As an Intellectual Property lawyer who works with many electronics and software companies, Natalie Richer is used to being the only woman in the room. Even back in my undergraduate electrical engineering classes, it was the same dynamic. I distinctly remember walking in late to the first class one semester, and hearing my friend say, "Hey, look! A female!"
I am perfectly fine with that dynamic, but being a member of the NJWLA has shown me how helpful it is to make meaningful connections with other women in the legal field. I have gained tremendous insight from many of the women I’ve met through the NJWLA. When I hear about their accomplishments and extend my heartfelt congratulations, I often think, "Maybe I could do something like that."
Using that inspiration, I formalized a women’s initiative at my firm. I recognized that not everyone is as comfortable being the only woman in the room, and I wanted to help. The initiative builds on the informal support system previously in place. We provide mentoring to attorneys and foster business development efforts. We also help women identify their career goals and guide them towards achieving those goals.
I enjoy providing encouragement and support to others, just as I have found the NJWLA to be the perfect resource for encouragement and support for me. Now and again, we all need a little boost – whether we’re facing a particularly large obstacle, or just stuck in the rut of a daily routine. It’s always comforting to know you have people in your corner, even if some of them are still strangers.