G.C. Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer & Litigation, Intl. Paper
“Never sacrifice who you are to achieve goals set for you by others.”
In your opinion, what qualities make a “Power Woman”?
Strength, philomathy, spirituality, sincere confidence, empathy, sense of humor, and the audacity to stand for something even when no one else stands with you.
What do you think is the number one action we as a society can take toward empowering women and gender equality? (e.g. affirmative action)?
The “we” in society would need to acknowledge that inequality exists in the first place.
Do you think that asking previous salary requirements in job interviews contributes to the pay gap between women and men? New York State outlawed this practice. Should it be nationwide?
There are so many variables that contribute to the pay gap between women and men that I don’t believe one law, even a nationwide law, will be particularly transformative. We currently have laws designed to protect women in the workplace, designed to prevent violence against women, etc., but yet the harassment and abuse continue. It’s the patriarchy that permeates our culture that needs to change.
What was the defining moment or experience in your life that led you to where you are today?
I come from humble beginnings (e.g. born to teen parents in a small town and lived in a trailer until I was in middle school) so I naively believed that I had done all I was supposed to do in life by the time I was 35-years-old, being a working attorney in a large defense firm in my state’s capitol. However, when I was offered professional opportunities that were global in scope, I realized that my definition of success was far too small.
“Legislators, priests, philosophers, writers, and scientists have striven to show that the subordinate position of woman is willed in heaven and advantageous on earth.” Simone de Beauvoir. Is this still a major stumbling block on the 21st century road to equality?
Yes, and as long as we have women espousing the same misogynistic rhetoric, that will never change.
What is your mantra?
I am too old to do stuff I don’t want to do. What phrase or parable best describes your approach right now? My side of the story is irrelevant. Life happens. Learn the lesson and embrace your boundaries going forward.
How would you describe the changes in the political landscape for women over the past five years?
Women are often placed in binaries. Strong and emotionless or weak and sensitive. How do you subvert these limitations and connect to all sides of womanhood?
I reject the construct and stand in all that I am and choose to be.
If you could have someone else’s job for a day, who and what would it be? Why?
If I could have someone else’s job for a day, I would be an event planner like David Tutera. I love creating unique celebrations for my family and friends. It allows me to tap into a level of creativity that I don’t customarily use as a lawyer and I am fulfilled by how much the guests enjoy their experience.
What advice would you give to any aspiring Power Women?
Never sacrifice who you are to achieve goals set for you by others.
What steps do you take to obtain a healthy work/life balance?
I love what I do so work/life balance has eluded me until the last few years as age settles in. As a recovering enthusiastic work-a-holic, I have discovered the do not disturb setting on my cell phone; stopped sleeping with my phone under my pillow and scheduled time I will check messages on weekends and vacations (i.e. 30 minutes in the morning and evening). One day at a time…
Which historical figure do you most identify with?
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
There is no mistake that cannot be fixed in this world. Don’t waste energy on the fact that the mistake happened but instead focus on the lesson you learned in the process.
What is your favorite book (fiction or non-fiction)?
The Silence of the Lambs
What do you most value in your friends?
Which trait do you most deplore in yourself? Temper In others?
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
“There is no mistake that cannot be fixed in this world. Don’t waste energy on the fact that the mistake happened but instead focus on the lesson you learned in the process.”