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International Women’s Day – An Ode to Mentors

suhyeon-choi-104926On this International Women’s Day, we reached out to some strong, smart women we know – the in-house counsel in our LinkedIn group – and asked them to say a few words about the mentors that they credit with helping them with their professional advancement. We’re all made better by the passion, guidance, and helping hands of those who have come before us, and my favorite thing about mentorship is that it inspires each of us to reach out to the next person who can use our advice or guidance. We give back because we have been given to so freely.

The ILN has launched our own mentorship program this year, and we’re in the process of pairing up our young lawyers with experienced partners, and I can only hope that both mentors and mentees gain as much from the experience as our in-house counsel have from their mentors. We’ll add additional responses to this post as they come in, and we invite you to share your mentors with us in the comments. Before we get to our in-house counsel commentary, I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes for today:

Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.”


IMG_4012La Toya N. McBean, Esq., President & Attorney-In-Charge of The Daniel Society

Elizabeth Arnovits (deceased), former Executive Director of the Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency. Beth taught me that you need both compassion and grit when leading people and advocating for justice. I worked closely with Beth during the last two years of her life. Her imprint can now be seen through the global work that I lead to confront injustice and reduce extreme poverty.

Mary Dirkes, Shareholder at Howard and Howard Attorneys. Mary taught me that having a stellar reputation is still the most valuable asset for any attorney. Mary’s reputation as a good person, smart lawyer and trusted adviser is recognized by federal judges, lawyers and even my mother.

La Toya N. McBean, Esq., President & Attorney-In-Charge of The Daniel Society, a 501(c)(3) organization with a mission to reduce extreme global poverty and confront injustice in the United States. Ms. McBean is also the owner of the Law Office of LaToya N. McBean, an immigration law practice in downtown Brooklyn, New York.

Linda Marie Norcross, Assistant General Counsel at Aristocrat Technologies, IncAAEAAQAAAAAAAAIbAAAAJDRlMWQ5NmEzLTA0NzItNGU0ZC05YjM4LTYwNzk4ZjI5ZjNiYw.

The mentor that has had the most profound impact on me has been Tom Reich. He is a Senior VP and Legal Counsel at MGM Grand. He was previously my boss during my later years with MGM Grand.

When we first met, I was a 24 year old single mother who dreamt of one day going to law school. 6 years later, I began my 1st year of law school (part time/evening class) and my 1st year working as his executive legal assistant.

Throughout my 1st 3 years of school Tom kept me from giving up. He encouraged me to use his office to study during lunch and any time he was away. He exposed me practical experience that was and is invaluable, and which required me to step up and find the answers to real world business legal issues and challenges. He eventually, albeit gently , nudged me out of the nest to go to work as a law clerk in my final law school year. He saw something in me that at the time, I didn’t even see in myself, and for that I am forever grateful.

Linda Marie Norcross is the Assistant General Counsel at Aristocrat Technologies, Inc., an ASX50 listed company and one of the world’s leading providers of gaming solutions. Ms. Norcross is has 20+ years of management experience, with proven expertise in trademark and copyright, licensing, and support of due diligence initiatives, as well as commercial transactions. She’s also adept at independent risk assessment, prioritization, and providing practical legal advice complementing target business objectives.