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Vanessa Wiseman

Public Information Officer

Sacramento, CA

Don’t be afraid to display your unique, dynamic energy in the workplace or shy away from standing out or 'dazzling.' Life is too short to mold yourself into something that simply blends into the background.

I've been blessed with an extremely dynamic professional woman for a mother who has always strived to include me at every step along the way, even from the earliest age when I was in a baby carrier brought to the county women’s bar association events.

She has also never shied from sharing anecdotes about her career journey with me as I continue to forge my own. One that has stuck with me the most was regarding a bit of unsolicited advice she received as a brand new attorney from an older female lawyer. My mother was about to head into her first trial when the older attorney took her aside and told her “the way it is.” In particular, my mother was coached on how she needed to present herself: “Always make sure you wear only black or navy. Keep it as absolutely conservative as possible. No one will take you seriously otherwise. And whatever you do, don’t ever wear pink.”

True to form (and displaying one of the many traits that I love so much about my mother), she showed up wearing a pastel pink dress suit and with her then-long hair clipped back with a pastel pink leather bow. Needless to say, my mother has done okay for herself, despite eschewing the bland “power suit”: from being appointed the first female superior court judge in Kern County to now being a justice on the California Fifth District Court of Appeal.

My takeaway from the “pink suit” goes far beyond simply how you look and dress. It is all about fearlessly being yourself: Don’t be afraid to display your unique, dynamic energy in the workplace or shy away from standing out or “dazzling.” Life is too short to mold yourself into something that simply blends into the background.

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