Mentor: Michelle Diffenderfer

Michelle Diffenderfer

Mentor: Michelle Diffenderfer

  • What inspired you to want to work in the corporate arena? Growing up in Jamaica I was very interested in the environment around me and when I went to law school became interested in becoming an environmental lawyer. Lewis, Longman & Walker was the natural fit for me to go to due to their focus on environmental and land use law. I have spent 20 incredible years at LLW and learned a lot from the lawyers I first came to work with. I have grown within the firm’s leadership over the years and became President in January, 2015 in my effort to give back to our firm.
  • What advice do you have for women that want to spark change? Stand up for what you believe in. Learn about all sides of an issue before you jump in on a specific side. Get to know the people involved on all sides of an issue you are interested in and spend time helping the group achieve their objectives. Making change is typically about helping others see the way, and working hard to make sure that everyone is involved and educated on the issue.
  • What do you feel is the single most pressing issue facing women today and why? The ongoing objectification of women in our society. Despite the huge gains that women have made in schooling, access to college and the workforce, we continue to see women and girls objectified throughout our society which sets a double standard for what we expect from our girls growing up and from our young women as they enter college and the workforce.
  • Tell us about a women mentor that had helped your journey. There have been many, starting with my mother and grandmothers who showed me that you can be a great mom/grandmother while still holding excellent jobs. Then my math teacher in Jamaica, an older woman with a brilliant mind who made me believe in myself and my ability to do math. Moving on to my Faculty Advisor at Brown University who helped me focus my research on early childhood education and the effects on single black mothers. Upon entering the legal field, which was still fairly male dominated 20 years ago, I thankfully had many great male mentors at our firm who saw my potential and never stopped encouraging me to do more, try out for something else and to take care of some of our firm’s largest clients.
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