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 Amy Juers
Q. What is your favorite elevator pitch to describe what you do to someone who is not familiar with the legal field?
A. Women in eDiscovery is a non-profit organization that holds monthly meetings for legal professional women. Our primary focus is education and networking, but we also fundraise for other non-profits like the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women and participate in charitable activities.
Q. What advice would you offer someone who potential as a leader, but needs that extra push to stand up and take the role?
A. If you have never been in a leadership position and you are taking that first step or that first role, it can be very intimidating. Your mind can run wild when you think about how you should act and what you should do or not do. Early in my leadership career, I received advice from a mentor and he said to just be yourself. From that moment on, I had a lot more confidence in what I was doing and what I was saying. That is the one piece of advice that I would give to someone that has earned a leadership role.
Q. As a woman in leadership, how have you navigated your role? That can include best practices, picking technology etc.
A. As far as leadership roles, I was more approached rather than going after them. I believe that happened organically by doing good things. Being a leader requires you to be a good communicator as well as be fair and humble. As far as best practices – always lead by example. Give credit where credit is due. I once worked with a person who took credit, not only for their work but for others’ as well. It was rather unsettling. That was when I was young in my career and it was a good lesson on what not to do. Life can show you a lot of lessons of what not to do. I’m far from perfect so another piece of advice is to learn from your own mistakes.
Q. Do you have any tips for identifying personal career development needs? How do you find opportunities to build those skills or knowledge?
"Women in eDiscovery Interviews: Part 5"#LitigationSupportoreDiscovery#Leadership
A. The best advice I can give is to talk to your colleagues, a mentor or your superiors. Then make a plan and take that next step. Talk to a recruiter as their job, everyday day, in and out, is to identify top performers. They have their finger on the pulse of what skills or experience can get you into a new role. One last tip – sign up for industry newsletters or alerts. There are many ways to learn new things and expand your knowledge base and the only thing it will cost is your time.
Q. What was the hardest or easiest lesson in your career?
A. The hardest lesson was to LET IT GO. Did that song just pop into your head? I am highly competitive and losing is very hard for me. When you are out there in a leadership position you want to be successful but you won’t always be. It can be hard for someone that has a nurturing personality to do this job. Over the years I have learned to better control how to act and react to things. As you learn more, you mature. You learn what battles to fight and what to let roll off your back.
Q. What do you love most about your job?
A. As an executive director for Women in eDiscovery I would have to say being part of the leadership team. The women that I co-direct with, Beth Finkle and Jackie Rosborough, are excellent communicators and we balance each other out. We make a fantastic team. We are seeing the results of hard work. There is a lot of pride and satisfaction in doing good for others and the legal community.
Q. How do you manage your time? Do you have any tips or tricks?
A. I have been working remote from my home office since 2003. In the first months it was hard for me to adjust to that environment. Eventually, I learned how to manage my time and remain focused. In your home environment, work never leaves you. Try and shut the door or turn off your emails past a certain time. Of course, this sounds great but I must admit I am a complete failure of turning off work, so perhaps I should take my own advice!
Q. Who were your mentors?
A. My parents were my first mentors. As an ER nurse, my mother had a relentless passion for helping others. She also taught me not to sweat the small stuff. My father was more of a quiet leader. Through everyday life, he taught me to always try and think one step ahead of everyone else. He does that a lot. I’ve never really perfected that skill but will continue to try. He’s in his mid-eighties and is still one step ahead of me. Career-wise, my mentor told me to just be myself and have confidence. Grounding myself empowered me to fear less about what’s next.
Q. What would you be curious to know about other woman leaders?
A. On one hand, I would like to know what they do on a regular basis to continue to improve. I imagine that there is a constant evolution of who they are and where they are headed. And, on the other hand, do leaders ever reach complacency? If so, I wish they would share the secret to getting there!
Please check out:
"Women in eDiscovery Interviews: Part 3"