NYU Alumna Donates $5 Million Toward Advancing Women in Business

Elizabeth Elting’s donation will fund 20 women-led tech start-ups and aid 40 high-achieving women in receiving their MBAs.

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Jake Quan

Building of Stern School of Business. A Stern institute is revamping to analyze types of risks such as ones associated with climate change. (Staff Photo by Jake Quan)

Lisa Cochran, Deputy News Editor

A Stern alumna and entrepreneur donated $5 million to the school of business last Thursday, which will go toward fostering the success of women in business.

Elizabeth Elting’s gift — the largest a self-made woman has ever donated to Stern — will supply 20 female-led businesses with seed capital through the Elizabeth Elting Venture Fund in association with Stern’s Endless Frontier Labs, a mentorship program aiding early-stage tech start-up companies. The donation will also fund the “Elizabeth Elting Women’s Leadership Fellowship,” which is intended to aid 40 women selected for their leadership and merit throughout their MBA pursuits. 

“Liz inspires budding entrepreneurs inside Stern’s classrooms, within our alumni community and beyond,” Stern Dean Raghu Sundaram told WSN. “She is incredibly generous with her time and talents when it comes to Stern.”

A graduate school lecture hall will be named in Elting’s honor, something she said she is incredibly honored by.

Elting graduated from NYU’s MBA program in 1992 and was the co-CEO of TransPerfect, a company she founded from an NYU dorm room in Washington Square Village less than a year after she graduated.

TransPerfect is the world’s largest privately-owned language translation service, which Elting started after she spent substantial time working abroad in Venezuela. Elting said that the language translation services at the time of TransPerfect’s conception were fragmented and needed improvement. 

I was looking for a job and I thought ‘OK I love languages, that is what I am going to do,’” Elting told WSN. I learned all about the industry and the need for language solutions for companies but I thought it could be done better.”

At the beginning of her career in business, Elting said she faced sexism. She lamented that it is still an issue she has to speak about and that she often hears about it from other women in the business world. 

“We need to proactively address that we need to put more women in board positions,” Elting said. “[These] are issues that are systemic.”

Stern junior Daiana Loza agreed that Stern provides ample resources to elevate businesswomen in the early stages of their careers. Despite this, Loza said she is often one of few women in her finance classes, at her internship and at job interviews.

I mean, it’s kind of hard to find a place,” Loza said.It’s always been a male-dominated field.” 

Loza expressed that now, as a junior, she participates willingly in her classes but that as an underclassman, she felt overwhelmed by the number of men and was less inclined to raise her hand. 

“As a woman, society tells you that you’re not focused or driven,” Loza said. I think the fact that it’s not talked about is a negative thing.”

Stern junior Liz Chen said she has not faced any difficulties as a woman in business and finds Stern’s resources for women — such as the Stern Women in Business club, which organizes career and networking events geared towards gender equality — to be welcoming.

One of Elting’s intentions in donating money towards women in business, she said, was to combat this structural sexism and to raise the glass ceiling.

On Oct. 1, Elting will join the NYU Stern Board of Overseers, a group of businesspeople who supervise the planning of various Stern programs and policies.

“I’m very excited to be involved at NYU in this way again,” Elting said. “I think it’s nice for women to see a woman’s name on a facility because we don’t see enough of that.”

Correction, Sep. 25: A previous version of this article stated that Elting was the current co-CEO of TransPerfect. She is no longer the co-CEO. Additionally, it stated that Elting worked abroad in Israel when she did not. The article has since been updated to reflect these corrections, WSN regrets the errors.

Email Lisa Cochran at [email protected].