Sandra Poe, partner at Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP and a leader in the firm’s Private Funds practice, has served as a respected counselor to asset managers, investors and boards of directors for more than 25 years.

The incredibly active Poe was cofounder and chair of High Water Women Foundation. She launched the Global Risk Consultancy for Microfinance and NGOs, and the HWW Symposium: Investing for Impact; was board chair of Artists to End Hunger; led diversity committees, recruiting efforts, women’s initiatives and pro bono projects; and advocated for and won HR policy changes affecting LGBTQ employees at four employers. She was also a founding member of the Community Relations and Development Committee at Callen Lorde Community Health Center, a healthcare service provider for the LGBTQ community, and a founding Angel for 100 Women in Finance.

Two years ago, Poe went back to school and passed three days of exams to become a certified sommelier, under the auspices of the Court of Master Sommeliers. She shows biodynamic French wines at international wine fairs and recently joined hundreds of women wine professionals as a taster in the Feminalise World Wine Competition in Burgundy, France.

For Poe, “Diversity and Inclusion are signifiers of individuals seeking a path to equal respect, visibility, opportunity and full personhood for every kind of person in our workplace and our communities.” She elaborates, “We are all in this together. All kinds of people are everywhere – they are our coworkers, our clients and our family members. Leadership is the last thing to change, but it will change to reflect the society that gave rise to it. And there are opportunities for businesses that get it and adapt.”

Poe offers this advice to women building careers: “Look for openings to speak up. Consider what your personal sphere of influence is. Sometimes it is expertise. Sometimes it’s because you are in the right place at the right time; that was true for me when companies still had HR policies unfriendly to LGBT folks. Every time I started a new job I had the ‘opportunity’ to educate and get better practices adopted.”