Lelia Gowland BA’08

New Orleans, LA
Author, speaker, and coach


How do you use your EPPS education in your current profession?

I started my business because women kept coming to me for support in professional negotiations and career decision-making. Now, as a speaker, writer, and coach, I have the absolute pleasure of working with women who want to increase their impact and have a more profitable and fulfilling career.

Back on campus, when I sat in Erin Smith’s course, Women and Work and Family, I was completely fascinated. I loved the depth of conversation and the ways the research Dr. Smith shared opened my eyes to what was happening in the world around me. At the time, I remember thinking, “What the heck am I going to do with this after I graduate…I guess I’ll start a book club.”

Now my entire business is based on a nuanced understanding of the social and political systems that impact women who work. I’m endlessly grateful to my multifaceted EPPS degree and Dr. Smith in particular for paving the way.

The experience I had at UTD exploring social science research absolutely informed my passion, enthusiasm, and ability to write my first book You Got This: The Ultimate Negotiation Guide for Professional Women, which came out in 2019.

Professional honors and recognition:

  • Named one of Gambit Weekly’s 40 Under 40, which salutes the “brightest innovators, artists, and professionals in New Orleans.”  
  • Writes regularly for Forbes and has been published in Harper’s Bazaar, Fast Company, Family Circle in addition to many other outlets
  • Profiled in Cosmopolitan and marie claire for her unique approach

What advice would you give current and future EPPS students?

Consider applying for the Archer Fellowship. My time in Washington DC was invaluable exposure to professional environments, the national political landscape, and our nation’s capital. It was also ridiculously fun.

Get involved on campus. The work I did with the University Democrats helped me learn how to coordinate teams and host large-scale impact-oriented events, both of which are skills I use regularly in my business. It also introduced me to my best friend, fellow UTD alum, Bryan Barnett.