Women of Dilworth: What Inspires Them
In honor of Women’s History Month, Dilworth recognizes and celebrates the women of the firm, their leadership, and their many accomplishments. Read to learn more about what inspires these accomplished women.
"I am inspired by diversity in both representation and thought. I am inspired by my mother, who made sure I had every opportunity possible to become the lawyer I am today. I am inspired by opportunities and challenges that allow me to be creative and expand my knowledge."
"My mother, Patricia Callahan, did not graduate from high school but she was more knowledgeable in all things that matter than most people I know. Her grammar was always perfect, and she had a keen understanding of current events. Despite having not attained her GED until middle age, she ensured that each of her three daughters went to college. My two sisters and I became a teacher, school psychologist and attorney—not too bad for first generation college attendees. She also instilled the value of education in her seven grandchildren: two college graduates (an attorney and neuroscientist), three working towards degrees in genetics, psychology and engineering, and the two youngest, my daughters, who I am sure will follow in their cousins’ footsteps. After I was hired out of Dilworth’s summer associate program, I brought my mom to the firm to show her around the office. When we visited the Dilworth room adorned with old photographs of Richardson Dilworth, she was overwhelmed with pride that her daughter would be working at the same firm as Mayor Dick Dilworth. Almost 27 years later, and two after her passing, I cherish that memory. Her support and encouragement continues to inspire our entire family."
"I am inspired by the countless women who have the bravery and confidence to embark on careers in predominantly male dominated industries. It can be extremely intimidating early in one’s career to venture into interactions where there is a solitary woman in the room who is being called upon to lead and guide the discussion and decision-making. I am continually inspired by the example these courageous women set for myself and the future generation of trailblazing women."
"It inspires me to be part of a legal community that has made such significant strides towards gender equality in my lifetime. When I was growing up, my mom was the only female lawyer I knew. Now, there are so many wonderful examples of not just female lawyers, but female lawyers who are leaders in their field all around me, including at Dilworth!"
"I am inspired by the incredible people in my life—first and foremost my family with my biggest inspiration coming from watching my three children grow into kind, hard-working young men. I am also inspired by my clients such as the National Constitution Center who is educating hundreds of thousands of children and other learners across the country about the greatest vision of human freedom—the US Constitution—and teaching how to debate in a civil manner. "
"When I was a young girl, there weren’t any women role models in the law. On TV there was Perry Mason, a man. And lawyers I read about in the news were men. But for some reason that didn’t stop me from deciding to be a lawyer. I thought simply two things: 1. Folks looked at lawyers as having answers and understanding how the system worked and I wanted that knowledge, whatever it was; and 2. women needed credentials in order to be heard. So off I went to law school in 1976 to see if I was right."
"I am inspired by trailblazers like Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman U.S. Supreme Court Justice and the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Justice O’Connor made several profound statements—a few that resonate with me are “Do the best you can in every task, no matter how unimportant it may seem at the time. No one learns more about a problem than the person at the bottom.”, “We don't accomplish anything in this world alone... and whatever happens is the result of the whole tapestry of one's life and all the weavings of individual threads form one to another that creates something." and “Be aware that even before you have reached your ultimate professional destination, if you always strive for excellence, you can and should have a substantial impact on the world in which you live.” To me, these quotes represent a course of a career—starting at the bottom as an associate and working hard to gain experience, being part of a firm working together to serve clients, and seeking to grow by challenging yourself to improve and to make a difference in your career and your life."
"I was raised in Jamaica, where parents encourage you to “grow up to be whatever you want.. aka a lawyer or doctor”. I was very good in math and sciences but hated the sight of blood, so I became a lawyer. With only a third grade education, my mother found a way to own and operate her own beauty salon. I have the gift of law and post graduate degrees, exactly what excuse do I have to not exploit every opportunity I was presented or create my own. This women's history month, I think we should pause to appreciate how far we have come and take a moment of gratitude for the women that got us here. Then, press on by lifting other young women as we continue to climb."
"As a Black female attorney working in bankruptcy law, the lack of representation can feel frustrating. Thankfully, I have a strong Inspirational Team—my parents, my clients, amazing judges, and my colleague and mentor, Georgette Miller—who keep me focused, motivated and balanced. Through them, a powerful lesson learned is: Life is short, and even the smallest ripple can create a big wave. My specialty allows me to use my skills to restore hope in people who are facing financial and emotional ruin. I hope that my small ripple destroys the stigma around bankruptcy, especially since I so often hear “I wish I came sooner”. Without my Inspirational Team, I would not be able to plant these seeds for long-term change, which is so rewarding, and so I thank them. "
"My best inspiration is to see other women succeeding, and to be instrumental in helping them succeed. Seeing other women achieve their goals and living their dreams, it reminds me that anything is possible. Supporting women in this process provides momentum to keep us moving forward! When we feel like we’re part of a community of strong, supportive women, it gives us the strength to keep going when things get tough."
"I’m inspired by women who despite all odds persevere, whether in career, family, community, sports, sciences, academia, arts, politics and really any endeavor aimed at making this world a better place. These successes trail blaze for other women, making one woman’s success, a success for all womankind. "
"As to women who inspire me professionally, Senior Judge Sylvia Rambo of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District was the first woman on the bench and as Chief Judge for the Middle District. She has had an amazing career in private practice, as a public defender, professor and county court judge, the latter also a first for a woman in the Cumberland County Court of Common Pleas. On June 28, 2022, the U.S. Courthouse in Harrisburg, PA was named in her honor. As to women who personally inspire me, I continue to be amazed at my remarkable two daughters, my oldest Christina, a biochemistry/molecular biology and ballet double major rising rapidly through the management ranks at LabCorp, and my youngest, Alexandra, a distinguished Pratt MFA professional artist in Brooklyn."
"I am inspired by the women I know who had to put up with so much, and fought to a place where they don’t have to put up with anything, anymore. And I am even more inspired by my colleagues, men and women, who work hard to make sure that new people coming up in the world don’t have to deal with the nonsensical waste of human worth that is discrimination. "
"I am inspired by women who choose to support and raise up fellow women in their workplaces and communities. I am lucky to have had many female mentors and supporters throughout my time at Penn, Villanova Law, PwC, and now at Dilworth. It is those women that support other women through mentorship and leadership who are helping to make sure all women get their seat at the table. To all of the women who have sacrificed time for me, supported me, nominated me, hired me, and promoted me—thank you! I endeavor to pay it forward to the best of my ability. "