Leverage Your Influence to Lift Up Other Women
Having spent my entire legal career working in a large law firm, I can attest that the trends towards women in the legal industry look promising. Upon review of the recent Women in the Workplace 2018 report, conducted by LeanIn.Org and McKinsey, the statistics, when taken at face value, are still disappointing. While there are just as many opportunities as obstacles facing women now, I believe we can tip the scales if women continue to advocate for themselves, as well as encourage and promote each other’s successes.
The catalyst for the shift has been from truly active diversity committees that have support from not only women and minorities, but also influential males in leadership positions who recognize the importance of diversity. From my vantage point, the change to actively promoting women was driven by large clients who demanded more diversity, and not by just including a headshot and bio in pitch materials. Instead, these clients required firms to confirm that the women included in the pitches are actually performing and receiving credit for the work.
This change has made a huge difference in giving us the experience and revenue credit needed to feel confident about self-promotion. The inner conversation within one’s mind moves from, “I am so thankful for the opportunities that have been given to me,” to, “I worked really hard for my successes and have earned the accolades I received.”
The other key opportunity for women in leadership roles is for us to shout out each other’s successes—something that I am passionate about as a partner within my firm. I have heard so often that the biggest obstacles often have been other women. With the existing struggles we face to balance self-care, family, and our demanding careers, we need to be each other’s biggest supporters and advocates. By lifting each other up within our respective companies/firms, imagine what women can do to tackle shared interests like the compensation gap. It is a unique time for women in leadership roles given today’s climate. People are listening, so leverage your influence and be part of the conversation!