Alumna and Entrepreneur Elizabeth Elting (MBA ’92) Champions Advancing Women in Business with a Landmark Gift to NYU Stern

By Marilyn Harris
Elizabeth Elting at the podium during Haskins dinner 2019
Support for advancing women in business through fellowships. Seed capital for women-led businesses. These are the fruits of a landmark $5 million gift to NYU Stern from Elizabeth Elting (MBA ’92). It is the largest gift from a self-made woman in the School’s history, and with this support, Elting aims to champion the next generation of talented and entrepreneurial women affiliated with her alma mater. Her passion to support the advancement of women in business aligns with the mission of the Elizabeth Elting Foundation, the non profit she now runs after a successful business career leading the multi-million dollar global translation business she founded in a dorm room at NYU in 1992.

“Liz is a self-made entrepreneurial success story and a tireless advocate for women,” said Dean Raghu Sundaram. “She is a superb role model for aspiring entrepreneurs and exemplifies how business and philanthropy need not be mutually exclusive, but rather mutually reinforcing. We are so grateful to Liz for her support of Stern through a meaningful commitment that inextricably links her with innovation at the School.”

Over the next 10 years, her gift will create the Elizabeth Elting Women’s Leadership Fellowship, which will support 40 female MBA students who demonstrate extraordinary academic merit and an impressive record of leadership experience. The gift will also provide seed capital to an additional 20 women-led businesses through the Elizabeth Elting Venture Fund. The fund will work in conjunction with Stern’s Endless Frontier Labs program designed to help scale up the most promising early-stage science- and technology-based startups from around the world. Further, a large-scale convening space for classes, lectures, and guest speakers in the graduate building will be named The Elizabeth Elting Lecture Hall in recognition of Elting’s significant commitment.
Elizabeth with former classmates
Elizabeth Elting with her former classmates at the Haskins Dinner in May 2019, at which she was the honoree.

“Starting my own business was the best and most rewarding decision I ever made,” said Elting. “It gave me the resources I needed to provide for my family and influence the world for the better. That’s why I’m so excited to provide this gift to NYU Stern. This money will not only make Stern accessible to a greater number of ambitious young women eager to create their own futures, but will also help the best and brightest launch new enterprises and carry out visions that could transform the world. As an NYU Stern alumna who has received so much from this school, I wanted to give back and do my part in lifting up the next generation of forward-thinking women leaders.”

A lifelong linguaphile and undergraduate major in world languages and literatures, Elting co-founded TransPerfect, the world’s largest provider of language and business solutions, while earning her MBA in finance and international business at Stern. Her prior experiences living, studying, and working in five countries across the globe had convinced her there was a gap between clients’ needs and the translation services that were available, and between the ascendance of the internet and globalization, she saw opportunity.

“From day one,” Elting said, “my goal was to create the world’s premier language solutions company. But that didn’t mean much in 1992, when the largest translation company in the world was maybe 100 employees. The scale we achieved is considerably bigger than we ever could have anticipated. A big part of our success in technology is that we got ahead early and made it our mission to stay there. Stern gave me a broad-based education that was immediately practical when I started the company, plus credibility.” During her tenure as Co-CEO, she grew TransPerfect into the world’s largest language solutions company, with over $600 million in revenue, 4,000+ employees, 11,000+ clients, and offices in more than 90 cities worldwide.
Elizabeth with her family and President Hamilton
Elizabeth Elting with her family and NYU President Andrew Hamilton (far left).

Since stepping away from the company in 2018, Elting has devoted herself to philanthropy through the Elizabeth Elting Foundation. Elting believes that the critical work of the future is to break down the barriers that hold back women and marginalized people and advance equality for all. The foundation is committed to promoting progressive and feminist efforts to eradicate systemic barriers, promote public health and education, achieve workplace equality, rise beyond the glass ceiling, and open the doors to economic independence.

Widely lauded as a leading entrepreneur and women’s advocate, Elting has been recognized as a NOW “Woman of Power & Influence,” American Express’ and Entrepreneur Magazine’s “Woman of the Year,” and for all five years since the list’s inception, one of Forbes’ “Richest Self-Made Women.” Last May, at a celebratory dinner in New York, Dean Sundaram awarded Elting the Haskins Giving Society Award for 2019 in recognition of her many years of dedication, service, and philanthropy.
Read about Elizabeth Elting (MBA '92) as the 40th Haskins Giving Society Award Dinner Honoree >