Emsworth business owner, engineer, mother and author tells others ‘Live life to the fullest’
Tuesday, January 14, 2020 | 12:01 AM
Over the years, Elizabeth Cook has repeatedly been asked, “How do you do it?”
The mom of six climbed the corporate ladder in a male-dominated profession and is living her best life as a mother, senior manager and doctorate student in electrical engineering.
She believes other business women and mothers can find the same success in life, health and relationships. Reading her new book, “Reflective Awareness: Experience Life to the Fullest,” can help.
“We are the cornerstone of our families and also our careers. We’re doing both,” said Cook, 37, of Emsworth. “That’s what I’m kind of speaking to is, ‘You can take care of yourself and what the importance of taking care of yourself does for you. You can live life to the fullest.’ ”
Cook, who recently started her own business, Integrated Being LLC, with which she coaches others through obstacles and helps them make positive changes to last a lifetime, hosted a launch party for her book at Sewickley’s Penguin Bookshop on Jan. 8.
She also helps her husband Jason run his own business, and is the mom of Ali, 19; Jameson, 13; George, 12; Maggie, 9; Aiden, 6; and Finley, 2.
Cook, admittedly, has always been driven. She credits her parents with providing her with confidence as a child, when she never felt afraid to do anything.
Dad Richard Graham said Cook has always had an excellent work ethic and made smart choices in life.
“She’s smart and clever,” he said, telling a story about how she went to bartending school at a young age and memorized 260 drinks in two weeks by creating an Excel spreadsheet.
At 21, Cook graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in electrical engineering. It was then that she met her future husband and his young daughter, fell in love and was married.
Cook worked as a consultant for Mitsubishi Electric Power Products, traveling the country for 12 years, while her family at home continued to grow. For the last several years, she’s been a senior manager at a local utility company while working toward her Ph.D. in electrical engineering at Pitt. She will defend her dissertation in the next year.
As a young female, Cook said she “never felt anything but, I can do this.”
In addition to her three biological children, she adopted her cousin’s baby and, shortly thereafter, found herself pregnant.
Cook has faced struggles. At one point, she found herself overwhelmed and stressed with everything going on in her life.
She went to a doctor, concerned about the frequency of her bouts of crying. He prescribed her antidepressants. She was put off by that, thinking “You don’t even know me!”
Instead, she went back to practicing what always helped her: “prayer, meditation, exercise, supplements and vitamins and eating whole foods.” She focused on journaling, added the use of essential oils, and found herself “stronger and wise and just bubbly again” and ready to “take on the world.”
Cook bounced back quickly, she said, because she took care of herself.
“You can’t pour from an empty cup,” she said.
In the last year, she became a certified life coach from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, which focuses on holistic health, both spiritual and emotional. She provides a 12-week course for people to help them connect with their joy and life’s purpose.
In her book, Cook talks a lot about relationships and the importance of taking responsibility in life, forgiving and being aware of what brings an individual joy, along with why it’s important to listen and slow down.
The book provides action steps to help its reader get started.
Cook wrote the book now because she wants her parents, who have always been supportive, to be able to read it.
“My success is their gift to me,” she said.
Her mother, Victoria Graham of Sewickley, said she loved the book.
“That was such a beautiful affirmation of all of the love and care that went into raising her.”
“She is fun. She is caring. She is strong willed and she seems to have the right judgment,” Victoria Graham said. “She’s the girl I wanted to be.”
Richard Graham, of Marshall Township, said his daughter has always been “a delightful soul.”
“I just feel so fortunate to have a daughter like that,” he said.
Cook wants others to feel supported. She wants people to know “they can live their goals no matter their situation just by tuning into themselves and being very aware of who they are and what drives them.”