Recent Events – June 2014: Creating an Effective Women’s Initative


The NYLMA Luncheon: Creating an Effective Women’s Initiative, the first of its kind dedicated specifically to women was held at Cooley LLP on Thursday, June 19, was a sold out event. Kelly McKennan gave the introduction. Moderated by Elizabeth Anne “Betiayn” Tursi, National Chair and Co-Founder of the Women In Law Empowerment Forum (WILEF), panelists include:

  • Melissa McClenaghan Martin, Founder, M3 Strategic Alliances Consultancy
  • Cara Edwards, Partner, DLA Piper
  • Lisa Bianculli Hutter, Regional Wealth Planning Manager, Wells Fargo Private Bank
  • Dawn Afanador, CMO, Gibbons PC

Our panelists focused on how to create effective programs – not just social event – that help female attorneys reach their full potential. A few key take-aways:

  • Gain buy-in. You only need that of a few key firm leaders. Do not wait for full firm support. “Start small but powerful and grow from there.” – Cara Edwards
  • Measure success. Develop a method for tracking ROI – Generating revenue is sure to gain future buy-in. How has the program increased revenue? What are the number of women in management? Who’s been brought up through the ranks?
  • Win awards. Not only do awards aid in gaining buy-in, but they also make the firm more competitive. Awards prove the culture is better. A better culture equals a competitive edge.
  • Budget. Establish a budget for the program, so that you don’t have to ask for money each time funding is needed for a particular event.
  • Involve marketing. You need the marketing team to help strategize and support the day-to-day needs of the initiative.
  • Don’t be afraid of change. Your program will need to change to accommodate for growth.
  • Involve clients. Find ways to add value for your clients. Don’t be afraid to ask clients what they are interested in hearing about. Ask them to bring a friend to event – often less daunting than attending event alone, these guests are also future prospects.
  • Involve men. Inviting men to attend events make the events richer. If closed sessions are need for appropriate topics, then schedule accordingly.

Weave your women’s initiative into the culture of the firm. Empower women. Invest in women at the firm, clients of the firm and friends of the firm.