Defining a Better Future
My passion to mentor and sponsor the next generation of women stems from my first days in this country. As a young girl, I timidly entered school without speaking a word of English. The beginning was difficult, and I had to find my voice with no command of the English language. It was the unwavering support of my family and relentless mentorship of teachers that encouraged me to not only do my best, but to also seize opportunities. Being the first woman— actually, the first member—in my family to graduate university, I cherish how so many mentors helped me start on the American Dream. Nowhere else could I have pursued my aspirations with such an amazing education, as well as mentors cheering me on as I studied and worked long hours. My mentors also made me realize that one of my most important social responsibilities would be to provide the same, if not better, opportunities and support for future generations.
Women face numerous challenges in the legal profession, and the statistics for women, particularly women of color, are sobering. Not only can we do better, we must do better. With recent events, including the additional pressures of the pandemic, it may become even more difficult for women in the profession. However, I believe that mentoring and sponsoring are key for promoting women in the practice of law and for all of us, in fact, to do better.
I have been very fortunate to work at a firm dedicated to inclusion and diversity (our chairperson is one of the few women leading a global law firm). As co-chair of our Women’s Firmwide Resource Group, I focus on mentorship and sponsorship. Part of that sponsorship includes allocating resources and opportunities to associates. Another part comes from the commitment of women and men (our important allies!) to support women.
Providing support will make the difference as to whether we are able to retain women in the legal profession. I strongly believe that mentorship and sponsorship must be exercised through perseverance, but also, importantly, with authenticity.
My goal is to help as many women as I can at my firm, as well as outside my firm. So many of my opportunities arose as a result of the commitment of my mentors, and it is my duty to pay it forward for the women of the next generation. If we all support the female lawyers in the pipeline, we will succeed in defining a better future.