On May 16, Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP hosted its second Women-to-Women Mentoring Dinner at the New York Public Library in New York City. The event was held as a mentoring and networking event for the firm's female partners, counsel and fifth-year-and-above female associates and clients; all invitees were encouraged to bring a female client, colleague or mentee of their choice as a guest of the firm. Speaking at the event was Michele Coleman Mayes, Senior Vice President and General Counsel for Pitney Bowes, whose 20 years of corporate law experience includes senior legal and management positions with blue-chip corporations such as Colgate-Palmolive and Unisys.
In her address, Ms. Mayes stressed the importance of mentoring, particularly in today's environment of high attrition rates among associates and partners at law firms. A good mentor, she explained, builds confidence in her mentee, provides her access, and encourages her to take risks. To the potential mentee, Ms. Mayes offered the following advice:1) have more than one mentor; 2) look for someone "different from you;" 3) be sure that mutual trust is established, and 4) give back to your mentor; don't always be on the "taking" side. Finally, she stressed the importance of "paying it forward"when it is time for mentee to become mentor. "Extend both arms," Ms. Mayes said. "Have one hand stretched ahead of you, asking for guidance, and one extended behind, offering it to those who follow."