On Wednesday, June 10, 2015, the SCCBA held its 3rd Annual “From Having it All to Leaning In” Seminar. The event was a wonderful success, with 82 female and 1 pioneering male attendees. The networking cocktail reception, sponsored by host Pillsbury, Winthrop, Shaw & Pittman, LLP, got the event off to a roaring start, with plenty of food, drink and company to keep the early arrivals occupied. The panel discussion on the Pao v. Kleiner, Perkins trial came next, led by moderator Anne Martin. San Jose Mercury News Tech Reporter Heather Somerville, who personally attended the trial, provided thoughtful insights on the testimony of the witnesses and the skills of the parties’ lawyers. Jennifer Reisch, of Equal Rights Attorneys reminded us that sometimes “less is more” – and concentrating more on the defendant’s actions rather than overwhelming a jury with discriminatory minutae--might be the best approach when presenting a retaliation claim in the courtroom. Finally, Anne Capella of Weil, Gotshal provided her perspective on ways that Kleiner and other companies can avoid such claims.
After the panel presentation, the attorneys broke out into groups where topics of interest could be discussed in intimate settings. The Confidence Gap Group, led by Anne Martin and Linda MacLeod, was attended by a mix of lawyers from different experience levels-- which not only allowed a critical transfer of information about risk taking and confidence building tactics, but provided advice and support to those still struggling with self-doubt. The Leadership Group, led by Catherine Lego, Allison Leopold Tilley and Nora Frimann, provided concrete suggestions for expanding female influence on boards. They taught us that concentrating on one’s passions when joining Boards makes this endeavor meaningful and authentic. The Work-Life Balance Group, led by Hon. Roberta Hayashi and Laurie Charrington, discussed how taking care of oneself is one of the most important ways to achieve that critical “sweet spot” to making it all work. And finally, the Marketing Group, led by Martha Sullivan and Heidi Keefe, taught us that networking is not about going to events and feeling pressured to “get business” but a way of being and connecting with all people you meet on a personal and professional level.
Elizabeth Pappy led the final audience wrap up that included not only lessons from each of the individual groups, but a discussion of how the SCCBA can involve men in future events on the important topic of unconscious bias and women’s success. All in all, it was an educational and uplifting conference that, given the level of enthusiasm and interest in the topic, promises to continue in the future.