Sayli co-led Empowered UK – Oliver Wyman’s network for racial, ethnic & cultural diversity with a view to fostering inclusion and enhancing the culture of the firm. In her capacity as the co-lead, she has driven a variety of initiatives for the network across graduate recruiting, internal community building through various discussion events and upwards mentoring to senior management to communicate the challenges faced by women of colour. She is also a formal mentor to a number of junior women consultants within the firm.
Catherine is a champion for part-time working parents within the firm and was named in 2017 on the Power Part Time Ones to Watch List. She has been the senior partner’s reverse mentor for 18 months and several initiatives to support the firm’s gender diversity strategy have been implemented as a result of this experience. Catherine is an active role model within the firm, participating in the firm’s womens’ network and taking part in a Q&A session which was filmed and shown at female talent programmes taking place around the global network. In the last year, Catherine has been promoted to Counsel, recognised as a key individual in the trade and commodities sphere by Legal 500 and has led on developing ground-breaking and innovative structures in her product area, winning several industry awards for her practice and for key deals from four major trade and commodity finance publications.
Katherine (Katia) Ramo is an Associate in Technology & Media at CMS. She is also the Founder and Chair of CMS’ ENABLE Network (disability and wellbeing) and supports the other internal diversity networks (Women, BAME and LGBT+). Katherine acquired visual, hearing and other disabilities as an adult due to a civilian tour of duty in Afghanistan and diagnosis of an elusive genetic condition. Katherine uses her disabilities, legal and business acumen as a platform to break down barriers and challenge stereotypes and misconceptions associated with disability to progress the agenda for disabled talent. Her unwavering spirit and determination make her a role model for all.
Katja regularly acts as a mentor to junior attorneys at Skadden and has been heavily involved in women’s initiatives both at Skadden and at her previous firm. She was recently appointed co-head of the Skadden Women Attorneys Network (SWAN) and as a member of the Firm’s Global Women’s Initiative Committee, both of which work to help connect, support and sponsor women firm-wide, as well as within the legal and business communities. Katja regularly plays an active role in mentoring junior lawyers from outside of her organisation to help support them in their own careers. One of her mentees is now in a senior in-house role whilst another is running for partnership at an international law firm this year. Katja also participates in a number of industry events, which offer opportunities for her to take part in candid discussions about improving gender diversity in the industry.
In South Africa particularly, given its racial history and patriarchal culture, it is extra-ordinarily difficult for a black woman to be in a senior management role. Plaxedes Makura, through hard work and an unparalleled perseverance, has risen through the ranks of the South African legal fraternity to be appointed as the most senior lawyer in the Johannesburg ALT practice group at the global law firm, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP (Johannesburg). She runs a department of approximately 18 legal analysts, and deals with work that is cross-border, large-scale and commercially complex. . She encourages diversity of all types, has an open-minded and respectful approach to her team and their work style. She is a remarkable woman with a work-ethic next to none, who always encourages her team to reveal the strengths of their nature regardless of the stresses of the job.
Sue is a member of the executive committee of BakerWomen, Baker McKenzie’s women’s network and supports the firm’s Senior Female Peer Network. She also leads Baker McKenzie’s women in tech initiative, BakerWomen in Tech. Prior to joining Baker McKenzie, Sue founded and chaired MoFo Women and was on Morrison & Foerster’s global Women’s Strategy Committee. On top of this, Sue provides pro bono legal support to You Make It and Techmums, two social enterprises focused on empowering women. Outside of work, Sue is an Inspiring the Future mentor, Modern Muse mentor and mentor under the GSA mentoring scheme. Recently, Sue co-founded and chairs a Women in Tech Law network with the Society of Computers and Law. On top of this. Sue regularly host events for various women’s networks, such as UPWARD and Precious.
MaameYaa is an active participant in the firm’s female development programme and is often sought as an informal mentor/role model to junior associates. She has undertaken various speaking engagements at schools and universities, discussing a career in law. MaameYaa regularly speaks at female universities in Saudi Arabia such as Dar El Hekma with the aim of inspiring female law students. She is also working with a number of Saudi government agencies to implement Saudi Arabia’s vision of increasing the amount of females in the work place. She also hosts career insight days at A&O for young black girls from a local school interested in a career as city lawyers and took part in a graduate recruitment event for prospective trainees discussing both the firm’s gender strategy and BAME initiatives. She spearheads the firm’s BAME initiatives and is a founding member of the BAME network.
At all opportunities Noiana endeavours to act as a role model for diverse lawyers and women in the firm. As US partner for gender diversity, she guides women lawyers in their careers, works for smarter workplace policies, and thinks more broadly about the firm’s strategy to increasing gender diversity at senior levels. Additionally, she has served as a mentor on the US Women’s Mentoring program and has been asked to act as a partner, as well as acting as sponsor on the firm’s Global Sponsorship Program, a bespoke 12-month talent development programme for high potential mid-level/senior women associates. Externally, Noiana helped establish, and sits on the steering committee of, Equal Representation in Arbitration, a group of professionals committed to improving the profile and representation of women in arbitration, particularly in the tribunals themselves. This initiative has gathered over 3000 signatories worldwide, including law firms, corporations, arbitral institutions and arbitration practitioners, all of whom are committed to achieving gender balance in international arbitration.
Merelina is an active member of the Women in Real Estate Organisation. She runs focus groups and speaks at regular internal panels and debates to tell her story in Knight Frank, but also to enable Women to speak to her as a role model. She specifically runs the graduate scheme, with a focus on providing women entering the profession with support and direct guidance. She runs the commercial graduate scheme at Knight Frank, liaising with circa 50 graduates this year and assisting with interviews, mocks and APC preparations. This also includes the recent innovation of starting a pioneering internship scheme for the first time in Knight Frank’s history. Merelina regularly mentors interns and graduates personally, and takes a hands on approach to advising and nourishing the next generation of real estate professionals. She has already supported 90 graduates from interview stage through to APC. She is a Registered APC councillor and this year became an official RICS trained APC assessor. She has also been part of a panel event at the Hotels and Alternative Conference, speaking confidently and knowledgeably on the student sector with her peers.
Joanna co-leads the London office’s gender initiative, Baker Women, which aims to ensure that there are no barriers to career progression for women at the firm. They have introduced agile working, mentoring circles, maternity coaching for leavers and returners, sponsorship programmes for high performers and reviews of data to understand when and why women leave the firm. She has also introduced a programme of female client networking events and are active supporters of HeforShe. Externally, Joanna is actively involved in the King’s College London Global Institute for Women’s Leadership and participated in its launch event panel with Chair, Julia Gillard. She mentors King’s College London female law students, and speaks regularly at industry events on the subject of gender equality and the challenges faced by the legal profession. Joanna is one of GIR’s 100 Women in Investigations, and is listed in the Who’s Who for Investigations 2018.