At FinancEvents we are continuing to host our Women’s Week, in honor of International Women’s Day, where we have interviewed leading power women around the world to hear about their individual journeys to their success, their advice to women and men working in male-dominated industries, where they find inspiration and more.
Today we are proud to present our interview with Ms. Jamie Spannhake, Partner at New York Law firm Berlandi Nussbaum & Reitzas LLP, Speaker, Coach and Author of book The Lawyer, the Lion, & the Laundry.
Q1) How has your journey looked like, in terms of your career, to be where you are today?
A1) I have been practicing law for nearly 17 years! I can hardly believe it has been that long. My legal career has been interesting and successful, as I have worked at an international law firm, started my own law firm, and then merged with a small law firm, where I am now a partner. My favorite legal work is helping entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. But my true passion is helping other professionals live better lives. I have wanted to help others lead healthier and happier lives for many years now. After ten years of researching, attending workshops, talking with innumerable people, and experimenting in my own life, I figured out how to create space and time for the life I really wanted. Because I want to share the strategies with others, I wrote a book aimed at helping busy professionals find better balance in their lives by providing them with time management tools and mind management techniques that allow them to live lives filled with career success, time with family and friends, and space for personal desires. Now that the book is published and doing well, I have launched my company Lion Life LLC, and created coaching programs, webinars, and a soon-to-be-launched online membership program.
Q2) What are you the most grateful of in your work?
A2) I am most grateful for the successful work/life integration I have. I am a single mom with a 10-year-old daughter, two dogs, and two cats. My home life is very important to me. I am grateful that I am able to have a successful career and be an involved parent simultaneously. The thing that makes it most possible is flexibility in my work schedule; I work almost entirely from home during whatever hours I choose. My work is largely deadline driven, so all that usually matters is that I meet the deadline. I feel so fortunate that I almost never miss an event or performance or other occasion important to my family because of my work. I realize not everyone is so fortunate, and I am grateful.
Q3) Tell us about a time where you have used inspiration from another woman to motivate yourself?
A3) Just one?! There are so many women that have inspired and motivated me. The one closest to my heart is my mom. She has suffered with rheumatoid arthritis since she was 22 years old. There were times and days when she did not feel well enough to participate in activities with me, in particular times when her body didn’t want to be up and moving. Yet she never let her physical pain distract her from her singular focus of being a great mom. I remember she would take me shopping for back-to-school clothes, knowing that her feet and legs would be hurting so much it was hard to walk, and that it would take her several days to recover from all the walking. But she wanted to have that experience with me, so she did it anyway. She is the strongest woman I know. She taught me perseverance and that only we define our own limitations, not other people. She made me strong.
Q4) Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic many more people around the world have struggled with depressive episodes due to lack of social activities, exercise etc., have you implemented anything new that you have found exciting, in your weekly routines since the pandemic started?
A4) I’ve incorporated different activities during different periods of time during the pandemic. Early on, I had a weekly cocktail hour with several girlfriends via Zoom. It was a great way to connect even while we were apart. In the warmer months, I spent time walking in the woods with family and friends. Soaking in the sunshine and nature always cheers me up. I’ve also doubled-down on my meditation and yoga practices since they allow me to feel calm despite the uncertainty in the world. And I’ve rekindled my love of various creative endeavors, like coloring, painting, playing piano, and singing.
Q5) Looking back on the past years, what would you have wanted to tell the “you” that was 5 years ago?
A5) Many things! One of the most important things I would tell myself 5 years ago is to communicate what I want and need. I think we often fall into the trap of thinking others should just know what we want or need, but they can’t if we don’t communicate it to them. Also, it is important to be clear in our careers and professional lives and to ask for what we want. I was afraid to ask for what I wanted sometimes, but we can’t get what we want in our careers if we don’t ask for it. Many people never get what they want in life simply because they never ask.
Q6) Since going into your line of business, what was your first goal you wanted to accomplish and how did it turn out?
A6) My first goal as a lawyer was to work as a judicial clerk in the federal court system. It is great experience and it is considered very prestigious so is a great resume builder. I was able to obtain the position and it was incredible. I worked behind-the-scenes in a federal appellate court with a great judge and intelligent attorneys. I learned so much. In my work as an author and coach, my first goal was to write and publish my book The Lawyer, the Lion, & the Laundry: Three Hours to Finding Your Calm in the Chaos. It took me nearly 3 years to do, from writing the first words to having the published book in my hands, but it was a fun journey filled with a small team of people, and worth it.
Q7) What advice would you give to women that today are working in male-dominated industries?
A7) Know that you have every right to be there, to be heard, and to lead. Don’t let anyone – man or woman – make you feel otherwise.
Q8) What advice would you give to the men inside the same industries?
A8) Let women talk. If there is a woman in the room, and she hasn’t contributed to the conversation yet, ask for her input. Many women wait to be asked to speak (though I am not one of them) whereas most men jump into the conversation without prompting. You can be an advocate for women by asking for their input, and you’ll get some great ideas that way.
Q9) Where do you see yourself and your company in the next 10 years? Do you have a dream project?
A9) I see myself, through my new company, Lion Life LLC, authoring and publishing more books to help people live better, balanced, happier lives. I also see myself continuing to develop new online programming in order to reach a national and international audience. And I am very excited to continue presenting and speaking to organizations, companies, and groups, virtually and in-person. My dream project is a collaboration with other strong and successful women that empowers women to lead in their industries while simultaneously living fulfilling personal lives.
Q10) Our final question: among the people you know, who’s interview would you want to read next and
A10) I recently connected with Megan Whiteside and found her to be intelligent and inspirational.
Your story sends inspiration to all single mothers, and women dreaming about a career in Law, to keep their motivation and head high whilst experiencing their journey’s to make their dreams reality. According to an article released by Law.com in December last year, female partners in Law firms pay rose by 15% from 2017 to 2019, while male partner pay grew by 7%. Even thought the pay gap between men and women in the Legal Industry internationally is still present, we see this as a hopeful sign towards the right direction. What we need is more women proud of their voice and abilities, wanting to expand the roof of possibilities. Thank you Jamie for sharing your story with us and contributing with your valuable advice.
Maja Säholm Westling