Meet Heather Stone
The balancing act of life and career goals will inevitably include points in which you are faced with significant challenges.
Tell me about the challenges you have faced in your professional career?
I have a somewhat unique perspective, because by the time I started practicing law, I had already worked in another profession and was married with two young children, one of them with special needs. Early in my career, I experienced a significant amount of gender bias because of these aspects of my personal life. While working at another firm, I can recall a time when I asked to be on a trial team. I had the experience necessary to do the work, but the opportunity was given to one of my male colleagues. I was told that he was selected for the work because he had a greater ability to travel (i.e., because he did not have young children at home).
In navigating this atmosphere, I quickly learned that I did not want others making decisions about my capabilities without consulting me. I had to become much more proactive about promoting my own skills and being vocal about what I wanted to accomplish in my career. In addition, I sought out and joined firms that better recognized and appreciated my ability to balance work and family.
What have you learned, what have you taken away from these experiences that helped shape the person you are today?
When I first started practicing law, I think it would have been very beneficial to have a strong female mentor. The lack of mentoring in my own career lead me to mentor others. In mentoring, I encourage others to seek out leadership positions, create their own path, and speak up for themselves. A key takeaway for me was learning that not everyone shares the same definition of success. It is important to recognize what success means for you personally and then pursue it. Recognizing all of the limitations my personal life may put off, I remain steadfast in attempting to balance it all. For me, success is providing meaningful assistance to my clients by being their trusted adviser and also being a great parent, wife, and friend.