Actor, artist, linguist, consultant and Distance Learning MBA candidate, Ellie Fox is the definition of multitalented. Ellie has appeared in numerous theatrical productions, films, television programmes and commercials. She is also the Founder of Mahalo Theatre, receiving critical acclaim in London and Los Angeles and a nomination for "Best International Act" at the Hollywood Fringe Festival. Having also gained extensive experience in teaching, translation and project management, Ellie has many strings to her career bow.
Ellie joins us to discuss her thriving portfolio career, the importance of equal representation and her Distance Learning MBA experience.
Can you tell us about your varied career path?
I’m a creative and consultancy professional with a portfolio career across two decades as a bilingual (English & Spanish) actor, artist, linguist and business consultant. After reading Hispanic and Latin American Studies at the University of Nottingham, running the university theatre with my amazing peers and living and working in Spain and Mexico, I moved to Australia to travel and work as a horse riding guide in the outback of Cairns and a mixologist in Sydney. I returned to university to do a PGCE in Modern Foreign Languages and I taught Spanish, German, French, English, Drama and Maths around contracts as an international tour manager in Spain and an actor, presenter and dance instructor in the UK, Spain and at sea for Princess Cruises in Hawaii and Alaska.
I was working successfully as an actor and had created a theatre company and staged shows in London and Los Angeles but it had always been my dream to go to drama school. I returned to my hometown of London to do an MA in Screen Acting at Drama Centre London and around this time I was offered consultancy work to support my studies. I continued to study and work as an actor and business consultant. I moved to Los Angeles in 2015 to work with my LA agent and pursue auditions and I was fortunate enough to work on theatre, film, TV and voice productions as an actor and producer. I had always painted and created art but had never showcased it. During my time in LA, friends started enquiring about my art and introduced me to galleries who asked me to work with them. My career as a fine artist was launched in LA in 2015 and in addition to gallery shows in Hollywood, I collaborated on productions as a scenic advisor and artist.
How have you built a portfolio career?
I feel extremely blessed to have been able to pursue my passions of travel, foreign language, adventure, the arts and business. I’m delighted that the term ‘portfolio career’ is now widely understood so my career story is easier to tell! Twenty years ago portfolio careers were not yet the norm. It has been challenging but incredibly fulfilling and I couldn’t have done it alone. My eternal thanks and gratitude go to my family, best friends and the multitude of incredible people around the world who have supported, uplifted and inspired me.
How is our MBA helping your career plans?
I had been working as a business consultant for a decade in multiple sectors but I had never formally studied business. I was fortunate enough to move into consultancy with transferable skills from teaching and performing. I knew that the MBA would be a great way to formalise my work as a business consultant and an amazing journey to supplement my learning and expand my horizons. I’m blessed to come from a long line of strong and amazing people and my mother is one of my greatest guiding lights and inspirations. Her passion for business and her career as a change maker inspired me to apply for the MBA and Warwick was my number one choice. Alongside expanding my work as a creative and consultant, I’m passionate about learning more about entrepreneurship. I’m currently putting together a plan for an international artistic business that launches soon. I’m excited for future plans and adventures.
How are you finding the MBA experience?
Connecting and working with such an incredible cohort of tutors and peers is the most amazing part of studying the MBA at Warwick. Group work is highly encouraged and I have learnt so much and been so inspired by my fellow MBA students. In addition to this, diving into so many key and fascinating areas of business has been amazing. The MBA is such a wonderful way of supplementing existing knowledge and practice whilst engaging with new concepts, methodologies and innovative ways of working. The core modules of the MBA give us such a solid foundation to build upon and we are offered an incredible selection of elective modules in addition to this. Among other modules, I’m delighted at the opportunity of studying business at IPADE in Mexico City, luxury brand management in Milan and entrepreneurship. The international focus of the business school from the cohort of tutors and students to the global modules is really pioneering and rewarding. I created the unique hashtag #WBSMBALife for our MBA community to connect with each other to ensure we could all continue to connect online outside of university webinars and my peers have created groups online so that we can consistently stay in touch.
What advice would you give to a prospective female MBA candidate?
I would say go for it! If it’s your dream to do it, then you can make it happen. Decide to commit and you will find a way and doors will open. It involves a great time, energy and financial commitment but if you want to do it, I wish you every opportunity in the world to make it a reality. Inclusion and diversity is as important as ever and to have an equal representation of genders, backgrounds and people in business is so important.
How can we challenge gender bias and inequality?
I believe that the best way to challenge gender bias and inequality is to consistently question assumptions, do your best work, be a living example of change, be an ally and never, ever let anyone tell you that you are not capable or able. Hold your head high, breathe deeply, garner your energy, keep your focus and remember your why. If you can take your power and then transmute the negativity around you into giving you even more impetus to achieve, you can overcome so much. It’s imperative that the systems, structures and narratives around this personal focus and power also support gender equality. Be persistent and consistent in challenging bias wherever you see it and be sure to be there for others when they need your support. Together everything is possible. I believe that gender diversity can be supported by encouraging everyone to pursue their joy regardless of their gender. Stereotypes must be challenged at all times. Everyone is entitled to reach for their full and true potential without bias or discrimination. Support others in their journeys, be an ally and call out bias consistently.