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APRIL 2014 - Leadership Event
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WLALA’s April 24, 2014, Luncheon Program Presents: 

“Women in Leadership:  How to Position Yourself for a Leadership Role and What to Do Once You Get There


Everyone needs to get more comfortable with female leaders, including female leaders themselves

- Sheryl Sandberg -

We have all seen the studies regarding the promotional gap between the number of female associates at firms, which has hovered around 45% for the last five years, and the number of female law firm partners, which only broke the 20% mark last year, according to studies conducted by the National Association for Law Placement.  A 2013 study conducted by Colorado Women’s College, entitled “Benchmarking Women’s Leadership,” bemoaned the fact that, in the “21st Century . . .  women remain, on average, less than 20% of positional leaders across 14 sectors in the United States.”  That study found that in 2012, though 47 percent of all law school graduates were women, only five percent of managing partners were women.

The numbers are even worse in the business world.  According to the Colorado Women’s College study, while women represent nearly 50% of the nation’s workforce and held 51% of all professional, managerial and related positions in 2011, they occupied only 14% of all executive positions and approximately 15% in Fortune 500 businesses.  An even smaller number of women – eight – occupy the top positions at the Fortune 100 companies, according to Matt Symonds, Chief Editor of, who writes

“[T]he people around major boardroom or partnership tables are still likely to be owners of a Y chromosome and, consequently, a nice, fat bank account.”

The numbers are not promising in the government sector, either.  In our nation’s Congress, women represent 20% of all US Senators, and 18% of all members of the House of Representatives.  Though in the past few years, Los Angeles County has seen the selection of a female Presiding Judge of the Superior Court and a female District Attorney, both were historical “firsts.”  Moreover, the City of Los Angeles has never had a female mayor, and of the 15 current Los Angeles City Council members, only one is a woman.

Though these numbers look bleak, there are other signs that things are looking better for women considering leadership roles.
  According to a January 2013 article in the Harvard Business Review blog by Jill Flynn, Kathryn Heath, and Mary Davis Holt, at the end of 2012, “women were better educated than ever, we continued to claim coveted CEO roles at companies such as IBM and Yahoo, and one study even reported that women were the primary breadwinners in a majority of households in the US."

If you’re ascending the leadership ladder or have finished climbing but find it’s lonely at the top, then don’t miss WLALA’s “Women in Leadership” luncheon on Thursday, April 24, 2014, from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Los Angeles office of Sheppard Mullin, located at 333 South Hope Street, 43rd Floor, in downtown Los Angeles. 
This program will provide insight from women who have obtained a diverse array of high-profile leadership roles in a variety of legal and business areas, from the government and the judiciary to law firm management, in-house counsel, and business development positions. The panelists will provide suggestions for how to achieve leadership positions in their respective fields as well as tips for success once a leadership role is obtained.

The panelists include Debra Wong Yang, a partner
in Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher's Los Angeles office.  Ms. Yang Co-Chairs the firm's Crisis Management Practice Group, the White Collar Defense and Investigations Practice Group and the Information Technology and Data Privacy Practice Group.  She is a member of the Media and Entertainment and Intellectual Property Practice Groups, as well as a member of the firm's Executive Committee.  Ms. Yang is the former United States Attorney for the Central District of California, as well as having served as a Los Angeles Superior Court judge.  She was also one of five members appointed to the Los Angeles Police Commission, the civilian oversight committee of the Los Angeles Police Department, by former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Another panelist, Whitney Jones Roy,
is a partner in the Business Trial Practice Group in the Los Angeles office of Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP.  In addition, she serves as Sheppard Mullin’s youngest Office Managing Partner, overseeing the firm’s 160+ attorney Los Angeles office.  Ms. Roy specializes in traditional business disputes, unfair competition, products liability, and water contamination cases throughout California.  In addition, Ms. Roy is a founder and leader of the firm’s Women Lawyers Group, and a member of the firm’s Women’s Leadership Council.

Our third panelist, Rachael Jeck, serves as Co-General Counsel for VCA Antech Inc., a publicly traded company and the leading provider of pet health care services through its over 600 animal hospitals in 41 U.S. states and Canada, clinical laboratories servicing all 50 states and Canada, and its animal diagnostic imaging and veterinary practice marketing companies.  Ms. Jeck oversees all labor and employment issues for VCA Antech’s more than 3,000 veterinarians and more than 14,000 skilled pet care employees.  In addition, she serves as a liaison for all outside counsel retained by VCA Antech in connection with litigation involving any of its animal hospitals or laboratory facilities.  Ms. Jeck is frequently asked to provide the in-house counsel perspective for a variety of business, legal and mediation panels.

The program will also include insight from the business and entertainment worlds, from panelist Zanne Devine,
Executive Vice-President of Production and Development for Miramax.  Ms. Devine is an award-winning feature film producer and experienced motion picture executive. Ms. Devine has also served as President of Production at Beacon Pictures, as well as in various positions at Universal Pictures, including Vice-President of Production and Acquisitions.  In addition to supervising worldwide acquisitions on behalf of Universal, she oversaw Gramercy Pictures, during which time the company released THE USUAL SUSPECTS, PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT, and the Academy Award-winning films ELIZABETH and FARGO.

The panel will be moderated by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Nicole Bershon, who is the Site Judge of the Inglewood Courthouse, where she oversees daily operations of its nine courtrooms.  Judge Bershon was appointed to the bench by Governor Brown in July of 2013 and was selected as Site Judge five months after her appointment.  Prior to becoming a judge, she served as a Commissioner for
Los Angeles County and on the California Court Commissioners Association.  Before joining the bench, she held the title of Inspector General for the Los Angeles Police Commission.  She is also a WLALA Past-President (2007-2008). 

The anticipated topics to be covered by the panelists include positioning yourself for a leadership position, developing strategic networking and mentoring relationships, mistakes to avoid, unique challenges faced by women in leadership roles, work/life balance, and what qualities make for an effective leader.

We hope you will join us for what promises to be an informative and thought-provoking discussion. 

To register for this event, please CLICK HERE.