This edition of Color of Law is crafted by my first ever guest bloggers — amazing lawyers I met via LinkedIn!
Talar Herculian Coursey and Jamie Szal –
Talar and Jamie are both leaders. Not because anyone put them in charge, but because they just decided to lead. All of us can do this, regardless of our jobs or titles. We can all lead simply by bringing people together. It can be for a common goal like getting a job done or making a change, or it can simply be to support one another. Leaders lead and here’s a great example of how it’s done.
Celebrating Women’s History Month
It started with an invitation to a mysterious LinkedIn networking group for women lawyers in the Summer of 2020.
By accepting, we entered a magical world of women supporting women. We checked in with one another every day in our chat, discussing everything from potty training and the latest binge-worthy TV to the passing of the Notorious RBG and the onslaught of unfettered racism on the national stage.
And one day, we decided to write a book together. Twenty women lawyers from all over the country representing different races, ages, ethnicities, politics, religions and jobs — who never knew each other in person — collectively published a bestselling book within weeks.
And we’re still friends.
RBG, an icon of women’s rights, died just as we were finalizing the release of our book. We mourned her death and one of our co-authors, Claire Parsons, wrote a beautiful tribute to her in our book. We took our time to grieve the loss of a woman who paved the way for us and each of us, in our own time, came around to embrace her legacy and honor her by continuing to be brave, daring, and strong women.
While we honor the women that came before us, we’re also reminded of the women who are making history today, including the authors of #Networked.
There is this not entirely unfounded myth of the negativity that inevitably crops up when women come together in groups. That myth is dangerous. It does us all a disservice. And it simply is not true.
We discovered something incredibly powerful — that in coming together from a place of both vulnerability and confidence, uplifting one another, we can achieve incredible things.
In so many conversations about work and solutions to difficult problems, we often hear that what is missing is a woman’s voice. Find and use your voice, so-called experts say.
Women have always had a voice.
The problem is often others refuse to hear us.
Our group’s intention, at the start, was to act as an amplifier on LinkedIn. The amplifier effect for women has been well documented: it is one of the most effective tools women can use to stand out. That is, the more a woman’s point is broadcast by other people, the more likely it is to be heard.
LinkedIn was a natural platform to maximize this effect, because we all engage with one another’s posts. In LinkedIn algorithm terms, we literally broadcast for one another. Our engagement brings the posts of each of us to the attention of our collective networks and connections. By coming together as women, by amplifying one another’s content on LinkedIn, we have enabled one another’s voices to rise up.
We discovered that we need not compete with one another. Spread out across the globe now, as we are, our networks are diverse. There is room for all of us. Not just room, there is need for all of us. And so we do not compete against one another. We compete for one another. Turning back to that broadcaster effect, our engagement not only helps amplify, it also allows us to advocate and support through substantive comments on one another’s content.
We share, from a place of vulnerability and desire for community. We discovered that in being open with one another we are better able to build strong relationships and offer support. As any career coach or business development expert will tell you, relationships are critical. You cannot build a relationship without being open. And the bonds we formed over the last year are incredibly strong. We have counseled one another through births and deaths, through public health crises, through job losses and new jobs, through new businesses and new books. In short, we built a community.
And we are all very, very good at what we do. We celebrate that leadership in one another. We use our platform to uplift one another as leaders so that we may each shine.
In the spirit of the great and inimitable RBG — who dedicated her life and career to making room for women even as she did the work of the nation on our highest court — we pave the way for each other and for other women. We could think of no better way to honor her legacy.
We do this with referrals and introductions. All we do this by inviting one another to speak or participate in events. By commenting on each other’s posts, and by celebrating one another’s successes. Doing by business with one another where possible. By being there when times are tough.
In this community we’ve built, we not only support one another and other women, we support men and organizations that join us in supporting women. Because, as Richard Amador likes to say, “when we lift one another, we all rise.”
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Note from Richard: If you’ve got little ones, or friends or clients with little ones, check out Talar’s new book, Ralphy’s Rules for Living the Good Life, available on Amazon. All proceeds go to a children’s charity.