How Liz Huff Thrives with Many Careers

by | Jun 1, 2020

Meet Liz Huff. She is a talented multi-careerist who thrives in her various professions. I’ve known her for a few years, and I’m always thoroughly impressed with her professionalism and ability to execute almost any task or complete any project.

Liz’s careers:

  • Performer – Singer, actor, improviser/comedian, emcee
  • Teacher  music, both in person and via distance learning, improv
  • Fundraiser/development work – Part-time development director for The Workshop Theater, an off-off-Broadway theater
  • Producer – about 12 years for music/comedy/recording
  • Writer
  • Vintage and antiques dealer

On her motivation for many careers

“It keeps my brain and heart happy; I get bored doing just one thing. And I like all the things I do too much to just shelve some of them. The fundraising work has helped me pay bills while getting the other stuff going. I realized there was a lot I wanted to do, and I couldn’t get it done, by focusing on just one career.”

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With Frank at Cleveland Institute of Art

On how long she’s had multiple careers:

“About 20 years?…Singing/acting: 25+ years, writing: 25+ years (often as a subcategory to other things), teaching: 15+ years, fundraising/development – about 20 years.”

Advice for those wanting to pursue many vocations

“Think about what you want to accomplish and why. Seek out people who are successful in the careers you are considering, and talk to them. Make a list of the potential careers and map out what you can do when, even if it’s just a few minutes here and there. Also, get an accountant. I need to take my own advice.”

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On Overcoming Adversity

“Extreme stage fright helped me tank a nascent opera career; improv helped me cope with that stage fright and developed a love for comedy. And in 2016, I quit a full-time development gig because I was burned to a crisp and constantly sick from the stress. That experience led me to re-evaluate what I thought I ‘should’ be doing, and move even further into the multiple-career realm. Kathy Caprino’s book Breakdown, Breakthrough: The Professional Woman’s Guide to Claiming a Life of Passion, Power, and Purpose helped me get through this period, as well as support from Frank, my family and friends, and my voice teacher/mentor, Gary Race.”



On how one career can benefit another vocation

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“I can think immediately of a time when just talking about my improv training helped me land a development gig (both gigs are about relationship, relationship, relationship). The philosophy of improv has improved every area of my life – ‘Yes, and’ takes you to a lot of cool places. Another area is in expanding your network. As a musician, I meet people across all walks of life, and thanks in part to that, learned how to talk with everyone. Having those experiences to fall back on really help me in the fundraising world, and the business-related skills I learned in fundraising (diplomacy, time and event management, how and why to ask for money) help me as a musician and writer. Other advantages: I often describe my time working at the Cleveland Institute of Art as a paid art education; I use that knowledge now for my vintage/antique business. At different times in your life one career may thrive more than others, and that’s okay!”

Portrait above by Steve Mastroianni



On balancing personal time

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“Carefully! We don’t have kids, but I have strong ties to my close and extended family, and our chosen family of friends. It’s easy to lose track, and lose yourself in work. The 7 Habits urgent/important matrix has been useful to me, as well as Susan Jeffers’ Whole Life Grid. — — combined with this thought from Jeffers: You must take action towards the life you want to create. On a functional level, alarms help keep me on track (vs. oops, I spent the whole day reading!), and using calendars diligently.”

Something she wished she had learned earlier

“That [multiple careers] was a thing I could do! When I was at conservatory, many people in positions of authority told us we could, nay, should do only *one* thing and be good at that one thing. And that process works for a lot of people, but not for me. Also wish I had known that just because you’re good at something, doesn’t mean you *have* to do it, or rely on it solely.”

On what to share with others about your disparate careers

“I listen for people’s interests and points of connection, and mention my other careers if and when it seems appropriate. It isn’t always, but sometimes coworkers and former colleagues can become some of your greatest fans and friends. It pays to listen and understand your audience, whether it’s one person or many. I used to not mention one career when doing the other (especially in development vs. performing).”

On how to manage one’s ego

“I think of it as utilizing different parts of my brain and personality. In the Myers Briggs world I fall just over the line on extroversion (a friend calls me an “ambivert”). I love being with people, but I also need down time to recover and fill the well. Letting go of the ego at the day job falls under down time from being ‘on.’ It’s okay to let other people take the lead sometimes!”

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An original painting by post-war Algerian artist Jean Sariano. Part of Liz’s vintage/antiques business

What one day looks like in the life…

“There is no typical day! I tend to work to deadlines, so it depends on what is most urgent. Do I have a reading that night? Do I need to record some vocals for a gig? Is there a grant due for the theater, or fundraising copy to write? Do I have time to go hunting for antiques? I schedule chunks of time across the week to get all the things done. Reviewing my upcoming calendar every Sunday helps me stay on top of things. I leave myself time to read, to walk/work out, to journal, to spend time with my sweetie and my cat, Tigger. I’m currently writing song lyrics every night before I go to bed, as I find that slightly sleepy mode aids in some interesting ideation.”

Where to find Liz


Kabir Sehgal is a Multi Grammy & Latin Grammy Award winner. He also hosts the nightly Quarantine Concert Series which features musicians that is broadcasted on LinkedIn and other platforms. He is the New York Times bestselling author of fifteen books including Close the Loop: The Life of an American Dream CEO and His Five Lessons for Success (Hachette, 2020) with his father Raghbir Sehgal which is a Los Angeles Times & San Francisco Chronicle bestseller. Follow him on Twitter.