read this great article recently by Adam Grant and Sheryl Sandberg that talked about women’s tendency to do “office housework.” We instinctively like to help people – whether it be organizing office events, mentoring people, or even getting the coffee for a meeting. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – we get great satisfaction out of helping people – I know I do.

The downside is that it can be time consuming and overwhelming – and it doesn’t do much to further our careers.

Let your intuition guide you and tell you if something isn’t worth your time.

Intuition Quick Tip #2 – When someone asks you to work on something you feel might now be valuable, ask the tough questions. Try “how will this add value to our customers?”  

Situation 3 – Speaking Up

We’ve all heard Sheryl Sandberg talk about leaning in and taking a seat at the table.  This is very true. But once we sit, we need to speak.

How many times have you been in a meeting and people are debating an issue. You see a clear and simple solution in your head but don’t speak up because you aren’t sure it is right. Then, a colleague says exactly what you were thinking and is applauded for coming up with a smart solution.

It is okay not to be perfect.

When we do speak up, please don’t apologize. I wrote a blog a few months ago on meaningless apologies. Meaningless apologies in the workplace undermine our power and authority.

Intuition Quick Tip #3 – Instead of saying, “Sorry to interrupt but I have a question.” Try “Excuse me, I have a question.”

Situation 4 – Leading Your Team

Don’t copy someone else’s leadership style – embrace your own.  Use empathy if that is comfortable for you. Research shows empathy is powerful to driving business forward and in building relationships across cultures.

At times we can instinctively know what people’s strengths – celebrate those and share feedback with your team and others if they are open. Also, seek feedback – this can give us the confidence to trust in our decisions. Self-awareness is powerful.

Intuition Quick Tip #4 – Each week, actively give and seek out one piece of feedback. Ask “how did I come across in that meeting?”

Situation 5 – Investing in You

I like to say you need to be your own CEO. This means taking ownership, pushing forward, and thinking strategically about your career – just as you would the head of the company but in this case, the company is you.

Own your brand – embrace all that is you. The Oscar Wilde quote “Be Yourself Because Everyone Else is Already Taken” is very true. Make sure that when you google yourself, you like what you see. Authenticity is the best quality.

You need to ask and share…share your successes and career aspirations and ask for what you deserve in the workplace.

Finally, surround yourself with a smart network that you trust. Rely on your intuition to help you determine who these people are. They are the ones who have your back and are invested and support your success.

Intuition Quick Tip #5 – Set up time to share your career aspirations with your manager. It can be uncomfortable but it doesn’t have to be. Try “I’d like to set up time for us to talk through some of the career goals I Have set for myself.”

Let’s let go of our fear, be confident in ourselves, get out of our comfort zone, and please stop apologizing.

I’d love to hear from you – was there a time where your intuition told you something and you failed to listen? How would things be different if you listened?

Follow me on Twitter. Connect with me on LinkedIn. Read my blog.

Image Source:

Productivity Life Hacks For Work

14644698262_a5c82ef836_zLike many working parents, I sat in front of my computer last week distressed. Another snow day with four kids off from school. How would I get anything accomplished?

I thought I’d tap into my inner “productivity whiz” to make it through the day with a few more items crossed off my to-do list. read more »

Take the First Step Towards Job Satisfaction

2699933802_d1dd5414a3_zA few weeks ago I wrote a blog about some work resolutions everyone should take on in 2015, one of which is “find your passion.” The word “passion” gets a bad rap. It is said to be overused in in the workplace.  I get it – so instead of talking more about passion, I thought I’d share an example of how one person applied passion in their job successfully.

I talked to my friend and colleague Nicole McCabe, Senior Director of Global Diversity & Inclusion at SAP. read more »

3 Work Resolutions to Keep in 2015

5020840511_013bf66db9_zI admit it – I’m not a big fan of New Year’s Resolutions.  Usually because they involve limiting myself in some way that is supposed to make me “better.” For me, this approach only lasts a few weeks before I revert back to old behaviors.

This year I’m doing something different. I’m breaking my big, lofty resolutions into daily, weekly, and monthly mini-goals.  read more »