"A woman alone has power. Collectively, women have impact." - Shelly Zalis, CEO of The Female Quotient
This impact was evident at our Women in Legal Speed Mentoring event last Thursday, March 7. We partnered with NextPlay.ai to bring 50 women together for an evening of career advice, mentorship, and new connections.
Our talented mentors represented all aspects of careers in legal:
- Judy Kwan, Corporate Counsel at Oracle, was previously Managing Associate at Orrick, Herrington, & Sutcliffe LLP, and made the leap from biglaw to in-house counsel two years ago.
- Erin Levine, a Certified Family Law Specialist and the owner and managing attorney of Levine Family Law Group, is also the founder and CEO of Hello Divorce, a platform that offers an alternative to the retained attorney, status quo.
- Sougol Shoostarian is Commercial Counsel at Chariot, a tech-enabled shuttle service acquired by Ford Motor Company. She is a California-licensed attorney experienced in negotiating agreements and advising stakeholders on day to day operational issues. Prior to joining Chariot, Sougol worked at Cloudflare, advised early stage startups, and was counsel at the Pearl Island for Qatar's leading real estate development.
- Anne Szkatulski is an Account Executive at Ironclad. Prior to joining Ironclad, she practiced law in Chicago specializing in government relations, legislative affairs, and public policy development; she brings experience as in-house counsel at both an early-stage healthtech startup and a large-scale public institution to her role at Ironclad. She is also passionate about civic engagement and inclusive mentorship.
- Samantha Von Hoene is head of legal affairs at Enjoy Technology, a startup that sends experts to deliver, install and explain how to use technology products from companies such as Sonos and AT&T. Sam loves working with youth and families and spent many years as a teacher in public urban schools before attending law school. She also serves as interim president and legal chair for the Princess Project.
- Stacey Wang, marketing extraordinaire at Ironclad, provided guidance on making the leap between biglaw to in-house, and an entirely different industry! Stacey graduated from Harvard Law and became a litigator at Orrick; after much soul searching she decided to leave LA and pursue a career in marketing in Silicon Valley, first at Palantir, and now at Ironclad where she helps craft narratives, branding, product marketing.
- Antonia Wong, Director of PMO and Chair of Diversity and Inclusion at TrueAccord, is a legal ops dynamo with experience at Morrison & Foerster LLP and fashion retailer, Charlotte Russe. She speaks regularly about diversity and inclusion in the workplace and is the proud mother to Benedicte (our youngest mentee, below!).
Participants met with three different mentors in 20-minute sessions of Q&A focused on each mentor's area of expertise—entrepreneurship, career advancement, career changing, and managing family life with work.
The biggest takeaway from the night? Everyone has something to give. What you may say could spark something in someone else, and how could you hide that invaluable gift?
What people learned:
The higher you get in tech companies, the fewer women you see in the rooms next to you. It's really invigorating to be in a room filled with powerful, smart, and ambitious women. - Megan
Almost everyone that attended has pivoted. Don't feel bad about not knowing exactly whether you're doing what you want to be doing...I left yesterday evening feeling inspired, refreshed and encouraged! Everyone had something to share, and everyone had something to learn. Thanks for all that each of you brought to the table. - Judy
There's great power in vulnerability. I encourage everyone myself included to look for mentors and allies who can help lift you. Sometimes they're other women, men, or even those you junior to you. Try to hold that space and be vulnerable. Sometimes you find out that everyone is having a hard time, and you never know until you share that you can help each other. - Antonia
I loved all the mentors and mentees. This event is really lovely. Thank you for taking the time to be here with us. - Caroline