How do you become a leader and secure a board seat,
judgeship, or be a rainmaker? WLALA’s recent panel revealed great ideas to
climb the ladder and what to do when you get there. The speakers’ life stories
demonstrated excellent paths in fulfilling careers. Kernels common in
leadership are ripe for communication tips to be shared. Effective leaders are
continual learners absorbing new information. They direct and inspire others,
rather than dominate. Skills involved in getting the position and skills
involved in managing the position are not necessarily the same.
Communication skills take many forms. My views come from
graduate studies of leadership, small groups, and communication. Personally I
love to organize and make friends with bright people. Here are suggestions for
connecting and moving your career forward. Choose what works best for you.
Getting into that leadership position is about connections through relationships.
Connections are nurtured every time you communicate with people. Walking the
dog, working with others on cases, playing softball, socializing at the golf
course, kids’ activities, wine tasting groups, dinner clubs, and more notable
networking such as WLALA events. Rarely a one-time meeting changes your
business life. Continuing to show up, follow up or follow through on tasks are
key to developing trust and credibility inherent in relationships. Spend your
time with activities that energize you. You might not be the parent who wants
to attend the PTA, but you might find the Education Foundation fundraiser to be
delightful. It is filled with like-minded people who care about the community’s
health and welfare.
Many communities have leadership classes. Join one! If you are in Manhattan
Beach, I’ll direct you to their info night. Leadership classes help build
skills and learn about the community. There is a class project that contributes
to the city and gives you an opportunity to connect in meaningful ways.
Committees. There are many different bar associations and getting
involved with committees develops shared experiences and better connections. It
is a pleasure to be around verbal energetic people. As Vice Chair of the ABA
Section of Litigation Trial Practice Committee, I get others involved in
programs. Creating your own position comes from owning a task, whether it is
writing program proposals, getting sponsors or organizing a networking event.
Be active in connecting others. The more you benefit others, the more doors
open for you.
Attending CLE gets you credit – asking questions gets you noticed. Speak up not
just to get noticed, but contribute comments that benefit others. Lawyers make a living asking questions in
depositions or client intake. Time is short, be involved in seminars when the
Opportunities. It is difficult to differentiate yourself among peers
when only with your peers. Find an organization that could benefit from your
talents and offer to organize a panel for their continuing education (e.g.,
CPAs, bankers) or try your local Chamber of Commerce or an alumni group.
Facebook and LinkedIn provide a platform to connect quickly. I love LinkedIn in
for the professional content that my connections share and staying in touch
professionally. I joined Facebook to stay in touch with nieces having babies in
other states. I reluctantly connected with professional friends on Facebook,
since my family connections are personal. Now I blend more relaxed and human
contact with professional colleagues. My colleagues accepted that I shared a
lot about my dog! Those colleagues turned into friends and career
opportunities. Twitter works for me during ABA meetings because I comment
WLALA Golf League
and WLALA SCGA Club. I would be remiss to not mention our WLALA Golf
League or WLALA SCGA Club. Many who started lessons in our golf clinic bonded
together, while overcoming fear of what it is like to be a beginner. Our team
building and encouragement on the course is phenomenal. And business develops
on the 19th hole.
Connections. To complete the circle of connections, I started a
Manhattan Beach Women Lawyers networking group a few years ago. Another woman
invited Amy Brantly and subsequently Amy invited me to speak at a WLALA
Litigators Forum. The story of how our WLALA Golf League started is in the
April issue of FORE magazine. Last week when I did a CLE for Amy’s firm, a
question evolved on presenting trial evidence. The next day we both attended an
ABTL CLE. I presented the question to one of the speakers, a fabulous trial attorney
and afterwards LinkedIn. She saw the SCGA WLALA Club on my page and wants to
play golf with us.
Balancing multiple leadership positions simultaneously
throughout my life, I’m a bit lopsided on the professional end and embrace the
challenge when I have a vision for organizing an association. I became Chair of
the Board of the Manhattan Beach Chamber of Commerce after playing in their
golf league (I started as a beginner and knew no one.) I involved our high
school and public community in a Brown v.
Board of Education Law Day program. After my term at the Chamber, I became
President of the American Society of Trial Consultants where I started a social
media policy. As President of our SCGA Advocating Women Lawyers Golf Club, I
get to be outside in the fresh air. Thank goodness for golf!