Choose to Challenge: Patti McKnight

Meet Patti McKnight

The balancing act of life and career goals will inevitably include points in which you are faced with significant challenges.

What have been the challenges faced in your professional career?

In a 31-year career filled with so many rewarding moments, I have inevitably faced some significant challenges. These challenges included starting from the ground up and learning how to stay ahead of my job to learn as much as I could in a short period of time. I started at Dinsmore as a night secretary.  I was very fortunate to work alongside a wonderful group of very knowledgeable women in this role. These women taught me how to work within the job’s time parameters and how to interact with people at the firm to make the best of my position, while never taking anything for granted. Most importantly, they taught me it is okay to ask for help. The most impressive quality of these early female mentors is that most of them were single mothers working more than one job to support their families. This resonated with me even more after I became a single mother also.

Learning how to step out of my comfort zone and not only face but prepare for the challenges helped bring me into my current position working for George Vincent, someone I consider a mentor and a friend, who has taught me so much of what I know today.

What have you learned, what have you taken away from these experiences that helped shape the person you are today?

Several of the lessons I have taken away from my experience have come from outside the firm. My relationships with other assistants outside of Dinsmore have given me a wealth of knowledge and is one of the biggest blessings in my career. I have connected on a professional and personal level with phenomenal women who help to run the offices of some of the largest companies in the city and the world. The network of women I have had the opportunity to get to know has been invaluable to me. I have also found the same value in my relationships here at Dinsmore. Learning to seek out help and help others in return ultimately advances everyone to success. Cultivating and maintaining strong relationships with people at every level is key. You never know when you may need each other.

Last, but certainly not least, is learning to leave some time for fun. Humor and laughter are both important components of a healthy work environment and ones I greatly appreciate about my job.  Working with George, I learned how to hide caffeine before 10 a.m. and his favorite kind of cookie. He also taught me that if you can’t have fun at work, you need to find a new job. George’s greatest gift to me has been that he has always pushed me to do better, be better, and realize my own potential.

Thanks to these mentors, I have never finished learning, and I am more driven than ever to succeed.