In celebration of Black History Month, and in partnership with Morgan Stanley’s Legal and Compliance Division Diversity & Inclusion Committee and the Metropolitan Black Bar Association (MBBA), the Shearman & Sterling Diversity & Inclusion Committee co-hosted a lively book launch of The Little Black Book of Success: Laws of Leadership for Black Women WORKBOOK on Tuesday, February 6. Award-winning authors Elaine Meryl Brown, Marsha Haygood and Rhonda Joy McLean shared their insights on how to translate leadership theory into practice.
The fireside chat, moderated by Nate Saint-Victor, Executive Director at Morgan Stanley, touched on how to handle workplace and professional issues at every stage of a career, including establishing your own personal board of directors and “personal success team” to provide a sounding board for others who have had similar experiences navigating difficult bosses and impossible colleagues — “Be strategic, not emotional. When something upsets you, stay quiet for a bit to think it through.”
Elaine, ABC daytime Emmy award-winning writer, former HBO Vice President and current Director, CINEMA Project at Georgia State University, noted the power of networking: “90% of jobs are obtained this way; 70% of jobs are not posted.” Marsha, a motivational speaker, founder and president of StepWise Associates, and co-founder of Black Women of Influence, added, “Relationship building is about asking for what you want so you can get what you need. It always comes back to you.”
Most importantly, they urged attendees not to underestimate themselves or to undervalue what they bring to the table. “You must identify your career skills. Do whatever you need to do to use your skills, speak about them and market yourself,” explained Rhonda, former Deputy General Counsel, Time Inc., and former Senior Executive at the Federal Trade Commission.
Paula Anderson, partner in Shearman & Sterling’s Litigation practice, offered the welcome remarks. She then invited Seendy Fouron, Executive Director and Co-Chair of the Legal and Compliance Division Diversity & Inclusion Committee at Morgan Stanley, to say a few words on behalf of the Bank. Paula T. Edgar, President of the MBBA and founder and CEO of PGE LLC, then introduced the illustrious authors and highlighted Nate Saint-Victor as the ideal moderator for the evening’s program, given all the work that he has done to champion and mentor women over the years. “The presentation and Workbook do more than raise consciousness; they help turn principles into practice,” said Litigation partner Alan Goudiss. Barbara Edwards, counsel in the Project Development & Finance practice, provided closing remarks on behalf of the firm’s Inclusion Network BLAQUE (Black Lawyers Aligned in the Quest for Excellence).
“It truly was an honor to partner with Morgan Stanley and the MBBA on this Workbook launch,” said Jessica Maroney Shillito, the firm’s Director of Global Diversity & Inclusion. “As we look for innovative ways to advance diversity and inclusion in the legal profession, one piece of Rhonda’s advice truly resonated with me: ‘Always be willing to do things that have never been done before.’”
The Workbook is a companion to their 2010 book, The Little Black Book of Success: Laws of Leadership for Black Women, now in its 11th printing. These tips and more are discussed in the original book, which has been consistently ranked in the top three on the amazon.com best seller list for Leadership and Business Management titles.