Women Who Lead (Participation Open to All Leaders)

 View Only

Women in eDiscovery Interviews: Part 5

By Phil Weldon posted 07-09-2018 09:08

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 Kristine Eschenburg

Q. What is your favorite elevator pitch to describe what you do to someone who is not familiar with the legal field?

A. I work for Relativity and always get asked “what is Relativity?” Relativity is a web based platform that makes electronic data searchable. So, if you think about the files that you have on your computer or sitting in your outlook. Well Relativity can take all that data, ingest it and make it searchable. So you can search by dates, keywords, names. We help organizations organize their data, so that they can discover the truth fast, and act on that.

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. It’s important to always believe in yourself. Having the belief that you can do something is more important than having the actual skillset to back it up. Second to that, you need to figure out what you need to actually do in that role. If you don’t have that experience, think back to what you do in your role today and what you can learn to get there. Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn. People need to be able to put themselves out there. Third, if this is something that you want to do then you need to find someone in a leadership role that can mentor you. Someone that can help support your trajectory. And if you don’t have someone like that in your organization, then there are tons of groups out there to join. That’s one of the things that I love about the WiE group. It’s an extremely supportive group, with women at all different levels participating.

Q. As a woman in leadership, how have you navigated your role? How do you determine best practices? Select technology solutions?

A. When it comes down to how I’ve navigated my own role, I always try to over prepare. If I’m meeting with a new customer, I try to think about all the possible outcomes beforehand. I try to prepare for everything so that if I get a curve ball thrown at me I am ready to answer it. That way at the end of the day, even if I don’t get the desired result, I still feel like I gave it my all.

Q. How did you make the move from individual contributor to leadership role?

A. I’ve been in a leadership role off and on for many years. At first it was tough. You have a lot of people depending on you and looking to you for the answers. I believe in being honest and transparent, and I try to fight like hell for my people. That’s what I would want in a leader, so that’s the leader I strive to be.

Q. Do you have any tips for identifying personal career development needs?

A. One time a few years back, I told my manager at the time that I just got lucky, she told me that luck is when preparation meets opportunity. I think that sometimes you find an opportunity because you have worked hard and your prepared. But sometimes you need to look hard for those opportunities and then sell others on why you’d be the best fit.

Q. What would you say is the hardest or easiest lesson that you’ve learned?

A. I’m a talker, as you can probably tell. I have a tendency to talk first and listen later. I try to listen first and talk later. It’s important to hear what people have to say first. Especially coming from another point of view before I speak out.

Q. What do you love most about what you do?

A. As the Secretary, for the Chicago Chapter of Women in eDiscovery, I love that it I get to help women in technology connect with other professionals and gain access to information that can help them advance both professionally and personally.

Q. What did you do before going to work for Relativity?

A. Before I ventured into eDiscovery, I worked in recruitment advertising. I worked for CareerBuilder. Initially, I sold both print and online ads for the Chicago Tribune & CareerBuilder. This was back when everyone was learning what job boards could do. By the time I left, we were doing all online ads, partnering with Facebook, other tools. We offered solutions that allowed organizations insight into job seekers behaviors. I loved the analytics side of things. It was interesting to see how the industry evolved from paper to digital, similar to how the eDiscovery industry was and is evolving. So when I started at Relativity, even though it is a completely different industry, it just felt right. And it’s been a good fit for me.

Q. Are you hands on with the data?

A. I get to help clients by analyzing their data for them. Look at the metrics in the advertising campaign. Some of the ways, like that the dashboards function now I think of all the ways the job seeker data could have been improved. The data geek in me is always looking for what kind of patterns I can see.

Q. How do you manage your time? Do you have any tips or tricks?

A. Everything goes into outlook and I try to time block. That being said if you have a magic ball and can get me an extra 12 hours to the day, and the energy to go with it, I’ll take it.

Q. Are you an early bird or a night owl – do you have any favorite morning or night routines?

A. I recently became an early bird. I used to always be a night owl, as a kid I would stay up late with a flashlight in my bed reading. But I’ve recently started getting up to do morning workouts. If I wasn’t going to do it first thing in the morning, I wouldn’t do it as the last thing at night. Now I love it, I get my workout in, I check some emails – before anyone else is even in the office! When I don’t get up that early, I feel like I’ve lost a good chunk of my day.

Q. Who would you say your mentors are and how did you select them?

A. All of my mentors tend to be strong, independent professionals. They are the kind of people that aren’t afraid to speak up and ask questions.

Q. Name a book that inspired you and why.

A. I am a huge fan of Malcom Gladwell’s books. Outliers is one of my favorites. Grit is another that I need to spend more time unpacking. The writing is very similar to Malcolm Gladwell. It’s very interesting and very motivating.

Q. How do you handle challenging personalities or challenging projects?

A. Always try to put yourself in the other persons shoes, and think about what they are going through. If a meeting is not going the way you want it to – you need to ask them what they want and what would make them happy.

Q. When I was researching for these interviews, I read a lot of amazing interviews. One of them, I am quoting from Oprah “As a woman leader, I feel like I have to be brave a lot.” This quote really jumped out at me. I wanted to ask, do you have any advice or tips on bravery?

A. I think a lot of times I tend to go with a fake it until you make it motto, which I think allows me to feel brave in situations where I’m not 100% comfortable in. I think it’s also important to have a people that you can trust that you can use as your sounding board. That’s what groups like WiE are good for. We provide a lot of content that focuses on the development and advancement of women in technology.

Q. What would you be curious to know from other women leaders?

A. All the above! Everything that you’ve asked me. I’m always interested to know, what drives people. What drives people is the underlying question that I have.

Please check out:
"Women in eDiscovery Interviews: Part 4"

"Women in eDiscovery Interviews: Part 6"