Tag Archive for: Flexibility

January 2022 Spotlight on Flex

Our Spotlight on Flex showcases professionals from member organizations who exemplify personal and professional success while working a flexible schedule. Their stories illustrate the long-term benefits that flexible schedules offer to both individuals and organizations.

For our January 2022 Spotlight on Flex we are pleased to share insights from Jessamine Lee, Shareholder, Wolf, Greenfield & Sacks, P.C.

Diversity & Flexibility Alliance: How have you made flexibility a priority and a success with your schedule? How has the firm and/or your clients contributed to this?

Jessamine Lee: Flexibility has been a key to my success at Wolf Greenfield.  After coming back to work from having my first child 11 years ago, I went on an 80% schedule. I was a junior associate at the time. I stayed on an 80-90% schedule through having my second child three years later and then becoming Counsel and a Shareholder at the firm.  During that same time, I also had a flexible arrangement in which I worked remotely twice a week.  The firm was supportive of my requests and made it possible for me to have this alternative work arrangement during a time when it was not common to do so.  I had a lot of help from my colleagues. For example, at times when my workload was too high, I was able to transfer work to other colleagues who had more bandwidth at the time.  This is a testament to Wolf Greenfield’s collegiality and culture – we work as a team.  I also set boundaries, made expectations clear to both my colleagues and clients as to when I was available, and inquired about firm and client expectations as well.  Of course, there were times when urgent projects needed to get done, but for the most part everyone was respectful of these boundaries and I was able to meet the expectations of those I worked with.

 

December 2021 Spotlight on Flex

Our Spotlight on Flex showcases professionals from member organizations who exemplify personal and professional success while working a flexible schedule. Their stories illustrate the long-term benefits that flexible schedules offer to both individuals and organizations.

For our December 2021 Spotlight on Flex we are pleased to share insights from Katelyn Miller, Partner, Seyfarth Shaw.

 

Diversity & Flexibility Alliance: How have you made flexibility a priority and a success with your schedule? How has the firm and/or your clients contributed to this?

Katelyn Miller: Upon returning from maternity leave after the birth of my first child in 2015, I transitioned to an alternative schedule.  I had wonderful role models at my prior firm who guided me through the process of requesting and moving to a flexible schedule.  When my daughter was one, I moved to Seyfarth.  After receiving an offer, I very nervously called the head of our Litigation Department and asked whether I could join the firm on an 80% schedule. Within hours, I received a response that Seyfarth would be happy to accommodate my schedule. It was clear from the beginning that in addition to providing exceptional client service, Seyfarth truly valued its team members and provided different opportunities and avenues for its professionals to succeed.

I have maintained my 80% schedule since joining Seyfarth, with the support of my department and firm leadership.  I prioritize my flexible schedule by clearly communicating with my colleagues and setting and managing expectations at the outset of a project or new piece of litigation. I also carefully consider my workload when taking on new matters to ensure that I can devote the requisite amount of time and attention given my alternative schedule. However, once I take on a new matter, I am 100% committed, regardless of my schedule.  I am fortunate to work with attorneys and clients who respect my time and arrangement, and who trust me to provide excellent client service and work product.

Litigation can be very tough and I obviously cannot control everything, like court-ordered deadlines and schedules, client emergencies or weeks-long out of town trials. But, I have worked very hard to maintain my flexible schedule since becoming a mom and am thrilled that Seyfarth has always and continues to support me.

November 2021 Spotlight on Flex

Our Spotlight on Flex showcases professionals from member organizations who exemplify personal and professional success while working a flexible schedule. Their stories illustrate the long-term benefits that flexible schedules offer to both individuals and organizations.

For our November 2021 Spotlight on Flex we are highlighting our 2021 Flex Success® Award honorees Liz Dillon, Partner and Franchise Practice Group Leader, Lathrop GPM LLP, and her client Iris Rosario, Senior Counsel, Choice Hotels, and Sarah Kuehnel, Partner, Ogletree Deakins, and her client Bonnie Smith, CEO of Studio B Entertainment.

These partners and their clients were recognized for their exceptional success while working a reduced hours schedule during our virtual annual conference, Reflect. Reimagine. Recalibrate. Paving the Way to Inclusive Flexibility, on November 3. Their careers clearly demonstrate that partners working reduced hours and remote schedules can provide exceptional client service when they have the support of and collaboration from clients and firm colleagues.

Liz Dillon, Partner, Lathrop GPM LLP

Lathrop Partner Liz Dillon’s flexible schedule generally includes working four days a week, allowing her to spend most Fridays with her family, other than two months of the year when her practice is particularly busy. As the leader of Lathrop’s Franchise & Distribution Practice Group, she oversees more than 30 lawyers and paralegals and has been recognized for her legal prowess in Chambers USA, Chambers Global, The Best Lawyers in America, “Legal Eagles” by Franchise Times and the International Who’s Who of Franchise Lawyers.  Under her leadership, the firm was named the “Best Franchise Law Firm” in the world by Global Franchise Magazine in 2021.

Flex Leader Award to be presented During Virtual Conference on November 3

 Washington, DC  (October 26, 2021) – The Diversity and Flexibility Alliance has announced that Lara Abrash, Chair and Chief Executive Officer, Deloitte & Touche LLP, will receive its 2021 Flex Leader Award. The Flex Leader Award recognizes an executive who is moving their organization toward a more inclusive workplace through holistic flexibility. The Award will be presented on Thursday, November 3 during the Alliance’s virtual annual conference Reflect. Reimagine. Recalculate. Paving the Way to Inclusive Flexibility.  Registration is available here.

Lara Abrash was selected because of her extraordinary commitment to fostering a true culture of flexibility, inclusivity, and empathy at Deloitte. She is an optimistic and innovative leader who has successfully navigated the workplace challenges of the pandemic and has developed a creative, industry-leading hybrid work model that emphasizes employee flexibility and well-being. She has a passion for advancing innovation, as well as diversity and inclusion in the accounting profession, and is leading the industry in its evolution towards the future of work.

Lara leads the Audit & Assurance business comprised of leaders and professionals who pride themselves on the flexibility they receive and demonstrate on a daily basis. She is committed to well-being and emphasizes the importance of taking time off to reflect and recharge, encouraging her fellow partners and managing directors to “live what they preach” so others will follow.  Lara credits the culture at Deloitte with the firm’s successful transition to a “virtual first environment” during the pandemic. Now as restrictions loosen, she has created a hybrid plan that focuses on communicating (expectations and preferences), committing (to boundaries), connecting (through virtual and, when possible, in-person touchpoints) and culture (collaboration and an apprenticeship model).

Using data received through one-on-on discussions and a professional insights survey on how and when employees want to work and where they work, Lara emphasizes the importance of each team creating a hybrid working plan that accounts for unique circumstances, empowers employees to make individual choices and is rooted in data and feedback from employees.  With physical and mental health as a top priority, Lara is managing her team with transparency and honesty and maintains that Deloitte’s transition to a hybrid model will be gradual with no abrupt changes to the way they work.

Throughout her career, Lara has been a mentor and supporter of women’s initiatives such as Deloitte’s Women’s Initiative and has championed the advancement and empowerment of women. Additionally this year, Lara was one of the lead sponsors of Deloitte’s commitment to fueling greater racial and ethnic diversity in tax and accounting through the establishment of Making Accounting Diverse and Equitable (MADE).  The firm’s vision is to increase racial and ethnic diversity by generating more advisory, auditing, and tax career opportunities and leadership pathways for the next generation of certified public accountants.

“A trailblazer in her field, Lara Abrash is the perfect example of someone who is successfully leading with empathy, honesty, authenticity and a commitment to employee well-being,” said Manar Morales, President & CEO of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance.  “She takes the time to engage with and listen to her colleagues while modeling the importance of flexibility. Future generations of workers are looking to leaders like Lara to pave the way to the flexible and inclusive workplace of the future.”

“Individuals feel empowered and engaged when their voices are heard,” said Lara Abrash, Chair and Chief Executive Officer, Deloitte & Touche LLP. “This year is the year of learning – we are focused on successfully integrating the well-being, including the physical and mental health, of the individual and finding meaningful connections for advancement, development, and innovation. As leaders, it is our responsibility to navigate this journey by remembering to communicate regularly, commit to one another on respecting boundaries, and connect with purpose, whether virtually or in-person, to sustain the organization’s culture,” she added.

The Diversity and Flexibility Alliance is a think tank that collaborates with organizations to develop non-stigmatized flexible working policies that promote inclusive cultures and help to advance more women into leadership positions. The Alliance provides practical research-based solutions, training workshops, and strategic advisory services that increase organizational effectiveness through diversity and flexibility.

 

Registration for the conference is available here.

Contact: Manar Morales

manar@dfalliance.com

202-957-9650

Diversity & Flexibility Alliance Flex Success® Awards to Be Presented Virtually on Nov. 3

Washington, DC (October 26, 2021) – Today the Diversity and Flexibility Alliance announced that its 2021 Flex Success® Award honorees will be: Liz Dillon, Partner and Franchise Practice Group Leader, Lathrop GPM LLP, and her client Iris Rosario, Senior Counsel, Choice Hotels, and Sarah Kuehnel, Partner, Ogletree Deakins, and her client Bonnie Smith, CEO of Studio B Entertainment.

The Flex Success® Award recognizes Partners at Diversity & Flexibility Alliance member law firms who have achieved success while working a reduced hours schedule as well as a client who has been integral to making workplace flexibility so successful. The Awards will be presented on November 3 during the Alliance’s virtual annual conference, Reflect. Reimagine. Recalibrate. Paving the Way to Inclusive Flexibility. Registration is available here.

“These respected law firm leaders have achieved extraordinary career success while working flexible schedules,” said Manar Morales, President & CEO of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance. “Their careers clearly demonstrate that partners working reduced hours and remote schedules can provide exceptional client service when they have the support of and collaboration from clients and firm colleagues. We hope these outstanding women motivate other attorneys to seek flexible schedules when needed to thrive in a successful and sustainable career,” she added.

Liz Dillon, Partner, Lathrop GPM LLP

Lathrop Partner Liz Dillon’s flexible schedule generally includes working four days a week, allowing her to spend most Fridays with her family, other than two months of the year when her practice is particularly busy. As the leader of Lathrop’s Franchise & Distribution Practice Group, she oversees more than 30 lawyers and paralegals and has been recognized for her legal prowess in Chambers USA, Chambers Global, The Best Lawyers in America, “Legal Eagles” by Franchise Times and the International Who’s Who of Franchise Lawyers.  Under her leadership, the firm was named the “Best Franchise Law Firm” in the world by Global Franchise Magazine in 2021.

Working together for many years, Liz and her client Iris Rosario, Senior Counsel, Choice Hotels, have developed an open dialog that allows them to work collaboratively to meet the legal needs of Choice Hotels.  Liz’s flexible schedule has also allowed her to volunteer with the Advocates for Human Rights, serve as a board member for the Minnesota Land Trust, and chair its Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee, and be recognized as a “North Star Lawyer” by the Minnesota State Bar Association for providing 50 hours of pro bono legal services in 2019 to low-income people.

“I am honored to be recognized by the Diversity & Flexible Alliance for this award,” said Liz Dillon. “We are grateful for clients that support our commitment to work-life balance. Our constant collaboration and effective communication allow both teams to accomplish our objectives and establish healthy boundaries that allow for a fulfilling, sustainable life.”

“Inclusion, diversity, and a healthy work-life balance are a part of Choice Hotels’ values and principles,” said Iris Rosario, Senior Counsel, Franchise, Choice Hotels International, Inc. “Liz Dillon and I have created an effective working relationship, and we can always rely on Liz and the Lathrop GPM Franchise Practice Group for timely and relevant advice.  She is an example of an attorney who can have a successful practice while maintaining a work-life balance.”

“Congratulations to Liz Dillon on her Flex Success Award from the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance,” said Cameron Garrison, Firm Managing Partner of Lathrop GPM. “Liz is an excellent example of how we deliver unmatched value to clients while still allowing partners, associates and professional staff the flexibility to manage other components of their lives. Lathrop GPM is committed to being a leader in allowing flexible schedules that fit the needs of our people while also continuing to deliver the high-quality service and responsiveness our clients demand.”

Sarah Kuehnel, Partner, Ogletree Deakins

For the last ten years, Sarah Kuehnel has been working a fully-remote, reduced hours schedule which reduces her annualized hours target to 85%.  As a military spouse who has moved five times to four different states based on her husband’s military orders, this flexible schedule has allowed her to continue to successfully work for Ogletree Deakins. In 2016, Sarah transitioned from her home office in St. Louis to the Florida Panhandle, where she volunteered to take her third bar exam enabling her to service firm clients in a part of the country where the firm did not have an office.  Sarah’s client, Bonnie Smith, CEO of Studio B Entertainment, is a strong advocate of flexible working arrangements and has always engaged Sarah’s services regardless of where Sarah physically lived. Bonnie has also introduced Sarah and promoted her employment law expertise to her peers at large prestigious organizations to help expand her client reach.

“I am honored to receive the 2021 Flex Success Award a decade into my remote career, which started back in 2011! Ogletree’s support and encouragement, paired with enthusiasm from my clients, particularly Bonnie Smith, has enabled my success while working remotely and flexibly,” said Sarah Kuehnel.  “Indeed, my success would have been impossible without the resources from my firm and dedication of my clients given my need to work remotely from several different states because of my husband’s military career, which has relocated me 5 times in 10 years,” she added.

“I am extremely proud of Sarah’s incredible work; and she is very much deserving of this Award,” said Bonnie Smith, CEO of Studio B Entertainment. “Sarah has been and continues to be a critical part of our team, providing her expertise that allows us to execute with excellence at each and every touchpoint of our business,” she added.

“Ogletree Deakins is proud to offer a modern and flexible working environment for our attorneys,” said Matt Keen, managing shareholder, Ogletree Deakins. “Sarah has demonstrated tremendous prowess in living our Client Pledge in service of Studio B Entertainment and other clients, all while maintaining a healthy work-life balance. This recognition validates our commitment to flexible scheduling options and showcases the vast potential of attorneys like Sarah.”

The Diversity and Flexibility Alliance is a think tank that collaborates with organizations to develop non-stigmatized flexible work policies that promote inclusive work cultures for all and help to advance more women into leadership positions. The Alliance provides practical research-based solutions, training workshops, and strategic advisory services that increase organizational effectiveness through diversity and flexibility.

Registration for the conference is available here.

Contact: Manar Morales

manar@dfalliance.com

202-957-9650

Awards will be presented during the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance

Virtual Conference on Nov. 3

 

Washington, DC (October 26, 2021) — The Diversity & Flexibility Alliance announced today that its 2021 Flex Impact Award Honorees are law firm, Arnold & Porter and communications and automotive giant Cox Enterprises. The Flex Impact Awards, which recognize initiatives that demonstrate a significant impact on the culture of workplace flexibility, will be presented during the Alliance’s virtual annual conference on Wednesday, November 3.  Registration information is available here.

Arnold & Porter

Arnold & Porter was selected for its newly implemented Remote Work Options Policy that allows employees to work 50% of their time in the office each month, allowing for 50% remote work. This policy is effective for nearly all employees, including attorneys and non-exempt management and professional staff. Arnold & Porter’s policy also allows employees to determine remote schedules that are best for each individual as long as they meet team and client needs.

“We are honored to receive the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance’s Flex Impact Award for our hybrid work policy, which was designed to meet the needs of our attorneys and professional staff while continuing to provide outstanding client service,” said Ellen Kaye Fleishhacker, co-managing partner of Arnold & Porter.

“While many law firms have implemented new hybrid working policies with their return to office plans, Arnold & Porter took a step further and demonstrated its commitment to equity and inclusion by implementing virtually identical policies for both attorneys and professional staff,” said Manar Morales, president & CEO of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance. “Additionally, by allowing individuals to create their own 50% remote schedules, the firm is signaling its trust in its employees and acknowledging that everyone has unique flexible working needs,” she added.

Cox Enterprises

Cox Enterprises was selected as a 2021 Flex Impact Award honoree for its Flex Forward initiative which empowers teams to work together to create the right balance of in-person and remote work within their unique needs and job requirements. Flex Forward offers ultimate flexibility with structure.  It means navigating across divisions and different operating models and roles, while implementing team agreements. These team agreements are a new tool that allows for a consistent process for leaders to design flexibility that works for their teams, to create the right mix of work/life balance.

“Being honored with the Flex Impact Award is a tribute to so many at Cox who have continued to push our culture forward,” said Jill Campbell, chief people and operations officer at Cox Enterprises. “Introducing Flex Forward helps us continue to build on our inclusion efforts and support our people. Thank you to all involved and thank you for this recognition.”

“We selected Cox Enterprises for this award because this initiative embodies what we call “flexible flexibility,” said Morales. “By allowing teams to determine how and where they work best, Cox is acknowledging that one size does not fit all when it comes to the hybrid workplace and we all have unique needs and priorities. Cox is certainly paving the way to a more inclusive and flexible future of work,” she added.

The Diversity and Flexibility Alliance is a think tank that collaborates with organizations to develop non-stigmatized flexible work policies that promote inclusive work cultures and help to advance more women into leadership positions.  The Alliance provides practical research-based solutions, training workshops, and strategic advisory services that increase organizational effectiveness through diversity and flexibility.

 

Registration for the conference is available here.

Contact: Manar Morales

manar@dfalliance.com

202-957-9650

Award to be presented at the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance Virtual Conference on November 3

Washington, DC (October 26, 2021) – The Diversity and Flexibility Alliance will present Judge Tonya Parker of Dallas County Texas with its 2021 Luminary Award. This award recognizes a global thought leader who is consistently and uniquely devoted to the advancement of diversity and whose vision is leaving a lasting legacy of inclusivity for future leaders. The Alliance will present the award to Judge Parker on Wednesday, November 3, during its virtual annual conference Reflect. Reimagine. Recalibrate. Paving the Way to Inclusive Flexibility. Registration is open to the public and is available here.

Dedicated public servant, recognized thought leader and former award-winning law firm partner, the Honorable Tonya Parker has held the position of Judge of the 116th Judicial District Court in Dallas County Texas since 2011.  Throughout her distinguished career, she has consistently been recognized by local, state and national organizations for her exceptional legal skills as well as her commitment to diversity and inclusion.  She has been a tireless advocate for women and members of the LGBTQ community, breaking barriers and committing countless hours to fighting bias and discrimination in the judicial system and beyond.

Among many other honors, in 2021 Judge Parker received the Women’s Commercial and Business Advocate Committee of the American Bar Association Business Law Section’s award for service and commitment to women in the profession, as well as the Dallas Bar Association’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Justice Award in recognition of the barriers she has broken in the legal community.  In 2019, the State Bar of Texas African American Lawyers’ Section awarded her its Distinguished Jurist Award in acknowledgment of the leadership role she played in spearheading the Implicit Bias Project in the Dallas Civil District Courts.  In 2018, the Dallas NAACP awarded her the President’s Award for Legal Excellence and in 2017 she received the Stonewall Award from the American Bar Association’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Commission.

A 2021 graduate of Stagen’s Social Change Leadership Program, she has devoted countless hours to volunteering at civic organizations and has focused much of her efforts on inspiring women to run for public office.  Over the last decade she has been a regular volunteer with IGNITE, a non-partisan organization aimed at building political ambition in and training young women to run for public office.  She has also been tackling the impact of implicit bias in the judicial system by spearheading the Implicit Bias Project and is focused on examining oppression and privilege, particularly how they play out in the daily lives of individuals and society as a whole. Judge Parker has become well known for her moving keynote speeches and TED Talks that impart brilliant and impassioned messages.

“With her trailblazing actions and powerful words, Judge Parker truly embodies the essence of our Luminary Award,” said Manar Morales, President & CEO of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance. “Not only is she a devoted mentor and champion for women and members of the LGBTQ community in the legal profession, but her wisdom and guidance will clearly have a lasting impact on the leaders of today and tomorrow,” she added.

“Promoting diversity AND flexibility is how we will achieve equity in the workplace for historically marginalized groups and work/life balance for everyone,” said Judge Parker.  “DFA has long understood and advocated for both which is why I am so honored to receive the Luminary Award from the organization.  It is humbling to be recognized as a thought leader who shines a light on the issues of our day through my talks and presentations on labels, oppression, privilege, and allyship,” she added.

The Diversity and Flexibility Alliance is a think tank that collaborates with organizations to develop non-stigmatized flexible work policies that promote inclusive work cultures and help to advance more women into leadership positions. The Alliance provides practical research-based solutions, training workshops, and strategic advisory services that increase organizational effectiveness through diversity and flexibility.

 

Registration for the conference is available here.

Contact: Manar Morales

manar@dfalliance.com

202-957-9650

October 2021 Spotlight on Flex

Our Spotlight on Flex showcases professionals from member organizations who exemplify personal and professional success while working a flexible schedule. Their stories illustrate the long-term benefits that flexible schedules offer to both individuals and organizations.

For our October 2021 Spotlight on Flex we are pleased to share insights from Elise Attridge, Associate, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP.

Diversity & Flexibility Alliance: How have you made flexibility a priority and a success with your schedule? How has the firm and/or your clients contributed to this?

Elise Attridge: After my first child was born in 2016, I started working at an 80% reduced hour schedule. At that time, I had been a Litigation Associate at Morgan Lewis for five years.

When I first shared the news that I was pregnant to members of firm management, multiple people offered me the opportunity to work on a reduced schedule when I returned from maternity leave, which I was thrilled about because I’d heard of other working mothers taking this approach. And because the firm had raised it first, I felt extremely supported in the decision to work a reduced hours schedule.

I’ve been on that 80% arrangement ever since. It’s been about five years now and I’ve gone on to have two more children.

Right from the beginning, I received excellent advice from one of our litigation partners. Even though I planned to be in the office four days a week, she recommended that I have childcare available for all five days. I took that advice to heart and it really helped me ensure that I am able to be successful with my flexible schedule. My arrangement is that our nanny comes four days a week, and I target Monday as my day off to be with my children. But my nanny is available all five days if I need her to work, which sometimes I do.

While working four days a week is my goal, that is not always feasible, particularly as a litigation attorney because I have deadlines that are out of my control and unavoidable periods of heavy workloads.

So, I don’t measure the success of my reduced schedule on a weekly or even monthly basis. There are certainly some months where I work full-time hours.  Instead, I measure my reduced schedule on a yearly basis. I can then balance those periods of heavy workloads — for example, when I have depositions or a trial — with more time off at slower points in the year. It is a constant, and sometimes tricky, balancing act.

So far, however, because of my approach, I think I’ve been successful at having that work-life balance that works for me, my family, my firm and my clients.

The firm definitely has been giving me ongoing support during my flexible schedule. And in terms of my clients, I would guess that most, if not all, of my clients probably don’t even know that I work on a reduced schedule. It’s certainly not a secret. Even though I’m on a reduced schedule, once I’m on a case, I’m still 100% committed to delivering great legal work and exceptional client service. So that’s why calibrating my schedule on a yearly basis is so important, because there are times when I need to meet client needs, even if it’s on a Monday.

 

We are thrilled to have an impressive line-up of prominent leaders, influencers and change-makers speaking at our 2021 Virtual Annual Conference on November 3.  We will be introducing these dynamic and engaging speakers here on our blog. We asked our speakers to answer a few questions about themselves and hope you find the answers as fascinating as we do!

This week’s “Getting To Know Our Conference Speakers” post highlights our 2021 Keynote speaker, Lara Abrash, Chair & CEO of Deloitte & Touche LLP.  We really appreciate Lara taking time out of her busy schedule to share some intriguing thoughts about her approach to her career and life.  Read on to learn more about this amazing leader’s inspiration, goals and personal mantra. 

 

Diversity & Flexibility Alliance: What is the most meaningful advice you have received? Who has had the most influence on your career?

Lara Abrash: My mother raised me to believe I could be anything I wanted to be. When my three brothers and I were older, she pursued her dreams and went back to college in her forties to earn her degree. My mother was my first role model—and a very powerful one!

My mother taught me three main things that have stuck with me throughout my career.

  1. Dream big and pursue your goals with passion. My mother told me dreaming isn’t enough – a goal isn’t a goal until you say it out loud. She encouraged me to claim what I do and share how I am adding value.
  2. Building relationships and connecting with others. Each person has unique strengths —whether it’s a unique way of communicating and leading, or collaborating, teaming, and lifting others into the spotlight. Through sharing stories and being vulnerable, women and men can create these valuable connections and build strong relationships.
  3. The importance of well-being and self-care. My mother has always reminded me that I cannot take care of other people unless I take care of myself first. Well-being and self-care are essential to all of us. For me, it’s finding time to do what energizes me, whether it’s making it home from a business trip in time to play in a softball game or having dinner with my family and my mother. I make these things a priority and make myself a priority, so I have the energy to take care of my clients, my colleagues, and my loved ones.

DFA: What do you know now that you wish you knew then?

LA: I have learned that a strong work ethic and determination are vital but relationships – deep, trusting relationships – are essential and will take you further in your career than any technical knowledge.

 

DFA: How do you pay it forward or inspire others?

LA: People give me energy and fill my well-being tank. The people I work with on a daily basis are the reason I am still here at Deloitte. I have immense joy when the people I’ve mentored or coached throughout the years have succeeded. My current chief of staff, Amanda Di Salvo, is one of those people. She recently was promoted to managing director within our firm – a huge accomplishment. Her resilience, hard work, and generosity have driven her success and to be a part of her career journey is something very special. I believe being there and really listening is such a vital part of being influential in someone’s career…and life.

 

DFA: What can we be doing to create more inclusive organizations?

LA: I believe women have superpowers. In my recent LinkedIn long form blog post I talked about the three powerful values that have emerged as the centerpiece of modern leadership: Be vulnerable. Demonstrate empathy. Act compassionately.

While these three powerful values are often inherent in women leaders, they are essential values for all leaders so that we can learn from one another and draw upon the power of the diversity of our organizations, emerging stronger, more connected, and healthier—physically and emotionally.

It’s time for us to adapt. It’s time for leaders to focus on what’s most important now to those who look to us for inspiration, mentorship, and direction. It’s time to create an environment that inspires and empowers those around us to tap into the truly diverse, human capabilities that will be the foundation of differentiated organizations of the future.

 

DFA: What book is on your nightstand? Or what TV shows got you through the lock down?

LA: Ever since I was a young girl, I have whole-heartedly loved absorbing information. I constantly want to better myself and learn. I seek information in a variety of different channels. Most recently, Michelle Obama’s Becoming resonated with me. Regardless of your political views, her commentary on confidence, marriage, race, and womanhood spoke to me. Specifically, her quote, “If you don’t get out there and define yourself, you’ll be quickly and inaccurately defined by others.” Defining my vision and having the confidence to speak up is one of the main factors that led me to where I am today.

 

DFA: What’s your personal mantra?

LA: I’ve lived this quote personally: “It’s not about perfection, it’s about progress.” My life has been a series of different juggling acts – from sports, to school, to my family and friends, and my professional life – which fulfill my desire to keep pushing myself. I learned early on that showing up, taking calculated risks, and putting your best foot forward is what truly matters.

 

Don’t miss Lara Abrash and our other 2021 Speakers on

Wednesday, November 3.

Register now!

September 2021 Spotlight on Flex

Our Spotlight on Flex showcases professionals from member organizations who exemplify personal and professional success while working a flexible schedule. Their stories illustrate the long-term benefits that flexible schedules offer to both individuals and organizations.

For our September 2021 Spotlight on Flex we are pleased to share insights from Stephanie Salek, Associate, Hollingsworth LLP.

Diversity & Flexibility Alliance: How have you made flexibility a priority and a success with your schedule? How has the firm and/or your clients contributed to this?

Stephanie Salek: After my son was born in 2018 and I took maternity leave, I knew that I wanted to return to work on a reduced-hours schedule.  Hollingsworth said that it would work with me to craft a schedule that fit my needs, and offered several different models of flex time, including a reduced-hours policy in which attorneys can work fewer hours overall at times convenient for them, and a part-time schedule for those who need a set schedule with defined hours of work.  Because my husband’s work schedule is less predictable, I wanted to have a defined work schedule for childcare purposes.  So I decided to try a part-time schedule in which I have set hours and leave at 5:30 pm three days per week, and work remotely 1 day per week.

It has worked out wonderfully.  For my part, I make sure to frontload work on projects by getting new projects off the ground and running immediately, and making a point of checking in on any delegated portions of a project early and often.  And because I am off on Fridays to care for my son, I make sure to do a full status check of each project every Thursday before signing off, so that projects continue progressing while I am offline.  I am grateful that my firm has been so supportive of this flex schedule, and I think our joint commitment to making it work is the reason for its success over the past 2.5 years.