Profiles in Diversity Journal - Second Quarter 2023

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2023 Second Quarter $14.95 2023 Women Worth Watching® in Leadership, Native American Indigenous and Veteran Leadership Awards NEXT ISSUE: INSIDE THIS ISSUE DEI and Human Resources: An Uneasy Partnership By Rohini Anand Support Asian dance by joining forces with Gold Standard Arts Foundation By Phil Chan Congratulations on 25 Years from The Winters Group By The Winters Group Where are they now? 2 023 A W ARD ASIAN INTERNATIONAL 2 023 A W ARD Women Wor th Watching® in STEM INTERNATIONAL

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Profiles in Diversity Journal® is a quarterly magazine dedicated to promoting and advancing diversity and inclusion in the corporate, government, nonprofit, higher education, and military sectors. For more than 25 years, we have helped to stimulate organizational change by showcasing the visionary leadership, innovative programs, and committed individuals that are making it happen.

The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and may or may not represent the views of the publisher. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited.

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As we continue with our 25-year anniversary celebration, Profiles in Diversity Journal offers firm evidence that a diverse workforce provides the strategic resources fundamental to the success and longevity of all organizations. In this issue we profile 29 Asian American leaders and 36 Women Worth Watching® in STEM leaders and achievers nominated by their employers and colleagues for our recognition and celebration. Congratulations to all!

We began Profiles in Diversity Journal to educate and convince organization’s top leadership that diverse employees provide unlimited opportunities for creativity, innovation, and leadership essential for any organization to thrive and succeed in our competitive marketplace. During our 25-year journey, we have collaborated with hundreds of organizations that share our vision that employees from different races, genders and classes can bring new and innovative perspectives and solutions versus non-diverse teams. We have the profiles to prove that diversity is truly an advantage and an opportunity that should be embraced, not ignored.

The proof that I refer to is demonstrated by the leadership positions that diverse employees hold in the organizations that participate in our magazine. Many are CEOs of companies, law partners, or leaders in the field of technology or life-saving medicines. And it was far from easy for many of them to rise that far. Some of our honorees faced poverty, having to learn the mysterious ways of a new country or hostility from dominant groups in their fields. And they are paying it forward. Many are now mentors to young people facing similar challenges, helping to make their paths smoother. Profiles in Diversity offers evidence that progressive companies and organizations that embrace diversity get some of the brightest minds – and the biggest hearts. We are honored to acknowledge and celebrate the organizations that prioritize participation in our magazine over the past 25 years.

In addition to our profiles of these award winners, Dr. Rohini Anand, DEI consultant and author, has written an excellent article entitled: DEI and Human Resources: An Uneasy Partnership. The article appears on page 12. Next, appearing on page 50, The Winters Group shares its milestones and discusses their DEI groundbreaking work over the past four decades. And don’t overlook groundbreaking dancer and advocate Phil Chan’s article calling on readers to help emerging Asian American and Pacific Island creatives get much needed professional development and networking opportunities. That’s on page 15. Also, check out two interesting features entitled: “Faces of Leadership,” a sample of the people profiled over the past 25 years, and a regular feature: “Where Are They Now?” where we track past Women Worth Watching® award winners.

Moving forward during our 25-anniversary year, we recognize that the challenges of the times require paying attention to the subtle and overt changes we all must meet head on. Financial success is, of course, critical to any business. However, another major priority should be an equitable workplace for all. Our work profiling diverse leaders and achievers is a form of mentoring whereby those on their career journey can get a sense of what it takes to succeed by reading our fascinating profiles. Women Worth Watching® and all of our awards also show that leadership is a worthy goal that affords unlimited opportunities to add value to organizations and to contribute to a meaningful life.

Thanks to all.

Since 1999

PUBLISHER'S COLUMN 1 2023 Second Quarter

What should you do when people look for you to help in a time of danger? Amidst the shock and grieving of another mass shooting, this time, involving Asian women, Phil Chan, a forceful, award-winning dancer and advocate, didn’t shrink. He took center stage. He’s trying to provide emerging Asian creatives the professional development and aid that they need to follow their dreams. Now he’s asking for help from the rest of us.

Support Asian dance by joining forces with Gold Standard Arts Foundation
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The singular power of diversity

Dechert is a global law firm dedicated to seeking and amplifying diverse viewpoints and experiences to develop the highest caliber of talent, leadership and service for our clients. We’re proud of our recent achievements – and eager for the continuing growth and progress to come.

Diversity Leader (2023), Innovation in Diversity (2022) –Profiles in Diversity Journal

Mansfield Plus Certification U.S. and UK – Diversity Lab , 2022

Compass Award – Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, 2022

100 Best Companies, Best Companies for Multicultural Women, Best Companies for Dads, and Inclusion Index – Seramount, 2022

Best Places to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality – Human Rights Campaign, 2022 (for the tenth consecutive year)

Tipping the Scales Recognition – Diversity & Flexibility Alliance, 2022

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

n n n n n n


DEI and Human Resources: An Uneasy Partnership

Too many times, DEI and Human Resources staff bump heads and point fingers, writes Rohini Anand, a veteran in the DEI field. But there's a way to avoid the drama. DEI managers should work with HR to understand its goals, get buy-in -- as much as possible -- and always, always give credit to HR colleagues. At its best, DEI work is a two way street, not a street battle, she advises.


2023 Asian Leadership Awards

PDJ presents its third annual Asian Leadership Awards. We celebrate the commitment and achievements of these outstanding individuals, who have overcome obstacles, achieved success, mentored others, and more.


Congratulations on 25 Years from The Winters Group

The Winters Group

Winters Group founder and CEO Mary-Frances Winters congratulates Profiles in Diversity Journal on its 25th birthday as she prepares to celebrate her global consulting company's 40 years in the business. PDJ's publisher Jim Rector deserves credit for keeping the conversation on DEI and justice at the forefront, says Winters who works with Fortune 500 companies on diversity and justice issues. Mutual respect is the key to a better company and a better world, she says.

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Congratulations Ling Xu and Naveen Naidu

2023 Asian Leadership Award Winners

The Profiles in Diversity Journal honored Ling Xu and Naveen Naidu for providing innovative business solutions, advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion at Freddie Mac and supporting and mentoring their colleagues.

Freddie Mac’s inclusive culture empowers diverse leaders like Ling and Naveen to go above and beyond to make home possible.

Join our team at


Davis Wright Tremaine congratulates our Partner Maya Yamazaki for being recognized among the 2023 Asian Leadership Award winners by the Profiles in Diversity Journal.

As Chair of DWT’s Diversity Executive Council and member of the DEI Client Engagement Committee, Maya has played an integral role in driving toward our vision: to foster a culture where all talented individuals – including those from traditionally underrepresented communities in the legal profession – can have, and can see, a path to success.

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2023 Women Worth Watching® in STEM Awards

PDJ proudly presents its fifth annual Women Worth Watching® in STEM Award recipients. This year, the magazine honors another group of amazing women who have persevered through many personal and professional challenges to achieve success and now are reaching out a hand to young women eager to enter STEM.

Visionary Leader. STEM Advocate. Community Builder.

Phillips Lytle proudly salutes Dr. Candace S. Johnson, CEO of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, on being named as a Profiles in Diversity Journal® Women Worth Watching® in STEM Award Winner for 2023. As the only female leader of a freestanding U.S. cancer center, Dr. Johnson has proven that she is a tireless and visionary leader. She is an advocate for diversity, a shining example for her colleagues and a valuable part of our community. Congratulations and thank you to Dr. Johnson and all the recipients of this prestigious recognition.

PHL_08534 ProfileDiversity_CandaceJohnson_7-75x4-75_mec.indd 1 6/16/23 1:22 PM 6 2023 Second Quarter
Shaping the Future for Women in STEM Through Passion and Perseverance Doral Fredericks, Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs Strategy Congratulations on being a recipient of Diversity Journal’s 2023 “Women Worth Watching® in STEM” award! © Dermavant Sciences, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Trademark is the property of Dermavant Sciences, GmbH. 7 2023 Second Quarter

Faces oF Leadership

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in Diversity Journal has featured 1,000's of people over the are some of them.

Faces oF Leadership

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Faces oF Leadership

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Faces oF Leadership

Profiles in Diversity Journal will be showcasing more people from our past and present in each magazine issue this year.

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DEI and Human Resources: An Uneasy Partnership

The relationship between Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and Human Resources (HR) teams can be fraught. This is in part because the role of DEI is to highlight challenges and gaps in the talent life cycle. HR can view this as DEI agents criticizing their work without a complete understanding of HRs priorities and workload. My HR colleagues share that while DEI exposes HR’s shortcomings, DEI is often the team that gets credit for any improvements.

Meanwhile, it is not uncom-

mon for a DEI team to experience HR as being resistant and indifferent to DEI values and objectives – something that can be intensely frustrating for DEI practitioners who have a sense of urgency and vision for their organization.

Whether DEI is positioned within a larger HR Department, or forms a separate department, these tensions can block sustainable DEI progress. So, what can DEI professionals do to build more positive, collaborative and ultimately successful partnerships with HR? And what can HR do to ensure that they support DEI?

DEI teams need to:

Be Aware of HR’s Workload

Familiarize yourself with HR’s deliverables as a department. Is there synergy or are the DEI team and HR getting mixed messages about what their priorities should be?

Are your DEI suggestions creating more work for an already overstretched team?

When I was the Global Chief DEI Officer at Sodexo, one of our objectives was to hold review panels for each posted job in the U.S. But we

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had 5,000 job postings a year and for HR this was an unrealistic addition to their workload. We worked together to come up with a solution: Instead of a blanket policy we targeted mission critical roles with the greatest challenges in diversity recruitment.

Instead of blaming one another for adding more work, or being resistant, we joined forces to tackle the problem creatively. I found that it was essential to listen to my HR colleagues, respect their workload, brainstorm creative solutions together and work to realistic timelines.

Get Buy-in from HR Leadership

Supportive HR leadership can make all the difference in implementing a DEI strategy – but unfortunately not all HR leaders have had the opportunity or exposure needed to develop a commitment to DEI. In my book, Leading Global Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, I talk in detail about a variety of “head” and “heart” strategies that can be used to bring unaware or resistant leaders along.

One of the first steps is to assess your HR leader – where are they in their DEI journey? What are the potential entry points, and what might shift them? Secondly, look for opportunities to invite them to step outside of their comfort zone – either through listening to others’ experiences, appealing to their pragmatic side or

tapping into their natural empathy.

In one organization, the White female Chief People Officer was focused on advancing women, but she hadn’t yet thought about intersectionality and the impact of racism on women of color. I invited her to a multicultural women’s conference. As the participants shared their experiences and perspectives, she began to see her own unearned privilege, and to realize that White women are not easily trusted by many women of color. This was a tipping point for her, and she ultimately became a strong ally.

It is essential that we share the limelight and credit with our HR colleagues, remembering that we need DEI champions throughout the organization – DEI is not “owned” by the DEI team.

Share the Limelight and the Credit

Often a lot of the implementation is done by HR but it is DEI that gets the recognition. It is essential that we share the limelight and credit with our HR colleagues, remembering

that we need DEI champions throughout the organization –DEI is not “owned” by the DEI team.

At Sodexo, we had a mentoring initiative managed by my team, but in reality, HR was critical to identifying the mentors and mentees and to the implementation. The DEI team and I were very careful to always share the credit and position the initiative as a joint project. Not only did that give recognition where it was due, but it also helped to build a sense of positive ownership within HR, making them more open to further collaborations.

Remember that DEI is more than HR

Sometimes, in spite of our best efforts, we are not able to bring leaders along. I worked with one HR leader who blocked DEI initiatives at every turn. It was frustrating, but I needed to find workarounds, and build other alliances wherever I could.

This reminded me that whether DEI reports to HR, to the CEO or elsewhere, DEI is not “just an HR issue.” HR is responsible for the talent life cycle, but for sustainable change, DEI must permeate

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Is there synergy or are the DEI team and HR getting mixed messages about what their priorities should be?

the organization. We need to position DEI to be central to the business and the brand and build alliances outside of HR. At Sodexo, as we increased our visibility as a DEI thought leader, it attracted not only more diverse talent, but also new clients. Our DEI team touched over $1 billion in business and brought in more allies – within HR and elsewhere – who wanted to be a part of the journey.

HR leaders can also take steps to champion DEI and this takes curiosity, courage and commitment:


Commitment requires intentionality and accountability. HR leaders should hold themselves and their teams accountable for integrating DEI into the talent life cycle. For example, ensure that recruiters’ incentives are in part linked to sourcing diverse talent and the diversity of candidate slates. Require that search firms present you with diverse candidate slates. Be intentional about embedding DEI in your talent life cycle. Are you incorporating inclusive leadership compe-

gaps. Conduct adverse impact analysis to spot and address bias in your recruiting process. Include DEI in your leadership meetings and on your meeting agendas and ensure that you are looking for ways to intentionally partner with DEI, to showcase DEI and give the DEI teams credit.

There are a lot of structural issues that can make the DEI –HR working relationship challenging. It is important that we resist personalizing the conflict, and instead look together at the root


HR leaders should take responsibility for their own learning by seeking out disruptive experiences, reading, and having conversations about challenging topics. Mentoring, and engagement with employee resource groups are excellent opportunities to grow.


Inclusive HR leaders are willing to assess their own biases and make themselves vulnerable. This isn’t easy, but role modeling goes a long way to creating an open, inclusive organizational culture.

tencies into all your leadership development? Are you ensuring that underrepresented talent has access to development opportunities including high profile projects? In succession planning discussions, are you pushing for increased underrepresented talent as successors? Are you challenging biased comments and objecting when, for example, someone says, “She cannot take an international assignment because she has little children?”

Examine your talent processes and eliminate bias. Regularly conduct pay equity analysis and address any

causes of tension and how they can be addressed. When HR and DEI are able to truly collaborate, it can become a transformative synergistic relationship that leads an organization to lasting change. PDJ

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Rohini Anand is a pioneer of DEI, an author, and Senior Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisor, Rohini Anand LLC. She also serves as a senior fellow for The Conference Board, a global non-profit think tank. She previously served as Senior Vice President of Corporate Responsibility and Global Chief Diversity officer for Sodexo.
“Inclusive HR leaders are willing to assess their own biases and make themselves vulnerable. This isn’t easy, but role modeling goes a long way to creating an open, inclusive organizational culture.”

Support Asian dance by joining forces with Gold Standard Arts Foundation

After the horrific shooting in Atlanta in 2021 that claimed the lives of six Asian women, it felt like the entire dance community turned to my co-founder Georgina Pazcoguin and I for leadership. What’s the hashtag? What’s the action item? This is not a role we expected to play when we founded Final Bow for Yellowface, which since 2017 has helped eliminate Asian caricatures on the global ballet stage. But looking around at the rest of the landscape, we realized we were “The Asians”—

and woefully unprepared to deal with the largest needs of a confused, angry, and grieving community.

In response, we gathered AAPI leaders across the dance field and built up a Board of Directors for the Gold Standard Arts Foundation, a service organization dedicated to supporting AAPI creatives in the field. Our mission includes providing professional development and networking opportunities, data collection, and advocacy.

While many ballet companies continued to present Orientalist

depictions in their repertory, we challenged them to commission actual Asian choreographers. The fruits of this work will be on display at ballet companies around the country, culminating in the 10,000 Dreams festival at the Kennedy Center in June 2024, which brings together four major American ballet companies to present a week of AAPI choreography.

In many ways, our work is still in its infancy. If you’re interested in learning more about us or joining our cause, please visit us at PDJ

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Phil Chan is a co-founder of Final Bow for Yellowface and the President of the Gold Standard Arts Foundation. He is currently a fellow at the Harvard University, Drexel University, the Institut National d’histoire de l’art in France, Dance/USA, and Jacob’s Pillow. He is a graduate of Carleton College and an alumnus of The Ailey School, and was just named a “Next 50” Arts Leader by the Kennedy Center. He is the author of two books, “Final Bow for Yellowface: Dancing between Intention and Impact,” and “Banishing Orientalism,” and as a writer has served as the executive editor for FLATT Magazine and contributed to Dance Europe Magazine, Dance Magazine, Dance Business Weekly, and the Huffington Post Upcoming projects include directing “Madama Butterfly” for Boston Lyric Opera in September 2023, staging a reimagined “La Bayadere” for Indiana University in March 2024, as well as producing ballet festivals at the Northrop and the Kennedy Center highlighting AAPI choreography. Phil Chan taking a photo of Emily Adams and Hadriel Diniz, principal dancers with Ballet West. Photo credit: Jati Lindsay.

“This is fantastic! Thank you so much for the recognition. I’m honored and humbled to receive this award.” – Alise Civello

“Thank you so much…this is great news.” – Jamie Moss

“This is awesome news! I am humbled and excited at the same time.” – Anju Chopra

“I’m humbled to be included among this year’s award winners.” – Clifford Yee

“Thank you for your email! I am honored to receive this award on behalf of all the work Epiq is doing to support DEI initiatives.” – Jenny Trang


“This is great news, thank you! And congratulations, Karen!” – Lauren Barnes


“Congratulations, Karen” – Natalie Moya

“Congratulations, Cliff! So well deserved! I’m glad to have played a small role in highlighting you for the leader you are.” – Jay Liverman

“Thanks for the good news, I appreciate the recognition.” – David Welch

“Thank you for the wonderful honor and surprise! And to my amazing UWT colleagues for putting up with me over the years.” – Rachel Endo

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“Thank you and the Profiles in Diversity Journal for this award! I’m honored to be among the 2023 winners.” – Eva Yin

“We’ve received your message and are ecstatic about Sheila’s recognition.” – Erica Loera

“Thank you for this tremendous recognition for Tom Chen.” – Sharon Jones

“Congratulations, Ella!” – David Sanford

“Thanks for your message and I am incredibly humbled and honored to be recognized for this award.” – Aaron Chiu

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“It is my great honor to be selected by the Diversity Journal as one of Asian Leadership Award Winners for 2023.” – Ling Liu

“Thank you very much…I am thrilled to have been selected!” – Lisa Martin


“Wow!!! This is an amazing honor. I am very grateful.” –


“Thank you so much for the recognition!”

– Annie Huang

“Thank you so much for the recognition!” – Ling Xu

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The 3rd Annual Asian Leadership Awards PDJ Salutes our Third Class of Asian Leadership Award Winners

For more than two decades, Profiles in Diversity Journal® has honored outstanding individuals who have blazed new trails, welcomed challenges, mentored others, advanced diversity and inclusion in the workplace and the community, and excelled in their chosen fields. We are honoring Asian Leaders with our third Asian Leadership Awards.

The 29 profiles that appear in this issue recognize and celebrate the hard work and impressive achievements of these Asian Leaders. Each award recipient has also provided us with the answers to some interesting questions and an essay that will give you, our readers, a chance to get to know these multitalented and trailblazing individuals a little better.

Welcome to PDJ’s third annual Asian Leadership Awards.

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Education: LLM, Georgetown University Law Center, with distinction; JD, University of Maryland School of Law, with honors; BA, University of Virginia, with honors

Company Name:

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

Industry: Law

Company CEO: Kim Koopersmith

Company Headquarters Location: N/A

Number of Employees: 1,700+

Your Location: Washington, D.C. | Geneva

Words you live by: In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.

Who is your personal hero? My wife.

What book are you reading?

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

What was your first job? Teacher

Favorite charity: AAJC – Asian Americans

Advancing Justice

Interests/Hobbies: Music, food, travel

Family: Wonderful wife, two fantastic college-age children

Stephen S. Kho Partner

What a mentor should have told me: Advice to young Asian American leaders on the road to success

Here is some of the best advice provided by my mentor: Growing up, many first-generation Asian parents would urge their children to be studious, don’t cause trouble or bring attention to yourself, keep your head down, and let your work speak for itself. Yet in this wonderful melting pot of a culture we call America, this is just not enough if you want to succeed and if you want to lead.

Don’t get me wrong: It is still important to be yourself, to embrace all that is a part of you from your parents and your heritage, but it is also important to recognize that with diversity, there is no single dominant culture or one set of unspoken rules that everyone adheres to. Verbal communication thus becomes a necessity.

Frankness, honesty and transparency become predominant tools in our communities and in our work environment. People skills are just as important as, and maybe even more important than, being a hard-worker. So, we should learn to communicate well; to manage down AND up; to self-promote, but don’t overdo it; to speak up when you see inequality, but at the same time pick your battles. In short, to be a successful Asian leader in America, we should see and recognize that there is a game to be played, and we must learn to play that game. And we can all play the game well.

At this point, I should come clean and say that I had no real mentors during the course of my career, and the advice above is what I now wished someone would have told me early on. So now, I want to be a mentor to young Asians in my workplace. I think it is very important to provide this kind of advice to them, to encourage and help them achieve more success than I ever have had. I believe that this is how I can best support the next generation of Asian leaders in America. I hope this will be one of my legacies.

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In short, to be a successful Asian leader in America, we should see and recognize that there is a game to be played, and we must learn to play that game. And we can all play the game well.

It is difficult to identify a single “trait” that has been essential to any professional success that I’ve achieved. A sense of curiosity, intellectual interest, emotional intelligence, and social skills are all traits that I’ve had to develop throughout my career. But if I had to identify a single trait that has taken me above and beyond what I could have achieved through dedication and effort alone, I would have to say that it is “passion.”

Passion is what has fueled me beyond my natural abilities. And I mean both passion that I find in myself and that I see in others around me. My practice is in international trade, and one of my favorite aspects about my job is that everyone I encounter – including colleagues, co-counsel, and even opposing counsel – have an immense amount of enthusiasm for this area of law. I tend to connect this to the fact that no one I know has simply stumbled into international trade by chance; perhaps because of its niche nature, everyone in this field seems to have had a moment in time when they were drawn to this field, and decided that they would pursue international trade as a career path.

For me, this moment came when I visited Geneva for a work trip over 20 years ago in my previous career, which took me to meeting rooms in the United Nations and the World Trade Organization buildings. Having grown up navigating different cultures as my family moved back and forth between the United States and South Korea, the sight of flags representing each nation adorning the hallways and watching lawyers debate and resolve trade disputes among countries had me hooked. When I finally pivoted my career in this direction, I was excited to find that many of us had equally impactful experiences that shaped the course of our careers. I continue to feel privileged to practice among colleagues that care not only about the quality of their work and the interest of their clients, but who also share a deep sense of respect for the global institutions that form the backbone of our practice and remain dedicated to upholding the rule of law on an international scale.

As with many jobs, especially in the legal profession, the stress and fatigue of the work can sometimes cloud the initial excitement that led me down this path. But often in these moments, I find myself uplifted by the genuine passion and enthusiasm of those around me. I certainly hope that I can do the same for my colleagues in the trade bar.

Education: JD, American University, Washington College of Law; MA, Hankuk

University of Foreign Studies; BA, Hankuk

University of Foreign Studies

Company Name:

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

Industry: Law

Company CEO: Kim Koopersmith

Company Headquarters Location: N/A

Number of Employees: 1,700+

Your Location: Washington, D.C.

Words you live by: “Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)

Who is your personal hero?

All trailblazers who have paved the way for people like me.

What book are you reading?

Enough About Me by Richard Lui

What was your first job?

Comic book store!

Favorite charity:

Habele Outer Island Education Fund (serving Micronesian students through scholarships and STEM learning)


Concerts and music festivals

Family: Loving husband and two needy chihuahuas

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Discovering international trade law led her to the career that she loves

Education: JD, Washington University School of Law; MA, Biology,Washington University; BS, Biochemistry, McMaster University

Company Name: Axinn

Industry: Legal

Company CEO: Matthew Becker, Managing Partner

Company Headquarters Location: New York, NY

Number of Employees: 157

Your Location: San Francisco, CA

Words you live by: Leave things better than you found them.

Who is your personal hero?

My teachers, past and present, who work so selflessly to educate

What book are you reading?

The Person You Mean To Be: How Good People Fight Bias by Dolly Chugh

What was your first job? Helping my father with the family business

Favorite charity: So hard to choose just one. There are so many doing amazing work, for example, to help those struggling with food and housing insecurity, to promote social justice, and to support pipeline initiatives for underprivileged communities

Interests/Hobbies: Travel and music

Family: Proud uncle to a baby born during COVID-19!

As a law student, associate, and now partner at Axinn, I’ve been fortunate to have had mentors – far too many to recognize individually –who directly contributed to my professional success. As I faced new challenges and opportunities in my career, mentors guided me in uncovering the answers I needed. They nudged me out of my comfort zone, and, at times, they believed in me more than I believed in myself.

The wealth of knowledge I gained from my mentors is endless, but three lessons they taught in particular have steadily steered me throughout my professional journey.

First, my mentors proved that success rests on people’s ability to deliver their best work and their willingness to collaborate as a team. Many of my mentors created environments in which team members felt comfortable sharing their diverse perspectives and had the autonomy to execute assignments in ways that allowed them to do their best work. For example, a lead partner might encourage an associate to create a framework for constructing a legal argument – be it an outline, a chart, a diagram or another format – rather than imposing his or her own preferred style. This approach not only helped me to get the best ideas and work from my attorney and staff colleagues, but it also positioned our teams to develop more creative client solutions.

Second, unlike fine wine, bad news does not get better with age. If something goes wrong, handle it promptly and directly. This is true for addressing sticky situations involving clients and internal colleagues. My mentors demonstrated the importance of understanding what led us to an outcome, and focusing on the process and systems that will avoid future issues. This kind of transparency builds trust – the bedrock in which my long standing relationships with clients and colleagues are anchored.

Third, to be an effective mentor takes time and a genuine interest. Those who selflessly dedicated their precious time to mentor me took a tailored approach to cultivating my development. They asked questions to better understand what motivates me as an individual. They carefully assessed my growth areas and provided thoughtful feedback on my work. Their mindful guidance led me to become the best version of myself, and I strive every day to live up to their example.

These lessons, along with so many others, have been invaluable to my success as a lawyer, a mentor, and a firm leader.

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Three important lessons from my mentors guided my career from associate to law partner

Maya Yamazaki Partner; chair of the Diversity Executive Council

The best career advice I received was from a mentor who said I should allow my career to naturally and intentionally evolve and not stick rigidly to “the plan.” At the time, I had a five, 10, and 20-year plan for my life and practice. Unsurprisingly, my practice today looks nothing like that. When I first started my legal career, I envisioned myself as a litigator, but realized over time that it was not my calling. From there, I transitioned to technology transactions and now have a technology and digital media practice with a focus on video game development and licensing.

As my mentor suggested, my journey was not linear. It constantly evolved and changed, and the advice bore out. With the freedom to veer from “the plan,” I have been able to create a substantive legal practice around industries that interest me the most and evolve rapidly themselves: digital media and video games.

To that end, I’m grateful that I found a career that’s intellectually stimulating and emotionally rewarding. I’ve been able to combine my work in technology law with my personal passion for advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the legal field, creating a career and a practice that feeds and nurtures multiple aspects of my life.

The most rewarding part of my work is leveraging my practice to further my professional passion of growing DEI in the legal industry.

When I arrived in private practice, I became acutely aware of the large disparity in women and minority attorneys at law firms, particularly in the partnership ranks. As my career evolved, I also realized that the talent model needed to change to reflect my world view. Over the years, I have been able to build a team of diverse talent supporting clients who are equally invested in growing and advancing that team.

Prior to going to law school, I worked as an advocate for policies addressing healthcare disparities in underrepresented communities. When I left the public sector, I thought that I would only be able to do similar work through one-off pro bono activities. And while the target communities and the methods may be different, I’ve found that addressing the disparities in underrepresented minorities in the legal field through my everyday work also energizes me and is leading my personal evolution. As I enter my 14th year of private practice, I’m delighted to see my friends and colleagues advancing through the ranks and look forward to the day when they are my partners and we can all come to work as our true and authentic selves.

Education: JD, Georgetown University Law Center; BA, International Studies, University of Washington, with honors

Company Name: Davis Wright Tremaine LLP

Industry: Legal Services

Company CEO: Scott MacCormack

Company Headquarters Location: Seattle, WA

Number of Employees: 1,385

Words you live by: Nana korobi, ya oki (fall down seven times, get up eight).

Who is your personal hero?

My parents, who proudly ran a small printing business in the Seattle area

What book are you reading?

Pieometry by Lauren Ko

What was your first job?

Working in my parents’ printing shop.

Favorite charity: Communities Rise

Interests/Hobbies: Baking, reading, being a Girl Scout leader for my daughter’s troop

Family: Husband and two daughters

23 2023 Second Quarter
By allowing her career to evolve, this partner has found her passion –bringing diversity to the legal field

Education: JD, The George Washington University Law School, BA, Dartmouth College, 2005

Company Name: Dechert

Industry: Law

Company CEO: Co-Chairs: David Forti and Mark Thierfelder (effective July 1, 2023)

Company Headquarters Location: Philadelphia, PA; New York, NY

Number of Employees: Approx. 2,000

Your Location: Washington, D.C.

Words you live by: “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”– Maya Angelou

Who is your personal hero?

My mom. She has lived on four continents, always encouraged me to be independent and self-sufficient, and provided a soft landing when I needed it most. She is an inspiration.

What book are you reading?

Crying in H Mart: A Memoir by Michelle Zauner; Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice from the Best in the World by Tim Ferriss

What was your first job? I helped my neighbor deliver the local paper in the summer and holiday season, which inspired me to do the same year-round in college.


Marathon training, travel, reading, music/ concerts, and organizing girls’ poker night Family: My mother, Vina, my father, Rajni, and my (significantly younger) twin brothers, Anand and Ankur

Amisha R. Patel Associate

Today’s leadership can support the next generation of Asian business leaders through authentic mentorship and sponsorship. This is particularly important for leaders who perhaps do not look like their Asian colleagues following behind them. We have all heard about the importance of representation in the workplace, but if that representation is not readily present, the next best thing is to have advocates willing to help diverse colleagues develop, grow, and succeed. This not only helps achieve the desired representation in future leadership, but also fosters meaningful and fulfilling work relationships built on authentic collaboration and trust. And to the extent that is not found within someone’s workplace, it can and should be found outside of it.

I have been fortunate to find support both within the workplace and through local affinity bar associations, particularly through the local and national chapters of the South Asian Bar. As a young associate, more seasoned lawyers in the South Asian community helped me navigate the complicated landscape of Big Law—an unknown quantity for me given that I was the first lawyer in my family. I quickly realized that this was a network that I not only desperately wanted, but needed. The South Asian Bar has served as a sanctuary where I have felt safe being vulnerable and asking questions, felt comfortable seeking guidance, and challenged myself to develop essential leadership skills. I believe this support has helped me excel in my workplace as well as within the community, cementing my desire to give back to those following behind me.

I strive to mentor and sponsor others—regardless of whether they look like me or whether I work with them directly—to ensure that they too feel supported in the way I have. That isn’t always easy when we are managing and trying to find balance in our own personal and professional lives. But I have come to realize that it is critical for real change and growth. It also requires a persistent commitment that perhaps takes us all a little out of our comfort zone. To me, that’s a good thing. After all, how we face and manage challenges is ultimately how we learn and grow.

24 2023 Second Quarter
Everyone should be a mentor. The next generation of leaders need them
I strive to mentor and sponsor others—regardless of whether they look like me or whether I work with them directly—to ensure that they too feel supported in the way I have.

When I reflect on my childhood, one memory stands out that drove me to my current path. Growing up in China, we were a close-knit family and cherished the time we spent together. However, everything changed at age 12 when my father was diagnosed with late-stage lung cancer. My mother and I spent countless hours in the hospital. I approached a doctor during my visit, desperate for anything that could save my father; but the doctor sadly informed me that there was no treatment. It was a devastating blow, and my father passed away before my elementary school graduation. During those sad days, I dreamed of discovering new medicines to help other patients and their families when I grew up.

After years of hard work, I was fortunate enough to join Eli Lilly & Company as a scientist. Over the last 25 years, I have been involved in the development of more than 25 biotherapeutics that have entered clinical development, including the successful launch of medicines to treat autoimmune disorders and COVID-19.

The drug discovery process is a long journey with many unexpected challenges. We dedicated countless hours at Lilly research labs to understand novel mechanisms of action for these medicines and how they can be applied to disease treatment. It took years for one of these medicines to reach patients’ hands.

One patient especially stands out. She, like many others, had suffered for years with a condition that had not responded to available treatments. She used our medicine and had a life-changing response. I was touched when she shared her story at Lilly Research Laboratories. Whenever I hear her and other patients’ stories of how their lives have changed after taking our medicines, I feel so grateful to have helped them and their families. With patients waiting for effective treatments, we are constantly striving to accelerate our programs. The COVID-19 work was especially memorable, and I am proud of the role I played in accelerating the discovery and development of life-saving medications.

In March 2020, I led a team in developing novel assays to characterize monoclonal antibodies for the treatment and prevention of COVID-19. Multiple teams at Lilly worked tirelessly around the clock to get lifesaving medication to patients as fast as possible. In just under three months, our medicine entered clinical trials. The success of this project was made possible by years of hard work from everyone in building the capabilities, knowledge, and patient-centric culture of Lilly.

I am proud to be a part of Team Lilly and I look forward to continuing to make a difference in the lives of patients in need. Whenever we face new challenges, I remember that patients and their families are waiting.

Education: PhD, Western University, Canada; MS, Genetic Institute, Chinese Academy of Science, China; BS Sichuan University, China

Company Name: Eli Lilly and Company

Industry: Pharmaceutical R&D, manufacturing and commercialization

Company CEO: Dave Ricks – Dan Skovronsky (LRL President)

Company Headquarters Location: Indianapolis, IN

Number of Employees: 37,000

Words you live by:

I am grateful to work with diverse talents discovering new medicines for helping patients in need.

Who is your personal hero? Marie Curie

What book are you reading? Everyone Wants to Work Here by Maura Nevel Thomas and IN AWE by John O’Leary

What was your first job?

Research scientist at Eli Lilly and Company

Favorite charity: American Cancer Society

Interests/Hobbies: Reading, Zumba dance, Chinese folk dance, pickleball, and traveling

Family: Husband Wen Tao; older daughter Jocelyn Tao; younger daughter Jessica Tao

25 2023 Second Quarter
She once dreamed of finding treatments for lethal diseases, now she makes them at Lilly

Education: MBA, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School; BA, Whittier College

Company Name: Epiq Global

Industry: Legal Technology

Company CEO: David Dobson

Company Headquarters Location: Beaverton, OR

Number of Employees: 8,000

Your Location: New York, NY

Words you live by: That which you focus on, you create more of.

Who is your personal hero?

My Mom and Dad

What book are you reading?

Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build New Habits and Break Old Ones by James Clear ... re-reading again!

What was your first job?

Sales and product merchandising for Intuit

Favorite charity: I support various organizations focused on kids and immigrants, depending on need.

Interests/Hobbies: I enjoy anything active, indoor and outdoor, cooking, eating, traveling, and mentoring.

Family: I have an older sister (Leeann), a younger brother (Alex), and a mini goldendoodle fur baby (Ollie).

As a first-generation Asian American and daughter of immigrant parents, I understand first-hand how challenging it is to grow up with limited resources and without an existing network. My parents escaped Vietnam in their 20s to pursue the American dream and provide a better life for their family, leaving behind everything they knew and without a clear view of their future. They needed to learn a new culture, a new language, and a new way of living. To bridge the gap, my siblings and I took on big responsibilities at a young age, such as completing paperwork and translating, forcing us to grow up faster. My parents figured out how to give us the best life possible with the little they had, which is impressive and admirable to say the least. These experiences have taught me invaluable life lessons and skill sets. Thanks to them, I am ambitious, super curious, extremely resilient, and I’ve adopted a growth mindset –all of which have been essential to how I manage disruption and adapt as I navigate my life and my career.

I am deeply passionate about diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB), especially in the workplace, as fresh perspectives can be powerful. I’ve worked in finance and legal industries where oftentimes I am the only woman and/or person of color in the room. While challenging at first, I learned to be vulnerable, speak up, and see the value in sharing my views. During my time at an innovation consultancy collaborating with large organizations across the U.S. and globally, I saw diversity enable creativity, innovation, and real impact – whether it be a new approach to solving the same problem, generating millions more in revenue and reducing the amount of time it takes to perform a task, or launching a viable product or service customers actually need or want by conducting proper customer discovery.

I enjoy supporting and mentoring those early in their careers to help them get ahead in their journeys by asking probing questions, helping them avoid obvious mistakes, or skipping a few steps. Mentors have been critical to my success as I advanced in my career. Not only did I learn something new and grow professionally, but their belief in me fueled my drive and boosted my confidence to go after what I want and try different things. As a result, I’ve had an unexpectedly rewarding non-traditional career path; I’ve landed jobs or consulting projects through my network in unfamiliar industries. Even when I experienced imposter syndrome, I embraced the opportunity to explore interesting work where I could learn and add value. Now, I choose to pay it forward, with a focus on supporting and elevating women and people of color.

26 2023 Second Quarter
Being passionate about diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging helped her find a place in the finance and legal world

As a young boy growing up in India, I was always fascinated with wildlife. My parents understood my passion for the wild and gave me books to read to increase my knowledge. Most of my childhood artwork was focused on animals, and I had a massive wildlife stamp collection, which I kept in a safe spot so my sibling wouldn’t touch it.

It wasn’t until I was 25 that I started traveling, and visited my very first National Park in Karnataka, India. On day two of a three-day safari, my tour group and I were feeling discouraged because we hadn’t seen any big cats, however our luck changed on day three. The tour guide received a text message from another guide that a leopard was spotted. Initially, we couldn’t see anything among the dense canopy of leaves. Once our eyes adjusted, I could see a beautiful leopard sitting on one of the branches and was able to take some good pictures.

Fast forward to today, as a proud immigrant, I bring that same passion and patience to work every day to ensure we are making a home possible for many Americans. A year ago, I took on a new role as a senior development manager at Freddie Mac, ensuring housing data is updated for our Single-Family team, which assists in designing affordable products for first-time homebuyers and communities of color. I have broader responsibilities now: I get everyone aligned, remove obstacles and keep things moving.

My experience with photography in the wild has taught me that some things take time. In nature, and in work, patience is required to get the best possible outcome. In my career, I manage large projects that can run for six or nine months, and they can appear overwhelming at first. I draw on my previous experiences and remind myself and my team that we must persevere toward our goals. We cannot accelerate a timeline to make something happen earlier if errors might occur, we need to make sure that at every step, things are done properly, and we maintain momentum.

The lessons I learned as a young man have stayed with me to this day – passion, understanding, patience and appreciation of people, diversity, and the richness they all bring to the world. Just like the big cats in the wild, each one has a unique purpose on this earth.

Education: MS, Drexel University; BS, Dayananda Sagar College of Engineering

Company Name: Freddie Mac

Industry: Housing and mortgage finance

Company CEO: Michael DeVito

Company Headquarters Location: McLean, VA

Number of Employees: 6,000+

Words you live by: Believe in your abilities and never give up.

Who is your personal hero?

Sir David Attenborough

What book are you reading?

Think Like a Monk: Train your mind for Peace & Purpose by Jay Shetty

What was your first job?

Piping design engineer

Favorite charity: World Wildlife Fund

Interests/Hobbies: Wildlife conservation, photography, sports and travel

Family: Wife, two daughters and dog (Hiro)

27 2023 Second Quarter
A love of wildlife taught him patience, perseverance and a love of diversity in nature – and out

Education: MBA in Finance & MIS, Case Western Reserve University; BA in Economics, University of International Business & Economics, Beijing

Company Name: Freddie Mac

Industry: Financial Services

Company CEO: Michael De Vito

Company Headquarters Location: McLean, VA

Number of Employees: 7,200

Words you live by:

Always be curious, not judgmental.

Who is your personal hero? My father, who gave up a secure government job in the early days of China’s free market

What book are you reading?

When Women Lead by Julia Boorstin

What was your first job?

Information Systems Consulting

Favorite charity: Wikipedia, Environmental Virginia, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Guiding Eyes for the Blind


Dancing, gardening, traveling, golf

Family: Husband, 15-year-old boy and 12-year-old girl

Ling Xu

Vice President, Multifamily Investments and Portfolio Management

I came to the United States from China 26 years ago with only $500 dollars and two trunks of luggage. I was excited, nervous, and full of hope to embrace this land of opportunities. I worked part-time just to make ends meet when I first arrived in America while earning my MBA. Despite my academic success, it was incredibly challenging to find my first real job and start my career, partly because I missed many networking events during those two years when I was studying and working.

The guidance and leadership of mentors plays an essential role in everyone’s career. That’s one of the most important career lessons that I almost learned the hard way. In 2006, after working for Freddie Mac for four years, I decided to move to a private equity company. After the 2008 financial crisis, I returned to Freddie Mac through the help of my former coworkers and mentors. I rose through the ranks and now serve as the vice president of investments and portfolio management for our multifamily division at Freddie Mac. In this role, I lead our market risk and capital strategy, and I advise on our business strategy for senior management and the board of directors.

I didn’t realize the value of actively seeking out mentorship until I faced a ceiling in my career years later. Whether a “glass ceiling” or “bamboo ceiling,” it’s more challenging for minority and women professionals to advance in corporate ranks, especially in the fixed-income capital market world, which is traditionally a white male-dominated landscape. I began consciously reaching out to senior leaders both inside Freddie Mac and outside the company to seek advice, network, and exchange ideas. It was challenging initially as I was very self-conscious about other people’s time, but it didn’t take long for me to realize that I bring value to the table based on my background and experience.

Being open-minded and curious are two essential factors to making mentoring relationships productive for both the mentor and mentee. I was grateful to have my own “Board of Advisors” through mostly informal mentoring relationships I have formed over the years. I have also been involved in many mentoring circles to pay it forward, and I always want to help when young professionals ask for advice or mentoring. I encourage others to build their “Board of Advisors” and support network no matter what stage they are in their career. And when possible, pay it forward by serving as a mentor for others.

28 2023 Second Quarter
Build yourself a board of mentors and then make sure to be a mentor for others

The challenges I faced growing up in Orange County, California in the 1970s have informed my approach to leadership. I was one of a handful of Asian Americans in my high school class of 1,600 students and faced persistent prejudice. Beginning in college at UCLA and later as a practicing lawyer, I benefited from a strong community and from mentors who helped me find my voice and become comfortable with my identity. In particular, early in my legal career, I was fortunate to have two male mentors, one Asian and one white, both of whom were very influential within the firm. They taught me legal skills and soft skills about how to interact with clients, lawyers and staff.

As co-chair of Haynes Boone’s Attorney DEI Committee and as a member of the firm’s executive committee, I strive to ensure that the firm takes an intentional approach to helping the next generation of Asian American lawyers succeed. A starting point is to understand the particular strengths of each diverse associate on your team: Are they excellent writers, brilliant conversationalists, fantastic analysts? It is equally vital to take into consideration what each diverse lawyer wants from their career, as some do not want the standard path to partnership and management. The next step is to equip mentees with the tools and professional opportunities that will allow them to capitalize on their strengths—and achieve their career objectives.

Most importantly, we endeavor as a firm to codify our approach to building future leaders, to ensure that all mentees have access to best practices and opportunities. To cite just a few examples, the firm is kicking off our Intellectual Property Practice Opportunity Development Support System (“IP PODSS”), a formal program that will provide attorneys, patent agents, and scientific advisors with enhanced integration, mentoring, training, work opportunities, and client interactions. We are also offering a partner-led webinar series educating our associates on business development tools and opportunities. And in June, we had our annual diversity retreat that brings together diverse attorneys to learn from more experienced lawyers on how to be successful in their careers.

As someone who once felt the sting of feeling like an outsider, I am honored to play a role in creating a sense of community for Asian American and other diverse professionals and ensuring that they have the tools they need to achieve professional success and satisfaction.

Education: JD, Pepperdine, MSEE, California State Northridge; Engineers

Degree, University of Southern California; BS Physics, UCLA

Company Name: Haynes and Boone, LLP

Industry: Legal

Company CEO: Taylor Wilson

Company Headquarters Location: Dallas, TX

Number of Employees: 1,025

Your Location: Orange County, CA

Words you live by: Be thankful.

Who is your personal hero? My parents

What was your first job? Radar engineer at Hughes Aircraft Missile Systems Group

Favorite charity: Saddleback Church


Wine, restaurants, sports (almost all), spending time with family

29 2023 Second Quarter
Partner and member of the firm’s Executive Committee
No cookie cutters needed: Good mentors tailor their advice to each new lawyer to help them succeed

Education: JD, UC Berkeley School of Law; BA, Biology, Harvard University

Company Name: Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear, LLP

Industry: Technology Law

Company CEO: Steven Nataupsky, Managing Partner Company

Headquarters Location: Irvine, CA

Number of Employees: 595

Words you live by: “When you know better, you do better.” – Maya Angelou

Who is your personal hero?

Oprah Winfrey

What book are you reading?

Klara and The Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro

What was your first job? I worked in high school as a tutor for younger kids.

Favorite charity: Doctors Without Borders


Volunteering with my daughters,


My husband and I have two daughters

Litigation Group Co-Chair

Learning about new technologies and using the law to protect them is my passion

As an attorney in the area of intellectual property law, I am part of a profession that is at the intersection of law and technology. Our clients are constantly innovating and developing new technologies. We get to see those inventions come to life, and we help our clients protect them.

At the same time, the legal landscape around intellectual property is also changing. The courts are very active in this area, so there are always new decisions to consider and incorporate into our legal strategies. New laws in this area, including the America Invents Act in 2012, also impact how we help clients protect their innovations and defend against infringers.

This constantly-changing technology and legal landscape is what makes intellectual property law such an exciting area in which to practice. I have now spent over 20 years in this field, and every new case and client presents an opportunity to learn about an additional technology and industry. There is never a dull moment!

My particular focus is on the enforcement side, as I help clients to assert their rights against others or defend against claims of infringement. Enforcement is a team effort, and our litigation teams work to tailor the best strategy for each client’s unique situation. We then execute that strategy in courts around the country. The work can be challenging and intense. The reward is seeing our clients succeed in making their innovations available to the world.

30 2023 Second Quarter
Our clients are constantly innovating and developing new technologies. We get to see those inventions come to life, and we help our clients protect them.

As a Rhodes Scholar finalist at the age of 18, I was asked what difference I wanted to make in the world. I hadn’t given the question much thought in that moment, but it planted a seed that I’ve been cultivating throughout my professional career.

When I began working, I joined a cybersecurity startup. At the time, cybersecurity was an extremely nascent industry and our team had both the opportunity and burden of starting from the ground. As chief technology officer, I worked to architect and implement innovative systems to monitor and detect cyber threats. At first, our products focused mainly on enterprise use cases, but I soon realized our products could greatly impact individuals, too. Through a series of partnerships, the team and I successfully delivered a suite of cybersecurity and identity protection products to hundreds of millions of people around the world.

In my current role with Kroll, my passion for envisioning and delivering impactful products continues to motivate me. I realized that my opportunity to create a meaningful difference extends far beyond the tangible business outputs. As a people manager, I focus heavily on mentorship and talent development, creating a growth-oriented and exciting workplace. I brought this approach to the undergraduate cybersecurity course I taught as well. I reinforced the importance of my students finding their own professional passion and guided them based on my prior experiences.

The change I would like to see in the world is the advancement of underprivileged and at-risk youth. Education, combined with technology, can accelerate this change. I’ve been fortunate to be able to take part in several work programs that offer technical equipment, such as laptops to nonprofits that work with underserved youth and I volunteer my time to teach workshops. One of the greatest aspects of technology is that it really can be (and should be) accessible to everyone.

Although I certainly could have never predicted the trajectory of my career all those years ago, that question about the difference I wanted to make in the world truly provided a point of focus as I navigated various roles and responsibilities and ignited my professional passion.

Education: MBA, Tepper Business School, Carnegie Mellon University; MS, Electrical & Computer Engineering, Florida Atlantic University; BE, Electronics & Communications, Delhi College of Engineering

Company Name: Kroll


Risk and Financial Advisory Solutions

Company CEO: Jacob Silverman

Company Headquarters Location: New York, NY

Number of Employees: 6,500

Words you live by: Every challenge is an opportunity to grow!

What book are you reading?

Life in Full by Indra Nooyi

What was your first job? News Reporter at Indian National Television

Favorite charity: Ganga Prem Hospice a spirituallyoriented, nonprofit hospice for terminally ill cancer patients.


Scuba diving, golf, playing the sitar

Family: My husband Sanjay, my two daughters Anya & Aiyana, and most importantly my maltichon, Coco!

31 2023 Second Quarter
Making a difference in the world by building technology and teaching young people

Education: JD, Gould School of Law, University of Southern California

Company Name: Latham & Watkins

Industry: Law

Company CEO: Richard Trobman

Your Location: San Francisco, CA

Words you live by: Teddy Roosevelt’s “The Man in the Arena” speech: “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds.”

Who is your personal hero?

My father, who immigrated from Hong Kong at 18 and became a doctor.

What book are you reading?

From Strength to Strength by Arthur Brooks

What was your first job?

Sales associate at Banana Republic

Favorite charity:

San Francisco World Food Bank


Mountain biking and photography

Family: I have a wife and two young daughters, ages 5 and 3.

Aaron Chiu Partner

Mentorship, from my perspective, takes hold in two ways: leading by example, and paving the way for opportunities. I have been lucky to experience both throughout my career. The judge for whom I clerked, the Honorable Johnnie B. Rawlinson, was only the second woman admitted to the Nevada state bar, and served as the first Black female judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. She is the epitome of trailblazing. She has provided countless diverse attorneys the opportunity to clerk, served as an invaluable mentor both professionally and personally, and she held us to the highest of standards, so that our work could speak for itself.

The partners in my practice have also opened many doors for me. They’ve supported me through my career progression, giving me the room to grow. Though I’m generally not the loudest voice in the room, their encouragement empowered me to speak up and gave me opportunities to shine.

The exposure and empathy offered by my own mentors provides a lesson in how to support the next generation of Asian lawyers. There are cultural differences that have fed a disconnect between what people perceive as the personality traits of Asian lawyers and the common view of a strong leader. Often, people view us as the “model minority;” we are the workhorse, but not the commander. When we do exhibit behaviors associated with more traditional views of a leader, that assertiveness can sometimes throw people off. That bind often creates within us an internal apprehension about how to behave and interact with others in the workplace. Many in the Asian community struggle with this — and for too many, that means they can advance from associate to senior associate on merit, but face more difficulty in crossing the threshold to partnership.

Today’s leaders can turn that tide, by recognizing that more than one personality type can make for a great leader. Showing empathy and understanding allows you to suspend biases, and take a more reasoned, critical approach to determining what a leader looks like. I like to seek consensus. I tend to be more pensive and am not often first to speak what is on my mind. But the opportunities afforded to me by the partners at Latham allowed me to showcase my strengths and further develop my talents. The more we recognize that leadership thrives with a diversity of styles, the more we celebrate the value the Asian community brings to the legal profession.

32 2023 Second Quarter
Quiet leadership can be just as commanding. Let’s not forget that

I had my first “grown-up” job the summer after high school in the incoming securities department of a large investment bank on Wall Street. At the time, we still received some securities by courier, and my job was to process them for safekeeping at the bank. Working in the world’s financial center and processing bonds worth millions of dollars planted the seed that would eventually bloom into my career as a capital markets lawyer, although I didn’t know it at the time. Experiencing such a vibrant, dynamic environment, where I met so many people from different backgrounds and experiences, ultimately served as an inspiration for my future plans.

The best advice I ever received came from my first supervisor. He told me that my job was to make his life easier. I heeded that advice and re-interpreted it as my career evolved over time, and I now apply it to all aspects of client service.

At the beginning of my legal career, I tried different practices, searching for my “calling.” When I worked on my first securities offerings, everything clicked. I loved practicing at that intersection of regulatory law and transactions, and I embraced the advisory aspect of my client relationships. I realized that subject matter expertise is a critical element of becoming a trusted advisor.

I truly believe in the transformative nature of mentorship, and I stress the importance for young attorneys to show their value early on. Especially for lawyers from historically underrepresented groups in the profession, and for all lawyers of all backgrounds, that value manifests through client service and subject matter expertise. In the times where I was the only woman or Asian American in the room, I found strength in my ability to articulate the exact issues at hand, which allowed me to speak with authority and helped me find my “voice.” My mentees all share a trait—intellectual curiosity—that we then harness into becoming leaders in our fields.

We never know where opportunities will appear to us in life, and the chances we get come from places we never imagine. In that first summer after high school, I could not have envisioned becoming a capital markets lawyer, but over time, I was fortunate to have found my way here.

Education: Columbia Law School

Company Name: Latham & Watkins

Industry: Law

Company CEO: Richard Trobman

Your Location: Boston, MA

Words you live by: Humility and gratitude

Who is your personal hero?

Queen Elizabeth

What book are you reading? Sparring Partners by John Grisham

What was your first job?

I worked the Incoming Securities desk at JP Morgan.

Favorite charity: Toys for Tots

Interests/Hobbies: Spending time with my children, jogging, and yoga.

Family: I have a wonderful husband and two children.

33 2023 Second Quarter
Being curious and finding her voice has fueled a successful career in the law

Education: BS in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at UrbanaChampaign; MS in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan; BS, with honors, in electrical engineering

Company Name: Marshall, Gerstein & Borun LLP

Industry: Legal

Company CEO: Jeffrey Sharp, Managing Partner

Company Headquarters Location: Chicago, IL

Number of Employees: 200

Words you live by: Grace

Who is your personal hero?

Chou Yu-Hua, my maternal grandmother

What book are you reading? World of Wonders by Aimee Nezhukumatathil

What was your first job? McDonald’s

Favorite charity: DuPagePads (

“The Solution to End Homelessness”

Interests/Hobbies: Birdwatching, hiking, traveling

Family: Spouse, three young adult children, a son-in-law, and a new grandson

Musings on Mentoring

Professional, peer, and personal mentors - both formal and informalwere and are extremely important to my career growth and success. As these different types of mentors bring different experiences, contacts, advice, and guidance to the relationship, I feel that all three types of mentors are essential as my career is only one of many aspects of my life which fluidly inform each other. The effective mentors I have been fortunate to have over time are aware of this fluidity. Additionally, these mentors, no matter what type, share several common qualities which I believe make them especially good and valuable mentors to positively influence me:

- They recognize, appreciate, and attempt to understand the differences between the equity & cultural inclusion (or in some cases lack thereof), environment, and climate which I have cumulatively experienced so far and the equity & cultural inclusion into which I am trying to assimilate and succeed.

- They are empathetic, establish trust, and demonstrate mutual respect in forming and building a fruitful mentor/mentee relationship based on advocacy for myself.

- They are good coaches who can help assess a situation, problem, or goal and, by using the previously-mentioned qualities, provide encouragement, useful suggestions, and/or beneficial constructive feedback.

- They are excellent communicators who have good active listening and expressive communication skills, as well as the ability to adjust and use different communication techniques as appropriate for various topics and situations.

- They expand my skills, knowledge, network, and perspectives, either directly or indirectly. I am grateful for my mentors both past and present, and I try to incorporate some of their skills and techniques – trust, advocacy, inclusion – when I am mentoring others.

Lastly, a few tidbits for mentees:

- Initiate interactions with your mentor and take active steps to develop the relationship.

- Recognize that different mentors may be more useful for different topics and/or situations, and/or at different times in your career and your life. Multiple mentors are OK and provide various perspectives.

- Express your appreciation to the good mentors you have had, no matter how long it has been since you last had contact with them.

- Pay it forward!

34 2023 Second Quarter

One piece of advice that I keep top of mind as an attorney is to strive to understand my audience. At a high level, that’s core to what we do as litigators. I’ve been on trial teams where we spend a great deal of time and energy understanding the demographics of a jury pool. We pull census information and conduct surveys of possible jurors so that we can have an understanding of their general background including education, wealth, religious beliefs among other things. With this information, we try to identify what’s important to jurors and do our best to connect with them focusing on their values. Especially important in highly technical patent cases, a good lawyer who understands their audience can tell their client’s story in a way that is persuasive and easy to follow. The better story in front of the jury usually wins the day.

Education: JD, University of Georgia; BS, Industrial Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology

Company Name: Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP

Industry: Legal

Company CEO: Simon Malko

Company Headquarters Location: Atlanta, GA

Number of Employees: 384

Words you live by: When you’re in a dark place, you may think you’ve been buried. Actually, you’ve been planted.

But this advice is equally important out of the courtroom. When you’re making a pitch, it’s important to understand your prospective client. What do they care about? What drives them? What is a win?

What is a loss? What is their biggest fear? Understanding your client and their industry allows lawyers to better give effective and practical advice. The same is true when you’re leading a team of attorneys or when you’re hiring new attorneys. You want to make sure you are providing a space where attorneys can thrive and where new attorneys want to be.

Finally, this advice extends to my home life. My kids don’t care whether a motion was granted or denied. They care that I’m able to take them to school in the mornings, join them for an ice cream break, or be there to put them to bed at night.

Who is your personal hero? All single parents out there are heroes to me.

What book are you reading?

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

What was your first job? I stocked shelves at Target.

Favorite charity: I have two: Asian Americans Advancing Justice and the Southern Environmental Law Center.

Interests/Hobbies: Traveling and cooking.

Family: I have a wife and two daughters.

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Understanding people is key to being a successful lawyer, team leader…or parent
Especially important in highly technical patent cases, a good lawyer who understands their audience can tell their client’s story in a way that is persuasive and easy to follow. The better story in front of the jury usually wins the day.

Education: LLM, Taxation, University of Florida, Levin College of Law

Company Name: Moss Adams, LLP

Industry: Professional Services

Company CEO: Eric Miles

Company Headquarters Location: Seattle, WA

Number of Employees: 4,400

Your Location: Campbell, CA

Words you live by: Integrity, authenticity and growth

Who is your personal hero? Iris Chang (author)

What book are you reading? The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

What was your first job? Court clerk

Favorite charity: Asian Americans for Community Involvement (AACI)

Interests/Hobbies: Movies, books and plants (gardening)

Family: Zhihong (husband) and Ethan (son)

Lu Zhang

Managing Director, International Tax

Community plays a pivotal role in inclusion and diversity efforts by providing support, fostering learning, driving collaboration and innovation, amplifying voices, and celebrating diversity. By nurturing inclusive communities, we can create a more equitable and inclusive society where everyone can thrive and contribute their unique talents and perspectives.

Growing up, my parents instilled in me the values of putting others first, loyalty, selflessness, and hard work. Their teachings revolved around the importance of fostering a strong family unit, even if it meant being a small one, because they believed that a strong family could contribute to building a resilient community. Being of Chinese heritage, I take immense pride in my cultural background and embrace the opportunity to make a positive impact on the world by actively engaging in and supporting diverse communities.

This strong sense of community has deeply influenced my approach to my career, as I believe that the principles and values I have learned can be translated into the workplace. At Moss Adams, I have cultivated a community by actively seeking guidance from mentors and leaders, and in turn, I pass on their advice to younger team members. Moss Adams makes it easy with its focus toward creating a culture of belonging at the firm and making sure everyone feels welcome and valued.

Throughout my professional journey, I have had the privilege of working in various states across the United States as well as internationally. This exposure has allowed me to witness diverse working styles and collaborate with individuals from a wide range of companies and backgrounds. These experiences have not only equipped me with strategic insights and creative solutions for my clients but have also cultivated a deep sense of empathy and respect for different cultures and personalities.

By combining the invaluable lessons learned from my parents, my passion for contributing to a larger community, and my exposure to diverse working environments, I am committed to making a meaningful difference in the world. I wholeheartedly believe in the power of diversity, and I am eager to leverage my skills, knowledge, and experiences to create positive change and foster inclusive environments wherever I go.

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Building a strong, supportive work community is essential in a diverse world

I’m grateful for my chosen career path and the people I’ve gotten to work with along the way. If I had to boil down my success to one thing, it would be tenacity. I first came to the United States in 1986 as a college student. And shortly after that, I started a career in finance as a CPA. Although I did well in finance, I wanted a career on my terms, including a flexible schedule to care for my children. Origination was the answer. I discovered through originating that I could be the driving force of my own business and push myself through ceilings that would inspire others. That’s when I decided to pivot my career. In my first few months as a loan officer, I made more money on commission through originating loans than in my role as a vice president of finance. Fast forward to today, I am now the leading originator at New American Funding and the first woman in company history to do so.

Education: MBA, UCLA Anderson School of Management Graduate Program

Company Name: New American Funding

Industry: Mortgage

Company CEO: Rick Arvielo & Patty Arvielo

Company Headquarters Location: Tustin, CA

Number of Employees: 3,468

Your Location: Pasadena, CA

Words you live by:

My success did not happen overnight. I built my business from the ground up. I put myself in front of realtor partners and builders across the country, proving that I was the lender of choice for their client base. I proved time after time to them that I had persistence and dedication in seeing a deal through to the end.

I have always pushed myself to find creative solutions for clients, especially those in challenging circumstances. I earn their confidence, and I don’t take it for granted. I’m constantly learning and staying current on the latest rules and requirements governing the mortgage industry to help clients navigate complex regulations and procedures. I make the process simple to enable realtor partners and builders to understand it, giving them more confidence in my abilities as a loan officer.

I’m fueled by helping people achieve their dreams. And in a predominantly male industry, as a female immigrant, I am proud to have risen to the top. I can only attribute this to my tenacity. I hope that the footprint I leave for the next generation of women is that the American dream is possible through the power of hard work and dedication.

“I ask no favor for my sex. All I ask of our brethren is that they take their feet off our necks.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Who is your personal hero? Ruth Bader Ginsburg

What book are you reading?

Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach To Customer Service by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon M. Bowles

What was your first job?

Internal Auditor at Countrywide

Favorite charity: Maryknoll Missionaries

Interests/Hobbies: Travel

Family: My husband Brodie and three children: Hope, Grace, & Kana. Hope and Kana are licensed by the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System, and all work at New American Funding.

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This top loan originator says hard work and education made the American dream come true
I hope that the footprint I leave for the next generation of women is that the American dream is possible through the power of hard work and dedication.

Education: BA, University of the Pacific

Company Name: New York Life

Industry: Insurance

Company CEO: Craig DeSanto

Company Headquarters Location: New York, NY

Number of Employees: 11,718

Your Location: San Diego, CA

Words you live by: Life is precious. Make every day count.

Who is your personal hero?

My father who lived to 90 years old.

What book are you reading?

Finding Me by Viola Davis

What was your first job?

Franklin Templeton

Favorite charity: Del Mar Schools Education Foundation


Traveling, spending time with family and friends, and cooking

Family: Dave (husband), Ben and Emilia (children)

Head of Sales and Guidance, Pacific Zone

I’ve been fortunate to have many mentors over my career who shaped me as a person, both professionally and personally. Some of the best advice I’ve received and valued as a leader are:


Working with many different managers with varying leadership styles and personalities, I’ve learned to stay true to myself and my core values. Simply put – every person is unique. What works for them, may not work for you. I continue to define and clarify what brings me and those I interact with on a daily basis the greatest sense of purpose, meaning and happiness. I’ve learned that opportunities in both my professional and personal lives are unlimited. I try to let go of limiting beliefs and challenge myself, outside of my comfort zone, to push forward and grow as a person.


I’ve led many teams over my career. As a leader, I try to model the behavior that I’d like to see in my team members. I’ve found that this builds trust and an environment of teamwork. Actively and intentionally modeling behavior, through actions and words, helps to guide and inspire my team to do the same. I value and respect their work tremendously. Observational learning is particularly important with the women on my team. I support their motivation to lead and encourage them to mentor others.


I’ve worked for New York Life for 27 years. Our mission is simple: to provide our policy owners with financial security and peace of mind through the solutions and services we offer. I have experienced countless situations where our solutions have made a significant and positive difference in the lives of clients or their loved ones. Losing someone you love is devastating. Life insurance protects families from the potentially devastating financial losses that could result if something should happen to the main provider.

I’ve also engaged with many clients who’ve been able to live their dream retirement with peace of mind and financial security because of the lifetime guaranteed income we provide. It’s incredibly powerful, gratifying, and easy to be passionate about what you do when you work for a company that you strongly believe in.

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Three pieces of great advice to follow whether you are nine or 90

Growing up in Columbia, Maryland in the 1980s as the son of a Chinese immigrant presented a unique set of challenges and experiences that have shaped who I am today. Columbia was a planned community founded a generation earlier that was designed to be racially and economically diverse, and my family was just one of the few Asian families in the area at the time. Balancing the pressure of familial traditions and Asian values with a desire to fit in with peers and assimilate into American culture has driven my life’s pursuits to help create access and opportunity for all.

In particular, I have found a professional pathway that has allowed me to be at the nexus of business and community involvement. As a teenager earning my Eagle Scout rank, I was exposed early on how businesses were connected to their communities. Later, as I attended college in Richmond and joined my fraternity, I further experienced the power of volunteerism and the impact of philanthropy in strengthening local communities. From these formative experiences, I have sought out employers that recognized the importance of uplifting communities. Whether at a small business, a nonprofit, or a Fortune 100 company, I have been fortunate to find passionate colleagues and inspiring leaders all committed to doing good and doing well.

Through my professional career journey over the past two decades, I have come to recognize the multiple ways businesses and its leaders can easily get involved in their communities, such as:

• Philanthropy: Donate money or resources to local charities and nonprofit community organizations.

• Volunteering and employee engagement: Encourage their employees to volunteer in the community by sharing their talents, serving on nonprofit boards or providing paid time off for volunteer activities.

• Community events: Sponsor or participate in local civic events, such as festivals, parades, and fundraisers.

• Sustainable Practices: Implement environmentally-friendly practices that benefit the community (i.e. recycling, using renewable energy sources).

I have come to believe that businesses that prioritize social responsibility and community involvement build stronger relationships with their customers, enhance their brand reputation, and attract and retain talented employees. Moreover, I have experienced how communities benefit from the economic development and job creation that businesses can provide, as well as the philanthropic efforts that support local initiatives. By working together, purpose-driven businesses and communities can build mutually beneficial relationships that support economic growth, social responsibility, community development, increased opportunity and a more diverse and just future for all.

Education: BS, Business Administration, University of Richmond; MBA, Claremont Graduate University

Company Name:

Northern Virginia Family Service

Industry: Nonprofit

Company CEO: Stephanie Berkowitz

Company Headquarters Location: Oakton, VA

Number of Employees: 350

Words you live by: Be curious, be purposeful, be happy

Who is your personal hero? My father

What book are you reading?

The Art of Possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander & Benjamin Zander

What was your first job?

Video game retail store clerk/cashier

Favorite charity:

Junior Achievement of Greater Washington


Reading, history, traveling, wine & bourbon tasting, cheering on the Cubs!

Family: Heather (Wife)

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Justice, equity and sustainability requires a partnership between businesses and communities

Education: JD, University of WisconsinMadison; BA, University of California, Berkeley

Company Name: Robins Kaplan LLP

Industry: Law

Company CEO: Ronald J. Schutz

Company Headquarters Location: Minneapolis, MN

Number of Employees: 457

Your Location: New York, NY

Words you live by:

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” – Maya Angelou

Who is your personal hero?

My father, George Huang, for his ingenuity and the kindness, care, and encouragement that he gave to so many.

What book are you reading?

Stay True by Hua Hsu

What was your first job?

Selling UC Berkeley spirit apparel at home football games

Favorite charity: World Central Kitchen

Interests/Hobbies: Travel, tennis, photography, live theater

Annie Huang

Partner and Deputy Managing Partner, New York Office

Mentors have been crucial to my nearly two-decade career at Robins Kaplan. I have been fortunate to have had a variety of mentors, from more experienced attorneys to peers and newer attorneys, both inside and outside the firm.

One of the few bright spots to come out of the pandemic was getting to participate in the Lam Mentoring Circle, which grew out of a program titled “Stronger Together: APA Women in the Legal Profession – Strategies to Support, Lead, and Advance” at the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) Fall 2020 Conference. The program featured Judy Lam, a partner at Maynard Nexsen, with six other AAPI women of different levels of practice experience, Asian ethnicities, practice settings, and sexual orientations exploring the specific challenges that they encountered in the legal profession and the strategies they employ to surmount and move past them. The moderator asked each panelist, “What will you pledge to do to support and foster Asian American women in the profession?” Lam offered to host a mentoring circle.

Lam’s mentoring circle began with the original seven panelists from the AABANY panel and added five more women. Prior to each quarterly meeting, Lam provides one or two questions for us to discuss during the meeting. For the circle to build trust, we agreed to keep the discussions confidential, to respect each other’s differences and differing opinions, and to attend as our schedules allowed. This openness and flexibility makes for a very effective and sustainable group, and for engagement in authentic discussions. The Lam Mentoring Circle does not only formally mentor from top down, but also encourages reverse mentoring—where the younger members mentor our more experienced members. More than two years after its formation, the Circle remains strong. I am grateful for the opportunity to connect with such a diverse and open group of AAPI women.

Recently at Robins Kaplan, the Attorneys of Color Resource Group launched mentoring pods to foster more engagement, both personal and professional, across offices and practice groups. Our mentoring pods bring together attorneys across different offices, practice areas, and experience levels in small groups of about five with the intention of building deeper relationships and trust across the community, while also providing professional and personal support and resources. The mentoring pods also meet quarterly to discuss everything from personal reactions and issues outside the firm, to professional development and support networks for issues internal to the firm. I have the honor of heading one of the mentoring pods at Robins Kaplan and my experience with the Lam Mentoring Circle has directly influenced how I lead the pod, as well as how I approach my other roles at the firm.

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Mentoring is a superpower for female Asian American lawyers, young and old

Qiaojing Ella Zheng

Managing Partner of Palo Alto and San Francisco Offices, Chair of Asian American Litigation and Finance Practice

Empowering Change through an Innovative Legal Practice – My Journey as an Asian American Female Lawyer

As an Asian American female lawyer, I take great pride in the unique path I have forged, serving as an inspiration for future generations of legal professionals. My journey to becoming a successful litigator has been unconventional, filled with challenges, self-discovery, and a deep commitment to social justice.

My academic journey was marked by diverse experiences, earning a Bachelor of Laws degree from a prestigious university in China and later pursuing a Master of Laws at Thomas Jefferson School of Law. However, upon entering the legal profession, I felt a sense of confusion and frustration as I attempted to navigate the conventional measures of success. Learning through great mentorship, I realized I had been trying to fit into a predetermined mold, losing sight of my own strengths and passions. This realization gave me the courage and freedom to be creative in helping my clients reclaim their voices while pursuing my own career goals at Sanford Heisler Sharp in 2014.

Observing a scarcity of bilingual lawyers in the employment law field and the large need for legal representation for non-English speaking employees, even in a diverse geographic area such as Silicon Valley, I saw an opportunity to make a meaningful impact. Motivated to be a voice for workers of color and underrepresented communities, I devised a plan to leverage my multicultural background, language skills, and connections. Collaborating closely with individuals and community organizations, I identified civil rights and social justice issues that impacted Asian American communities and tailored legal strategies to address these challenges. Over the years, I have provided customized educational presentations and workshops for workers’ groups on a variety of employment law and civil rights issues. Additionally, I contributed bilingual articles on matters specific to minority workers and provided expert commentaries on emerging legal issues to local and international media outlets, shedding light on the unique concerns faced by marginalized communities.

My entrepreneurial initiatives and thought leadership were successful and the establishment of the Firm’s Asian American Litigation and Financial Practice, the first plaintiff-side litigation practice dedicated to the Asian American communities across the country.

My journey as an Asian American female litigator is a testament to the transformative power of embracing uniqueness and thinking innovatively. By leveraging my multicultural background, language skills, and connections, I have made a significant impact on underrepresented communities, amplifying their voices and advocating for justice. I hope to inspire future generations of legal professionals to embrace their uniqueness and create positive change in the legal landscape. With the courage to embrace our authentic selves, we can challenge norms, drive innovation, and foster a more inclusive and equitable society through the practice of law.

Education: Thomas Jefferson School of Law, LLM Zhejiang University, LLB

Company Name: Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP

Industry: Law

Company CEO: David Sanford

Company Headquarters Location: Washington, D.C.

Number of Employees: 105

Your Location: Palo Alto, CA

Words you live by: Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.

Who is your personal hero?

My grandmother

What book are you reading?

Dear Girls by Ali Wong

What was your first job?

Associate Attorney at a boutique firm in San Diego

Favorite charity: YWCA Golden Gate Silicon Valley

Interests/Hobbies: Travel, culinary exploration, hosting events, playing tennis

Family: My husband and my almost 3-yearold daughter

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Education: JD, University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School; BA in English and Molecular & Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley

Company Name:

Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox PLLC

Industry: Legal – IP Litigation

Company CEO: Michael B. Ray, Managing Director

Company Headquarters Location: Washington, DC.

Number of Employees: 435

Words you live by: Treat others as you would like to be treated.

Who is your personal hero?

Working moms

What book are you reading?

Exhalation by Ted Chang

What was your first job? Barista

Favorite charity: World Central Kitchen

Interests/Hobbies: Running, yoga, and gardening

Family: My husband and pitbull mix pup

Finding a good mentor is important. When you do, treat them right

I cannot overstate the importance of mentors in my career. I am incredibly fortunate to have had several mentors at my firm, but one in particular was especially influential. We just “clicked” when we met, and I had the opportunity to travel with her on business trips from Texas to China. At every stage, my mentor, Uma Everett, gave me positive feedback and, even more importantly, constructive criticism. Observing her navigate interactions with clients, opposing counsel, and the courts gave me a roadmap for navigating those terrains on my own. I learned early on how much grit would be required to thrive in a law firm. I know I would not be so well positioned in my career today, ten years in, had it not been for Uma’s guidance over the years.

In a field as grueling as patent litigation, I think few things can aid in the retention of diverse individuals more than strong mentorship and true professional opportunity. In paying forward the investment others made in me, I make an effort to mentor and give regular feedback (complementary and constructive) to the associates with whom I work. I strongly encourage associates seeking mentorship to consider how they can be an asset to their mentors, rather than just seeing themselves as passive recipients of goodwill. In addition to establishing a balanced relationship with mentors, it is important to be proactive and to act in ways that will make supervisors’ lives easier, especially as a junior attorney.

Taking the initiative to do things, such as helping to organize an agenda before a meeting; reminding a supervisor of an upcoming deadline and offering to assist; and offering creative solutions to problems on a matter rather than just identifying them, can go a long way in establishing yourself. The more value you provide to your supervisor, the more they turn to you for assistance. Before long, a strong working relationship is established with ample occasions to ask for further professional advice and opportunities to work on interesting projects.

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I strongly encourage associates seeking mentorship to consider how they can be an asset to their mentors, rather than just seeing themselves as passive recipients of goodwill.

With my Asian descent, good STEM background, and wealth of opportunities ahead of me, I landed in the United States when I was 21. I was focused on furthering my education to deepen my roots in academia in the States before launching myself into the workforce. It seemed like a logical way of blending into the workforce with the right foundation.

As a technology intern, my first job in the corporate world allowed me to develop the needed skills by learning from and leaning on my peers, supervisors, and other experienced team members. My immediate goal was to conquer the unknown world as best I could and get a full-time job. While I was successful at that, I was looking at delivering the best performance in my job, learning the business, and exploring the breadth of technical skills.

So when do I know what I can do and what I am capable of? I slowly started to wander around, wondering where I should focus next. I looked up to many other successful peers, their influence on others, mentors who could guide me, and other females who were ahead of me. I did not quite recognize that to stand out, I needed to either pave my own way or follow the path of others who came from a similar background. As I became more driven to explore the growth opportunities, I went back to school to get a business administration degree and took on additional challenging roles to prove the possibilities of breaking some silos.

While I continued my journey to be a technologist and leading teams of technologists, I’m blessed to have the right leaders who gave me the incremental boost throughout my career by empowering me earlier on with trust, allowing me to explore and take on responsibilities, inspiring and coaching me to take on challenges and watch me succeed, taking a chance to provide opportunities, and reminding me to exhibit the confidence that shaped me into a possible leader.

Every one of us with similar or diverse backgrounds will likely need a role model to aspire to, a sponsor to lift, and a chance to unleash our potential. Our passion and drive will define the runway ahead of us; it is very important to look up to seek the right support and, more importantly, lay the foundation for others to succeed. As we continue to clear the path of impossibles to find the “I’m possible,” we can help others succeed and create a chain of possibilities.

Education: MBA, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Nebraska; Masters, Computer Science, University of Nebraska at Omaha; BS, Civil Engineering, Kakatiya Institute of Technology and Sciences, Warangal, India

Company Name: Union Pacific Railroad

Industry: Transportation

Company CEO: Lance Fritz

Company Headquarters Location: Omaha, NE

Number of Employees: 33,359

Words you live by: Honesty and integrity. Dedication and hard work. Passion and pride. Positivity and optimism.

Who is your personal hero? My father, a retired civil engineer from the public sector in India. He believed in chasing dreams and his drive to help others has always motivated me. He is my true inspiration.

What book are you reading? New Power by Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms

What was your first job? Math tutor at the University of Nebraska. With my STEM background, it was a rather easy one to help students with their homework.

Favorite charity: Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a non-profit that provides breast cancer awareness and support for women at all ages and backgrounds.

Interests/Hobbies: Listening to music, art and creativity

Family: Married for 25 years, lives with husband and two daughters (21 and 15)

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Helpful leaders and role models helped her craft a career in STEM and make her dreams possible

Education: MBA, Creighton University; BFA, University of Utah

Company Name: Union Pacific Railroad

Industry: Transportation

Company CEO: Lance Fritz

Company Headquarters Location: Omaha, NE

Number of Employees: 35,000

Words you live by: You’ll never know unless you try.

Who is your personal hero? My wife

What book are you reading? New to Big by David Kidder and Christina Wallace

What was your first job? Paper route

Favorite charity: Creighton University Spring Break Service Trips

Interests/Hobbies: Travel, biking and food

Family: Wife, Anna Lee, two girls (Ivy-17, Clara-16), and one boy (David Jr-14)

David L. Welch

General Director Corporate Strategy

Work and study hard to get to the top but don’t be a wallflower

From the time I began elementary school my Korean mother continually would say “study hard!” As I told her the news of being hired at Union Pacific or enrolled in my MBA, again her words, “work hard!” At a young age I was encouraged to put my head down. I was told my work will stand-out, be a team player and always express deference to titles and experience. Certainly, never challenge or question how things are being done.

Fast forward to around my ten-year anniversary with the company, and I noticed that my career was starting to stall. I was a hard worker and took a lot of pride in working long hours and taking on new assignments to demonstrate my value and commitment to the organization. So, why was I suddenly getting passed over for promotions after several rapid promotions and strong performance reviews?

I asked mentors what I may be doing wrong or what I could change. One trusted advisor and fast riser in the company asked me a question. He said, “David, put these three things in order of importance for advancing your career: hard work, image and exposure.” I thought about the question for a few seconds, and said, “hard work, and then maybe image and exposure, but those are not as important.” He then recommended that I keep all these, top of mind.

Truth be told, managers are usually risk adverse to hiring someone who they don’t know, and having exposure to that person and possessing a positive image are very important factors in advancing your career. My mentor opened my perspective – hard work is always a must, but putting yourself out there, proactively advocating for your team and being aware of how your communication is perceived can be the tie breaker in getting the next opportunity to progress in your career.

I am grateful for all my trusted advisors and recent sponsors that have provided honest guidance over the years. I take great pride in being authentic with career focused employees seeking my advice. I encourage them to step out of their comfort zone and challenge them to create an action-oriented plan that will help them attain their goals.

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My mentor opened my perspective - hard work is always a must, but putting yourself out there, proactively advocating for your team and being aware of how your communication is perceived can be the tie breaker in getting the next opportunity to progress in your career.

Rachel Endo

Dean and Professor, School of Education, UW Tacoma

As a pre-K -12th grade student who grew up in a predominantly White Midwestern community, I did not learn about Asian American experiences, histories, and identities, let alone anything remotely related to racial diversity in the United States. As a first-generation college student at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, I took literature courses from two revolutionary English professors, Julia Garrett and Phil Smith. Through reading classics in Asian American literature in their courses, I learned that my family’s experiences and histories were not isolated incidents, but rather, connected to a larger socio-historical context of anti-Asian sentiment and racial exclusion that has been foundational to our nation’s consciousness.

Often, people of all backgrounds, including those in our community, believe Asians do not seek or want leadership positions due to a “bamboo ceiling” that is of our own making, or depict us as too culturally deficient or different to succeed as leaders in White-dominated workplaces. Missing from these simplistic narratives is understanding how historically, the mainstream labor market in the United States has racially excluded, isolated, and segregated our communities and the individuals within them into broad categories of desirable versus undesirable workers.

We see remnants of these inequitable practices in modern times, where explicit and implicit biases impact the career trajectories of many Asian American and other BIPOC professionals. For example, in academia, leaders, especially those from dominant backgrounds, generally prefer to maintain the status quo because doing so is beneficial, convenient, and familiar to them and those who are like them. Within the above context, I am well-aware that my equity-invested leadership style defies gendered and racialized stereotypes that Asian American women should subscribe to and valorize Whiteness, which is refreshing to many but unsettling to others.

In this current political climate that is rampant with misinformation and widening ideological divides, I believe leaders across demographic backgrounds and industries have a social responsibility to insist on equity, starting within their own organizations. Over my career, including now as a dean of education and a faculty member at UW Tacoma, I have made it a lifelong commitment to identify and reduce equity gaps in pre-K – 12th and higher education, as well as in the workforce.

Finally, I would describe myself as a reluctant leader, as I am an introvert and a private person. However, given the severe underrepresentation of Asian Americans in leadership positions, paying it forward is critical to our collective and individual successes. I could not be where I am today without the support of dozens of BIPOC mentors, the majority of whom are African American. They have advocated for and supported the next generation of BIPOC leaders and professionals, with great care, humility, and humor, inspiring me to do the same.

Education: PhD in Education, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; MA and MPA and BS, University of Nebraska at Omaha

Company Name: University of Washington, Tacoma

Industry: Higher Education

Company CEO: Sheila Edwards Lange, Chancellor & Professor of Practice in Education

Company Headquarters Location: Tacoma, WA

Number of Employees: 738 full-time faculty and staff

Words you live by: “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” – Maya Angelou

Who is your personal hero?

My parents, Tsutomu and Jeri Endo

What book are you reading? Fugitive Pedagogy: Carter G. Woodson and the Art of Black Teaching by Jarvis Givens

What was your first job?

I worked at a grocery store

Favorite charity: Japanese American National Museum

Interests/Hobbies: Drawing, reading, and spending time with family and friends

Family: Most are in Nebraska and Wisconsin (in the United States); many in Japan

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In a still biased world, this professor is dedicated to closing equity gaps in education and the workforce

Education: MBA, Finance, Rutgers University; BS, Finance, Temple University

Company Name: Webster Bank

Industry: Banking

Company CEO: John Ciulla

Company Headquarters Location: Stamford, CT

Number of Employees: 3,500+

Your Location: New York City, NY

Words you live by: “ matters of feeling and of the heart, too much is always better than too little.” – Jose Saramago

Who is your personal hero? Slyvester Mobley – classmate, long-time friend and mentor - founder of Coded by Kids. He’s a pillar of Philadelphia’s technology community who inspired and changed the lives and outlook of many including my own. He made me realize the power of individuals and the meaningful positive impact one can have on many.

What book are you reading?

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini, PhD

What was your first job? I had my first and hardest job in college when I worked as a server at a wedding catering company. Hats off to all who work in the service industry!

Favorite charity: Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders)

Interests/Hobbies: Kayaking, golfing, reading and art enthusiast

Family: Mom and Dad

Samantha Yang

Senior Managing Director, CIO Strategy & Governance

Teamwork makes the dream work: why I fell in love with collaboration in America

When I was five, a classmate showed me his Parker ballpoint pen and proudly declared that you can drop it from a plane thousands of feet above ground and it would not incur any damage. When I asked him incredulously how that could be possible, he exclaimed, “That’s the power of German engineering!” He did not realize at the time the pen was manufactured in the United Kingdom and the company was founded by an American. What he did realize at the tender age of five was that he wanted to be an engineer. I, on the other hand, had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. My father’s side of the family wanted to see me in politics and my mother’s side saw being a professor as a respectable goal. I wanted to figure it out for myself, so I came to America.

The most resounding observation I had when I started my life here was the prevalence of collaboration and teamwork, and how widely it was encouraged in communities, celebrated in schools, and valued at work - often without compromising individuality. This was so different from the competitive pressure I felt amongst my peers back home. When you are part of a team – regardless of the social economic background, ethnicity, and beliefs – you work towards a common goal that unites us all.

Teamwork and collaboration have guided me throughout my career. In college, it was a teammate who saw me struggling in literature class and lent me her CliffsNotes so I could keep up with the reading requirements and still make contributions to our project. Some years later, a teammate at work noticed I seemed to gravitate towards systems thinking before I learned its definition and recommended that I venture into project and portfolio management. I did just that and went on to lead projects anywhere from a single user interface development to global enterprise implementations. There were countless times when I was stuck on solving a problem and a teammate offered a different approach, alternative point of view, challenged the underlying assumption or completely changed the way things were done, which ended up driving immeasurable benefits for the organization. Of course, there were hurdles along the way, but when I felt the roadblocks were insurmountable I needed to look no further than the people next me and be reinvigorated by their grit and determination.

I draw inspiration and find mentors from my teams for support, guidance, ideas, and resiliency – all the building blocks that led me to my current role as head of IT Strategy and Governance at Webster Bank. I like to think that I am still growing up with endless possibilities ahead, and the journey will be incredible with the amazing people that surround me. My friend with the Parker pen found his way to the states as well and became an engineer just as he envisioned at five years old, except he did not end up working at a German engineering company, but an American one called Apple.

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When I started out as an associate at WilmerHale, I was aware, and wary, of the many tropes surrounding Big Law—the opportunity to work on high stakes, interesting matters on the one hand, but long hours, cutthroat culture, and minimal mentorship on the other hand. My original goal was to stay only a few years to take advantage of the professional development opportunities, and then move on before I burned out. But over a decade later I am still at the firm, grateful that not all Big Law stereotypes are true.

My first case team had dozens of lawyers, and I was one of the most junior lawyers, but I never felt like a cog in a machine. I was entrusted with ownership of a key issue, and honed the arguments with one of the lead partners in the lead up to and during trial. I was encouraged to share my views at team meetings, and received continual feedback on my work.

Education: JD, Harvard Law School; ME and BS, MIT

Company Name: WilmerHale

Industry: Law

Company CEO: Susan Murley & Robert Novick (co-managing partners)

Company Headquarters Location: Washington, D.C.

Number of Employees: 1,988

What book are you reading? Whatever my kids are reading

Meanwhile, when I started on the case, I had a one-year-old at home, and by the time we went to trial I was 8 months pregnant with my second child. Everyone I worked with was respectful of my commitments outside of work—doctor’s appointments, childcare duties, and just feeling under the weather—and I never felt sidelined because of them. My experience on that team was emblematic of the culture I found at WilmerHale, one that had high expectations not only for the quality of work we did, but also for how we treated others. I have happily stayed at the firm ever since, and tried to do my part to sustain the values that allowed me to grow both professionally and personally.

I’m fortunate in that I love my work, and for me that means not only enjoying the legal issues I tackle every day, but also respecting and appreciating the people I work with. Ultimately, I learned that when it comes to finding a place to hang your hat, culture matters, values matter, and ultimately the people matter.

What was your first job? Tutor

Favorite charity: The Henry Ford Invention Convention (K-12 invention education program)

Interests/Hobbies: Knitting, cooking, trying to braid my daughters’ hair

Family: Very grateful to my husband and our two girls

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Yes, Big Law can be caring, nurturing and understanding. Look for a firm with values.
Ultimately, I learned that when it comes to finding a place to hang your hat, culture matters, values matter, and ultimately the people matter.

Education: JD, University of California College of the Law, San Francisco; MPH, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; PhD, Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University; BS, Chemistry and Biology, Emory University

Company Name: Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

Industry: Legal

Company CEO: N/A – Managing Partner, Doug Clark

Company Headquarters Location: Palo Alto, CA

Number of Employees: 2,336

Your Location: Seattle, WA

Words you live by:

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” – Maya Angelou

Who is your personal hero?

My grandfather

What book are you reading?

Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky

What was your first job?

Research assistant

Favorite charity: Feeding America

Interests/Hobbies: Hiking

Family: Husband and two cats

Eva F. Yin Partner

I would not be here without mentors who advocated for me and supported my personal and professional growth along the way. When I was younger, I had amazing math and science teachers who fostered my interests in science and made it possible for me to take college classes in these subjects at the local university before I graduated from high school. They didn’t have to offer that option to me, and the public school system could have refused to pay for the college courses, but they nudged me forward, and I am forever grateful to them and the public schools for allowing me to advance my education beyond the conventional school system. That experience not only fast-tracked my higher education and career but taught me to become independent and resourceful at an early age and gave me the confidence to take more risks in life and to pursue my interests wherever they led me.

to the underrepresented communities.

Throughout my legal career, I have been fortunate to have worked with a number of partners who provided similar support and opportunities for me. Even though I started law school late – after pursuing graduate degrees in life sciences and public health – my mentors helped me to capitalize on my strengths and advance my legal career at the intersection of science, health policy, and law. Looking back now, I think the best mentors I had gave me new perspectives, helped me build confidence in my skills and abilities, and advocated for opportunities that gave me recognition and allowed me to grow and spread my wings.

Not everyone is exposed to the same opportunities or has access to the same resources, which highlights the importance of mentorship in any profession and our communities, especially in an increasingly complex and interconnected society. Part of what makes my job fulfilling and exciting now is to give back what others have contributed to my education and career journey, including through my firm’s pro bono program and other volunteer opportunities that help to advance minority entrepreneurs and give a voice to the underrepresented communities. This has made the work I do more meaningful and allowed me to expand my professional and social networks.

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I had a mentor dream team. Others should too
Part of what makes my job fulfilling and exciting now is to give back what others have contributed to my education and career journey, including through my firm’s pro bono program and other volunteer opportunities that help to advance minority entrepreneurs and give a voice

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: September 15, 2023

Profiles in Diversity Journal® is proud to honor these individuals who contribute to the success of your organization. We invite you to join us in this endeavor by nominating one or more members of your team who, through their advocacy, perseverance, legacy, or professional achievements, have triumphed over racism and bias to become Black Leaders.

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Nominate Today!

Congratulations on 25 Years from The Winters Group

Founder and CEO Mary-Frances Winters and President and COO Mareisha

N. Reese of The Winters Group, Inc., commend Jim Rector and the team from Profiles in Diversity Journal® on 25 years of advancing the conversation on diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice! It is thanks to the support of Profiles in Diversity Journal that businesses such as The Winters Group can thrive in bringing culture change to organizations around the world. Says Winters: “I have known Jim since the launch of the Profiles in Diversity Journal and have been inspired by his commitment and passion.”

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Mary-Frances Winters, Founder and CEO of The Winters Group. Mary-Frances Winters and Mareisha N. Reese, President and COO of The Winters Group.

Celebrating Milestones

Mary-Frances Winters also celebrates four decades at the helm of The Winters Group, Inc., a global diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice consulting firm that she started out of her basement in Rochester, New York, in 1984, long before it was commonplace for women to start their own businesses. Only 3% of Black womenowned businesses survive longer than five years, according to J.P. Morgan Wealth Management, and those that do rarely reach multimillion-dollar status. According to data from the Small Business Credit Survey, 63% of Black-owned businesses have revenues of $100,000 or less and only 3% report revenues of $5 million or above. Today, Winters’ firm partners with a broad range of clients including Activision Blizzard, Brookings, Harvard, and the Walt Disney Company, organizations that she helped shape and influence through her thought leadership in the DEIJ space.

A Look Back

As Winters wrote in Profiles in Diversity Journal in 2007, “We either learn mutual respect and appreciation, how to share power and collaborate, or we will suffer what could be dire consequences.” This wisdom dates back to Winters beginning her career in human resources and affirmative action. She was one of four employees selected for an executive MBA program, after which she moved on to co-lead the first competitive intelligence unit at Eastman Kodak. Driven by her experiences as a Black woman navigating corporate environments that were sometimes hostile to her intersecting identities, Winters started her own consulting firm. Early clients included Fortune 500 companies such as Eastman Kodak, Xerox, and Bausch + Lomb. Winters was the youngest person and the first African American female named to the Board of Trustees at the University of Rochester at the age of 36. Winters’ other achievements include receiving the Avon Women of Enterprise Award; The Hutchinson Medal—the highest alumni award from the University of Rochester; the Athena Award from the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce; and the March of Dimes Mother of the Year Award for the outstanding achievements of her children: Joseph,

About The Winters Group

a graduate of Harvard, Duke, and Princeton; and Mareisha with degrees in computer science from Spelman College, electrical engineering from Georgia Tech, and dual master’s degrees in business administration and information systems from the University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business. Sadly, her husband Joe, who was a staunch supporter of The Winters Group, died at age 47 of a heart attack when her children were just 18 and 20 years old.

Focused on the Future

The author of seven books on inclusive leadership, including We Can’t Talk About That at Work! and Inclusive Conversations, Winters is ensuring her legacy by lifting up the next generation of thought leaders on culture change and equity and justice. In her latest book, Racial Justice at Work: Practical Solutions for Systemic Change published in 2023, Winters chose to amplify the voices and stories of 12 up-and-coming leaders in DEIJ who will all carry on the work of transforming organizations and creating a more equitable and just world. In 2024, she will celebrate the 40th anniversary of The Winters Group and also release the second edition of We Can’t Talk About That at Work!, which she is co-writing with daughter Mareisha N. Reese. PDJ

The Winters Group, Inc., is a Black women-owned DEIJ global consulting firm. For nearly four decades, The Winters Group has unapologetically challenged systems of oppression and pushed the boundaries of what it means to be inclusive. The company has unflinchingly guided hundreds of companies and organizations to reject the status quo, interrogate inequities, and dismantle unjust systems. The Winters Group relentlessly shepherds a new era of bold, fearless leadership that centers the experiences of the marginalized to create justice for all. For more information, visit

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Mary-Frances Winters speaking at The Forum on Workplace Inclusion.

“Thank you so much – I am truly honored by this!” – Betty Pang

“Thank you for reaching out and for this recognition (Thank you Marta for the nomination!)” – Marjoke Debets

“This is great news – thank you.

Congratulations, Allison!” – Lora Lewis

“Very honored to be nominated!”

“Thank you so much for reaching out to me about my inclusion as one of this year’s award winners. I am truly honored and grateful for this recognition.” – Venetia Manners


2 023 AWARD

“Thank you for sharing the great news!” – Maria Groszek


“Thanks for the update, and what an honor!” – Jacqueline Tio

“Thank you for this amazing honor to showcase Doral’s achievements!” – Simone Singh

“Thank you so much! That’s quite the honor!” – Rose Chambers

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“We have received your note and are delighted with the news –thank you!”
– Colin Barraclough
– Cynthia Perry

“This is great news, I appreciate his opportunity to share my story and be a visible woman of color in STEM to aspiring young people everywhere.

Thank you, Noemi for the nomination! I really appreciate your allyship!

Onwards and upwards!”

“Thanks for the recognition! I’m flattered and excited!”

– Jush Danielson

“This is great news!”

“What an honor. Thank you very much…Profiles in Diversity Journal for the recognition.”

– Zarina Stanford


2 023

“Thank you so much for this honor, which arrived in my inbox on my birthday. What a great present!” – Rachel Cohen


“We’ve received your message and are ecstatic about Shannon’s recognition.” – Erica Loera

“Thank you, I’m excited to be on the list!”

“Thank you very much for the selection, I am very excited and honored about the award.

THANK YOU!” – Petra Verdino

“Appreciate you recognizing Carol as an honoree!” – Kali Gill

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– Chandrika Vira

Fifth Annual

The 5th Annual Women Worth Watching® in STEM Awards

PDJ Salutes its Fifth Annual Class of Women Worth Watching® in STEM Award Winners

We are proud to feature the 35 Women Worth Watching® in STEM Award winners for 2023 in the following pages. Nominated by a leader or colleague within the organization where she is employed, and selected by Profiles in Diversity Journal® based on her contributions, leadership, mentoring, and professional achievements in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics, each of these outstanding women is an example for the rest of us. This is the fifth year PDJ has recognized women who have pursued, and excelled in, STEM careers with its Women Worth Watching® in STEM Award. So, take this opportunity to get to know these remarkable women—learn about their personal interests and professional passions, and read their essays for some interesting insights and valuable advice.

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Women Wor th Watching® in STEM
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Company Name: AT&T Industry: Telecommunications

Company CEO: John Stankey

Company HQ Location: Dallas, TX

Number of Employees: 150k+

Jush Danielson, AVP Technology & Transformation Center of Excellence

Education: BS, Electrical Engineering, Purdue University

Words you live by: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control

Personal Philosophy: Bloom where I am planted. Life is filled with different seasons. There is good in each new experience. Embrace it.

What book are you reading? Surrender by Bono and Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

What was your first job? Salesperson at a small business shop focused on electronics

Favorite charity: Outreach (focused on the under-resourced in Illinois)

Interests: Travel, gardening, entertaining and all things outdoors - hiking, skiing, paddleboarding

Family: Husband of 28 years Jim and two daughters – Sasha (22) and Sumana (18)

What can be done to increase diversity in STEM fields?

We have made great strides over the past few decades; however, we still have a long way to go. We need to continue to be vigilant about promoting STEM and the focus should target youth- specifically elementary through middle school ages. My daughters were exposed to robotics clubs, science camps, and various other STEM field activities at an early age. This fueled a curiosity that enabled them to gain the confidence needed to pursue it. Corporations have the opportunity to play a big role in this area. The development of STEM day camps and summer programs fosters a passion for this field. Diverse youth need to see diverse leaders in STEM fields. When this happens, a career in science seems possible. It gives them hope and can ignite the drive to pursue STEM fields.

What can be done to move women forward in STEM?

I am a firm believer that we should always move individuals forward on MERIT. And there are plenty of highly qualified women who have earned that merit to move forward. Our job is to ensure “she” is given a fair opportunity to enter the process. This may include having to widen the search net to ensure enough female applicants are included. Hiring and progression/ promotion procedures need to evolve to ensure this tactic is designed into the process.

Describe your experiences as a woman in a STEM career. What else would you like our readers to know about being a woman in a STEM career in 2023?

When I started my career 30 years ago, I was definitely in the minority. Today, I am still in the minority, but I feel supported and valued for my differences. My voice and perspective is being respected more than ever before. Organizations have programs to ensure young females entering STEM fields find communities that help them find their voice. A female in STEM industries is valued in today’s marketplace.

Approximately 50% of the world’s population is female. It’s a highly competitive market out there and companies realize that diversity of perspectives in their employee base is a tenet for success. Corporations are embracing concepts that put them in a place to succeed, including ensuring that their employee base mirrors the demographics of their customers. To the girls and young women considering entering a STEM industry, now is the time. You are a highly sought after asset in the business world. Take advantage of it! Find your voice. Be your authentic self. Your diverse perspective is a differentiator in today’s market.

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Zarina Lam Stanford, CMO

Company Name: Bazaarvoice

Industry: Technology

Company CEO: Keith Nealon

Company HQ Location: Austin, TX

Number of Employees: 1,200

Education: Executive Leadership, Stanford University; MBA, Southern Methodist University; BA Journalism, University of North Texas

Words you live by: Be relevant; get things done; celebrate and have fun; #daretogrow

Personal Philosophy: Have a voice. Speak up. Pay forward.

What book are you reading? Show Your Worth by Shelmina Babai

What was your first job? Proposal writer

Favorite charity: Habitat for Humanity

Interests: Travel, ikebana (Japanese flower arrangement), nature, sailing

Family: Zarina is the youngest of five siblings and has two sons – Blake (26) and Jeremy (25)

What can be done to increase diversity in STEM fields?

To increase diversity and adoption in STEM and STEM fields first and foremost, we have to generate awareness, understanding, and interest of what STEM is all about. We have to make it simple, relatable, and fun. So here are my five suggestions:

1. Stay away from acronyms because acronyms (like STEM) are not simple and not intuitive. Say science, technology, engineering, and mathematics intermittently and interchangeably with STEM. Make it simple and say it in plain words.

2. Underscore the common thread among science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. To me, they are all about patterns and recognizing patterns. Seeing patterns, therefore, becomes the most important skill for humans of all diversities and spectrums to embrace STEM and STEM fields.

3. Avoid stereotyping. State and show that STEM is for everyone. Be inclusive.

4. Demonstrate how STEM fields are exciting and impactful to the world and to everyone on Earth. If one has even ridden in a moving vehicle - a bike, a car, a boat, or a rocket – it is science, technology, engineering, and mathematics that made it possible. We deal with and benefit from STEM every hour, everyday. Be a role model, whether you are of a minority or majority profile.

How is the world changing with respect to STEM?

I would classify the change as revolutionary. A few years ago when the movie ”Hidden Figures” came out, I watched it four times within the first 3 months. It was math, along with other elements of S-T-E and human determination that put us on the Moon. Today, technology and science are at the fingertips of all of us, young and old, around the world.

STEM is at the core of everything we do, every day, and every hour. It is in the phones we carry, the cars we drive, or the simple act of telling time or conducting a virtual meeting online. Thanks to STEM and its derivatives, we now live in a world of connectedness and collaboration. It is the engine underneath digital transformation, social commerce, modern medicine, and the rising artificial intelligence field.

As a discipline and an enabler to every aspect of the world we live in, STEM is ubiquitous. It is fundamental for everything, for innovation and growth for the world and for each of us on Earth.

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Women Wor th Watching®

Company Name: City of Los Angeles

Industry: Local Government

Company CEO: Mayor Karen Bass

Company HQ Location: Los Angeles, CA

Number of Employees: 50,000 across 44 departments

Marta A. Segura, MPH, Chief Heat Officer & Director of Climate Emergency Mobilization, City of Los Angeles

Education: MPH, University of California, Los Angeles; BA, University of California, Santa Barbara

Words you live by: Go slow to go fast, exercise patience and focus on the outcome.

Personal Philosophy: Helping others is strong medicine to healing oneself and the secret to happiness.

What book are you reading? Revolutionary Power by Shalanda Baker

What was your first job? UCLA Labor Occupational Safety & Health, Program Coordinator

Favorite charity: Communities for a Better Environment. They have created so many amazing leaders.

Interests: Nature/biodiversity, traveling the unbeaten paths, opening opportunities for diverse young people

Family: Husband Ricardo is a great life partner, son Andres is a Cal Berkeley Astrophysics major, my sisters make me whole

How is the world changing with respect to STEM?

AI has entered the scene, and it’s threatening to take so many jobs from people. Science must not rely too heavily on AI or we will all perish. We need creative scientific minds to get us out of the climate disaster we are in and to help us find a way back to ecological and humanitarian balance.

What can be done to move women forward in STEM?

I believe every child, including children from low-income communities, must be supported equally, regardless of gender. We need to inspire young women to love science, not just teach them science. Organizations like DIY Girls in the San Fernando Valley not only teach, they create project-based learning. They introduce students to mentors. They show them what is possible in STEM and then guide them into those pipelines. Learn, reflect, apply and do it all over again.

Where do you see women in STEM in five years?

I envision many more women involved in STEM related to clean energy, and climate solutions. Because women’s ability to negotiate across different sectors and understand the survival of the planet is key to the survival of children in future generations, they will be leading in every way – research, private sector, government sector, entrepreneurship, inventors, innovators, policy leaders etc.

Describe your experiences as a woman in a STEM career. What else would you like our readers to know about being a woman in a STEM career in 2023?

As a young woman in a traditional men’s field, I was harassed, ridiculed and underestimated, probably also for being a Mexican-American/Latina. However, I thrived with the support of other women and even some men who saw this young woman being harassed. I decided to leave aerospace for UCLA. There, I had women mentors and supervisors that showed me my career did not have to be surrounded by hostility. I stayed in the environmental health sciences field but then migrated into policy where I realized I could make the biggest change for my communities with the benefit of a STEM background. We need more scientists in policy and politics.

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Company Name: Dechert LLP

Industry: Law

Company CEO: Co-Chairs: David Forti and Mark Thierfelder (effective July 1, 2023)

Company HQ Location: Philadelphia, PA; New York, NY

Number of Employees: Approx. 2,000

Your Location (if different from above): Chicago, IL

Amanda K. Antons, PhD, Partner

Education: JD, DePaul University, magna cum laude; PhD, Microbiology & Immunology, Vanderbilt University; BS, Agricultural Biochemistry, Iowa State University.

Words you live by: “Your children will become who you are, so be who you want them to be.” – David Bly

Personal Philosophy: Work hard and be kind to people.

What book are you reading? Far from the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity by Andrew Solomon

What was your first job? Farm hand on my father’s family farm

Favorite charity: Chicago Volunteer Legal Services

Interests: Beekeeping and traveling

Family: Steve, husband, and seven-year-old triplets, Harper, Grace and Nolan

What can be done to increase diversity in STEM fields?

The most impactful change to the level of diversity in STEM will come when STEM companies and organizations value diversity economically as much as they value qualities such as educational success and prior experience. We have observed this in the legal field. When clients of law firms began to demand that the teams staffed on their matters included a high percentage of diverse attorneys, the law firms began to view diversity as a value-add, both in the business sense and as the best way to achieve a successful outcome for the client. As a consequence, firms adopted more inclusive and equitable hiring practices.

What barriers do you see to closing the gender gap in STEM?

Efforts to resolve the gender gap are still undermined by the high number of women who leave STEM before they reach leadership levels. We have seen improvements in the pipeline of women in STEM, with a greater number of girls and young women studying and entering STEM fields than ever before. We need to continue to make strides in nurturing this pipeline, but – even more urgently –make improvements in keeping women in STEM so that they become leaders and decision-makers. Until we reduce the numbers of women leaving STEM (or the workforce, generally), there will be a continued gap at the highest levels that inevitably has a trickle-down impact. Reducing this gap will include, for example, making sure that women’s inventions are considered for patenting at an equal rate as their male colleagues’ and intentional efforts to ensure that women are compensated at the same level as men for their contributions to their STEM organizations.

Where do you see women in STEM in five years?

The drive to strengthen and boost the place of women in STEM fields is an opportunity that our daughters, mentees, and young professionals can and should be leveraging. From my viewpoint, the industry very much wants to bring women along at equal rates in the STEM fields. While there are obviously hurdles that we face relating to both the pipeline and retention of women in STEM, now is the time to elevate women to leadership roles in STEM, so that we ensure that those issues are addressed by the very individuals who have faced them. Fostering this virtuous cycle of advancement will ultimately work to empower women in STEM.

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Company Name: Dermavant Sciences, Inc.

Industry: Biotechnology, Pharmaceuticals

Company CEO: Todd Zavodnick

Company HQ Location: Long Beach, CA

Number of Employees: 290 employees

Doral Fredericks, Senior Vice President, Medical Affairs Strategy

Education: Pharm D., University of Southern California; MBA, USC; BA, Biological Sciences, (USC)

Words you live by: Positivity, patience, appreciation, responsibility, persistence

Personal Philosophy: “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

What book are you reading? When I have a chance to read, I love medically-based thriller novels

What was your first job? As a child, I was lucky to play an extra in some TV shows, but my first real job was as a sales associate at Nordstrom

Favorite charity: While I can’t choose one, I strongly support all animal-related organizations that drive change in local communities

Interests: I love baseball. I also enjoy spending time outdoors, and on the water Family: My wonderful husband of 25 years and our 14-year-old son

What can be done to increase diversity in STEM fields?

It is crucial for women and other underrepresented groups to see industry role models who not only look like them but also have similar life experiences. This type of belonging is the first step to fostering curiosity and promoting a supportive learning environment for underrepresented groups. By promoting diversity in STEM fields, we can tap into a broader range of perspectives, ideas and approaches that can lead to groundbreaking solutions.

It has also been shown that there are clear social impact benefits to diverse participation. A recent article I read highlighted that women and underrepresented groups tend to become more committed towards communal values and goals as they approach adulthood. Therefore, it is imperative for us to showcase the connection between STEM and social relevancy — and ultimately how careers in this field can positively impact real people.

What can be done to move women forward in STEM?

As a society, we must acknowledge the influence of societal beliefs and education on women and girls’ achievements and interest in STEM. Since multiple factors contribute to this imbalance, it is essential to implement a range of solutions. Here are three key areas that require attention:

• Fostering a growth mindset is essential. We must teach girls and young women that intellectual skills can be acquired and developed through effort and perseverance. By promoting this belief, we can empower girls to embrace challenges in STEM fields.

• Early exposure to female STEM role models is crucial. By showcasing successful women in STEM, we can inspire and motivate young girls to pursue their interests in the field.

• Addressing stereotypes is vital because these notions can create a sense of anxiety or doubt in women’s abilities, potentially hindering their performance. By actively confronting and debunking STEM stereotypes, we can create a more inclusive and supportive environment that encourages women to thrive.

By addressing these issues, we can create an environment that bridges gaps and propels the advancement of women.

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Company Name: Eli Lilly and Company

Industry: Pharmaceutical Industry

Company CEO: Dave Ricks

Company HQ Location: Indianapolis, IN

Number of Employees: 39,000

Marjoke F. Debets, Eli Lilly and Company

Education: PhD in Chemistry, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands; MSc in Chemistry, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands; BSc in Chemistry, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Your Location: Indianapolis

Words you live by: Live to Learn - keep expanding your horizons, be curious, and show empathy to others.

Personal Philosophy: Focus on yourself, not on others. The only thing you can control is what you do and how you respond to opportunities and challenges.

What book are you reading? The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek

What was your first job? Coach of competitive swimming team at age 15

Interests: Outdoor sports and activities (running, hiking, skiing) and spending time with my family

Family: Husband (married for 10+ years) and two kids, a boy (4) and a girl (3)

What can be done to increase diversity in STEM fields?

I believe the key to increasing diversity in STEM fields is to strive for a diverse representation at all levels and in all areas and ensure recognition and visibility of this diversity. This spotlight on diversity will result in people being able to identify role models at different stages of their career and find those that match their career aspirations. It is also important for established STEM professionals from all walks of life to serve as mentors for the current and next generation of STEM professionals, to ensure we bring everyone up. Last, I think it’s important that we continue to improve a culture of flexible schedules, whether it’s working from home, working outside of traditional working hours, etc., particularly to allow working parents to meet the needs of their family as well as their work expectations.

What barriers do you see to closing the gender gap in STEM?

At a high level, I see two main barriers to closing the gender gap in STEM. First, a perception still exists, among many, that science is hard and that men are better suited to work in STEM fields. I see this particularly in math, physics, and engineering. This perception creates an additional psychological barrier for women to pursue a career in the STEM fields. More importantly though, I think it feeds into the imposter syndrome, which is the second barrier I see, as a lack of confidence can lead women to drop out of the field or result in slower career progression. Women are more prone to suffering from this syndrome because they may feel like they don’t belong because “their STEM field is better suited for men” or because they are not surrounded by peers of the same gender.

Where do you see women in STEM in five years?

Large strides have already been made at increasing female participation in STEM, and I am hopeful that over the next five years, this growth will continue towards equal participation in all STEM fields and at all levels. With this continued growth will come an increased number of female mentors and sponsors, which will then further improve the visibility and perception of women in science.

Eventually, though probably not in five years from now, I hope that as a society we can get to a place where this question does not need to be asked anymore, where diversity is a given and everyone is recognized as an individual. I would want the question and dialogue to focus on how we, as a diverse scientific workforce, further advance science.

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Company Name: Eli Lilly & Co.

Industry: Pharmaceuticals

Company CEO: Dave Ricks

Company HQ Location: Indianapolis, IN

Number of Employees: More than 39,000 worldwide

Petra Verdino, Associate Vice President - Biotechnology Discovery Research

Education: PhD, MSc, Karl-Franzens University of Graz, Austria

Your Location: San Diego, CA

Words you live by: Try to make the world better, be kind to others, and be yourself.

Personal Philosophy: “Wer rastet, der rostet”; German, literally translated: “If you rest, you rust.”

What book are you reading? Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

What was your first job? At age 13, I started working at a horseback riding facility mucking stables and grooming horses in exchange for riding lessons. That work taught me that if you really want something there is a way to get it if you are willing to put the effort in.

Favorite charity: Animal rescues

Interests: Exercising (incl. road biking, running, weight lifting, yoga ...) social events, reading, board games, especially doing all that with friends and family

What can be done to increase diversity in STEM fields?

As the STEM workforce grows, statistics continue to highlight the massive underrepresentation of diverse talent. Efforts need to be made to change attitudes and perceptions toward STEM to increase diversity. Early exposure of kids to the opportunities in STEM is of utmost importance. All kids have a natural curiosity and are excited about nature, science and technology. We need to continuously feed that enthusiasm, so it lasts into adulthood and we need to help youngsters determine their interests so they can funnel them into a career. Educators who know how to teach STEM should integrate science into our foundational school curriculum early and show students how science solves real world problems. Exposing students to STEM through science fairs and exhibits, and teaching STEM courses in school are beneficial but ultimately, it is the responsibility of parents and society as a whole to showcase the boundless opportunities in these fields. The current generation can help to dispel misconceptions and stereotypes associated with STEM as well as serve as resources for future generations regarding career opportunities. Of equal importance in encouraging more diverse youth to enter STEM are relationships with those already in the field. By engaging early on with these future scientists, there is greater potential to keep them engaged through confidence building and encouragement as they face obstacles that might sway them from their path, whether it be financial hardship, the fear of being different, or other variables that have historically led to a lack of diversity in our field.

Where do you see women in STEM in five years?

Raising public awareness and attempting to break down barriers will continue to result in more women choosing a career in STEM and staying in STEM jobs. Priority should be taken to empower women in STEM to educate, provide opportunities, and act as role models & advocates for young women and girls so that they can be successful in STEM careers. Hopefully, there will be a point where gender parity is simply the norm. Diversity, equity, and inclusion movements in recent years have highlighted the underrepresentation of women in STEM, which has led to the creation of initiatives to address the gender imbalance. I think we are on the right trajectory but there is a lot more work to do and it will take time. Hopefully, the upward trend of women in STEM continues in five years and well beyond. I hope we will see more women in leadership roles and gender wage disparities will begin to disappear. The future is bright for women in STEM.

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Company Name: Epiq Global

Industry: Legal Services and Technologies

Company CEO: David Dobson

Company HQ Location: New York, NY

Number of Employees: 7,000

Alyssa Miller, Chief Information Security Officer

Education: Masters in Information Systems Management; BA, Information Technology

Your Location: Milwaukee, WI

Words you live by: Do better, be better.

Personal Philosophy: Authenticity is the most powerful tool any of us have in achieving success.

What book are you reading? Threats: What Every Engineer Should Learn

From Star Wars by Adam Shostack

What was your first job? Paper carrier

Favorite charity: Courage MKE

Interests: Aviation (I’m a pilot), music (I’m a guitarist) and fitness

Family: Three grown children

What can be done to increase diversity in STEM fields?

Increasing the diversity of STEM begins with allowing and encouraging all people to be their authentic selves. For decades, girls have been conditioned to suppress their interests in STEM fields. We need to ensure that when anyone expresses their curiosity or desire to learn these skills that we encourage that exploration. STEM is about problem solving and problem solving is best accomplished when we have truly diverse and unique perspectives at the table working together to consider all possible solutions. If we show people they have a place and they belong at that table, that’s when we will see diversity truly blossom and make us all better.

Describe your experiences as a woman in a STEM career. What else would you like our readers to know about being a woman in a STEM career in 2023?

As a woman in STEM, I have seen the incredible strength and resiliency that is derived from women coming together to make our voices heard and our value seen. Yes, I’ve had to put up with many of the unfortunate attitudes and assumptions that I’ve described earlier. However, I’ve also seen the pure excitement in the eyes of young women and girls as they explore technology and learn how all these amazing things work. It’s an indescribable feeling to find your “tribe” in this space and feel the mutual support that seems to flourish in those settings. As an executive leader who’s achieved so many of the goals I’ve set for myself, there is nothing I enjoy more than talking with other women who are launching their careers. It’s wonderful to see the hope that my visibility and my representation gives them for their own futures. This is why it is so crucial that we amplify recognition of the many incredible women who are crushing it in STEM careers.

I think it is important that we stop thinking of women “breaking into” STEM. If we look objectively at the history of technology and engineering, we see that women have been making considerable contributions for generations to fields in technology. Names like Ada Lovelace, Hedy Lamarr, Katherine Johnson, Katalin Karikó, and so many others have been here and continue to be here. Ensuring that their contributions aren’t pushed aside or forgotten about is crucial not only for welcoming other women into technology careers but also for ensuring the ongoing excellence in innovations. It should be acknowledged that women have repeatedly proven our place in STEM. There is no room for discounting women or diminishing our capabilities based on gender. Society needs to do better so we can be better.

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Company Name: Fish & Richardson

Industry: Law

Company CEO: John Adkisson

Company HQ Location: Boston, MA

Number of Employees: 1,160

Grace Kim, Principal

Education: JD, William Mitchell College of Law; MS, University of Minnesota; BS, University of Minnesota

Your Location: Minneapolis, MN

Words you live by: Scar tissue is stronger than regular tissue.

What book are you reading? Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

What was your first job? Server at a restaurant

Interests: Gardening and running

Family: Husband, Chris, and my two boys, Gabriel (8) and Julien (4)

What can be done to increase diversity in STEM fields?

Those of us who represent people of color and are currently working in STEM fields can serve as mentors for girls and young women as well as underrepresented minorities. Informal mentorship and mentorship programs can help individuals from these groups connect with professionals, get guidance, and develop skills to succeed in STEM fields.

We can also serve as role models by taking opportunities for leadership. Serving as a role model leader can inspire and will encourage those from underrepresented groups to think of STEM as a viable career option for everyone.

How is the world changing with respect to STEM?

The percentage of women earning degrees and working in STEM areas, such as science and engineering, has steadily increased over the past decade. According to the U.S. Census, women were 27 percent of STEM workers in 2019 compared to 8 percent in 1970.

Describe your experiences as a woman in a STEM career. What else would you like our readers to know about being a woman in a STEM career in 2023?

I have journeyed through various roles in the STEM field. I began my career working as an engineer before becoming a patent attorney. I worked as a R&D engineer first and a R&D manager later in the area of product development for medical devices. While still working in engineering, I became interested in patents and decided to go to law school at night. I’m now a patent attorney at the law firm of Fish & Richardson, which specializes in intellectual property.

During my STEM career journey, I have experienced wonderful support and mentorship from women leaders and peers. And I know that I greatly benefited from inspiring mentors, both men and women, who have helped me advance and evolve my career. I’ve gained life-long friendships with many of my former women peers that I have met during my journey.

A positive trend that shows an increased number of women engaging STEM careers over the past decade will likely continue in 2023 and beyond. It will be helpful that many companies and organizations are now promoting gender equality, diversity, and inclusion to support women in STEM fields. I believe that these and other similar efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in STEM will have a positive impact on women and encourage them to succeed in STEM fields in the future.

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Women Wor th Watching® in STEM

Jacqueline Tio, Principal

Company Name: Fish & Richardson

Industry: Professional Services

Company CEO: John Adkisson

Company HQ Location: Boston, MA

Number of Employees: 1,160

Education: JD, University of Chicago Law School; BS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Your Location: Atlanta, GA

Words you live by: Live each day to the fullest. Personal Philosophy: How can something be impossible if you’ve never made a go of it?

What book are you reading? No books currently, but currently my life is flooded with lyrics from “Encanto,” courtesy of my kids. What was your first job? This is actually my first job – a patent attorney!

Favorite charity: Pro bono organizations everywhere. Legal representation for all is so important.

Interests: Chocolate, skating, viola & piano

Family: Incredibly supportive husband and two kids that like to keep us on our toes (ages 2 and 4)

What can be done to increase diversity in STEM fields?

This question requires a multi-faceted answer: (1) We need to get all types of diverse individuals interested in STEM (this is, perhaps, the easiest part) (2) We need to expose them to other individuals like them in STEM to demonstrate it is a worthwhile goal, fulfilling, and attainable (this takes a little more effort), and (3) We need to ensure diverse individuals in STEM are not blocked by stereotypes, biases, unwarranted assumptions, lack of mentoring, or lack of opportunity (this is the hard part). All three initiatives are important pieces to achieving more diversity in STEM fields, and laying off the gas pedal on any one of these components would be doing a disservice to the goal of increasing diversity in STEM fields.

What barriers do you see to closing the gender gap in STEM?

This is an interesting question that is probably the subject of a lot of debate. Because historically there has been a gender gap in STEM, there is already this perception of more “experts” in a particular field being – let’s be frank here – male. That is a tough barrier to overcome. Even more, sometimes there is a perception of what other people perceive. In the world of law, if someone who wants to promote women is going to trial, for example, but believes the jury that will be empaneled has set views of what women should and should not do, that individual may end up promoting the very beliefs they are set against. Finally, in STEM, there are likely well-respected individuals in roles of leadership that may not hold the most progressive beliefs. We need to stand up to this. If there is a person in leadership espousing the belief that women “can’t do science,” that person needs to go.

Where do you see women in STEM in five years?

I’m an optimist. I see more women in STEM, and many taking on more leadership roles, more management roles, and being exposed to more opportunities and experiences. I see them not only in the field, but also in the literature and programs used to educate our kids about STEM-related topics. I also see them innovating and leading the charge on technologies directed at and focused on women’s health – a traditionally overlooked and understudied subject matter. I see them unabashedly supporting other women in achieving these goals.

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Company Name: Haynes and Boone, LLP

Industry: Legal

Company CEO: Taylor Wilson

Company HQ Location: Dallas, TX

Number of Employees: 1,025

Angela Grant, Partner

Education: PhD, Immunology & Microbiology,The George Washington University JD, Suffolk Law School; MS, The George Washington University; BS, Randolph Macon Woman’s College

Your Location: Washington, D.C.

Words you live by: Treat others how you want to be treated – The Golden Rule.

Personal Philosophy: Personal integrity should guide every action.

What book are you reading? 21 Lessons for the Century by Yuval Harari

What was your first job? Subway sandwich artist

Favorite charity: American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Interests: Travel, literature, food and wine

Family: Mother, Kerry and a brother, Alexander

What can be done to increase diversity in STEM fields?

Increasing diversity in STEM starts by increasing early educational (e.g., K-12) STEM programs. This early education and exposure would help to ensure that all students have access to a STEM education and mentors who can further guide and cultivate their STEM aspirations. These programs should focus not only on STEM education, but also provide access to diverse mentors in various STEM fields. Diverse mentorship can strengthen diverse students’ interests and provide them with a sense of belonging. Under-resourced communities should consider private-public partnerships to jump start these programs.

How is the world changing with respect to STEM?

While we have a long way to go, we are seeing small gains in women pursuing STEM majors in undergraduate education. This reflects both an increase in STEM programs for girls and young women in early education, as well as a small breakdown in some of the cultural stereotypes regarding the suitability of STEM careers for men versus women. While this is a positive step, it remains to be seen how or if this will translate to an increase in the number of women pursuing careers in STEM and their promotion to leadership roles.

Describe your experiences as a woman in a STEM career. What else would you like our readers to know about being a woman in a STEM career in 2023?

I have been incredibly fortunate throughout my education and career to have had extremely supportive female and male mentors in STEM who were the true definition of the word. Mentors were the key to both my persistence in STEM and my success. Each of my mentors provided guidance, not only in connection with the current stage of my career but by pushing me to the next step. I have always viewed my personal career as a product of those who helped get me to where I am today. This is why it is imperative for me, at this stage in my career, to pay that forward and be a mentor for young women and girls in STEM.

While being a woman in STEM, even in 2023, has its challenges, it is incredibly rewarding and, dare I say, fun. We are in a time where discoveries and technical advances are happening at an incredibly rapid pace, which makes being a biotechnology patent attorney particularly exciting. The COVID-19 pandemic brought a reinvigorated interest in infectious disease research, making this STEM field particularly interesting. We are also in a time where mentorship has truly gone global allowing women in different STEM fields to connect, both in person and virtually, in a meaningful way.

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Women Wor



Company Name: Kelly Engineering

Industry: Staffing

Company CEO: Peter Quigley

Company HQ Location: Troy, MI

Number of Employees: 7,000

Maria Groszek, Senior Director Engineering Domain Intelligence

Education: MS, BS, Purdue University

Your Location: Glen Ellyn, IL

Words you live by: “Any fool can know. The point is to understand.”

Personal Philosophy: Embrace continuous learning and self-improvement. Stay curious and open to new ideas, experiences and perspectives.

What book are you reading? Deep Learning by Ian Goodfellow, Yoshua

What was your first job? Sales associate at a wallet and luggage store

Favorite charity: NPR

Interests: Aerospace, robotics, using AI to solve problems

What can be done to increase diversity in STEM fields?

Effectively increasing diversity in STEM fields begins with equity and inclusivity. Cultivating an inclusive environment in schools that creates awareness of STEM careers is critical. By offering role models and mentorship opportunities, we can give young people tangible examples of what they can achieve.

Organizations can improve recruitment and hiring practices to ensure diverse candidates are considered for STEM positions. Use blind resumes to remove bias, expand recruiting efforts to reach underrepresented groups and provide training to eliminate unconscious bias during the hiring process.

Sustaining diversity in STEM requires ongoing investment in professional development, leadership training and networking opportunities among individuals from all backgrounds. By supporting the success of diverse groups in STEM, we foster a more inclusive field.

What can be done to move women forward in STEM?

Creating support networks of women and allies can help women navigate the landscape of STEM careers. Professional associations, mentorship opportunities, and social platforms can facilitate connections and foster a sense of belonging, making women feel included and empowered.

Organizations must prioritize diversity and inclusion in their hiring and promotion practices, ensuring women have equal opportunities to succeed. Lastly, celebrating the achievements of women in STEM creates positive visibility. Recognizing the contributions of trailblazing women can inspire future generations to pursue careers in STEM, leading to a more diverse and innovative workforce.

Where do you see women in STEM in five years?

In the next five years, I envision a continued shift in the representation of women in STEM, with more women involved as leaders, innovators and creators. The momentum generated by diversity initiatives and ongoing conversations will create an environment where women thrive and contribute significantly to technological and scientific advancements.

I foresee a rise in women-led startups, harnessing different perspectives to address challenges at a global level, and creating sustainable, groundbreaking solutions. As organizations continue implementing diversity measures, I expect women to occupy a greater number of C-suite and executive positions, shaping policies and inspiring future generations.

The integration of technology into our daily lives will provide expanded opportunities to explore the intersection of STEM and other fields, forging new career paths and pushing the boundaries of what is possible.

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Company Name: Knobbe Martens

Industry: Legal

Company CEO: Steven Nataupsky, Managing Partner

Company HQ Location: Irvine, CA

Number of Employees: 595

Shannon Lam, Partner

Education: JD, BS, Biomedical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin

Words you live by: Play the cards you’re dealt.

Personal Philosophy: Ask yourself if you are happy. If the answer is “no” more than three days in a row, then something needs to change.

What book are you reading? A History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom

What was your first job? Math tutor

Favorite charity: Promise 4 Paws Senior Dog Sanctuary

Interests: Eating food, traveling for food, reading about food

Family: Welcomed a baby girl in 2023

What can be done to increase diversity in STEM fields?

Companies and individuals in STEM fields need to go into classrooms, particularly in socioeconomically disadvantaged areas, to talk to children about their jobs. This will introduce children from all backgrounds to different opportunities in STEM fields. If children are exposed to STEM role models who look like them, they will have the confidence to follow in the same path. Personally, I credit a free summer camp sponsored by the Society of Women Engineers at the University of Texas at Austin for introducing and inspiring me to major in biomedical engineering. Without the summer camp, I might not have the STEM-based career I have today.

What barriers do you see to closing the gender gap in STEM?

One of the biggest barriers to closing the gender gap is support for working mothers at home and in the workplace. Gender roles at home are lagging behind labor force trends. Research has shown that women most often are the ones who adjust their schedules and make compromises when the needs of children conflict with work. This has been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. If employers do not have family-friendly policies and allow for flexible schedules, working mothers who shoulder childcare duties are forced to reduce their work hours or leave the labor force. This will have a domino effect. With fewer women role models in STEM fields, young women and children will be less interested in STEM.

What can be done to move women forward in STEM?

Organizational culture needs to change to move women forward in STEM. Many women have benefited from great mentors and sponsors. But without a workplace culture of supporting women, different women in the same organization can have inconsistent experiences. Effective culture change is easier said than done. Organizations can start by designating a group of people from different areas of the organization to develop and implement a strategy that makes sense for that organization. It is important to measure and monitor changes to maintain positive momentum and correct course where needed.

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Company Name: Kroll

Industry: Risk and Financial Advisory Solutions

Company CEO: Jacob Silverman

Company HQ Location: New York, NY

Number of Employees: 6,500

Venetia Manners Valsamakis, Chief Information Officer

Education: BS, Management Information Systems and Marketing, Manhattan College

Words you live by: Never say never.

Personal Philosophy: Lead with passion, be true to yourself and become comfortable with the unknown (for that is when we grow).

What book are you reading: The Ride of a Lifetime by Robert Iger

What was your first job: Help Desk Support at a shipping company

Favorite charity: Two of my favorite charities are the American Stroke Foundation and St. Jude’s Research Hospital

Interests: Coaching and mentoring, travel, continuous learning and music

Family: Mom of son (12) and daughter (4) and married to my husband for 17 years.

What can be done to increase diversity in STEM fields?

To increase diversity in STEM fields, each of us must take on the role of a change-maker. We have the power to drive change in a multitude of ways, starting with a commitment of our time. As women and mothers, we can work with local school boards to advocate for and promote the introduction or expansion of STEM programs and activities for children. We can also volunteer our time to provide mentorship and coaching for students and early-career professionals, both inside and outside of our organizations, offering them networking opportunities and the necessary guidance and support to pursue a career in STEM.

By partnering with our DEI teams, we can cultivate inclusive workplace cultures by joining employee resource groups that promote work-life balance for our associates. Establishing a positive workplace culture is crucial in retaining a diverse talent pool in STEM fields. We can also collaborate with our HR teams to broaden recruitment efforts and reach a more diverse range of talent in STEM fields. Together, by committing to these actions, we can create a more diverse and inclusive future for STEM.

How is the world changing with respect to STEM?

The world is experiencing rapid change, and STEM fields are at the forefront of many of these advancements. Some of the most significant areas worth noting include artificial intelligence (AI), big data, and cybersecurity. These fields are heavily reliant on STEM innovations, and they continue to drive major changes in our world.

Artificial Intelligence is transforming the way we live and work, from virtual assistants and self-driving cars to digital workers and personalized medicine. As both producers and consumers of data, the Big Data movement is revolutionizing our daily lives and decision-making processes. With vast amounts of data being generated daily, organizations are analyzing and monetizing this data to generate insights previously thought impossible.

As the world’s reliance on technology continues to grow, cybersecurity has become increasingly important. STEM professionals are playing a critical role in this area as organizations and governments seek to protect personal information and defend against cyberattacks. By pushing the boundaries of STEM innovation, we are creating a safer and more efficient world for all.

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Company Name: Latham & Watkins

Industry: Law

Company CEO: Richard Trobman

Arlene Chow, Partner

Education: JD, Columbia Law School; BS, Yale University

Your Location: New York, NY

Words you live by: Just do it.

Personal Philosophy: Just do it.

Women Wor th Watching


What book are you reading? The Postcard by Anne Berest, which is about a French Jewish family devastated by the Holocaust

What was your first job? Teaching English to recent Chinese immigrants in the Midwest

Favorite charity: CARE, UNICEF and Red Cross

Interests: Cooking, making jewelry and tennis

Family: Law professor husband (Thomas Healy) and two daughters (Adele,14 and Juliet,11)

What can be done to increase diversity in STEM fields?

Eliminating artificial barriers to entry and incorporating diverse talent in positions of authority will diversify STEM fields. But mentorship is key. I come from a family of scientists – not lawyers. I prioritize mentoring younger attorneys who are trying to find their way in the profession without an existing network, such as from family connections. I had to navigate my legal career on the fly, and my experiences have led me to invest in helping others who are similarly situated.

When my mentees see me, an Asian American woman, serve as first-chair lead on my cases and as the relationship partner with major pharma/biotech clients, it demonstrates that leadership can come in many forms. With my firm’s support, I have been able to serve as a leader, namely as vice chair of Latham & Watkins’ Healthcare & Life Sciences Industry Group, a cross-disciplinary industry sector. I am also a former co-chair of the New York Women Enriching Business (WEB) Committee, with its mission of creating networking opportunities for women and colleagues and clients from diverse backgrounds.

Describe your experiences as a woman in a STEM career. What else would you like our readers to know about being a woman in a STEM career in 2023?

At the earliest stages of my career in patent litigation, I was often the only woman (as well as diverse woman) in the room — whether it was the courtroom, a client meeting, or even within the law firm environment. And yet, some of my formative mentors were neither women nor individuals from underrepresented backgrounds. They bridged the gap and I have prioritized doing the same with my career.

As a patent trial lawyer, I frequently tap into my Midwestern background. I was a diverse female raised by Chinese immigrants who spoke Cantonese at home amid little diversity outside of our nuclear unit. But in many respects, I had a very typical Midwestern upbringing, thanks to friends and teachers who were inclusive. When I message themes at patent litigation trials, I tend to dwell on whether a theme will resonate with somebody from Cincinnati.

What else would you like our readers to know about being a woman in a STEM career in 2023?

In terms of being a woman in a STEM career in 2023, the world has changed for the better. Businesses are more attuned to issues of access and more accepting of differences. That said, although there have been great strides for women in STEM, we have a ways to go. Promoting more women to leadership positions can push that initiative forward.

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Women Wor th Watching


Rachel Cohen, Partner

Company Name: Latham & Watkins

Industry: Law

Company CEO: Richard Trobman

Education: JD, American University College of Law

Your Location: Washington, D.C.

Words you live by: Be kind. You never know what someone else is going through.

Personal Philosophy: Aim high.

What book are you reading? It. Goes. So. Fast by Mary Louise Kelly and Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

What was your first job? Tutor

Favorite charity: Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project

Interests: Theatre, hockey, and traveling

Family: Husband and two kids

What can be done to increase diversity in STEM fields?

One of the most effective ways of increasing diversity in STEM fields is by introducing awareness of the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics at the earliest stages of students’ academic careers, beginning in elementary school. No child is too young to become a scientist, technologist, engineer, or mathematician. By dedicating sufficient resources — especially within school communities that serve populations that are traditionally under-represented in a STEM career — that expose children to a broad spectrum of foundational STEM topics, we can ignite their passion for innovation early and plant the seeds for a broader range of perspectives in the future.

How is the world changing with respect to STEM?

As STEM careers attract more diverse talent, ideas and innovation continue to flourish. From this, we all benefit from more sophisticated technology that targets a broader swath of the population. When we have a greater number of people traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields thinking about technical problems, the solutions they craft will better reflect diverse populations’ greatest challenges. For example, until recently, using an electric breast pump required noisy, cumbersome equipment, and it wasn’t at all discreet. Over time, the electric breast pump developed into a cordless, quiet device that affords women flexibility to express breastmilk anywhere.

Describe your experiences as a woman in a STEM career. What else would you like our readers to know about being a woman in a STEM career in 2023?

I have been fortunate to have had strong role models throughout my life showing me that there isn’t just one way to build a career. I have looked up to them and carefully watched how they developed their careers while balancing their family lives. My mom was a medical technologist before having kids and always empowered me to strive for success in STEM fields. Both of the federal judges for whom I clerked paved very successful careers while raising sons, modeling an important example of raising men who respect women leaders. My husband (who is also in a STEM career) saw his mother work as a senior technology executive at a prominent university and has been a tremendous partner at home. When women are empowered and supported in their chosen careers, regardless of the field, they have the opportunity to thrive.

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Company Name: Latham & Watkins

Industry: Law

Company CEO: Richard Trobman

Betty Pang, Partner

Women Wor th Watching® in STEM

Education: MD, Stanford University; JD, Harvard Law School

Your Location: California

Words you live by: Setbacks are a part of life; don’t let them take you off your chosen path.

Personal Philosophy: Be a light in the world (to steal a quote from my 7-year-old daughter).

What book are you reading? Origins by Dan Brown

What was your first job? Cashier at a Chinese food restaurant (age 14)

Favorite charity: Operation Smile

Interests: Thrift shopping with my 15-year-old & re-creating different Marvel scenes with my 7-year-old (a die-hard LEGO fan)

Family: Two daughters

What can be done to increase diversity in STEM fields?

Successful professionals who are leaders in the STEM field and also members of traditionally underrepresented groups can serve as mentors to help inspire the next generation. For example, many technology-centric trade organizations typically have women-focused breakout groups or networking events at their conferences. We could take that a step further and break it down more granularly, paving the way for identifying inroads with other populations.

In the legal world, something Latham & Watkins does particularly well is helping young law students from underrepresented backgrounds build a professional foundation. Through our Pathways Program, we provide substantive training, mentoring, and real-world experience within our offices, as well as an opportunity to work in one of our clients’ in-house legal departments — including a number of clients in STEM fields.

How is the world changing with respect to STEM?

The very definition of what STEM comprises continues to expand. Even five or 10 years ago, most people had a narrow view of what STEM could be and they often thought it included only the hard sciences or most technical aspects of mathematics and engineering. Such a limited view unnecessarily eliminates large populations of people, vast industries and off-the-beaten-path career opportunities. It also stymies opportunities for creativity and innovation among many women and those who think they don’t fit the stereotype. STEM is for everyone. STEM benefits everyone, and more people are recognizing that.

Describe your experiences as a woman in a STEM career. What else would you like our readers to know about being a woman in a STEM career in 2023?

I come from a family of doctors, and medicine felt like the path that I was always meant to be on. However, when I was an undergraduate, I also became interested in the policy aspects of medicine, particularly genetic research and bioethics, which inspired me to go to law school. One thing that I always teach my mentees, whether they are law or medical students, young associates, or even my own kids, is that there isn’t only one right way. Don’t be afraid to blaze your own trail because that is how I was able to define my career and personal success. It may be more difficult, and it may take you longer to get where you want to go, but it’s incredibly enriching to own the process and the outcome.

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Women Wor th Watching® in STEM

Company Name: LaunchDarkly

Industry: Technology

Company CEO: Dan Rogers

Company HQ Location: Oakland, CA

Number of Employees: 500+

Sara Mazer, Field CTO, Federal

Education: BSCE (Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering), University of Michigan

Your Location: Washington D.C. Metro Area

Words you live by: Do something today that you’ll be proud you started a year ago.

Personal Philosophy: Push yourself out of your comfort zone as much as possible.

What book are you reading? Outlive:The Science and Art of Longevity by Dr. Peter Attia

What was your first job? Waitress at a chain steakhouse

Favorite charity: House with a Heart Senior Pet Sanctuary

Interests: Pet adoption, boating/sailing

Family: I have a spouse, two children, and two adopted dogs.

What can be done to increase diversity in STEM fields?

More visibility and role models are key to increasing diversity in STEM fields. Seeing people who look like us in leadership positions can be a powerful motivator, and can help break down stereotypes and biases. To increase diversity in leadership roles, we need to actively seek out and pursue these positions, whether it be through corporate leadership or board membership. By being visible and successful in these roles, we can serve as role models for others and demonstrate the value of diversity in leadership.

In addition, we need to speak up for those who may not have a voice. This means advocating for policies and practices that promote inclusivity, and calling out bias and discrimination when we see it. We can also mentor and support individuals from underrepresented backgrounds, helping to build a pipeline of diverse talent in STEM fields.

Finally, it’s important to remember that increasing diversity is not just about numbers, but about creating a more inclusive and welcoming culture. We must prioritize inclusivity in our workplaces and communities, and create spaces where individuals from all backgrounds feel valued and supported. By working together, we can create a more diverse and equitable future for STEM fields.

Where do you see women in STEM in five years?

While there is no guarantee that we will see an increase in the percentage of women in STEM fields over the next five years, there is hope that women will continue to make progress in these fields. However, we must address the ongoing challenges around the job market and the lack of women in leadership positions in STEM. To do this, we need to promote diversity and inclusivity in STEM, encourage women to pursue leadership positions, and provide support and resources for women to succeed in these fields.

One way that women can take advantage of the changing landscape in STEM is by harnessing the power of AI and ML. By developing skills in these areas, women can position themselves for competitive positions in fields such as data science, software engineering, and cybersecurity. Additionally, women can explore the use of AI and ML in fields such as healthcare, finance, and education, where these technologies are becoming increasingly important. With the right skills and knowledge, women can play a key role in shaping the future of these industries, and help to create a more diverse and inclusive workforce in STEM.

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Company Name: Learning Undefeated

Industry: Mobile STEM education nonprofit

Company CEO: Brian Gaines

Company HQ Location: Gaithersburg, MD

Number of Employees: 15

Education: BS, Biology, The Pennsylvania State University

Words you live by: Make it matter.

Personal Philosophy: Every one of us deserves the opportunity to activate the best in themselves.

What book are you reading? The books on my nightstand are Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series, Everyday Bias by Howard Ross, and Meat by Pat LaFrieda

What was your first job? Picking strawberries on a local family farm near where I grew up in Northwestern Pennsylvania

Favorite charity: Learning Undefeated :)

What can be done to increase diversity in STEM fields?

What can’t be done to increase diversity in STEM fields? There are thousands of terrific ideas out there! Even talking about prioritizing diversity in STEM is a huge step in the right direction but I’m not satisfied yet. There are many important initiatives to increase diversity in STEM fields, but it’s also valuable to think about things each of us could do today.

• Be visible so young learners can see STEM professionals from a wide range of different backgrounds, genders, races, and ethnicities.

• Mentor someone from a group typically underrepresented in STEM. Help them see themselves in the field and create their own pathway to a career.

• Support your local science teacher to foster critical thinking skills and creativity by volunteering in their classroom, providing real world examples from your experiences for their curriculum, or hosting students for a tour of your workplace.

Most local STEM education nonprofits would gladly welcome your time as a volunteer to provide meaningful experiences for youth in STEM. For example, Learning Undefeated’s Emerging Leaders program supports Black and Latina women by helping them build the personal network of mentors and supporters they will need to sustain themselves through STEM education and career pathways. It leverages local women working in STEM as speakers, mentors, and lab partners. Work with a partner that has existing trusted relationships to maximize your time. Once you’ve gotten the hang of things, keep in contact with your mentee. You never know, they may be one of your colleagues in five to ten years!

What barriers do you see to closing the gender gap in STEM?

Exposure, connections, and opportunity: Men are far more likely to have a network of professional connections in most career industries (even outside of STEM), which makes it harder for women to land that promotion. Women must work twice as hard as their male counterparts just to be accepted on the same level, overperforming to prove their worth. We also deal with a plethora of microaggressions and sexism-related challenges, such as undervalued credibility, imposter syndrome, ageism, and reluctance to say no, which impacts personal and family time. It’s a constant game of catch-up for women, even in today’s workplace.

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Company Name: Lincoln Financial Group

Industry: Financial Services

Company CEO: Ellen Cooper

Company HQ Location: Radnor, PA

Number of Employees: 12,000

Allison Lasater, Vice President, Strategic Planning, Enterprise Technology

Education: BA, Duke University

Your Location: Fort Wayne, IN

Words you live by: “When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear.” – Thomas Sowell

Personal Philosophy: Treat others the way you want to be treated. What book are you reading? Atomic Habits by James Clear

What was your first job? Intelligence officer, U.S. Air Force

Favorite charity: Center for Science and Culture

Interests: Running, hiking, traveling

Family: I have a husband and an adult stepdaughter

What can be done to increase diversity in STEM fields?

Recognize the tendency of dominant paradigms to prevail despite evidence to the contrary (see The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn). Welcome different perspectives and new hypotheses and encourage rigorous debate. Promote academic freedom and freedom of speech for scientists, teachers and students. Commit to follow the evidence wherever it leads.

What barriers do you see to closing the gender gap in STEM?

STEM is an exciting field with tremendous potential for students who choose to pursue it. Exposing students to STEM early, giving them hands-on opportunities to see how it relates to their world, and encouraging them to see themselves as creative problem-solvers are keys to developing the next generation of STEM practitioners.

What can be done to move women forward in STEM?

At all stages of their careers, women should be provided opportunities to explore different areas of STEM. Whether it’s through corporate educational opportunities, affinity groups or after-school programs, we need to create more spaces for women to understand their aptitudes, strengths and interests, as well as the opportunities available across the different STEM fields.

Where do you see women in STEM in five years?

I think we’ll see more women in STEM stepping into leadership roles and continuing to make significant contributions in a wide variety of disciplines. Recently, companies of all sizes have enhanced their commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. I think we’ll continue to see more education about and emphasis on the impact of women’s contributions in the engineering and technology fields throughout history, and start to see even more seats open up for us at the table.

Describe your experiences as a woman in a STEM career. What else would you like our readers to know about being a woman in a STEM career in 2023?

Working in STEM has been rewarding, stimulating, satisfying and challenging. I truly enjoy my work and have built a strong network of colleagues and mentors that I can trust and rely on. Throughout my career working in male-dominated industries – IT organizations and the U.S. military – I’m fortunate to have positive experiences and have never felt less than because of my gender, only valued for the quality of my work.

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Watching® in STEM

Company Name: McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP (MBHB)

Industry: Law

Company HQ Location: Chicago, IL

Number of Employees: 108

Jori R. Fuller, Attorney

Education: JD from Chicago-Kent Law School- Illinois Institute of Technology; BS, General Engineering, University of Illinois

Words you live by: “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.” – My Dad

Personal Philosophy: Always be kind, you never know what someone else is going through.

What book are you reading? You Should Have Known by Rebecca Keller

What was your first job? File clerk at a doctor’s office

Favorite charity: Swifty Foundation – funds research for pediatric cancer

Interests: Reading, traveling, cooking, spending time with my family

Family: Husband Eric, daughters Liora (10) and Aviela (8)

What can be done to increase diversity in STEM fields?

To increase diversity in the STEM fields, it’s important that companies continue to award diversity scholarships and create support groups to provide growth opportunities. I also believe that diverse individuals should share their personal journeys, highlighting struggles and obstacles they faced and overcame. Sharing these stories will help younger professionals feel supported and gain confidence that they too can also overcome these obstacles and enjoy successful careers in STEM.

What barriers do you see to closing the gender gap in STEM?

Unfortunately, implicit bias still exists. It manifests itself in many, often subtle ways. Maybe a female employee loses out on a growth opportunity because she has to take her children to a doctor’s appointment. Or maybe some employees don’t view a woman as “committed” because of her flexible work schedule. We must continue to actively combat these biases and ensure that all employees – no matter their background or life situation – are given a seat at the table and the opportunity to excel in organizations.

Describe your experiences as a woman in a STEM career. What else would you like our readers to know about being a woman in a STEM career in 2023?

In high school, I was the only one of my friends who wanted to enter a STEM field. I did not know much about engineering, but I knew I liked math and science, so I felt engineering could be a fit for me. At the University of Illinois, there were many more men than women in my engineering classes. Women remain the minority in the STEM fields in which I work today as an intellectual property attorney. Throughout my career, I have found that success comes when you are confident and embrace who you are. After all, what makes you different also makes you special.

Being a woman in the STEM field is not easy - it takes hard work and determination. But I firmly believe that if you stay motivated and always stand up for yourself, you will make it far. As women in STEM, we can’t hesitate to speak up or fight for what we believe in – for ourselves and for those who will follow in our footsteps.

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Company Name: New York Life

Industry: Insurance

Company CEO: Craig DeSanto

Company HQ Location: New York, NY

Number of Employees: 11,718

Reshma Budhwani, Chief Technology Security Officer

Education: Master of Science in Information Technology, South Gujarat University, India

Words you live by: Courage, hard work, compassion, love, gratitude and kindness

Personal Philosophy: Don’t let others define you. You define yourself; It’s not WHAT you say, it’s HOW you say it!

What book are you reading? Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus and Open by Andre Agassi

What was your first job? Cyber security consulting

Favorite charity: Save the Children, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Interests: Tennis, running and cooking

Family: My husband, Vallabh, my two children, Sohum and Janvi

What can be done to increase diversity in STEM fields?

Increasing diversity in STEM requires conscious efforts in schools, workplaces, and within communities. In my view, mentorship programs, both in school and the workplace, can be an asset as they help build confidence through sharing of experiences and promoting an inclusive environment. Investing in providing exposure and access to STEM education when a child is young is another way to increase diversity. STEM access through early education can contribute to generating interest, providing experience, and building confidence in students. Lastly, dedicated efforts to make people aware of workplace bias (conscious and unconscious) and building an inclusive culture that provides growth opportunities is also a great way to increase diversity.

How is the world changing with respect to STEM?

In today’s world, STEM is an integral part of our fabric of life. We can recognize the presence of STEM in our everyday lives more than ever before. There are very few professions that haven’t been impacted by the advancements in STEM. This has provided men and women with STEM skills newer opportunities for growth and career advancement. While there are opportunities, it is also important to recognize that the challenges of tomorrow require a different mindset and thinking. Therefore, the importance of investing in STEM education is critical.

What can be done to move women forward in STEM?

Conscious efforts must be made to retain women and to create career pathways for them while fostering inclusive workplace cultures. Mentorship programs, along with partnerships with various communities, go a long way for building confidence, providing access to visible role models and skill development. Organizations could also benefit from establishing internal programs for creating paths to leadership and building a women’s network to help female employees encourage one another.

Where do you see women in STEM in five years?

If we take conscious measures to invest in women in STEM, I truly believe we will see more successful women in STEM roles. This increase can in turn help address bias and discrimination. Women bring unique perspectives and experiences to STEM fields, and I believe that their increased representation will lead to greater innovation and creativity in these fields.

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Company Name: Norton Rose Fulbright

Industry: Law

Company HQ Location: Houston and New York (U.S.); London (Global)

Number of Employees: 7,215 (Global); 1,595 (U.S.)

Stephanie DeBrow, Partner, Intellectual Property Disputes

Education: JD, University of Texas School of Law; BS, Mechanical Engineering, Texas A&M University

Your Location: New York/Austin

Words you live by: Stay curious and be open minded.

Personal Philosophy: Have fun, be fair, and do your best. What book are you reading? I read fiction: The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich

What was your first job? Answering phones at an accounting firm during a summer in high school

Favorite charity: I can’t possibly pick one, but my favorite relevant to STEM is GirlStart (

Interests: Cooking, travel, figuring out how things work

What can be done to increase diversity in STEM fields?

This is a multifaceted problem, so it is difficult to articulate solutions that would make a measurable difference. That said, in terms of increasing the number of diverse individuals in the pipeline, I see great value in the efforts of organizations like GirlStart, which offers supplemental STEM education programs to girls in 4th-8th grades in an effort to keep them interested and engaged in STEM fields. Many of the problems associated with retaining diverse individuals seem to be rooted in unconscious bias and a lack of sponsorship. Aside from the numerous corporate initiatives that have tried to address these issues, the actions of individuals within an organization can be powerful tools—speaking up when you see unconscious bias and championing diverse individuals within your organization.

What barriers do you see to closing the gender gap in STEM?

Unconscious bias seems to me to be the most prominent, both because it remains so pervasive and it is so difficult to eliminate. I’ve read a number of articles on the competence-likeability dilemma that women in leadership roles often encounter. The articles posit that there are certain traits, such as assertiveness and decisiveness, that are associated with individuals who are viewed as competent leaders, yet those traits often cause women, but not men, to be perceived as unlikeable. This can be a huge problem because likeability impacts persuasiveness, team engagement, and a number of other factors.

Describe your experiences as a woman in a STEM career. What else would you like our readers to know about being a woman in a STEM career in 2023?

I was fortunate to be encouraged by parents and teachers who never saw gender as a barrier to becoming an engineer or later becoming a lawyer. From my earliest years, my parents readily encouraged my interest in science and math and my small high school offered advanced science and math courses even though I was often one of only two to three students enrolled. With that solid foundation of encouragement, the bias that I inevitably encountered later was less likely to shake my confidence and cause me to veer off course.

At Norton Rose Fulbright, I have been lucky to work with a team and at a firm that values and actively pursues increased diversity at all levels. And I’ve also been lucky to have examples of women who came before me who have been successful in this field. They serve as a constant reminder that, “If they can do it, so can I.”

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Company Name: Robins Kaplan LLP

Industry: Law

Company CEO: Ronald J. Schutz

Company HQ Location: Minneapolis, MN

Number of Employees: 457

Sharon Roberg-Perez, Partner

Education: JD, University of St. Thomas School of Law; PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; BA, Wellesley College

Words you live by: Do it now.

Personal Philosophy: Find people to laugh with and keep them close.

What book are you reading? Children of Memory by Adrian Tchaikovsky

What was your first job? Hostess at a steakhouse

Favorite charity: Gender Justice

Interests: Reading, gardening, British police procedurals, my dogs

Family: Husband, two boys, two dogs, two cats

What can be done to increase diversity in STEM fields?

Increasing diversity requires retaining the diverse STEM professionals we have. Students entering STEM fields need to be able to see that there will be a place for them. It’s also crucial to prioritize reaching out to individuals who are just starting out.

A recent study suggests that introductory STEM college classes have the effect of disproportionately weeding out students from historically underrepresented groups. The study—which controlled for high school preparation—reported that students from underrepresented groups were more likely to abandon plans for a STEM career if they struggled in an introductory course. One way to try and alleviate this would be peer mentorship by more senior undergraduates who are also from historically underrepresented groups. Another would be mentorship programs with STEM professionals from historically underrepresented groups. In either case, the message should be that a poor grade in an introductory college course bears little relationship to the likelihood of success in a STEM field. And, ideally, the mentorships could be the beginning of long-term relationships.

How is the world changing with respect to STEM?

Geoffrey Hinton recently stepped down from Google, at least in part because he wanted to be able to speak freely about the potential dangers inherent in certain forms of artificial intelligence. While I appreciate the need for caution, artificial intelligence tools have, at the very least, sped up the pace of scientific discovery. We’ve seen these tools applied to improve diagnostics, predict enzyme function, and design better vaccines. We’ve also seen them used to design entirely new proteins, and to predict language based on non-invasive brain imaging of subjects watching films without dialogue. The artificial intelligence genie is not going back in the bottle, and we’ll continue to see artificial intelligence tools used across scientific disciplines.

What can be done to move women forward in STEM?

Moving women forward in STEM involves ensuring that women can see career development opportunities, regardless of the nature of the organizations that they work within. For example, women make up about half of the employees in the biopharma industry, but the CEO positions tend to be held by men. Similarly, although more than half of all U.S. law students are women, less than 10% of patent lawyers are women.

Being able to retain and advance women in STEM requires that we make sure they have the opportunities and the resources they need to succeed. It also requires creating collaborative cultures within organizations that foster trust.

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Company Name: Robins Kaplan LLP

Industry: Law

Company CEO: Ronald J. Schutz

Company HQ Location: Minneapolis, MN

Number of Employees: 457

Emily J. Tremblay, Partner

Education: JD, University of Wisconsin Law; dual BA, St. Olaf College

Words you live by: Own your contributions, own your space. And then create space and opportunity for others.

Personal Philosophy: Be bold. Be kind. Be authentic.

What book are you reading? Dune by Frank Herbert

What was your first job? My small-town public library

Favorite charity: Can Do Canines

Interests: Playing saxophone, rock climbing, yoga

Family: My statistician partner (Joe) and a black lab (Summit)

What can be done to increase diversity in STEM fields?

We increase diversity in STEM when a student or a young professional can see others modeling her path forward, when she can see an industry and thought leaders who look like her and who share her experience. Diversity requires mentorship and sponsorship in our communities, to both build and maintain pipelines. We increase diversity when we dismantle early barriers—real or perceived—for the next generation.

That said, too often law firms and corporations focus on entry and hiring when diversity in STEM thrives on acceptance, respect, and support AFTER the hiring decision. We must demand better of our allies, engage in owning and shaping workplace culture and building inclusivity.

What barriers do you see to closing the gender gap in STEM?

In my experience, we continue to expect more from women than men – in emotional intelligence, in professional and organizational “stewardship” and “citizenship,” and in maintaining homes and personal lives. Until we expect the same from women and men, professional success and leadership will necessarily require more from women.

I have great faith in young women and girls to know their power, capabilities, and worth. Still, finding equity in professional settings often eludes us. Organizations know how to combat overt and easily identified sexism and harassment, but they struggle to address more subtle microaggressions and misogyny. Fighting for respect and equity has only become more difficult. As a first step in removing the barriers that remain, we must acknowledge that said barriers have become more difficult to identify and address.

Where do you see women in STEM in five years?

Pessimistically, undervalued. Optimistically, holding more and more leadership roles. Women comprise half of the population yet achieving representation in STEM reflective of that continues to elude us. Realistically, five years is not enough time to close that gap, but each day women in STEM have the opportunity to influence a student or a young professional, to support or promote a colleague, and to add to our pipeline of practitioners. Now, if men in STEM also understood the importance of these acts, maybe five years’ time would be enough to accomplish visible change.

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Wor th Watching® in STEM INTERNATIONAL

Company Name: Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center

Industry: Health care

Company CEO: Candace S. Johnson, PhD

Company HQ Location: Buffalo, NY

Number of Employees: 3,935

Education: PhD, Immunology; MS, Microbiology/Pathology, The Ohio State University

Words you live by: Be a good listener.

Personal Philosophy: Stay positive.

What book are you reading? The Creative Act: A Way of Being by Rick Rubin

What was your first job? Waitress

Favorite charity: Roswell Park

Interests: Cooking, golf

Family: Twin boys

What can be done to increase diversity in STEM fields?

It starts with educational opportunities that reach everyone in all corners of a community. Make sure middle school students see health care workers and scientists at work and know: This is one of the careers I can choose. STEM employers must have a good pipeline and training programs. And you can’t do any of this work without effective partners to help you be richly inclusive in your recruitment and outreach.

How is the world changing with respect to STEM?

STEM is more integrated into culture and into education from the earliest stages now, and that’s been a tremendous positive. We do a better job these days of connecting the dots between art, civic life and culture and showing how science helps drive those things, making learning fun and interactive at the same time. Planting love for science early is the key for setting people on the path to a fulfilling career in STEM.

What can be done to move women forward in STEM?

It goes back to listening and being intentionally, purposefully inclusive. Are women in your organization having an opportunity to lead? Are you hearing from a diverse array of voices when you build your programs and make big decisions? That commitment to diversity has to flow through every part of your organizational infrastructure.

Describe your experiences as a woman in a STEM career. What else would you like our readers to know about being a woman in a STEM career in 2023?

The changes I’ve seen as a woman in science are dramatic. My path from the laboratory to the boardroom took a long time. I was treated differently from my male colleagues, and I was an anomaly for most of my career. I’m still one of very few women to lead a cancer center.

I didn’t set out to be a scientist; I wanted to be a ballet dancer. I still love the arts, and it’s really important for young people to be encouraged to pursue all their interests. My work has been both exciting and rewarding, and I would recommend a career in science to anyone. It’s been an incredible honor to be a mentor to other women, to be in a position where I can create opportunities for exceptional young leaders.

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Company Name: Sandia National Laboratories

Industry: Research, Engineering

Company CEO: James Peery (Laboratories Director)

Company HQ Location: Albuquerque, NM

Number of Employees: 13,000

Birsen Ayaz-Maierhafer, R&D Nuclear Engineer

Education: PhD, Nuclear Engineering, Istanbul Technical University

Words you live by: Kindness, respect, productive, resilient, continuous improvements, good manners, honorable, help others, traveler

Personal Philosophy: Treat others the way you liked to be treated. Read and grow in knowledge. Be fair.

What book are you reading? Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach

What was your first job? Research assistant at Istanbul Technical University

Favorite charity: Doctors without Borders

Interests: Reading, traveling, hiking, cycling, music, psychology

Family: Husband, six siblings, six nephews and nieces

What can be done to increase diversity in STEM fields? Provide incentives for engineers and scientists to go to schools with a higher-than-average minority population to give meaningful demonstrations on STEM to show students what it involves.

What barriers do you see to closing the gender gap in STEM? Use social media and television more to showcase how women in STEM contribute positively to society.

How is the world changing with respect to STEM? Many more women have entered the career of engineering and science, especially in management roles.

What can be done to move women forward in STEM? Encourage managers to give women challenging work and ensure opportunities for promotion are available.

Where do you see women in STEM in five years?

The number of women in a STEM area in five years will increase and perhaps be equal to the number of men in a STEM area.

Describe your experiences as a woman in a STEM career. What else would you like our readers to know about being a woman in a STEM career in 2023?

I never believed being a woman would hinder me from doing anything I wished to accomplish. Even though it appeared difficult to reach my goal, I always had the courage to try. When a challenging new project comes, I tell myself I can do it. I always believed I would be able to solve any difficult problems I encountered. Women should stand on their feet and not be dependent. Women should have the courage to try challenging STEM work and not be afraid of failure.

I believe mothers can shape their daughters’ future and we should create more events encouraging mothers to raise their daughters with STEM disciplines in mind.

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Company Name: Sandia National Laboratories

Industry: Research, Engineering

Company CEO: James Peery (Laboratories Director)

Company HQ Location: Albuquerque, NM

Number of Employees: 13,000

Vanessa N. Vargas, Principal Member of Technical Staff, R&D, Economist

Education: MA, Applied Economics, University of New Mexico

Words you live by: “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me.” (Frank Herbert, author of Dune)

Personal Philosophy: Try to say “yes” to all opportunities offered to you. You never know where they will lead.

What book are you reading? Neuromancer by William Gibson

What was your first job? Childcare and paper delivery

Favorite charity: Steelbridge, Denver Rescue Mission, Shred Foundation

Interests: Snowboarding, road biking, mountain biking, science fiction media, travel, and time with family & friends.

Family: Uncles, Ernest and Carlos Palacios; siblings Marisa and Carlos Vargas; niece Leila Vargas, nephew Nicholas Vargas

What can be done to increase diversity in STEM fields?

Increase resources in public schools for all children. During the time I’ve spent volunteering with Sandia’s STEM Program (MANOS), I’ve observed a big gap between the types of resources some children have access to in terms of computers, books, pens & pencils, and intellectual stimulation. While their experiences ranged from experiencing parental incarceration to traditional families, all of these children had immense curiosity. I believe it is our job as adults to nurture that curiosity, not only by financial means, but by giving our time to introduce a child to the wonders of science and math. Beyond these activities, I think just normalizing post-secondary education as something attainable will help many children. If one grows up thinking of college or vocational school as completely unattainable or too outside the norm, it stunts what one may try to achieve. A lot of people are only aware of the vocations they are surrounded by on a daily basis. I’ve found value in just helping kids to brainstorm about all the careers that are STEM-related and emphasize that it is not about committing to one path but about making sure you have the tools (foundation in STEM) so that one has the opportunity to make choices later on when it is time to choose a career.

What can be done to move women forward in STEM?

I’m again going to emphasize mentoring. I had great mentors who took the time to explain very basic things. Things maybe others take for granted, such as salary negotiations, asking for raises, asserting leadership, switching between leading and teaming, and knowing when it is time to push for more responsibility. My mentors were extremely valuable in learning the nuances of professional engagement in the STEM world and these are skills not often developed in school. I think by helping women engage with mentors at various stages of their career, we could attract and retain more women in STEM fields.

Where do you see women in STEM in five years?

I think in five years we will see more women and women of color in leadership positions. Over the years, I’ve observed female representation increasing at professional gatherings. However, this varies by discipline or event. I was recently at an international scientific conference where I counted 15 women attendees out of 200+ participants. We have work to do. I am hopeful for the future because as women take on leadership positions, we gain the power to influence and help build diversity in representation at every level of professional engagement.

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Company Name: Segra

Industry: Telecommunications

Company CEO: Kevin T. Hart

Company HQ Location: Charlotte, NC

Number of Employees: About 900 Employees

Rose Chambers, Chief Information Officer

Education: BA, Birmingham Southern College

Words you live by: Leave things better than you found them.

Personal Philosophy: Assume positive intent from people.

What book are you reading? All The Broken Places by John Boyne

What was your first job? I worked at my family’s restaurant

Favorite charity: Habitat for Humanity – I’ve assisted in building houses for some years.

Interests: Reading, gardening, mountain biking, hiking.

Family: I have a husband, Jason and daughter, Katie.

What can be done to increase diversity in STEM fields?

As so many girls are opting out of more advanced STEM courses as early as high school, it’s critical to adjust outreach to education because the educators can’t be totally responsible for it. Girls and young women should be given opportunities in technology-adjacent careers, including those that are not on a keyboard and don’t need a coding background, such as project management and business analyst positions. Hiring practices need to reflect that tech is going to evolve to a point where women and generally more diverse people will need to be involved as the world changes and tech becomes increasingly permeated in our daily lives.

What barriers do you see to closing the gender gap in STEM?

It comes back to education as well as companies taking a chance on candidates that aren’t the most technical or who lack tech backgrounds. Sometimes the skills a person has outside of STEM could make them that much better in a technology career. People with deep analytical and process-driven mindsets could lead very bright tech careers. Women especially need to realize how they can fit in the mold of tech based on how their mind works and their skills. Companies also need to actively look beyond their conventional prerequisites.

When someone is new to a field and doesn’t come with the expected skill set, it doesn’t mean they can’t learn and be hands-on in their careers. There are people that we wouldn’t normally associate with tech that end up being excellent in the field. For example, I hired a F-18 pilot while I worked at a technology portfolio management group. The job required a lot of financial analysis, really RD mapping. You need excellent communication and technical abilities to do that, so we took a chance, and the employee was terrific.

Where do you see women in STEM in five years?

I see women becoming more deeply immersed across the board in all the various roles available. I see the balance starting to shift from a leadership perspective to becoming more at parity with men. I went through a lot of times where I was the only woman in the room and now I can see that five years later I am going to have a lot of company!

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Women Wor th Watching® in STEM

Carol Craig, Founder and CEO

Company Name: Sidus Space

Industry: Aerospace

Company CEO: Carol Craig

Company HQ Location: Merritt Island

Number of Employees: 75

Education: PhD, Systems Engineering (in progress), Florida Institute of Technology, MS, Electrical and Computer Engineering; University of Massachusetts, Amherst; BS, Computer Science Engineering, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; BA, Knox College

Words you live by: An adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s quote – “Sometimes you just have to jump and build your wings on the way down.”

Personal Philosophy: It’s okay to drop balls, every once in a while, as long as they are the ones that bounce.

What book are you reading? I recently picked up Happy at Any Cost: The Revolutionary Vision and Fatal Quest of Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh while I was on a layover.

What was your first job? Baskin Robbins – my favorite flavor is Triple Grape Ice Favorite charity: Any charity (or clinical study) focused on enabling individuals with Prader-Willi syndrome to lead an independent life without the challenges of never feeling full.

Interests: All types of music, both attending concerts and playing in them (currently, I play bells and piano), sports – I love watching my daughter play college lacrosse

Family: John Craig, Gillian Craig, Danny Craig

What can be done to increase diversity in STEM fields?

To ensure greater diversity in STEM, it’s crucial that we address the educational inequities that exist across age groups, especially among young children. Unfortunately, many elementary-aged students become discouraged by the challenges they face in science and math, which serve as the foundation for STEM careers. To combat this, we need to increase diversity among teaching staff and create volunteer programs that bring in diverse individuals from STEM fields. By doing so, children will see more representation of themselves throughout their education and have access to mentors who can provide them with early support and encouragement. A more diverse teaching and support staff can help eliminate self-doubt among students and dispel the belief that “no one who looks like me is good at this.”

What can be done to move women forward in STEM?

To enhance women’s involvement, we need a multi-pronged approach – first and foremost, encouraging girls’ interest in STEM from a young age remains vital to combating any gender stereotypes. The presence of female role models in STEM can also inspire these younger generations to pursue their passions and goals. That’s especially important for me. I want to show young women that you can take a chance and be successful in STEM, or any industry, no matter your circumstance. Secondly, implementing policies that foster inclusive, bias-free environments in education and workplaces is crucial, as is recognizing the unique work-life challenges many women face. Lastly, investing in women-specific scholarships, networking opportunities, and leadership training in STEM is key –sharing our knowledge with one another and empowering each other should remain at the forefront, and while progress may be gradual, every step forward is significant in paving the way for a more inclusive and innovative future in STEM.

What else would you like our readers to know about being a woman in a STEM career in 2023?

Being a woman in STEM shouldn’t be such a big deal in 2023 – yet it is, because we’re still far behind the equality needed to make this field truly successful. Women are not always listened to or treated fairly, and oftentimes, don’t have a strong mentor in their field who believes in and encourages them. Don’t be afraid to follow your passions, even if it resembles a road less traveled. Women standing up and speaking out about their expertise, experience and capabilities is only the beginning. Demand the respect you deserve, pave your own path, and don’t be afraid to reach out for help when you need it.

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Company Name: Sterne Kessler Goldstein & Fox

Industry: Intellectual Property Law

Company CEO: None

Company HQ Location: Washington, D.C.

Number of Employees: 435

Chandrika Vira, Director (“Partner”)

Education: JD, The George Washington University Law School; BA, Coe College

Words you live by: Embrace progress and never cease expanding your knowledge and skills.

Personal Philosophy: Work hard, ask a lot of questions, be resilient.

What book are you reading? Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

What was your first job? Research assistant, Molecular Ophthalmology Labs, University of Iowa

Favorite charity: Kids in Need of Defense (KIND)

Interests: Hiking, camping, running, reading, and baking

Family: My husband and two kids

What can be done to increase diversity in STEM fields?

Improve and target recruitment of diverse candidates at the college level with financial and structural support that makes it possible for diverse candidates to attend and graduate with STEM degrees. At the same time, workplaces that specialize in STEM fields should intentionally recruit diverse candidates, and then provide support so they can stay in these fields. And, we should increase the visibility and representation of diverse scientists, engineers, and professionals in STEM fields.

What barriers do you see to closing the gender gap in STEM?

Barriers to closing the gender gap in STEM start in elementary school with gender stereotypes and social norms. STEM activities often cater towards boys more than girls and toy manufacturers market STEM toys differently towards different genders. Compounding the negative imaging is the fact that girls have fewer role models to inspire their interest in the field. Before girls get to college, girls have often lost the confidence or the opportunity to pursue STEM fields, which then leads to fewer women in STEM fields in college and the workforce.

Where do you see women in STEM in five years?

Change comes slowly, but I hope that the number of women in STEM will grow as research and attention to the issues holding women back increases, and as young women see more role models in women who are currently in leadership positions in STEM fields.

Describe your experiences as a woman in a STEM career. What else would you like our readers to know about being a woman in a STEM career in 2023?

I have found my experience in a STEM career to be very rewarding. As a patent litigator at a law firm in D.C., my job is the perfect interplay of law and science. My science background is an invaluable asset in my job, and helps me navigate cases that involve all technologies. Before I was a patent litigator, I worked at technology companies, and my experience there has been relevant and useful to my career in law.

If you are interested in STEM, reach out to a woman in a leadership position in a STEM field and ask her to mentor you. Learn as much as you can and know that some of the systemic and structural barriers to succeeding as a woman in STEM are being broken down.

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2 023 A W ARD Women Wor th Watching® in STEM INTERNATIONAL

Company Name: Texas Tech University Health Sciences

Center, El Paso - Paul L. Foster School of Medicine

Industry: Medical Education

Company CEO: Richard Lange, MD

Company Headquarters Location: El Paso, TX

Number of Employees: 3000

Cynthia N. Perry, Associate Academic Dean for Admissions

Education: PhD, Molecular Pathology, University of California, San Diego

Your Location: Las Cruces, NM

Words you live by: Inclusivity, equity and faith

Personal Philosophy: Everyone does not have access to the same doors. Sharing my time, resources and increasing opportunities for others is a personal responsibility.

What book are you reading? No Apparent Distress by Rachel Pearson

What was your first job? Photographer assistant

Favorite charity? All Seated in a Barn, an animal rescue charity, and the YWCA

Interests: Wine, travel, horses

Family: Husband is in law enforcement, three kids: Daughter (2), son (7) and another son (31)

What can be done to increase diversity in STEM fields?

Early exposure to the vast array of possible careers in STEM is essential. Many students in my community do not even believe that careers like engineers, scientists and doctors are an option for them. They don’t know what those jobs look like and have never seen someone that looks like them in those roles so having relatable role models is so important.

How is the world changing with respect to STEM?

I think the biggest change I have seen is the growth and overall shift towards system-based understanding of scientific processes such as the fields of genomics (the study of an organism’s DNA), proteomics (the study of proteins in a cell) and bioinformatics (the science of using computers to store and analyze biological data). This really impacts the type of skills and analytic approaches that students across STEM fields have to learn. Moving towards holistic-informed knowledge is an exciting current trend across STEM.

Where do you see women in STEM in five years?

In five years, women in STEM will be running the world! My hope is that women will have achieved equity in academic faculty representation, in leadership positions across all STEM fields and in entrepreneurial opportunities that will allow the next generation to have the role models they need.

Describe your experiences as a woman in a STEM career. What else would you like our readers to know about being a woman in a STEM career in 2023?

As a woman in STEM, I am a product of life-changing mentorship by female professors who were breaking ground in their respective fields. I benefited from watching personal role models overcome barriers in gender discrimination, both overt and subversive, and go on to chair departments, get tenured at top research institutions and earn million-dollar awards for their innovative research ideas. They impacted my career trajectory and inspired me to take on hurdles knowing that others before me have paved the way. Due to their influence, I am passionate about mentoring and deeply committed to pathway programs that make STEM careers achievable for all.

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Company Name: Union Pacific

Industry: Railroad and Freight Transportation

Company CEO: Lance Fritz

Company Headquarters Location: Omaha, NE

Number of Employees: 33,000

Lori Lentsch, General Director, Information Assurance

Education: MBA, Creighton University; BS, Computer/Mathematics, South Dakota State University

Number of Employees: 33,000

Words you live by: If you are uncertain of a decision, trust your first instinct – it’s usually right!

Personal Philosophy: The decisions one makes when they think no one is looking shows their true character. Always act with integrity. What book are you reading? Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter by Greg McKeown and Liz Wiseman

What was your first job? Working in my high school computer lab, running network cables and installing workstations and servers.

Favorite charity: March of Dimes

Interests: I enjoy spending time with my family and traveling Family: My husband, Ivan, our two boys, Ethan and Owen, and our dog Bailey

What can be done to increase diversity in STEM fields?

Our STEM fields need to be more relatable for people of all different backgrounds. To increase diversity, we need everyone to understand and connect not only to the work, but to the community of people who perform that work. When you can see someone that looks like you excelling in STEM, or hear about someone engaged in their STEM career, who would take every opportunity to showcase our existing diversity in STEM, that helps open the door for others. By amplifying the visibility and voices of the diverse group of individuals engaged in a STEM career today, we can help the next generation see themselves in STEM roles.

How is the world changing with respect to STEM?

More and more, we see STEM integrating into every aspect of the world from the way farmers plant crops to how we order our food. When you look at the current trend in AI technology, coupled with its ease of availability, you see that the role of STEM will only continue to expand in our everyday lives. Through this expansion, there will naturally be more opportunities for learning and new roles will be created within STEM. We need to be sure we keep pace with these changes and bring diverse groups into these new roles, ensuring that we have the foundation to build the best solutions possible.

What can be done to move women forward in STEM?

Women in STEM need visible role models and vocal advocates. We need to celebrate the women in STEM who are successful and promulgate their stories. By sharing their journeys and successes, these women set the stage as role models for others, enabling them to see a path forward in STEM. Once they can see that path, we need to help enable them along the way. Each of us can support a woman entering the STEM field through mentorship or advocacy. As a mentor, you can provide guidance, encouragement, and feedback to help women as they navigate the field. When you act as an advocate, you can give a voice to someone who may not have found theirs yet in the field. Or, you can take the opportunity to raise up a woman who may not be in the room to promote her own skills and capabilities. These roles are all necessary to bring women forward in STEM.

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Women Wor th Watching® in STEM

Company Name: Union Pacific

Industry: Railroad and Freight Transportation

Company CEO: Lance Fritz

Company Headquarters Location: Omaha, NE

Number of Employees: 33,000

Jordan Turner, General Director

Education: MS, Computer Info Systems, Bellevue University; BS, Computer Info Mgmt., College of St. Mary, Omaha, NE

Words you live by: “If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.”

Personal Philosophy: Get comfortable being uncomfortable.

What book are you reading? Outliers by Malcom Gladwell

What was your first job? “Jill-of-all-trades” in a Pizza Kitchen

Favorite charity: American Heart Association

Interests: Hiking, Crossfit, weightlifting, spending time w/family, watching sports

Family: Spouse – Steve, three children – Hank (11), Mac (8), and Clay (7)

What can be done to increase diversity in STEM fields?

It is important that young girls and women understand early in life that STEM fields can provide many opportunities. School curriculum is one component, but even more important is that successful women leaders in STEM fields need to serve as mentors, role models, and sponsors to these future leaders. I personally prioritize sponsoring young women and help usher them through their own journey into STEM careers. For example, one of my current mentees, whom I met when she was in high school, graduated with a computer engineering degree in May 2023 and has a full-time STEM job after graduation. I will now encourage her to pay it forward based on her own experiences. The analogy I use is “multi-level marketing.” We need to continue to serve and develop the maximum number of STEM role models and advocate to exponentially increase diversity in these fields over time.

Describe your experiences as a woman in a STEM career. Women have made big gains in workforce parity and make up roughly half of the workforce in the United States. However, they still only represent about a third of STEM workers. With the demand for STEM roles continuing to increase, a more diverse workforce is critical to meeting these needs. STEM roles are a great way for women to achieve financial stability, work-life balance, and contribute back to society in a meaningful way by helping solve problems with innovation. COVID also brought a whole new dimension to many of these careers by allowing for hybrid or remote work for office workers. Talk about a game changer in the work-life balance arena! In five years, I see the gender gap in STEM continuing to close. It will be commonplace to see a room full of women solving difficult problems, leading delivery of the next innovative product, or having a seat at the table to pitch a new vision on how STEM will change an industry. I am excited to be part of it!

What else would you like our readers to know about being a woman in a STEM career in 2023?

If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you. Step outside of that comfort zone, take on a new risk, support a newcomer – expect some bumps in the road, but take the leap and enjoy the ride.

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Company Name: WilmerHale

Industry: Legal

Company CEO: Susan Murley and Robert Novick, co-managing partners

Company HQ Location: Boston and Washington, D.C.

Number of Employees: 2,000

Cynthia T. Mazareas, Partner

Education: JD, Georgetown University Law Center; BS, Boston University

Your Location: Boston, MA

Words you live by: “I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” – Invictus

Personal Philosophy: I am the change that I seek.

What book are you reading?:Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr and Stories From the Shadows, Reflections of a Street Doctor by James O’Connell

What was your first job? Registered Nurse

Favorite charity: Life Science Cares

Interests: Family, reading

Family: Married with one daughter

What can be done to increase diversity in STEM fields?

There are still disparities in the number of women in STEM versus its popularity with men. Education and outreach will continue to play an important role in recruiting women to college courses and jobs in STEM.

How is the world changing with respect to STEM?

More and more women in STEM are choosing to become mentors. This is a fantastic development. Women who have already plotted their path in STEM can help guide younger women to educational and career success. You can start in your own organization. At WilmerHale, I serve as a mentor to diverse attorneys and women throughout the firm. I also am a member of the Hiring Committee, where I am able to help identify and recruit students of color. I participate throughout the year in firm-wide initiatives to promote diversity, equity and inclusion. Helping to develop and mentor the next generation of women and diverse lawyers is something that is incredibly important to me.

Describe your experiences as a woman in a STEM career. What else would you like our readers to know about being a woman in a STEM career in 2023?

Prior to law school, I worked as a community health nurse in several marginalized Boston neighborhoods that suffered both disproportionate rates of poverty and limited access to basic human needs such as healthcare. Coming to fully appreciate the disparity in access to healthcare was a major impetus to attending law school as my experiences ignited my curiosity about how better access – and better health outcomes – could be brought about through law and public policy advocacy. This also ties into the commitment I have now to Life Sciences Cares, an organization whose mission is to support agencies in the Greater Boston area that are aiming to address basic needs like health care, food security, safety, and housing.

My background as a community health nurse also gave me an appreciation of the consequences that both poor health and limited access to appropriate health care have on the vitality of individuals and entire communities. I feel very honored to provide legal services to companies within the life sciences industry whose missions are to improve quality of health, extend survival and overcome disease.

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DIVERSE L AW YERS Making a Difference

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: September 15, 2023

With this award, we are highlighting prominent diverse lawyers making a difference in diversity, inclusion, and equity within their law firms, and for their clients and communities. The profiles that will appear in the pages of Profiles in Diversity Journal® will showcase their achievements in all areas of their legal practices, including pipeline issues, the need for mentoring, leadership, LGBTQ+ rights, access to justice, and more.

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Nominate Today!

Where are they now?

Over more than two decades, Profiles in Diversity Journal® has recognized more than 2,000 Women Worth Watching® in the pages of our magazine. In this issue, we catch up with 11 more past Award recipients, who have since been promoted, started their own companies, taken on new roles, or moved into entirely new fields of endeavor. Like all of our Women Worth Watching Award winners, they are dynamic leaders, who welcome challenges, embrace change, and share their knowledge and wisdom with the next generation of women. Read on, and see where their professional journeys have taken them.

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Ana Paula de Almeida Santos Director of Sustainability and Relations, CNseg

Where are they now?

Ana Paula de Almeida Santos from the Women Worth Watching® Class of 2016 is now the director of sustainability and relations for CNseg, the Brazilian National Confederation of General Insurance is a national association of the federations of insurance and pension. When she was a WWW in 2016, Santos was the legal director of Assurant Brazil where she served as a corporate legal leader for the company’s Brazil operations. Santos holds a degree in Social and Legal Sciences from Universidade MacKenzie in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

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Joanne Bal

General Counsel, Corporate Secretary, and Head of Impact, Vital Farms

Where are they now?

Joanne Bal became a Woman Worth Watching® in 2016 and now she’s the general counsel, corporate secretary, and head of Impact at Vital Farms. Bal came to our attention 2016 as a managing director of legal services at Applied Materials. She has also served as chief legal counsel for Levi Strauss Americas. Bal earned her JD from the University of Chicago and a BA from the University of California, Berkeley.

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Where are they now?

Senior Manager, Amazon Stores

Nicole Stoner, recognized as a Woman Worth Watching® in 2016, became senior manager of Amazon stores in 2021. Stoner was honored as a WWW when she served as head of supply chain inclusion and director of procurement operations for AMEX, one of her many jobs at the company. She is an expert in finance, finance technology and global corporate payments. She has a MS from The University of Edinburgh and a BA from The College of William and Mary in Virginia.

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Nicole Stoner


Gail Gottehrer

Vice President of Global Litigation and Labor

Employment/Government Relations, Fresh Del Monte

Where are they now?

Gail Gottehrer, named a Woman Worth Watching® in 2016, is now vice president of global litigation and labor employment/government relations at Fresh Del Monte. Previously, she owned her own law firm and served as general counsel and digital innovation specialist. Back in 2016, she was a partner and outside general counsel at Axinn, Veltrop & Harkrider, LLP. She received her law degree from the University of Pennsylvania and her BA from Binghamton University.

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Where are they now?

Jalana Lewis Director of African Nova Scotian Community Engagement, Dalhousie University

Jalana Lewis, honored as a Woman Worth Watching® in 2017, is, we are happy to report, still a woman worth watching. This Canadian lawyer is now Dalhousie University’s first director of African Nova Scotian community engagement. Part of her job is to create a space at the school that is welcoming to Nova Scotians of African descent. Lewis came to our attention as a member of the Black Female Lawyers Network. She earned her JD from Dalhousie University and her BA from Concordia University.

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Crystal Kardys

Senior Director, Talent Acquisition, HomeServe USA

Where are they now?

Crystal Kardys, one of our Women Worth Watching® in 2017, keeps moving up the ladder and finding new passions. Now she is senior director, talent acquisition at HomeServe USA after serving as global director, talent acquisition at Ultra Electronics Group and being a long-time employee at WilsonHCG. Kardys was Wilson’s vice president of Innovation and Organizational Effectiveness before she departed that company. Kardys earned her BS at the State University of New York at Buffalo and her MA in management and leadership from Liberty University. 2017

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Nicole Wiley-Marks

Vice President, Global Real Estate and Sustainability, Arrow Electronics

Where are they now?

Nicole Wiley-Marks, a Woman Worth Watching® in 2018, keeps advancing at Arrow Electronics. She is currently vice president, global real estate and sustainability at Arrow. In 2018, she was vice president of sales operations and she has had a series of jobs since at the company. Wiley-Marks has a doctorate from the University of Florida Warrington College of Business, a MS from Indiana Wesleyan University and a BS from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.

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Charmaine Brown

Where are they now?

Co-chair of the Maryland Commission on Climate Change and Leader of the Climate Justice Working Group, state of Maryland

Charmaine Brown in the Woman Worth Watching® class of 2018 is now co-chair of the Maryland Commission on Climate Change and Leader of the Climate Justice Working Group for the state of Maryland. She serves as one of three co-chairs who advise the governor and the General Assembly on ways to prepare for climate changes. She’s held many jobs since she entered our pages as diversity director for Fannie Mae including serving as president of the Finance of America Companies Foundation. Brown got her MA from Johns Hopkins University and her BA from Bowie State University.

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Susanne Endress

Channel Director, Fortinet

Where are they now?

Susanne Endress, recognized as a Woman Worth Watching® in 2018, recently became Channel Director of Fortinet, a global cybersecurity company that develops and sells computer security safeguards. Endress served as CEO and managing director of Arrow ECS Germany in 2018. She was educated at the University of Augsburg and Mercedes Benz.

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Elizabeth Adefioye Chief People Officer, Emerson Electric Co.

Where are they now?

Elizabeth Adefioye, a member of the Women Worth Watching® class of 2018, is now the chief people officer at Emerson Electric Co. The position focuses on enhancing the company culture and the experience of the workforce. Adefioye is an expert human resources leader having served at Ingredion Inc. (2018), Johnson & Johnson, Novartis Consumer Health and other companies. Adefioye did post graduate work at the University of Westminster and earned her BS from Lagos State University. 2018

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Monique Picou

Global Executive Vice President of Cloud Supply Chain and Operations, Google

Where are they now?

Monique Picou in the Woman Worth Watching® class in 2019 is now the global executive vice president of cloud supply chain and operations for Google. Picou entered our pages in 2019 as the senior vice president, supply chain flow for Walmart and later became a senior vice president for Sam’s Club. She has a MBA from the Florida Institute of Technology and a BS from Southern University.

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104 2023 Second Quarter Akin Gump………………………………….........…………………………………….........……………………………….............20, 21 Amazon Stores………………………………..…………………………………….........……………………….............................….95 Arrow Electronics…………………………..…………………………………….........…………………………….....................……..99 AT&T………………………………..…………………………………….........………………………………......................................56 Axinn……………………………..…………………………………….........………………………………....................................…..22 Bazaarvoice………………………..…………………………………….........……………………………………….............................57 City of Los Angeles……………..…………………………………….........…………………………………..............………………..58 CNseg……………………………..…………………………………….........…………………………………....................................93 Dalhousie University………………..…………………………………….........…………………………………..........……………….97 Davis Wright Tremaine LLP…………..…………………………………….........…………………………………............……..5, 23 Dechert LLP……………………………………………………………….........……………………................................…..3, 24, 59 Dermavant Sciences, Inc. ……………………………………………….........………………………………................………..7, 60 Eli Lilly and Company…………………………………………………….........………………………………….....................25, 61, 62 Emerson Electric Co……………………………………………………….........…………………………….................................…102 Epiq Global……………………………………………………………….........……………………........................................…..26, 63 Fish & Richardson………………………………………………………….........……………………...............................………..64, 65 Fortinet……………………………………………………………………….........…………………….........................................….101 Freddie Mac……………………………………………………………….........…………………..............................……..5, 27, 28 Fresh Del Monte…………..………………………………………………….........…………………...................................………….96 Gold Standard Arts Foundation.....………………………………………….........…………………...............................................15 Google………………………………………………………………………….........……………………………........................……103 Haynes Boone, LLP…………………………………………………………….........…………………………..............................29, 66 HomeServe USA……………………………………………………………….........………………………….....................................98 Kelly Engineering……………………………………………………………….........…………………….....................................…..67 Knobbe Martens……………………………………………………………….........…………………................................……..30, 68 Kroll……………………………………………………………….........………………………......................................................31, 69 Latham & Watkins…………………………………………………….........…………………………….............……..32, 33, 70, 71, 72 LaunchDarkly……………………………………………………………….........………………………..............................................73 Learning Undefeated…………………………………………………………….........…………………...............................………..74 Lincoln Financial Group……………………………………………………………….........………………...........................………..75 Marshall, Gerstein & Borun LLP……………………………………………………….........………………...............………………..34 McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP…………………………………………………........………........................………..76 Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP………………………………………………………….........…………………….................………..35 Moss Adams………………………………………………………………….........……………………...............................................36
77, Back Cover
79, 80
Sandia National Laboratories………………………………………………….........……………………………………...............82, 83 Sanford Heisler Sharp……………………………………………………….........……………………………...............................…..41 Segra……………………………………………………………….........……………………….......................Inside Front Cover, 84 Sidus Space………………….……………………………………….........………………………….............................................…..85 State of Maryland…………………………………………………………….........……………………...............................………..100 Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox PLLC……………………………………………….........………………………..........………..42, 86 Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso Foster School of Medicine…………………...........……………………..87 The Winters Group………………………………………………………….........……………………...............................................50 Union Pacific Railroad……………………………………………………….........……………………………............…..43, 44, 88, 89 University of Washington Tacoma…………………………………………….........…………………………...........………………..45 Vital Farms……….…………………………………………………………….........………………………......................................…94 Webster Bank……………………………………………………………….........……………………….............................................46 WilmerHale………………………………………………………….........……………………………..........................................47, 90 Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati…………………………………………….........…………………………………............………..48 BOLD DENOTES ADVERTISER BLUE PAGE NUMBER OF AD
Funding…………………………………………………….........…………………………............................………..37 New York Life……………………………………………………………….........………………………..............38,
Northern Virginia Family Service………………………………………….........………………………………..............……………..39 Norton Rose Fulbright………………………………………………………….........………………………..............................……..78 Phillips Lytle………………………………………………………………….........……………………….........................................6 Robins Kaplan LLP…………………………………………………………….........…………………………..........................40,
Rohini Anand LLC……………………………………………………………….........………………………..............................……..12 Roswell Park Comprehensive Care Center………………………………………….........………………………….............………..81
2023 PDJ Awards Calendar Magazine Issue - Fourth Quarter 2023 2 023 A W ARD INTERNATIONAL AWARD INFORMATION • Magazine Issue: Q4 2023 • Featured Awards: Black Leadership Awards • Nominations Close: Sept 15, 2023 • Winners Announced: Sept/Oct 2023 • Publication Date: December 2023 Nominate Today! 2 023 A W ARD Innovations in Diversity INTERNATIONAL AWARD INFORMATION • Magazine Issue: Q4 2023 • Featured Awards: Innovations in Diversity • Nominations Close: Sept 15, 2023 • Winners Announced: Sept/Oct 2023 • Publication Date: December 2023 Nominate Today! AWARD INFORMATION • Magazine Issue: Q4 2023 • Featured Awards: Diverse Lawyers Making a Difference • Nominations Close: Sept 14, 2023 • Winners Announced: Sept/Oct 2023 • Publication Date: December 2023 2 023 A W ARD DIVERSE L AW YERS Making a Difference INTERNATIONAL Nominate Today! UPCOMING AWARDS
Our diverse culture is built on a foundation of inclusion. New York Life is proud of our accomplishments this past year and our continued commitment to this important work. To learn more, scan the QR code to review our 2022 DE&I Report. © 2023 New York Life Insurance Company, 51 Madison Avenue, New York, NY New York Life is an Equal Opportunity Employer – M/F/Veteran/Disability/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity AR11135.062023 SMRU5392550 (Exp.01.03.2025) TM

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