Earlier this month, over 100 female Fish & Richardson attorneys and business professionals gathered in Huntington Beach, California, for three days of invested learning at the biennial EMPOWER Summit. This summit, which was the fourth and most attended EMPOWER summit, provided an opportunity for women across the firm to form new relationships, strengthen existing ties, cultivate business development and leadership skills, and learn from each other.
"The EMPOWER Summit was an inspiring and rejuvenating space for female Fish attorneys and professional staff to connect, learn, and celebrate with each other," said Jay Kugler DeYoung, principal and chair of the EMPOWER Women’s Initiative. "It’s an exciting time at Fish as women hold many of the top leadership positions, which provides an opportunity to make a real difference for the more junior women across the firm. When women can envision themselves in leadership and senior positions, they are more motivated to invest in themselves and their careers. EMPOWER is all about supporting women at all experience levels throughout the firm and investing in our culture of intentional inclusion.”
The highlight of this year’s summit was a keynote address by Dr. Arin Reeves, “Thriving in Chaos: Energy Management for Women’s Success and Wellbeing.” Dr. Reeves shared practical tips on how women can conserve and boost their physical, mental, and emotional energy and exert it for what matters most. The summit also included presentations on business development, financial management, and professional development as well as a client panel.
The EMPOWER summit is hosted by the EMPOWER Women’s Initiative, Fish’s affinity group for female legal staff. The group aims to recruit, retain, and advance female legal staff by expanding professional and business development opportunities in addition to curating opportunities for mentorship, training, and networking. The group was established in 2009 and has been a key driver in supporting Fish’s achievement of gender parity among leadership positions; currently, women hold the majority of C-level positions as well as many director-level roles. The group is also credited with spearheading processes to reduce bias in the promotion process, advocating for improvements to parental leave policies, and developing strategies to train and support female professionals.
“It was exciting to see the energy and engagement between experienced female leaders and more junior attorneys at the EMPOWER summit,” said Director of Diversity & Inclusion Whitney Smallwood. “Yet regardless of experience level, all attendees left the summit feeling inspired and a strong sense of belonging to a community that is greater than the sums of its parts.”
In addition to leading EMPOWER, DeYoung is an experienced patent prosecutor. Her practice focuses on biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and academic research. DeYoung has been recognized by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly as a “Top Women in Law” (2018) and serves on the board of Greater Boston Legal Services.