Happy Saturday and welcome to CEO Speaks for Saturday, March 11, 2023.
This past week we celebrated International Women’s Day and, on this day, I am reminded of both how far women have come and how far there still is to go.
In a world unequal from place to place, slowly but surely the mentorship of women both for each other and those who become their allies, grows.
Whether it be a board seat of a fortune 100 company, or a women’s milk market in Kenya raising up women who are becoming less dependent on men, the world is coming to a place of understanding of the power of women, their impact on society and how they are equal partners with us all, in a changing world.
Before I share stories of some of the outstanding women of TMA Nation however, I want to give a perspective of the vastness of how not so long ago, the world was a much different place then it is today. I’ll do that by sharing a story told of one of my mentors, who stood as an example of the future, but a future at the time that was still greatly overshadowed by men.
Her name was Hon. Dorothy Eisenberg, a 25 year sitting United States Bankruptcy judge who mentored me to be a better professional, and who graciously imparted on me the importance of respect and professional acceptance of all, with focus on skill and knowledge, not sex or race.
But Judge Eisenberg’s journey did not start out that way. A 1950 graduate of my alma mater, Brooklyn Law School, when admitted to Brooklyn, she was one of 5 women in her class.
The biggest issue of the day in that time as told by her children, was not how these 5 women would succeed, but whether to sit the women together in the back of the lecture hall where they would be prone to chatter with each other, or dispersed amongst the men, who they might distract them from their studies.
Fast forward to today, where issues of equality persist, women like Dorothy Eisenberg set the stage for a better tomorrow, just as the women of today in TMA are doing.
And today I celebrate those women of TMA who continue to define, empower, mentor and who are on the front lines of taking on injustice and inequality, assuring it is challenged head on and overcome where it must be.
It starts with women like Amalia-Sax Bolder a Next Gen restructuring attorney who sits on the TMA Rocky Mountain board and who in a program she lead for the chapter last week, sat down with Monica Williams of Equity Project, LLC for a fireside chat that took on the tough issues of prioritizing and implementing DE&I initiatives in the restructuring industry to talking with clients about the positive impacts of DE&I efforts. If that is not empowering and defining enough, Amalia, was recently named by the LGBTQ+ bar association’s 40 best 40 lawyers under 40 for her work in LGBTQ+ impact litigation.
It continues with leaders like Rashmi Dube, of TMA Europe who beyond her day job as a UK restructuring attorney, spearheads important women’s issues as a journalist for the Yorkshire Post, who this week on International Woman’s Day had a column published on the issue of how women globally still face issues not just around equality but equity. Just as she is in her leadership roles for TMA Europe, Rashmi takes on issues for women how she sees them, and unabashedly teaches us all that there is still a need to learn. In her own words, ‘simply being fair and equal will not bring about true inclusion’, and learning of what it means to embrace equity is as important this International Woman’s Day.
Likewise, Demetra Liggins of TMA Houston, who in addition to her restructuring work at McGuire Woods, is co-founder and Chief Engagement Officer of Corporate Homie, an organization that seeks to help women and minorities advance in corporate America, by providing tips and tools to overcome hurdles in the workplace that are unique to women and people of color. No stranger to taking on women’s issues head on, Demetra was recognized as one of the 2022 Women Influence and Power in Law along with receiving the Texas Legal Diversity Champion Award.
This is what it means to be empowering, defining, and raising the bar for all of us in how we can join together to be better together as women, for women and for each other.
While these three women I highlighted are exemplary examples of TMA leaders who go above and beyond, there are many more who are trailblazers in our industry.
Kat Parker one of our youngest ever chapter presidents who leads the Chicago/Mid-West chapter with over 900 members. Kate Aiello, another Next Geners who next year will lead the equally as large NYC chapter.
Eva Ringelspacher, TMA Europe President who last year, raised the bar on the Network of Women with inaugural programs in conjunction with the TMA Europe Annual Conference and at the TMA Deutschland Conference.
And of course, our Global Chair Jane Mitnick, a trailblazer in her own right, who showed the world that after raising a family and returning to the workforce, with fortitude and determination, rose through the ranks of both men and women of our industry and who as TMA’s 5th woman president and chair has been an example of leadership and mentorship to all.
These are a few examples of the greatness of the women of TMA. I am TMA proud to stand with these women, to be supportive of these women and to learn from these women how we can and must be better together by empowering each other to a more equal and equitable tomorrow.
This is truly what it means to be a part of something bigger, and bigger and better we are and will continue to be because of the women of TMA.
As always, thanks for taking the time to listen today. In the one connection that is you, your input is critical, your contributions paramount, and your engagement is the foundation that will create a better TMA for all our members.
Until next time, I’m Scott Stuart. Be safe, resilient, and TMA Proud.