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From the President

Kendra Brodin

Kendra Brodin serves as Director of Lawyer Talent at Briggs and Morgan, P.A. In her role, Kendra is responsible for associate recruiting efforts, professional development programming, and diversity initiatives. 

 

Prior to joining Briggs and Morgan, Kendra served as Client Development Manager at Merchant & Gould. Kendra has also served as Executive Director of a leading staffing and recruiting firm in Minneapolis, Director of Career and Professional Development at St. Thomas School of Law, and spent several years providing private coaching and consulting services related to issues impacting law firms and lawyers with a focus on supporting women lawyers. Kendra has also served as the director of a local non-profit and a candidate for the state legislature, in addition to practicing law.

 

Kendra has been published in local and national legal publications, including the National Association of Women Lawyers’ “Women Lawyers Journal” and the American Bar Association’s publications “The Woman Advocate” and the “ABA Journal”.

 

Kendra received her law degree with honors from the University of Minnesota School of Law and her master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania where she served as President of the graduate student body. Kendra received her bachelor’s degree from Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois with summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa honors.  Kendra is married to the Rev. Dr. Ryan Brodin and together they have three children born on three different continents who have joined their family through the miracles of both birth and adoption, so she hopes to be raising future members of Minnesota Women Lawyers, the Minnesota Asian Pacific Bar Association and the Minnesota Hispanic Bar Association. Kendra is a Girl Scout troop leader, performs in community musical theater, and is a classically-trained pianist, so you may hear her tickling the ivories with fellow lawyer musicians at various MWL and other local events.



This article was featured in the Summer 2017 Issue of With Equal Right


As I write my first “From the President” article, I’d like to start by thanking each and every member of Minnesota Women Lawyers for the opportunity and honor of serving as President of MWL for the coming year. I’m humbled and excited for everything that is to come in the next 12 months.

Welcome to the Big Tent

The theme for the coming year is one of a “big tent” as we take steps to ensure that MWL is as inclusive and relevant as possible. Women attorneys in the state of Minnesota are different in many ways, but we come together because of at least one significant attribute we share in common – our identification as women lawyers. Under that “big tent,” MWL members represent different:

-Ethnic and racial backgrounds
-Career and professional paths
-Sexual orientations and gender identities
-Practice areas and types of organizations
-Geographic locations
-Years of experience and generations

In the coming year, we will be taking a look in the mirror as an organization to be certain that we are embracing and serving all of the current and potential members of MWL. Our MWL membership is consistently at about 1,200 members year after year, despite the fact that there are more than 11,000 women attorneys in the state of Minnesota. There is great opportunity for growth and service to women who have yet to experience all of the benefits MWL has to offer.

Upcoming Events and Exciting Initiatives

Under our big tent this year, MWL will host our two signature events: the Rosalie Wahl lecture on November 9, 2017 and our Annual Conference (details to be announced shortly).

At the Rosalie Wahl lecture, we will welcome Lauren Rikleen Stiller. Lauren is a nationally recognized speaker and consultant on women’s leadership, unconscious bias, and the multigenerational workplace. She is president of the Rikleen Institute for Strategic Leadership and Executive-in-Residence at the Boston College Center for Work & Family in the Carroll School of Management. Lauren is the author of several books, including Ladder Down: Success Strategies for Lawyers from Women Who will be Hiring, Reviewing, and Promoting You (2016) and Ending the Gauntlet: Removing Barriers to Women’s Success in the Law (2009.) Lauren will be challenging us to push the envelope in our organizations to start making real change in gender equity, diversity, and inclusion.

We are on the cusp of confirming and announcing the keynote speaker for our Annual Conference. Stay tuned, as you won’t want to miss the amazing line-up of speakers and networking opportunities!

We have several new and continuing task forces and initiatives working in the coming year to help MWL better serve its current members, attract new members, and lay a strong foundation for the future:

-Diversity and Inclusion Focus Group
-Corporate Counsel Task Force
-Staffing Task Force
-Strategic Planning Task Force
-Partner Leadership Council (PLC)

With the leadership of these task forces, our committee chairs/co-chairs, and all of the MWL members who are taking action to build an even stronger MWL for the future, we continue to consider how we can increase our relevance, service, and value to all constituencies of MWL.

Life Balance

The theme for this issue of With Equal Right is wellness and work/life balance. It feels appropriate in a year for MWL where we hope to accomplish so much that we also remain self reflective as an organization and as individuals to balance that activity and action with rest and restoration.

Over the past several years, I’ve spent a great deal of time contemplating, writing about, and striving for work/life balance, and I’ve discovered that I struggle with the term “work/life balance”. The term “work/life balance” suggests that “work” and “life” are two separate, distinct things. It implies that when someone is engaged in “work”, she cannot also be really “living.”

I don’t know about you, but I can’t separate myself that cleanly. I’m always all of me – an attorney, a mother, a wife, a friend, a sister, a daughter, a volunteer, and so many other things. True, my focus may not be on all of those roles at the same time, but there are certainly times when I need to pivot from one role to another with a moment’s notice or when I am wearing two “hats” simultaneously.

I appreciate how Boris Groysberg and Robin Abrahams noted in their March 2014 Harvard Business Review article “Mange Your Work/ Manage Your Life;”

“Work/life balance is at best an elusive ideal and at worst a complete myth, today’s senior executives will tell you. But by making deliberate choices about which opportunities they’ll pursue and which they’ll decline, rather than simply reacting to emergencies, leaders can and do engage meaningfully with work, family, and community… They also vigilantly manage their own human capital, endeavoring to give both work and home their due—over a period of years, not weeks or days.”

Consider thinking of “life balance” like climate change instead of weather. Weather is day-today; climate change considers how weather plays out over time. There are days when my focus may look skewed toward one role over another, but my goal is to make sure that, over time, my attention and time allocation reflects my priorities and personal vision of life balance.

Imagine yourself trying to keep your balance while standing on one foot. If you are like me, you do okay for a few seconds. Then you start to veer a bit to the right, and you need to compensate by pulling to the left. A bit later, you start to teeter and lean to the left, at which point you focus a bit more energy on your right side.

That’s life balance. We try to stay centered and balanced. Despite our best efforts, sometimes we lean one way or the other. Sometimes work needs a bit more focus; other times family or friends need our energy. If we can flex and flow with the many roles we play, while always remembering to take care of ourselves and our strong, center core, we can accomplish some semblance of life balance. Your life balance looks different than mine; mine is different than yours. We respect each other’s differences and unique life situations, and we support one another.

Once in a while, when we are standing on that metaphorical one foot, we completely lose our balance. We jerk to the right, stagger to the left, and then grab for a wall, for a chair, for something to keep us from falling. In that moment, when you lose your balance and need someone or something to grab onto to regain balance and perspective, I hope you will think of your sisters-in-law at Minnesota Women Lawyers. MWL exists to support the success of women attorneys, and united we can stand much stronger than we can alone. Let’s feel free and vulnerable to reach out our hands to one another when we lose our balance knowing we will be there to catch one another. We are in this together. 

Read the Summer 2017 Issue of With Equal Right

 

For more information about MWL's leadership, view: MWL Welcomes it's 2017-2018 Board of Directors.


 

 

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mwl@mwlawyers.org

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