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April 2021

Seattle Women’s Initiative Successfully Kicks Off “Her Path Forward” Speaker Series

Gordon & Rees’ Seattle Women’s Initiative recently kicked off its speaker series, Her Path Forward, with general counsel Sandra Leung of Bristol Myers Squibb.  Her Path Forward is part of the firm’s overall Women’s Initiative program, focusing on bringing women in-house counsel from various industries and corporations for thought provoking conversations about their path to success and the challenges they overcame.

Sandra “Sandy” Leung is Executive Vice President, General Counsel at Bristol Myers Squibb, a global biopharmaceutical company with a mission to discover, develop, and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases.  Ms. Leung serves as legal advisor to the Board of Directors and company executives, and is responsible for shaping the company’s legal strategy. Ms. Leung is also responsible for the corporation’s Environment, Health & Safety & Sustainability, Corporate Security and Philanthropy departments. 

Self-described as “small in stature,” Ms. Leung commanded the hour-long virtual event with her charisma and presence. Illuminating for event attendees the path toward achieving a successful and rewarding career, Ms. Leung drew upon her over three decade long legal career, and her current position at Bristol Myers Squibb as lived examples of this path.  Among the many pieces of advice Ms. Leung shared during the event, she emphasized the importance of speaking out during meetings to maintain visibility, and taking calculated risks to ensure career progress.  She emphasized the need to amplify the voices of other women and organically develop mentor/mentee relationships to further not only your career but those who are at the start of their careers. 

Ms. Leung also spoke candidly of the unique cultural challenges Asian American women attorneys face in the corporate world, and said that the work to reconcile those cultural differences continue, even for her. Women attorneys can be different at work and at home, both of which are equally authentic to oneself, Ms. Leung said.

Thanks to the all-virtual platform, the March 25 event connected attorneys and in-house counsel from all over, including guests from State Farm, Walgreens, Rush University, LAZ Parking, Nationwide Insurance, Takeda Pharmaceutical Company, CBRE Group, Mod Pizza, Milliman, Colgate-Palmolive, and Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC. Women attorneys from the firm's Idaho and Chicago offices also joined in for the event.

Thank you to our speaker and all attendees. Special thanks to event organizers Avanti Bakani, Sally Kim, Petra Ambrose, Amy P. Taylor, and the many others at Gordon & Rees who contributed to the event’s success, including Abra Geisler, Carolynn KaiserNerissa Diaz Moisan, members and allies of the Seattle Women’s Initiative.

Sarah N. Turner
Shannon L. Wodnik