International Women's Day 2024

Friday 8th March 2024 marks International Women’s Day. To celebrate, we sat down with a number of our incredible clients, friends and colleagues to chat through their biggest achievements to-date, as well as sharing any advice they have for women working within the legal and tech industry.

Table of Contents
Published: 

March 4, 2024

Updated: 

July 9, 2024

Alison Coates-Howard, Group General Counsel at nGAGE Talent.

1. What first attracted you to a career in law?

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a solicitor. From a very young child it was my passion to work somewhere in the legal system and I was never going to be quick enough to be a police officer. I genuinely enjoy being a solicitor and particularly in-house. I was never particularly good at focusing on one specialty and being in-house, in an international business, allows me to grow my knowledge on a day to day basis.

2. What has been the highlight of your career so far?

I have been very lucky in my career. I started off qualifying in-house at Ecotricity, which was a diverse group of companies in the renewable sector. Something few other lawyers get to say is that I worked with a football club Forest Green Rovers as a result. Advocating in front a panel at Wembley was quite an experience.

My current role is the biggest I have held and I love the challenges of the international work. I also quite like popping my robes on to head over to the High Court occasionally.

3. What advice would you give to other women working within the legal sector?

Be yourself. Such a cliché but it is important. Don’t try to be replicate a colleague it doesn’t work. I have been told I am “too nice” or “you don’t sound/look like a lawyer” but that is because I play to my strengths. I am an individual and I don’t need to shout to be heard. I can wait patiently focus on the law, the evidence before me and make my position clear.  

Stephanie Corey, CEO/Founder at UpLevel Ops.

1. What first attracted you to a career in law?

I honestly didn’t set out to have a career in law! My background was in finance and I was working as a financial consultant and then moved to mortgage banking prior to moving to law. A friend of mine was working at HP and let me know about this new role in their legal department for a “legal operations manager,” and I was lucky enough to get the job. I didn’t think I’d work in Legal for the long haul, but here I am 25 years later!

2. What has been the highlight of your career so far?

Every highlight of my career is really about the people I’ve met along the way. I had so much to learn when I began working at HP, but I was surrounded by smart and generous people who guided me, and I had a team who taught me how to be a leader. To learn the specifics of my role as head of legal ops, I reached out to other legal ops leaders, and this was the genesis of CLOC. And now at UpLevel Ops, I get to work with some of the coolest, most innovative people in our profession, including my own team. It’s all the people I’ve met along the way.

3. What advice would you give to other women working within the legal sector?

Some of the wisdom I learned along the way (sometimes the hard way): Ultimately, we’re in a service industry and it’s important to be responsive to our clients, whether internal or external. So listen more than you talk, show your clients empathy, sit with your failures and don’t internalize them or take them personally, but learn what to do differently next time, make friends and help people whenever you can, because it comes back to you ten-fold. And network, network, network! Learn from people inside your organization as well as outside. Their successes and failures will guide you. On a personal note, and I think this is especially true for women with all of our other responsibilities, be ruthless in your prioritization. You cannot and should not be all things to all people. It’s totally OK to disappoint now and then.

Victoria Threadgold, Senior Customer Success Manager at Summize.

1. What first attracted you to a career in tech?

I previously worked in business travel, however the pandemic's impact prompted me to future-proof my career, leading me to explore the tech industry. With a background in strategic account management, I found my skills were aligned with a career in tech and I was able to transfer into the field seamlessly. Tech's promise of unparalleled opportunities, aligned with my values and the industry's emphasis on continuous learning appealed to my desire for ongoing upskilling within my career. I also love that I get to meet a breadth of different customers, and help them to achieve their business goals.

2. What has been the highlight of your career so far?

A highlight of my career so far has been the successful transition into the tech sector after ten months of rigorous upskilling. Amidst the volatility of 2023, I found I thrived in supporting businesses through uncertain times, particularly in customer retention and value delivery. By embracing both adaptability and resilience this period affirmed the significance of empathy-driven leadership in fostering meaningful relationships with customers to drive impactful outcomes. My next challenge is unlocking further value to our Summize customers!

3. What advice would you give to other women working within the tech sector?

Embrace your strength and determination. Recognise that continuous learning and upskilling are essential for success, given the industry's ever-evolving nature. Also, acknowledge the significance of your unique perspective; your differing experiences, opinions, and attitudes bring invaluable value to every aspect of business. Embrace your role as a catalyst for innovation, as your contributions are instrumental in driving positive change and fostering success within the tech community.

Ash Suresh, Paralegal at Zilch.

1. What first attracted you to a career in law?

I love that the law touches every aspect of life, from healthcare to human rights. Working in-house also allows me to work with various departments within a business, from finance to sales, and this has allowed me to learn a lot. No two days are ever the same and that’s what captivated my interest and drove my decision to pursue a career in law.

2. What has been the highlight of your career so far?

A huge highlight of my career was working for The United Nations Relief and Works Agency. During this time, I had the opportunity to travel to Amman and engaged in various tasks including investigating domestic violence, assisting with assembling gender-based violence training and creating a gender survey to distribute to staff. It was a life changing experience! A more recent highlight has been starting my role at Zilch and hopefully qualifying as a solicitor in the next couple of years - it’s a really exciting time!

3. What advice would you give to other women working within the legal sector?

One piece of advice I would give is appreciate your unique journey into law, whether it's unconventional or non-traditional. Be proud of your diverse experiences, even if they stem from working in tech or other fields. Remember, diversity in experience is a strength, not a weakness. Embrace it, and let it fuel your passion for making a difference in the profession.

Taryn Walker, Trainee Solicitor and Implementation Manager at Summize.

1. What first attracted you to a career in legal?

My law school offered a series of careers talks which showcased so many more options than the classic law firm training contract route. In particular, I was inspired to hear about the cutting-edge intersection between law and technology. This led me to pursue a career at Summize.

2. What has been the highlight of your career so far?

My personal highlight was completing a secondment at a large fin tech organisation.

I expected to complete similar work, albeit in a different sector. Instead, I learnt how IP portfolios are managed, the use of watch services, appropriate action and consequences of potential breaches, and how to collaborate effectively with external counsel. I was in the room where key decisions were made around corporate restructuring, hurdles in forming a new entity in a foreign jurisdiction, and considerations on stakeholder impact. I worked across functions to create new templates and playbooks for commercial negotiation. This was invaluable experience that I have bought back with me to Summize.

3. What advice would you give to other women working within the legal sector?

As someone who has worked with many amazing women in the legal sector, my advice would be to keep doing what you're doing! The legal profession can be challenging, but your dedication, skills, and contributions are invaluable. Stay confident in your abilities, continue to strive for excellence, and don't hesitate to speak up and advocate for yourself. Surround yourself with supportive colleagues and mentors who can offer guidance and encouragement along the way. Remember, your unique perspective and talents enrich the legal profession, and your hard work paves the way for future generations of women in law.

Keep pushing boundaries, breaking barriers, and making a positive impact in the legal world. You've got this!

Happy International Women's Day to all of our wonderful friends, customers and colleagues!