In today’s business world, it has become increasingly important for companies to have proportional representation and inclusion for women and minorities as a whole. Dinsmore recognizes the significance of this issue and promotes efforts toward this goal with our Women’s Initiative Program, which supports and empowers the retention and promotion of women attorneys within the firm.
Our Women’s Initiative is a branch of the firm’s professional development committee that gives female attorneys opportunities to collaborate with and mentor their women colleagues through networking events and substantive programs as well as opportunities for our attorneys to present to their peers. The Women’s Initiative, now in its third year, is brought together by at least two firm-wide events each year; one in the spring and one in the fall.
Partner Stacey Borowicz serves as lead of the Women’s Initiative and works to ensure all participants are getting the most out of the events. “We’ve created substantive programs that support and promote growth for women at the firm. In 2016 and 2017, we did a three part series on empowerment: namely women need to empower themselves to be leaders and how women can empower each other to succeed, “Stacey said. “The last installment of this series was titled Lift as you Climb. During this installment, speaker Lynn Watts educated the attendees on overcoming implicit bias and discussed ways to support the women who are in leadership positions at the firm and how to grow new women leaders. Our Women’s Initiative also encourages and promotes smaller and less formal gatherings and events at each office where our attorneys can organically form support and mentoring relationships.”
Associate lead of the Women’s Initiative, Sarah McKenna, agrees that these programs are opening the lines of communication with female attorneys and creating a support system within the firm. “We have received great response and feedback from past attendees of the Women’s Initiative events, and I consider these types of programs that help support women and minorities a huge asset to any business,” Sarah said. “One way this program accomplishes this goal is to create visibility between women in all of Dinsmore’s offices. Creating scenarios for women partners in Chicago, Illinois to network and interact with associates in Louisville, Kentucky or Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania fosters an environment where women have the foundation to refer work to other women in an effort to pull each other up and provide opportunities for further growth for both participants in the transaction.”
The spring 2018 event at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky will encompass the firm’s women clients, professionals in all industries and fields, and feature the theme of women succeeding in traditionally male dominated industries, such as the horse racing industry. The Women’s Networking Classic, which was first held by Dinsmore in 2015, provides an occasion for women in various fields to network and fosters conditions in which women in different industries can pull one another up with business opportunities. As the Women’s Initiative moves forward with their 2018 events, there are plans to partner with the firm’s Diversity Committee to ensure that both men and women understand how to be mindful of pushing diversity within their practice groups and teams.
Stacey acknowledges that progress has been made, but we must never stop pushing forward.
“Across the United States, the number of women graduating from law school and hiring into large firms is equivalent with men. Although women are doing a great job of closing the gap as far as entering the legal field, there are still significant disparities between the number of women in equity partnership and leadership positions. The goal of our Women’s Initiative is for our attorneys to have a platform to help support and promote the women of Dinsmore to close that gap.”