Dropbox On Authentic Leadership

As a leader, bringing your own character to the workplace contributes to more collaborative and inclusive company culture. That’s what Elizabeth Gilmore thinks a leader should be - Creative Director of the brand studio at Dropbox. We are certain you've all heard of Dropbox! Dropbox originally started as a files storage service and now is more of a smart workspace with products like Dropbox Paper that allow teams to collaborate on creative projects wherever they are. Liz shares her thoughts on authentic leadership and why it is important for any creative team. 

Here are some of our highlights from our conversation: 


FLA: What book are you reading right now?  

EG: I recently read Severance by Ling Ma so that’s at the top of my recommendation list right now. 

FLA: Describe yourself in three words. 

EG: Optimistic, energetic and clueless. 

FLA: For you, what makes an authentic leader, and how do you empower your team to bring their authentic selves to work? 

EG: I’ll start by saying earlier in my career, I definitely felt the pressure to fit a certain ‘designer mould’. Partly because I’d never been in a tech company before that was corporate, with frameworks and structures I wasn’t accustomed to. As a result, I think my own creativity and my own voice suffered - I didn’t have the confidence to be myself. It was definitely a five-year process bringing my authentic self to work. Now, as a leader, I bring my energy, quirkiness, good days and bad days, and my team now feel that it’s an inclusive environment, where they can bring their own voice and qualities too. 

FLA: What’s the best part of working for Dropbox? 

EG: That’s easy - the people. Tech is tech and there are a lot of fun things there. I’ve been working in Silicon Valley for a while now, but what really draws me are the teams that you want to be a part of. Most of all, I gravitate towards people that align with my values, who collaborate the same way I do and have the same mission. 

FLA: What advice would you give to your younger self, say from 5 years ago? 

EG: Fail more, fail harder, fail smarter - just keep failing. I had a really big fear of failure when I was younger and if someone told me, ‘Chill girl, this is part of it, you’re failing great’, I think that would have relieved a lot of anxiety knowing that it was just step-three of a ten-step process. 

If you want to hear more great stories from Elizabeth, listen to the full interview on our Creative Capes Podcast: 


Apple Podcasts 


If you want to see Ekaterina's and Liz's faces and matching lipsticks, head over to our Youtube Channel @futurelondonacademy.


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