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The cycle of grooming leaders

Mentors provide influence we can't find on our own

When I look back on my career as a journalist, I very clearly see two people who helped me—both directly and indirectly—achieve the position I have today. In the early 2000s, when I was a mere editorial assistant (read: intern) at Seattle magazine, then-managing editor J. Kingston Pierce took me under his wing and not only taught me the basics of good journalism and journalistic ethics, but also had a faith in me that no one, not even myself, had ever had in me before.

A few years later, when I started as associate editor of Corporate Legal Times (now InsideCounsel), former editor Rob Vosper continued to push me to work harder and be a better reporter and writer. There is no question in my mind that if it weren’t for these two men, I would not be sitting here today. From personal experience, I can say that mentors provide influence we simply can’t find on our own.

A few years ago, InsideCounsel kicked off its firstever Transformative Leadership Awards dinner in Chicago to honor individuals within the legal profession who have made efforts to help advance women in their corporate legal careers. The first dinner, back in 2010, was a success, and the tradition has stuck. We’ve held a Transformative Leadership Awards dinner each year since, and each year, attendance and interest in the program has continued to flourish.

As the success of the program grew, so did the program itself. In September, InsideCounsel expanded the awards ceremony to include a West Coast event, appropriately titled the Transformative Leadership Awards West. The first event, held on Sept. 6, drew crowds of legal professionals from California and surrounding states to honor the TLA West recipients.

Emceed by Michelle Banks, general counsel of The Gap Inc., the event, similar to the previous three in Chicago, underscored the importance of mentorship, support and guidance for women from those who can make a difference. And not surprisingly, it was a resounding success.

In this issue, InsideCounsel profiles all of the 2012 Transformative Leadership winners—from both the Chicago and San Francisco events. In this month's cover story, recipients discuss what the Transformative Leadership Award means to them and offer advice on how you may be able to make a difference in a young lawyer’s life.


Cathleen Flahardy

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