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Women Leadership in Action

Women Leadership in Action

With: Jennifer Harris, Associate General Counsel and Employment Counsel

I was recently invited to attend the Consero Financial Services & Insurance Litigation forum which was held in New York, NY. For a bit of context, Consero is a relatively new events company that is taking an unorthodox approach to the normal business/continuing education conferences that us legal folks generally attend, not only to fulfill our annual continued education requirements, but to network with other industry professionals and learn about top-of-mind topics. Unlike other conference formats (where other lawyers speak at you about court cases and the letter of the law), Consero brings together leaders from your given field to discuss current events and hot topics relevant to that industry. This particular conference was focused on legal professionals, generally senior-level and above, within the financial services industry, both nationally and internationally. New York was the chosen venue with the idea of attracting some of the very big hitters in the field – Morgan Stanley, CitiGroup, Prudential Financial, and Discover (just to name a few) – a tactic which proved successful. To say it was an intimidating group of folks to present to would be a serious understatement.

You might be asking yourself – why was she asked to attend? And that would be a valid question, since I am a labor & employment attorney albeit, one working in the financial services industry, and most definitely NOT a financial services attorney. As luck would have it, Consero wanted to include a session covering labor & employment topics relevant to all employers with employees, financial sector or otherwise. As such, I was asked to present on a panel to discuss several labor & employment topics. And the experience was one I learned a lot from and will never forget.

To prepare for our presentation, myself and the four other employment attorneys on the panel met via telephone and in person so that we could hash out the topics we felt were of primary importance and narrow the specific points we wanted to cover. In the end, we settled on three hot topics: Sexual Harassment and the #MeToo Movement; Privacy and Social Media; and Wage & Hour. Even though the presentation was on the final day of the conference, attendance was good and our panel spoke to a room full of heavy-hitter litigators. And – perhaps because they’d been listening to e-discovery and CFPB presentations for three days – the audience was engaged which made for a great presentation.

All in all, it was a great experience. I appreciate my boss, and personal idol, Victoria Newman, who suggested that I be invited. And, of course, Vic also spoke at the conference and did a fantastic job. I definitely hope to be asked back next year.

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