woken's day logoInternational Women's Day (March 8) is a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

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

Lori Anne Dolqueist | Partner and Chair of Nossaman's Women's Affinity Group

What does equity in the workplace mean to you?
Equity means recognizing that not everyone is starting from the same place and making sure that everyone has the opportunity to thrive and succeed. In my role as co-chair of Nossaman’s Women’s Affinity Group (WAG), I try to raise awareness of issues such as equity that affect women in the legal industry and to facilitate recruitment, retention and advancement of women at Nossaman. I am inspired by the smart, dynamic and dedicated female attorneys and professionals that I work with. Nossaman recently opened membership to WAG to all women at the firm, not just attorneys and policy advisors, so I consider myself lucky to be in a position to impact their careers.

What advice would you give to young women who are starting out in their careers?
The relationships you establish with your peers now will bear fruit in time. Your former classmates, friends and colleagues will advance as you do. Friends that I made early in my career are now general counsels, CEOs and partners at other firms. We have always looked out for each other and can now help each other out with opportunities, referrals and services.

What is the best advice you've received during your career?
When opposing counsel is being obnoxious, it is tempting to respond in kind, but taking the high road will always benefit you, and your client, in the end. Your reputation is one of your greatest assets.

Jenna Valledor | Paralegal

What achievement are you most proud of? 
I will be graduating in May with my bachelor’s degree and intend to go to law school. Working full time while balancing school and getting good grades is something I am very proud of. Being a career-oriented woman and balancing life is not easy, but it’s worth it. I am the first generation to finish college in my family and it’s amazing to see how far I’ve come.

What is the best advice you've received during your career? 
Anything is possible if you are willing to put the time and effort into it. A wise women once told me that you may not always be liked by everyone, but don’t let that stop you from striving for more or being your best self. Hard work and dedication are key to achieving goals and having a successful career. Do not give up on your goals or dreams - they are yours to live. You owe nothing to anyone but yourself to be successful and create the life you want.

What inspires you?
My family, particularly my nieces and nephews, inspires me. I want to be their role model and inspire them to reach their full potential. I want them to know anything is possible if they work hard. Setting that precedent for them and being a role model to them is truly inspiring. They bring me a lot of joy and are the lights of my life. My family means the world to me.

Natalie Maples Partner

What is the best advice you've received during your career?
“Apologies are for screw ups.” Early in my career, like most young women, my default response to just about everything was “I’m sorry.” A lawyer I did contract work for noticed that this was a constant refrain and told me to stop apologizing unless it was for something I legitimately screwed up. I do not have to apologize for asking for help, for making a mistake while I’m learning, for asserting myself in a meeting, etc. Instead, my default response should be “thank you”: thank you for helping me, thank you for the feedback, thank you for your time.

What inspires you?
I am particularly inspired by people who have overcome adversity to great success. As an avid runner, there are two particular examples from which I have taken a lot of inspiration. The first is the 2016 Olympic men’s 10,000 meter race. The 10,000 meter race is run indoors on a track. Mo Farah (one of my favorite runners) fell about halfway through the race. For most athletes, that would be it, race over. Mo, however, got back up, caught up to the pack and ended up winning the gold medal. As cliché as it is, it doesn’t matter whether you fall, it’s whether you get back up. Applied to my career, it doesn’t matter whether you failed (and let’s be honest, we all fail at some point), but what you do after that failure that counts.

The second is from the 2018 Boston Marathon. Des Linden had lost the Boston Marathon title in 2011 by two seconds. She was also not the favorite to win that day – all eyes were on Shalane Flanagan, who had a few months prior won the 2017 New York Marathon and was the first American woman to do so in about 40 years. Des wasn’t feeling well at the start of the race, so when Shalane had to take an unexpected stop early on, Des held back to help pace Shalane back to the group and changed her focus to helping Shalane have a good day. Des ended up winning the race and she credited her success to working together: that “helping [Shalane] helped me.” I love this story, as it is a great reminder of how important teamwork is, particularly between women, and that focusing on helping others shine can sometimes lead to unexpected and significant successes for yourself.

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