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    11.21.17 Women’s Leadership Network Launches to Promote Career Success
    Women’s Leadership Network Launch

    Brooklyn Law School launched the new Women’s Leadership Network on Nov. 14 with a program that drew more than 120 attendees and featured a presentation and small group discussions focused on sponsorship and networking.

    The new Network brings together distinguished graduates of the Law School including judges, corporate leaders, partners and associates in leading law firms, entrepreneurs, and those in public service and nonprofits. The mission is to develop and offer programs and opportunities designed to support and mentor women in the law, facilitate networking, and promote career success.

    Debbie Epstein Henry ’94, chair and founder of DEH Consulting, Speaking, Writing and cofounder of Bliss Lawyers, facilitated the inaugural event, “Innovating Women in Law: Developing Plans for Success in Sponsorship, Promotion, Networking, Leadership & Flexibility.” The discussion focused on five key areas for women’s success at work: sponsorship and strategic alliances, leadership and executive presence, self-promotion and risk, networking and “the ask,” and flexibility and work-life balance.

    “Women are good at developing mentor relationships, but that doesn’t necessarily correlate with increased promotions,” Henry said. “Sponsorship is different. Your sponsor must be a power broker, and sponsors have to know the person they’re backing.”

    This means we tend to sponsor people who look like us, Henry explained, and because of this, men are 46 percent more likely to find sponsors than women; and white people are 63 percent more likely to be sponsored than people of color. Henry discussed strategies for overcoming these odds, and recommended that women have at least two sponsors—one in the workplace and one outside who can provide advice related to potential career changes.

    Attendees then broke into groups led by members of the Law School’s Women’s Leadership Circle to discuss the five areas of success, sharing tips after with the rest of the group.

    “The most important decisions about you happen when you’re not in the room, so make sure there are people in the room to advocate for you,” said Meeka Bondy ’94, senior vice president of legal affairs at HBO.

    “It’s important to have a network of support where you can test yourself and determine whether you’re being realistic with yourself or hyper-critical,” said Anne Swern ’80, a prosecutor, public defender, and adjunct law professor at the Law School.

    Henry closed the evening by discussing the issue of effective self-promotion, which, she said, women are often anxious about doing because they do not want to seem self-aggrandizing. The way to combat this is to acknowledge one’s great work, credit others when credit is due, know one’s limits, and develop a recognizable signature so one’s work can speak for itself.

    “Women often have anxiety about readiness for leadership and worry about how to demonstrate value without being so transparent,” Henry said. “This requires practice, and knowing your audience.”

    Members of the Women’s Leadership Circle include Henry, Bondy, and Swern, along with Anne Marie Bowler ’00, founding partner at Gabay-Rafiy & Bowler LLP; Colleen Caden ’99, partner at Pryor Cashman LLP; Denise Faltischek ’00, executive vice president and general counsel in the chief compliance office at The Hain Celestial Group; Hon. Emily Goodman ’68, retired justice of the New York State Supreme Court and of counsel at Beldock, Levine & Hoffman LLP; Stacy Kanter ’84, partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP; Susan Karten ’83, founding partner at Susan M. Karten & Associates LLP; Hon. Claire Kelly ’93, judge in the U.S. Court of International Trade; Nicole Middleton ’01, senior vice president of membership at ASCAP; Karin Norton ’97, vice president and senior counsel at Samsung Electronics; Colleen Piccone ’90, associate chief counsel in New York for U.S. Customs & Border Protection; Susan Posen ’78, founding partner at Hoguet Newman Regal & Kenney LLP; Jodi Siegel-Stein ’06, vice president of acquisitions and development at The Lightstone Group; and Bev Wilson ’12, associate general counsel and director of legal and compliance at Plated. 

    For more information or to get involved, please contact Caitlin Monck `02, Director of Alumni Engagement and Special Projects.