As a content coordinating volunteer for ILTA, I was interested to learn more about our female leaders of today. In May of 2018, my ILTA colleague Chandra Foreman was able to put me in touch with the Chicago Chapter Board of Women in eDiscovery. As a non-profit organization, WiE holds monthly meetings for legal professional women with a primary focus on education and networking. They also collaborate, fundraise, and mentor. I enjoyed taking the interviews and am sincerely excited to share them with the ILTA community. “Women can empower other women” as Jennifer Roe so eloquently put. I hope you find these interviews as fun and insightful as I did.
Interview with Ann M. Eisenreich
Q. What is your favorite “elevator pitch” you use to describe what you do to someone who is not familiar with the legal field?
A. Very simply stated, I assist legal professionals in finding new positions! I help place attorneys, paralegals, legal admin, and any professional background that falls under the legal umbrella, on temporary, temp to perm, and direct-hire opportunities. I also support law firms and corporate legal departments on ediscovery matters where contract attorneys are needed for document review and/or managed review projects.
Q. What advice would you offer someone who has potential as a leader, but needs that extra push to stand up and take the role?
A. I would tell them to just do it! What have they got to lose? Once they’ve taken on the role they can request guidance from other leaders in the company and those within their network. Learn as you go! Own it, commit to it, and you’ll do great!
Q. As a woman in leadership – how have you navigated in your role?
A. I have asked A LOT of questions, learned from my boss, my counterparts in the company, others in leadership, and read about what other leaders do. I have learned from my team and discuss solutions w/them when appropriate. I understand it’s not all about me, rather us!
Q. How do you determine best practices?
A. Best practices are determined on a case by case situation. I take every opportunity to learn from situations I’ve been confronted with and then implement solid solutions, while reminding myself that those solutions could possibly change down the road! Again, it’s case by case.
Q. How did you make the move from individual contributor to leadership role?
A. I was asked to interview with Beacon Hill Legal when they were looking to open a branch in Chicago. I was under the impression I was interviewing for another sales and recruiting role. After the interview process I was then approached with the Director role and asked to take on the task of opening and building the office! I saw it as my time to shine and tackle the next step within the industry!
Q. What was the biggest challenge in making that switch and how did you overcome it?
A. The biggest challenge was managing responsibilities of new employees I hired. Procedures were often put in place in a case by case situation, but I tend to be very black and white and rule-driven. Having to figure these things out as time went on proved to be a little challenging, but through the years, the growth of my team, and the policies and procedures I, along with suggestions from my team, have put into place have proven to be successful!
Q. Do you have any tips for identifying personal career development needs?
A. The individual should first recognize what direction they want their career to go and then identify what is needed for that development, e.g. skills, knowledge, etc. and put goals and strategies in place to accomplish them. These can be attained through internal resources at their employers, training events with various organizations, academia, networking, etc.
Q. How do you find opportunities to build those skills / knowledge?
A. To find those opportunities I reach out to my management, colleagues, networking groups, friends, and research online resources, to name a few.
Q. What was the hard/easiest lesson you’ve learned in your career?
A. Hardest lesson is learning to not overthink and/or over analyze a situation, a request, a comment made to me, a conversation I’ve had, etc. whether it’s coming from a client or a candidate. Easiest lesson I’ve learned was understanding that my job isn’t rocket science, rather constant and regular communication, listening well and understanding clients’ and candidates’ needs truly makes the job that much easier!
Q. What do you love most about your job?
A. Outside of loving the industry and the many relationships I’ve made through the years, what I love most is this company’s culture! Beacon Hill takes care of its own first and foremost as they understand if we’re taken care of and are happy, then our clients and candidates will be taken care of and happy!
Q. How do you manage your time?
A. One word, lists! I plan out my day and try to stick to it as well as I can or as well as the job will let me. In this industry, things change in seconds!
Q. Do you have any tips or tricks?
A. Plan the night before!
Q. Are you an early bird or a night owl? Do you have a favorite morning or evening routine?
A. I wouldn’t say I am one or the other. It really depends on workload and personal commitments. My favorite morning routine is starting the day off with my trainer. It clears my head, clears stress, and gets me revved up for the day! In the evening, I always have to have a little thoughtless, TV down time before I go to bed.
Q. Who were your mentors and how did you select them?
A. My previous boss was a mentor. I didn’t select her, rather was just lucky enough for her to be my boss when I was with my previous employer. Additionally, my high school English teacher was a mentor. She was poised, professional, intelligent, fun, and got along very well with the students, but always kept a very fine line between student and friend. She was also a constant contact and offered regular guidance while I was in college studying to become a teacher. Additionally, my mother is a mentor. She has dealt with many things in this lifetime that I would not wish on anyone. During those times she remained calm, positive, and always told me that you just have to deal with the cards life deals you. She is also a great friend, but now and when I was young, maintains a fine line between parent and friend.
Q. Name a book that has inspired you and why.
A. The Power of Positive Thinking by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale. I read this book in college after it was suggested to me by my uncle. He had fought cancer, as had my mom, and felt its message was nothing but beneficial. I ended up making it the topic of one of my speeches in college! I try to remind myself of its message as often as I can.
Q. How do you handle challenging personalities or projects?
A. With regard to personalities, I deal with many in my line of business. I always tell myself that this is par for the course and I then figure out how to best deal with those individuals. I am usually pretty successful in doing so and feel that’s one of the reasons I’ve been successful. With regard to challenging projects, I tell myself that I have no choice but to get it done and that it will get done! I make a to-do list, handle the project one step at a time, and ask for help when I need it. In the end, if I did my absolute best, it always turns out just fine!
Q. Oprah famously remarked, “As a woman leader in the corporate world, I feel like I have to be brave a lot” – Do you have any advice or tips on bravery?
A. I think bravery comes from confidence and you have to be confident in yourself! Know your strength, now your limits, but don’t hesitate to go outside of your comfort zone every so often as long as it makes sense! If you are true to yourself and tackle the good and bad in a confident way, bravery will follow! I think it’s pretty obvious how confident Oprah is and it seems to drive her bravery.
Q. What would you be curious to know about other women leaders?
A. I’d be interested in knowing the daily habits of women leaders as it relates to their personal day, specifically best practices outside of work that make them successful at work. I’d like to know about best practices in team management.
Please check out:
"Women in eDiscovery Interviews: Part 2"
"Women in eDiscovery Interviews: Part 4"#LitigationSupportoreDiscovery#Leadership