Women of WLG: Dawn Beddard, Gowling WLG - Marketing & BD Professionals Forum Ambassador

Senior Corporate Communications Manager, Gowling WLG

What advice would you give to a young female associate looking to make partner/advance her career?

Expand your networks through extra-curricular activities – whether at work or externally - pro bono, charity, school governor, join associations or business chambers, and attend events organised by your firm.

In addition, of course as I work in the Business Development (BD) team – I would def. recommend working with your BD team and supporting the activities and initiatives that they organise. This can help associates raise their profile and expand networks across the firm – outside their immediate legal team. You never know what opportunities may open up.

What female has inspired you and why?

I use to work with a legal professor, also a qualified lawyer who inspired staff and students with her dedication to helping people succeed.

She taught me valuable skills and helped me expand my networks.

She initiated mentoring schemes, speed networking and other occasions where students and staff, could meet leaders in the legal field – from her professional and personal connections. As a result, I got to meet people in key roles including Baroness Hale & various attorney generals of the UK, which helped me in a variety of ways – professionally and personally.

How can women support other women in their organizations?

There has been progress in gender equality but more needs to be done and I think it needs everyone across an organisation – no matter what gender.

The male population needs to support gender networks and activity, share in celebrating success and educate themselves – as there is still a lot of unconscious bias regardless of people's background, age or experience. Everyone needs to understand this is not a phrase or trend and there are benefits for all for gender equality to progress.

What piece of advice did you ignore that you wish you had listened to earlier in your career?

Do not sit next to the tea and coffee facilities in a meeting! Sounds ridiculous but when I started my career I thought playing a part in the meeting, speaking to everyone across the meeting by being host would help my status at the meeting! How wrong could I be?

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised when I started to work for Gowling WLG and an ex-chairman made tea for everyone in a meeting, which I will always remember and appreciate.

Do you have any networking advice for women lawyers?

Go on your own. You may be tempted, to take a friend or colleague but by going on your own, you will be forced to speak to people and people may be more inclined in speak to you.

Although if you are a senior female, why not take along a junior female lawyer and introduce her to people you know and demonstrate good techniques.