Kathy Zelenock, an attorney at Dickinson Wright and a member of the firm’s real estate group, leads a team that represents commercial mortgage lenders and loan servicers, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac multifamily and manufactured housing lenders. Zelenock has acted as closing or supervising counsel for several billion dollars in commercial mortgage loans.

Chair of the Dickinson Wright Women’s Network, Zelenock led the development of innovative training and professional development coaching that helps female attorneys advance professionally. She also helped expand the Network beyond the firm’s Southeast Michigan location to the entire 18-office network, and led an effort to win participation in a university study of the firm’s diversity and inclusion efforts.

Leaving the practice of law briefly, Zelenock founded and served as CEO of a company that developed transaction management and document automation software that improves the efficiency of loan closing transactions.

A member of the American College of Mortgage Attorneys, Zelenock co-chairs its capital markets committee and is vice-chair of its technology committee. She is a member of the American Bar Association, the Mortgage Bankers’ Association of America and the Commercial Real Estate Finance Council. She has been named a leading real estate practitioner in Michigan by Chambers USA, Best Lawyers in America, Michigan Super Lawyers and DBusiness magazine.

For Zelenock, diversity and inclusion mean that everyone has the opportunity to contribute and achieve at work – gender, race, religion, sexual preference and similar factors are not impediments. “Embracing the contributions of diverse team members demonstrably benefits a company,” she explains. “As lawyers, we cannot fully understand our client’s challenges and provide helpful counsel without a diversity of voices informing our advice.”

She offers other women this advice: “Don’t compromise your dreams – if you can dream it, do it. Yes, it will be tough at times to succeed at home or at work, and there are going to be some tradeoffs, but everyone faces and overcomes many obstacles to succeed in life.” And she adds, “The vast majority of the time, hard work pays off. If you’ve put in the work, success will follow.”