Women Worth Watching 2019

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Michelle Ontiveros Gross Job Title: Partner Education: JD, Columbia Law School; BS, Stanford University Company Name: Mayer Brown Industry: Legal Company CEO: Paul Theiss Company Headquarters Location: N/A Number of Employees: 3,660 Your Location: Palo Alto, California Words you live by: “The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.” –Vince Lombardi Personal Philosophy: Know your personal and professional true north, and follow it. What was your first job: Scooping ice cream at Braum’s Ice Cream & Dairy Store; it was love at first sight Favorite charity: Girls on the Run, an organization that inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running Interests: I love healthy athletic competition. No matter the day, I’d always rather be in workout clothes doing something athletic. Family: I'm married to an awesome husband (also a lawyer), and we have a four year old, a 14 month old, and I am three months pregnant with our third child.

We Have a Right to Say, “I’m Tired.”


s I write this essay, I am three months pregnant with my third child. I am thrilled to be blessed with a third child on the way, but I am also exhausted. And I can’t help but regularly ponder the notion that we, as a society, simply ask too much of women. As is the case with most working women while pregnant, there is an expectation that I continue successfully performing my job until I am officially on maternity leave. For the last three months I have been nauseous 90 percent of each day, and I have been struggling to stay awake. I have had to dig deep to do the minimum at my job and, no matter how hard I work, I feel like I am underperforming. My husband once said that it seems when women won the fight for rights in the workplace, we really won the right to a second job (albeit a paid one). According to a recent Forbes article, women are eight times more likely than men to take time off from work to care for sick children or manage their children's schedules. Despite this obvious inequity, as


Summer 2019

women, we often work tirelessly to not appear distracted by family obligations or otherwise less than fully committed to our professions. When I think back to how far professional women have come, and how much women have fought for the rights that many of us now take for granted, I am so proud. But I also think that long history has provided us with another often unrecognized right: the right to say, “I’m tired. I’m tired of wearing heels. I’m tired of spending countless hours styling my hair and finding the “right” clothes to wear. I’m tired of being assumed to be the primary caregiver. And I’m tired of pretending that this pregnancy is not completely exhausting me.” I personally am more than committed to my job and my family. I love being a lawyer and I love being a mom. But I am also human, and the expectations and standards to which we hold women are unacceptably heavy. It is time for women to stand up and proudly say, “We are tired!”