New York, NY
To me, the lesson of Lean In is to seize opportunities, even at a young age, to lead and learn, both inside your organization and through external networks.
I started my legal recruiting career as an assistant two weeks after college graduation in June 2008. At the time, I considered myself lucky to even have a job, let alone a job that interested and engaged me so much. After a short period of time, I decided to actively build my network in the legal recruiting world by joining The New York City Recruitment Association (NYCRA), a citywide organization made up of approximately 400 legal recruiters from New York City law firms. By being involved in the group’s mentor program, educational programming and social events, I quickly realized there was a great opportunity for a younger person to play a bigger leadership role in the industry.
In my career to date, there definitely have been obstacles along the way that I have had to overcome. In November of 2009, at my first job, I was told that there no longer was room for me in the firm’s recruiting department. I transitioned into the marketing department, where I tried to turn a negative situation into a positive one. I looked at the transition as a chance to diversify my skill set and extend my network. However, as much as I was learning, I also realized that I missed recruiting. Consequently, I started my job search to get back to a job that I knew I loved.
When I joined my second law firm, I knew I wanted to take the initiative to approach my career at a more senior level, which was initially an intimidating thought for someone my age. I was given the opportunity to lean in when a core member of my team took a leave of absence and I stepped up to fill a more senior role. However, a challenge I faced was maintaining a balance between using my age to relate to our young law student recruits, while becoming more visible and integral to the firm as a senior member of the team. I must have found a good balance because after a short period of time my efforts were recognized and I was rewarded with a promotion. This was evidence that being proactive and stepping beyond an outlined job description can have positive results. This promotion helped me gain confidence that it was my time to embrace my career and expand my role in the industry, not only within my firm. Instead of just being an active member of New York’s industry-wide legal recruiting group, I wanted to lean in and lead it.
The professional development initiatives I saw successfully implemented by NYCRA members have been invaluable tools for me in my career. I felt that a great next step for me would be to challenge myself to obtain a leadership position within the organization with a view towards giving back. I was ultimately nominated for a position on the Board of Directors as Treasurer, and was excited and honored to be recognized. I was confident that I possessed the skills and ambition necessary to be successful in this role, but aware of the possibility that I might lose to the more experienced candidates I was up against. I was nervous about the outcome, especially as this was within a group of my peers.
Given this opportunity, I was determined to get elected by effectively utilizing my network and was voted Treasurer in March 2013. I can proudly say that I am looking forward to my two-year term and to dedicating my time and efforts to the goals, mission and vision of an outstanding organization. To me, the lesson of Lean In is to seize opportunities, even at a young age, to lead and learn, both inside your organization and through external networks.