Elana Siegel On How Perspective Helps Her Manage Stress

The Holland America Group HR expert shares the book that changed her life and the last time she felt burned out.

When you have the opportunity to ask some of the most interesting people in the world about their lives, sometimes the most fascinating answers come from the simplest questions. The Thrive Questionnaire is an ongoing series that gives an intimate look inside the lives of some of the world’s most successful people.

Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?
Elana Siegel: Kiss my children.

TG: What gives you energy?
ES: I have a high degree of energy — decent sleep, eating well and exercise are key. Professionally, I’m energized when the work my team and I progress makes a meaningful impact on our employees.

TG: What’s your secret life hack?
ES: Perspective. Health is most important. I can always recover from any other challenge/stress. (Grandparents were Holocaust survivors. Their history provides me perspective).

TG: Name a book that changed your life.
ES: What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Otherwise, Exodus — both versions!

TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?
ES: It does. In my 24/7 line of work we receive calls that require us to activate emergency response.

TG: How do you deal with email?
ES: Immediately. I endeavor to clear my inbox before the end of each day.

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?ES: Call my boys (husband and two sons).

TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?
ES: On the recommendation of a superior, I hired a leader with whom he previously worked. Though competent in certain areas of HR, the hired leader was incapable of performing our role. It took months to persuade my superior of the challenges the hire presented as a leader and functional head. The morale hit that occurred due to the ill fit took months to recover from.

TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?
ES: I have mini-failures all the time — not able to persuade the CEO/president/EVP on the benefits of a program or policy change. If I feel strongly for the need of a change, I persist. If it still doesn’t work out I put everything into perspective.


Elana Siegel oversees all aspects of Human Resources for the Holland America Group for 50,000 shoreside employees and crew onboard. Her responsibilities include Talent Acquisition, Total Rewards & Compliance, HRIS and Payroll, HR Operations, Learning & Organizational Development, Employee Relations & Engagement, and Internal Communications Strategy & Marketing.

She joined Princess Cruises in January 2013, and took over her current role for the group in 2014. The Holland America Group supports operations for Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Seabourn, P&O Australia and the combined HAP land operation in Alaska.

Previously, Elana spent six years at the Las Vegas Sands Corp. where she served as Corporate Vice President, Human Resources. Elana has extensive experience working overseas, including time in Singapore leading the HR team for the opening of the Marina Bay Sands integrated resort and several months in Macao at the Venetian Macao. Prior to her roles with Las Vegas Sands, she worked in recruitment within the financial services industry in New York.

Elana is a native of Los Angeles, where she lives with her husband and 2 sons. She attended Carnegie Mellon University where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree, triple majoring in Chinese, International Relations, and Policy and Management.