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About Me

I help queer leaders to ditch self-doubt and imposter feelings so that they can create powerful change in the world.

Want to build radical confidence in your queer leadership?

Photo of Liz Cruz smiling, looking at the camera. Liz has short purple hair, and is wearing glasses and a purple scarf.


Sitting down with your senior leadership to share critical feedback about diversity and inclusion initiatives. You have some great ideas for how the organization can better include queer and other marginalized people, and rather than thinking “they’re not going to go for it anyway; why bother?”, you’re feeling sure that you’ll be able to influence these leaders to say yes to your proposal.

Saying yes to an offer for a job that you worked hard to get. The job is big and not quite like anything you’ve ever done before, but you’re excited. You know exactly what makes your queer leadership style unique and powerful, and you trust yourself to use those gifts in any situation.

Walking into a networking event and scanning the room.  It seems like the group is mostly straight folks…again. This time, though, you’re ready. Instead of hanging out in the corner with the one person you know, you make a quick mental list of people you’d like to meet, grab a La Croix, and hit the floor. You belong in this room just as much as anyone else who’s here.


Every single thing I do is informed by my belief that you are totally brilliant. I work with LGBTQ+ leaders to clear away the self-doubt that’s obscuring that brilliance so that you can shine in every facet of your leadership.

My Story

Life Lesson #1: Find the weird kids and stick with them. They will have your back every time.

The first thing that you need to know about me was that I was a real weird kid. I loved ‘imagination’ games more than sports (okay…I downright sucked at sports, y’all). I was constantly missing the memo about the ‘right’ haircut/tennis shoes/music, and never could learn the running man.

I spent a lot of my childhood feeling deeply disconnected, hiding in perfectionism and academic achievement. And then…I went to an art high school and found my people – weirdos who came to class in costumes, people who were constantly creating something just for the heck of creating, folks who really got me.

Life Lesson #2: Success by someone else’s definition can be a REAL lonely place.

And still…I was so drawn in by the allure of perfection and achievement. I spent my twenties taking on one leadership role after another, in my community and at work. Turns out that leadership is a tough gig for a perfectionist; I found myself caught in a cycle of perfection, achievement, imposter feelings, anxiety (rinse, repeat – sound familiar at all?)

This cycle compounded over the years, until I found myself mid-twenties, consumed by anxiety which was completely invisible to everyone else.  I was achieving all of the time, winning awards at work, executing my dream projects in community, and totally miserable.

How did I escape that cycle? Well, I did a TON of work, starting with getting real about my pain:


  • ​The corporate world often felt at odds with how my beloved queer community relates to one another. I felt stretched between my desire to be successful in my career and my queer femme values of inclusion, empathy, vulnerability and authenticity. That wasn’t going to get any better until I figured out how to bring my whole self to my work.

  • Leading in community didn’t really feel a whole lot better. If you’ve ever felt SO lonely in the midst of a group of queer folks, you know what I mean. Our community can have HIGH standards for our leaders; I felt like I needed to be ‘on’ all of the time. I needed to figure out how to let myself be messy and imperfect, while still showing up as a leader.

Then I figured out what I needed to work on, what skills to grow, what to let go of, how to align my leadership with my values and my experience. Now here I am, with so much more room to breathe, and so much more clarity about what I need so that I can stay sure of myself.

Life Lessons #3 - ??:
Great leaders show up with authenticity & emotional intelligence.

We lead with creativity and adapt as things change around us.

We know the value of radical inclusion.

And queer folks are uniquely equipped to embody ALL of that.

Leadership development is hard work; it’s incremental, and ongoing. The smallest changes are the most important ones. The critical thing is to be gentle, and to give ourselves lots of permission to fail and learn.


I am so excited to share all of this with you, and to support you in finding your way.

My Identities

A note on my various identities, which I believe are relevant in this work, as in all of life: I am an antiracist, white, currently able-bodied, queer/genderqueer femme. I am college-educated and grew up middle-class. I believe that allyship, accompliceship, and co-conspiratorship are a matter of practice, not titles. I take these practices seriously and will always believe you when you tell me about your experiences of oppression.

Queer- and transphobia are outcroppings of white supremacy, and many common leadership pain points are connected to white supremacy culture. These truths show up in how I coach and facilitate; I also prioritize group facilitation techniques that support equitable participation (using a circle/speaking order, frequent breakouts to support relationship-building, etc.).

My Coaching Philosophy

My approach to coaching is informed by my deeply held belief that each of us is inherently brilliant and that the best solutions to our leadership challenges are found in our deep knowledge of ourselves.


  • Heteropatriarchal white supremacy culture is the genesis of queer and transphobia. We must disrupt it within ourselves and our work at every turn.

  • Every single one of us is more brilliant than we believe ourselves to be. There are a million things that can get in the way of bringing our brilliance to bear — fears, doubts, competing priorities, lack of clarity about what we really want, nay-sayers in our lives — but your inner brilliance is in there, waiting for you to dust it off and let it shine!

  • We are all inherently whole and capable of doing great things. My role as your coach is to help you define the path to get there.

  • Our circumstances (particularly our experiences of oppression) shape our landscape, but we ourselves are not these circumstances. We are each deeply deserving of receiving focus, attention, and work from ourselves in service of our dreams and goals.

  • At any given moment, we get to evaluate who we are – our thoughts, feelings, beliefs – and to decide whether these are serving us or if we want instead to clear out old ways and make a change.

My Background

(BTW, my pronouns are they/them or she/her)

Prior to working full time in my practice, I spent over a decade in the corporate space (retail and technology) as a coach, leadership development program leader, and organizational effectiveness consultant, building programs that support emerging leaders in tackling their most complex development priorities. I also ran a small non-profit performance production company for many years; we produced a monthly queer burlesque show that raised over $20,000 for organizations serving our community – with SO. MUCH. GLITTER.

These days you'll find me coaching individuals and teams, facilitating, nerding out about emotional intelligence, or ruminating on wholehearted leadership over a cup of (decaf) coffee. I am an eternal optimist, a queer leadership fanatic, a frequent teller of not-that-funny jokes, a lifelong artist (current love: watercolor), relentlessly curious, a deep empath, and despite all outward appearances, definitely an introvert.


Key engagements:

I spent four years coaching senior leaders at Amazon as an internal coach and leadership development practitioner. I have also coached leaders in other corporations (Outreach, Aditi Consulting, Spotify), the nonprofit sector (Washington State Community Action Partnership, QLaw Foundation), and local government (King County, WA).

Coaching Specialties:

- LGBTQIA+ Leadership Development
- Emotionally Intelligent Leadership
- Navigating the Corporate Space with Authenticity
- Promotion Readiness & Transition
- Executive Leadership (Corporate & Nonprofit)

My Education & Certifications

My BA is in modern dance from Mills College; this is where I learned to be a lifelong artist and came out as SO queer to myself and anyone else who would listen.


I earned my coaching credentials through iPEC, a rigorous training program accredited by the International Coaching Federation. I am also certified in several tools, including the Emotional Intelligence Inventory (EQ-i 2.0), the Korn Ferry Assessment of Leadership Potential, DiSC, and the Influence Style Indicator.​

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