Women's History Month commemorates and celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

In honor of Women's History Month and International Women's Day, we've asked a few of the phenomenal women at Nossaman to share their personal insights and stories of inspiration.



Yukiko Kojima | Partner

What advice would you give to young women who are starting out in their careers?
I would advise young women starting out in their careers to develop their careers and personal lives holistically, with mindfulness and intention from the outset. The legal profession is full of wonderful opportunities and challenges, with tremendous potential for growth and evolution. It also embodies many structures and customs established before their time and can be very demanding. For many young women starting out, it is natural to follow the well-beaten path, but I would encourage each young woman to have a good understanding of what is most important to her, both professionally and personally, and chart a path that best serves those priorities. Don’t hesitate to reach out and solicit the advice of the many wonderful women who preceded you or to question and push for change where you see room for improvement. Most importantly, I would encourage young women to embrace diversity amongst themselves, whether in background, style or priorities.

Tell us about a woman who has inspired you.
My son’s ancient history teacher has recently inspired me. Early in the pandemic, I had the opportunity to watch my son’s teachers adapt their lessons and do their utmost to educate their students under less than ideal circumstances. My son’s ancient history teacher stood out with the lengths to which she went to not only teach the subject, but also connect with her students through her slides. She worked until the wee hours of the morning preparing presentations that often exceeded 100 slides filled with ancient history written in her voice, in language that middle schoolers could relate to, interspersed with humorous but relevant video clips from films that she found, photos from her personal trips to the Mediterranean to illustrate her points, and a puppet character she had introduced when classes were held in person for comic relief. To watch my son, who struggled to adjust to remote learning, light up and laugh out loud at her slides and happily complete her assignments, and to see her respond each time with encouraging words to him personally, warmed my heart and inspired me to tackle life’s challenges with creativity, humor and kindness.



Ashley Walker Senior Policy Advisor

What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?
Take risks. Without taking risks in your career, you will never know what you are truly capable of. Both my mom and a professor in college encouraged me to take risks in my career, and I fully believe I have benefitted greatly from that advice.

What advice would you give to young women who are starting out in their careers?
Try to find a starting place in your career that you enjoy and that highlights your strengths.

What do you wish you could tell your younger professional self?
The hard work will pay off! When it seemed too tough to continue in this career path or to advance my professional development in this career, I honestly did not know if the hard work would pay off and I felt like giving up many times. I am so glad I didn’t!



Erika Schreiber | Attorney Recruiting & Development Director

What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?
One of my favorite quotes is something Conan O’Brien said years ago: “Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard, and you’re kind, amazing things will happen. I’m telling you, amazing things will happen.” I love this because it’s real and it’s true. Everyone starts out their career with a notion of what the journey will look like, and then life happens and things change; but maybe it turns out to be even better than you had imagined. If you work hard and are kind, unexpected and amazing doors will open.

What advice would you give to young women who are starting out in their careers?
My best advice is to really listen to your heart as far as what you want out of your career and how you want to devote your time and talents. Embrace roles that feel like an authentic fit, and don’t be afraid to move on from roles that no longer do. You may experience societal, peer or family pressures to steer your career one direction or another, but ultimately you are the one who is living each day on the career path you have chosen. I wish for all young women that they are able to truly enjoy their professional journey.

What do you wish you could tell your younger professional self?
I would tell my younger self that there is no rush to figure it all out. Coming out of college I thought I had to have my career choices locked in, but in reality it is absolutely fine to choose a path that feels right in the moment, try different things and pivot if need be. With each role you hold and set of responsibilities you are given, you will learn more about who you are as a professional and will have a better understanding of how you want to proceed on your career path.



Anna Micevych | Paralegal

Tell us about a woman who has inspired you.
When I was a child, someone said to me that they were tired of hearing about firsts, meaning they were tired of hearing that someone was the first woman or person of color or LGBTQIA+ person to achieve a particular thing. I remember even at a young age my response was that we would stop hearing about it when we ran out of firsts. When true equality and true equity had been achieved, we would stop needing to hear stories about people breaking down barriers. I’ve always been particularly inspired by firsts: Elizabeth Blackwell (the first woman to graduate medical school in the US), Wilma Pearl Mankiller (the first modern woman to be Principal Chief of the Cherokee), Mae Jemison (the first Black woman in space), Rita Moreno (the first Latinx woman to complete the EGOT), Kim Ng (the first woman and first Asian-American general manager in Major League Baseball), Surya Bonaly (the first and only Olympic figure skater to land a backflip on one blade) and Marie SkÅ‚odowska Curie (the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first and, to-date, only woman to win two Nobel Prizes and the only person to win in two scientific fields), to name a few. Aside from firsts, I’m also inspired by women who do behind-the-scenes work that is so rarely acknowledged in their lifetimes and so rarely makes it into history books. For every “first” there are millions of women who wake up every day and do their best. We should celebrate that more.

What do you wish you could tell your younger professional self?
I heard an interview recently with a woman who studies fear. One of the things she discovered was that people who are highly successful name their fears instead of lumping everything into anonymous piles of “stress.” When you are feeling stressed, take a minute to name the thing you are afraid of: is it failure or disappointing someone or something else entirely? Name it and work towards eliminating the thing you fear.

How are you breaking barriers faced by women in your field?
I try to be the sort of coworker that people can ask anything – I once had a younger coworker ask me how to cook fennel* – and I think that just being open to people is one of the most important things you can do. *Answers include: roast it, put it in a risotto, or macerate it in orange juice and serve it raw.



Maya Hamouie Associate

What advice would you give to young women who are starting out in their careers?
The advice that I would give to young women starting out in their careers is to not be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone. Stepping outside your comfort zone is something you have to actively work toward on a regular basis. I have noticed that when you step outside of your comfort zone, that is when you really grow and engage in new challenges. Commit to giving an “uncomfortable” situation a try with your best effort. Discomfort is only temporary! The second piece of advice I would give is to build a network of mentors. The right mentoring relationship can be a very powerful tool for your professional growth.

What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?
The best career advice I have ever received is to be resilient and never give up when faced with a challenge. In my eyes, a resilient woman embraces great obstacles and allows for them to evolve into great opportunities.

What do you wish you could tell your younger professional self?
If I could go back to my first day as a practicing attorney, I would tell myself, “Don’t be too hard on yourself. You don’t need to know everything at once.” Do what you can with what you know and for what you don’t know, work hard, be a good student, and always be willing to ask questions and/or for help from people who have more knowledge and experience than you.

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