Arielle, Law Firm Director, New York, USA
"It is vital now for women to not only be optimistic, but opportunistic, and to seize the opportunities to advance, to be heard, and to be seen"
I am the Founder and CEO of the social enterprises Shattered Glass Tees and Shattered Glass Corp and Director of Communications and Public Relations for global law firm Paul Hastings. I work to inspire people to use their voice and words strategically and channel their strengths to make an impact. I am also a writer and international speaker who is passionate about helping women and girls empower themselves through effective communications, personal branding, confidence training and mindfulness.
At Paul Hastings, a leading global law firm, I help lawyers communicate effectively, overseeing the firm’s brand-building communications, public relations and related activities for the firm’s 22 offices around the globe. My entrepreneurial spirit and passion for empowering females led me to start the social enterprises, Shattered Glass Tees and Shattered Glass Corp. The t-shirt arm of the company helps tomorrow's glass breakers, one bold thread at a time, by selling t-shirts, bags and pillows that challenge gender stereotypes, and fund charities that empower girls. My work has involved partnering with leading global networks for professional women including Ellevate Network and The Quorum Initiative, in addition to major conference organizations, like Momentum Events. Through Shattered Glass Corp, I speak and conduct workshops for women and girls on empowerment, branding, communication, confidence and mindfulness.
There is a tangible shift in our culture. A brighter light has been cast on the struggles women face professionally and the major gaps that still exist between men and women in the workplace. There is still a need for significant improvement, but there are an increasing number of companies, countries, corporate boards, event organizers and media outlets that are working to bridge the gender gap. As a result, women can ascend in their careers more quickly than ever before. Our path is still littered with obstacles that centuries of sexism have not cleared. However, there is reason to be optimistic. It is vital now for women to not only be optimistic, but opportunistic, and to seize the opportunities to advance, to be heard, and to be seen.
I used to conform to the unwritten professional dress code, wearing dark suits paired with dark accessories, but I now feel it’s my duty to rebel. I want to make the workplace somewhere where everyone feels comfortable being themselves. An executive leadership coach advised me a couple of years ago to wear what makes me feel comfortable and good about myself. For me, that meant ditching my boring suits, pearls and black bags for feminine dresses, statement necklaces and colour everywhere. While I occasionally felt funny being the odd splash of colour in New York’s sea of black and grey, I finally felt that I was being myself.
Being authentic is critical not just for good personal branding, but it saves you energy and allows you to feel more confident. As more women bravely be themselves in the workplace, I believe the style motif will change. I see a day soon when I will no longer be a sole splash of colour in New York. True confidence comes from authenticity. Women should dress in a way that allows them feel comfortable bringing their true selves to work. Some women may feel more comfortable wearing a conservative black dress, and I say more power to them. But I feel my best in bright, fun colours and uber-feminine accessories. We should all feel comfortable letting our true colours shine.
I wish I could tell my younger self to accept myself as is. I was constantly on a quest to be taller and thinner. So much time and energy was wasted striving to achieve a beauty ideal that was unrealistic. If only I could have appreciated my attributes I believe I would have been more confident and happier. I would also love to be able to go back in time to say, “be your own best friend.” Too often we are our own worst enemies. We talk ourselves out of jobs, opportunities, and dreams. I’d want to tell my younger self to not be my own barrier to success. To surround myself with amazing people who make me feel I can accomplish anything. To give myself the same advice I would give my best friend. If only I could have told myself that “you can do it” perhaps I would have dreamed even bigger.
I love my Bucklesbury bag. I feel like a professional super hero with my bag. It’s the perfect finishing touch to my professional uniform-bright colors, feminine flourishes and modern styles. The bag makes me feel powerful, accomplished and stylish.
Shattered Glass Tees: https://shatteredglasstees.com | Paul Hastings: https://www.paulhastings.com | Ellevate Network: https://www.ellevatenetwork.com | The Quorum Initiative: https://www.thequoruminitiative.com