Sisterhood, Service, and Social Good: Meet Elise

By Malia Mackey— 

 

The Minerva team is thrilled to introduce our newest full-time member of the team—Elise McGlothian! Hailing from Virginia Beach, VA, she brings her television news expertise and a passion for community service. We (of course virtually) sat down with her to learn more about what led her to communications, why she’s escaping television, and what she has in common with the new VP-elect.

 

Where are you from, and where are you living now?

 

I was born in Memphis, TN, but I would say that I am from Virginia Beach, VA. I’ve also studied abroad in London, went to school in Chapel Hill, NC, worked in New York City for a summer, lived in Fort Myers, FL for a few years, and most recently lived and worked in DC. Now I’m back in Virginia Beach with my family because of the pandemic. I’m happy to be back in my hometown because I love this community.

 

We hear that you have a special connection with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris—tell us about it.

 

Like Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, I am a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated® (AKA). I joined the Virginia Beach Chapter, Lambda Gamma Omega, last year. While AKA can’t legally endorse any political candidate, our membership is very proud that one of our own is breaking barriers! If you see pink and green around her—those are the AKA colors.

My sisterhood is rooted in service—nationally and locally. We support different initiatives and causes that center on health, education, family, community, and more. As the first historically African American Greek-lettered sorority, we are also very proud of our history—making Vice President-elect Harris’ achievement even more personal for all of us.

As a member of the Lambda Gamma Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated®, I am also a member of The Virginia Beach Pearls Foundation, its charitable affiliate. Within the Foundation, I am the Arts Committee’s co-chair, which exposes youth to the Black Arts Movement and the Harlem Renaissance. There aren’t many resources for kids to explore these movements and time periods, so we consulted an artist to make our own. Right now, we’re in the process of printing our coloring books, but anyone can access it online here.

 

 

When and how did your interest in communications start?

 

I was exposed to television news at a young age, thanks to my dad’s job at the New York Times (this was back when they owned television stations). The behind-the-scenes work always interested me, so I never wanted to be in front of the camera. Several years later, I went to UNC-Chapel Hill (Go Tar Heels!) and studied Media and Journalism. I landed internships in television – including at the Today Show, Weekend Edition.

Eventually, I got a job in the business and worked for a couple of television stations as a producer. It was demanding work that required tremendous sacrifice. During Hurricane coverage in Florida, I slept at the office and spent most of my years in the business working either overnight or late at night on weekends.

I am also a member of the National Association of Black Journalists and have attended seven conventions, including this year’s virtual one. It’s not common for people as young as me to have gone to so many conferences, but this is an important association, so I prioritize it every year. It’s an amazing networking opportunity and fun to explore new cities with people who are like family.

 

 

Can you tell us about your start in the pro-social professional world?

 

My middle school’s volunteer requirement instilled the importance of community services when I was eleven years old. So, when I decided to make the break away from television, I looked into nonprofits. I got my foot in the door in December 2019, when I started working at the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN).

ACS CAN is an incredible organization— volunteers and staff come together to demand policy change from their elected officials, impacting cancer patients and the general population. I enjoyed the work, the people, and the mission, but at the start of the pandemic, they saw a historical drop in donations, forcing them to lay off a quarter of the staff. The organization eliminated my position.

At ACS CAN, I quantified the impact of their media efforts and created reports. The reports went to donors, which later translated into fundraising dollars. The work was a fantastic experience—I learned a lot and knew I wanted to stay in the mission-driven space.

 

Why did you want to get away from TV news?

 

Mainly due to the crazy working hours—overnights and late nights were hard on me. I’m a morning person, but not quite a night owl. Covering deadly mass shootings also wore on me. I started my career the day after the Pulse Night Club shooting in Orlando in 2016 and had my fair share of state and local shootings while living in Florida. When I first moved back to Virginia Beach in 2019, we had to cover a mass shooting in my hometown where 12 people died. It was difficult to handle, and I felt then that it was time to pivot out of news.

 

Why did you want to work at Minerva?

 

The work we do is the perfect blend of my passion for service and what I’ve been doing professionally. Having written countless scripts, I like producing quality written work, but now I get the chance to spend time and collaborate on the pieces I write. There’s not much talk about equitable solutions in the news—you’re limited by time, but here at Minerva, we can help other nonprofits that share the same vision and mission as us.

What surprised me is how closely the Minerva team works with our clients. There’s a genuine sense of us being invested in our client’s work and wanting them to succeed. I’ve also been surprised by how selective Minerva is with clients; it’s not just about getting money. It’s about finding communication success for our clients and really partnering with them through the process.

 

What’s your dream job?

 

I really would like to work for NASA; the idea of space exploration seems cool to me. I wish I had the fearless ability to go into space, but I’m too scared to go there. One day I’ll make it to a rocket launch!

 

What behavior or personality trait do you most attribute your success to, and why?

 

I am very disciplined. You have to stay on track to reach a goal. Working the overnight shift in television news solidified this personality trait. I knew if I went to bed at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, I was going to get through the night—and do my job well. At Minerva Strategies, I don’t have to get up in the middle of the night to go to work, but I still intend to do my job well!

And that concludes our conversation with Minerva’s newest goddess! Please feel free to reach out to her at elise@minervastrategies.com, and connect with her to learn more. We can’t wait for you to (virtually) meet her and look forward to when we can all be together in person. 

About The Author

Minerva Strategies

Minerva Strategies

The Minerva team has decades of experience working with nonprofits, foundations, and values-driven companies. Minerva also partners with experts—trusted designers, web developers, global communications professionals, and others—who share our excitement for creating positive social change. Through these partnerships, we can build a team that is tailored to your needs. Learn more about who we are or what we do.