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How Consultant Elizabeth O’Neill Is Calming the Chaos for CEOs

An Interview With Brooke Bohinc

image of Elizabeth O’Neill

Elizabeth’s entrepreneurial journey began when she listened to her inner voice and left an HR executive position that was no longer working for her or her family. Using her background in psychotherapy and business, Elizabeth founded her consulting company. Its success is largely due to her ability to see the root cause of friction within an organization and address the issues directly, enabling swift growth. Today, Elizabeth embraces the constant challenges of growth and adapting to build better companies for both executives and employees.

We asked Elizabeth about the founding story behind her consultancy, what sets her apart from her competition, and how she would describe the journey she’s been on thus far.

Tell us the story behind your company’s founding. How and why did you start working on Elizabeth O’Neill Consulting?

Six years ago, I was burned out and disillusioned, navigating a demanding career as a corporate HR executive with two young kids. I was burning the candle at both ends, my work didn’t feel meaningful, and corporate culture felt suffocating. One day, I finally listened to the inner voice that said, “This. Is. Not. Working.” As I evaluated my next moves, a tech founder who was experiencing classic growing pains with his company contacted me. He was constantly fighting fires, good people were leaving the business, and the stress was getting to everyone. As a result, the team wasn’t functioning well, they regularly missed major deadlines, and customer churn was creeping up.

As I helped him calm the chaos and create alignment with his team, I found myself genuinely excited in a way I hadn’t been in years. I quickly started envisioning a practice where I could help fast-growth companies get better results during crucial stages when stress, uncertainty, and chaos are at their peak. I pressure-tested my business model for a year and a half before leaving my corporate career. 

My combined background of psychotherapy and business enables me to look inside organizations and quickly isolate and address the cause of a team’s dysfunction or underperformance.

What problem does Elizabeth O’Neill Consulting solve? 

The early stages of a company’s growth are often the most challenging. Once a product takes off, the whole team needs to level up quickly to keep pace. The loose systems and processes that held the team together in the beginning stop working, the team is perpetually stretched and stressed, and chaos often sets in. I help founders and entrepreneurs calm the chaos so they can scale more quickly and effectively.

What makes your services different from other similar companies in the industry?

My combined background of psychotherapy and business enables me to look inside organizations and quickly isolate and address the cause of a team’s dysfunction or underperformance. With me, companies don’t get surface-level support or off-the-shelf playbooks. My zone of genius is understanding what’s really causing friction in a company and helping CEOs address the root of it quickly. This leaves the team stronger, more resilient, and able to get where they’re going faster than before. 

What’s been the hardest and most rewarding part of your entrepreneurial journey? 

As challenging as it’s been to learn to run a business, the hardest part of this journey has been rewiring the parts of me that made me successful as a corporate executive but can be a death sentence as an entrepreneur. Once I became an entrepreneur, I realized how much I had been conditioned to seek approval, ask for permission, and strive for perfection. An entrepreneur’s rubric for success is just the opposite. That’s why navigating these challenges and coming out the other side stronger has been the most rewarding aspect of this journey. In retrospect, it’s what made me itch to leave corporate in the first place. I wanted to jump into the deep end, create and execute my own vision and voice, and sink or swim on my own.  

What are the biggest mistakes you’ve made? 

When I launched my business, I was fortunate to acquire my first clients quickly, so I ignored the importance of marketing myself. In truth, marketing myself triggered my self-doubt and analysis paralysis. Ignoring it allowed me to serve my clients and stay in my zone of genius. But when my initial clients eventually had successful exits or our work was otherwise complete, I had no marketing engine to cultivate my next clients. There were a couple of dark quarters while I scrambled to figure that out.  

We dare you to brag: What achievements are you most proud of? 

There are moments that crystallize the impact of my work, like when a client’s exit blows the market away and the founder sends me a photo from their bucket list trip. But I am most proud when I look around a company at the end of an engagement and people are dialed in, the team is running smoothly, and their KPIs are where they want them to be. It’s challenging to build better companies that CEOs love to run and that employees love to work at.   

How would you describe the journey you’ve had in a few sentences? Would you do it all over again? 

This journey has been everything I hoped for and has also demanded much more than I ever expected. I’m grateful to get to do work that I love. In exchange, I need to constantly learn, grow, and adapt. It’s wildly uncomfortable, and I would absolutely do it all over again. 

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