Elisa A. Schmitz is an award-winning entrepreneur and professional journalist. She’s the Latina founder of 30Seconds.com, a highly-regarded digital media platform where women (and men) come to inspire and be inspired. She’s also the founder of iParenting, a “Best of the Web” digital media company that she sold to The Walt Disney Company in 2007. Elisa then worked for Disney as Director and Executive Editor of the Disney Interactive Media Group. She has been a newspaper columnist, magazine editor, radio and video host, and created content and marketing programs for various Fortune 500 companies.
Elisa earned her Bachelor’s degree in Communication Arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which awarded her its Entrepreneurial Achievement Award, and her Master’s degree in Journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, where she is a frequent guest lecturer and panelist. Elisa is a high-profile and valued alum of her two universities. At UW-Madison, she sits on the Communication Arts board, while at Northwestern, she sits on the NUvention Media Entrepreneurship program board and is a member of the Council of 100, a mentoring organization made up of Northwestern’s top 100 female alums. Elisa cherishes each opportunity to mentor young women, entrepreneurs, business and nonprofit leaders who are navigating their careers, and she is frequently asked to speak to students and alumni at on- and off-campus events. Elisa became an engaged member of various coveted business networks after she and 30Seconds were selected for inclusion in three highly-competitive startup accelerator programs: Springboard Enterprises Media/Tech Accelerator in New York City; Blackbox/Google for Entrepreneurs Accelerator in Silicon Valley; and 1871’s WiSTEM Accelerator in Chicago. She also was selected for the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network and is a member of the Ellevate, Astia, and Pipeline Angels networks, participating in their exclusive conferences and events. She also serves as an adviser to startup companies.
Elisa has been featured widely in the media, including: The Huffington Post, Fast Company, United Hemispheres, The Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, Crain’s Chicago Business, Modern Luxury, Windy City Live TV, ABC-TV, WGN-TV, WCIU-TV, WGN Radio, Women Tech Founders, Moms In Business (cover), Curated Chicago, Chicago Parent, Make It Better and more. Elisa is considered highly influential because of her media, marketing and entrepreneurial expertise. By generating active engagement among audiences, she is often asked to report and write about business events, is regularly offered guest author and featured blogging opportunities, and is also frequently asked to be interviewed on radio shows and podcasts.
Through building her two media platforms, Elisa has become an expert in communicating with and marketing to women, audience acquisition, brand building, digital marketing, content marketing, social media marketing, building buzz and awareness for her clients and their campaigns. Elisa has worked with some of the leading companies in the world, including: AT&T, where she served as the Editor-in-Chief of the AT&T web parenting portal; Kimberly Clark, where she created content-rich micro sites for Huggies, Pull-Ups, GoodNites and more brands; Proctor & Gamble, where she was invited to speak to its female leaders about “Courageousness In the Workplace”; Quaker Foods, U.S. Cellular, Barilla Pasta, Capital One, CNBC, and more. Aside from business success, what also makes Elisa uniquely qualified to write Become the Fire is her personal background. Elisa’s mother, Maria Elisa, is from Puerto Rico. The youngest of 13 children, Maria was the only child in her family to go to college (on scholarship to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she met Elisa’s father). Elisa’s father, K. John, is from the former Yugoslavia. His family immigrated to the United States after World War II when he was a young teenager. The family started a custom cabinet company that grew to become a thriving business based on quality craftsmanship. The value of hard work and excellence in all you do taught by Elisa’s family are only two of the traits that propelled this first-generation American’s Become the Fire journey.