Driven by a Passion for Learning and Growing

Liz Powitzy (MBA '20), CEO and Owner, 212 Degrees
Liz Powitzky Headshot

From an executive role at Edward Jones to running her own business as an executive and leadership coach, Liz Powitzy (MBA '20), CEO and Owner of 212 Degrees, shares the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur, how she spends her time volunteering and giving back, her passion for helping others succeed, and how former classmates from the Executive MBA program are a big part of her world.  

What strategies did you use to grow your career over 20 years at Edward Jones? 
I made it a point to grow intentionally and focus on personal development and continually making myself better. I also kept a healthy amount of paranoia about whether or not I was ‘good enough’ for any role I was in. But in general, I was always looking for ways to develop new skills. Over my tenure at Edward Jones, I had many roles. I started with training financial advisors then moved every two to three years to a different capacity. In the end, I was on the operating committee looking across the entire organization and directly leading a team of 350 associates overseeing $250 million dollar programs.


How would you describe your leadership style? 
Based on feedback from teams and peers over the years, the approach that defines me is being direct, transparent, a good listener, and also empathetic.  


What led to your career pivot as an executive coach? 
I had planned to retire by age 50, and actually achieved my financial goals earlier. So when I decided to leave, I was set up financially and could focus on something that would bring me joy. Since I had always loved helping people grow in their roles, I decided to get back to coaching and leadership and helping people achieve their career goals.


What is the one thing that is crucial to a high performance team? 
Communication is key. Whether it is clearly communicating the company’s vision, sharing feedback, or distributing work, it all boils down to clear communication.


What has it been like to build your own business? 
It’s been hard but rewarding, and you definitely get out what you put in. Working independently is very different from being in a large organization where there was no shortage of work to do. I get to learn new things about building and growing a sustainable business and I appreciate having more control over my calendar and time. I also built a large support network that I turn to a lot for advice and guidance. Many people from the Executive MBA program are part of that network and have been incredibly supportive.


You did the Executive MBA program at Stern. What experiences have served you the best? 
For Edward Jones, the business acumen that I learned at Stern served me well. I could apply what I was learning in the classroom to my work and go as far as connecting what other industries – healthcare for example – were doing so that we could learn from them, which ultimately is what led to my promotion at Edward Jones because I was able to demonstrate firm-wide leadership. As an executive coach, the network that I built at Stern has been incredibly valuable. My former classmates share advice and connections into their networks and I also get to stay in touch with all these top performing professionals.


Liz (left) with two EMBA students, Tom Ozhuthual and Cait McNerney

Liz (left) with two EMBA students, Tom Ozhuthual and Cait McNerney  


What are your favorite Stern memories? 
My favorite part of being at Stern were all the friends I made. Plus, I really loved the collegial feel of the EMBA program. When I visited other schools, there was a competitiveness that I didn't like. Stern felt different, and that collegial nature of the program was great.  


What was the best career advice you ever received?
Continually improve yourself and it will pay back in dividends.  


How have you stayed involved with Stern? 
I have attended many alumni events and have watched the online learning programs and webinars that are available to alumni. Now that I’ve relocated to NYC, I am working with the Careers Team for a session with the DC and NY EMBA students in the fall that I’m looking forward to.  


What do you like to do in your spare time? 
Besides spending time with my college age kids, I also have a trained therapy dog and we spend time with folks undergoing cancer treatment and with special needs kids. I also work with the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women executive leadership team and co-chair their STEM Goes Red program that works with young women across the five boroughs to help them see what a career in STEM could look like.


Liz’s dog Mozzie

Liz’s dog Mozzie at his graduation from therapy school.


What is the last TV program you streamed? 
I am a fan of YA fantasy books and recently watched House of the Dragon.


Where did you go for your last vacation? Where to next?
I went to Brazil, which was the last stop of the 21 trips I did in 2023 when I retired. The next place I am going is the Dominican Republic with Albert Pujol’s Building Hope Foundation to restore a baseball field and build two homes.