Women’s History Month: Women in Leadership Rock at Origence
Origence Leadership Spotlight:
Women’s History Month highlights the numerous contributions and accomplishments women have made throughout history that impact our society and culture. This month is dedicated to celebrating the perseverance, passion, and tenacity uniting and driving women to achieve their goals, live unapologetically, and ultimately smash glass ceilings.
Origence is celebrating this special month by spotlighting Erin Wilson, general counsel and enterprise risk manager, and executive sponsor of Origence’s Employee Resource Group, Women In Leadership Development (WILD).
As a member of the Origence leadership team, Erin gave us a brief look into her background, WILD, and helpful insight for women well into or just starting their careers. She is also a fabulous singer and was part of a rock band before becoming an attorney. Erin’s band was featured on the radio, played at a variety of well-known venues, and released a handful of songs. Although the band has retired (for now), Erin continues to perform when an opportunity arises. When we say that the women of Origence rock… we mean it!
Can you describe WILD and your role within the group?
Women In Leadership Development is one of the Employee Resource Groups at Origence. I’m the executive sponsor for WILD. We built WILD to help women advance in the workplace. Our mission is to empower women by providing a network of resources to enable and expand leadership opportunities within or outside of the organization. Even though this organization is linked with Origence, we’re dedicated to helping throughout all aspects of personal development. We offer opportunities for community service, mentoring, and resources for women to develop desired skill sets, regardless of work relation.
We love to have fun too. Once a month, we have a coffee chat bright and early in the morning — an unscripted, agenda-free, open forum. We encourage members to “come as you are” because, as women, we face pressure to look a certain way. This offers anyone who would like to join a judgment-free space to socialize with peers.
Who is your favorite historical female leader?
That would be Cleopatra. Historically, Cleopatra was an intelligent woman. She spoke several different languages and was a respected political figure. Cleopatra’s father taught her about war strategies and politics, so she would be well-versed in matters that concerned her people. Aside from that, Cleopatra never compromised her identity and femininity. She dressed beautifully, yet she was very self-sufficient. She had technical skills that a lady of her status wouldn’t typically have had. For her time, she was well-rounded, strong, and widely recognized for her femininity and beauty.
What is a challenge you’ve faced in your career, and how did you overcome it?
Specifically for my career as a lawyer, one of my greatest challenges was working through a spin-off of a global, Fortune 500 company. I was part of the spin-off committee. We were tasked to evaluate all existing contracts within the original company and readapt them appropriately for the two new business units. It was a tremendous ask, and I had a spreadsheet of thousands of contracts. Each contract needed negotiation and reassessment to make necessary changes to fit our new needs. On top of that, we had a tight time crunch of sixteen months to make it happen. It was almost overwhelming. I worked diligently across departments and with my committee to accomplish this project. Together, we did it, on time, with relatively few follow-ups. Overall, this was a lesson in prioritization, organization, and communication.
How can women better support each other in the workplace?
The best way for women to support each other at work is to open lines of communication to give and receive feedback. Understanding how you are being perceived and explaining your perceptions to others is important. Opening up communication is a great way to help women advance in the workplace.
What advice do you have for women in the early stages of their careers?
To advance in your career and life, you need to work hard and be a good person. Make yourself known, be the best, and work hard. There is no substitute for that. In truth, this is the advice I give to my children — you need to work hard and be nice. That’s what everything boils down to. Connections will only get you so far. The next steps are on you.