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Katherine Porter

Katherine Porter

Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.

I am a teacher turned lawyer turning entrepreneur. What all of these things have in common is helping people. Right now I am launching The Resource Woman which will be a platform for Gen X professional women to find, learn and engage with the issues on our minds. I will be writing, speaking and coaching women to integrate their whole selves and design a life in line with their values and goals.

Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?

I recently joined Ellevate and I feel I've found my tribe. One of the best experiences I have had so far has been my Squad. I am the "Squad Mod" but what makes this group so wonderful is that everyone contributes and we have engaging and supportive conversations. So a big shout out to my Squad - Thanks Ladies!!

How would you define your professional mission?

I know it sounds cliché, but I work to make the world a better place. Whether advocating for my clients as an attorney or helping women reach their goals, I want to add value to the world.

What are some career challenges on your radar?

I find maintaining my confidence to be a real challenge. I have a lot of doubt about my ability to achieve the traditional image of a successful lawyer. Leaving my first firm felt like a failure - I so wanted to prove there was a different success model. By not doing that, it really brought my doubts to the forefront. Maybe my boss was right when he told me I had the wrong personality for a lawyer. Another challenge I had and still have is understanding my role and how I fit in the company. At my current law firm, there is one owner. I've been here six months and I'm not sure of her expectations of my role, like whether she wants me to only concern myself with billable work or should I be actively engaged in business development? When it comes to my new business, my biggest challenge is time. I know there are 168 hours in the week, but somehow they all seem to be used up without the opportunity to really move forward as quickly as I'd like. I'm trying to be patient.

We’d love to hear more about your career path. What led you to where you are today?

As I mentioned in my intro, I've worn a few hats. I started as an elementary teacher out of college and then decided "law school sounds fun." And it was, actually. I love reading and thinking about the "big issues." I started at a mid-size firm and was there for almost 20 years, with some time off for kids. I came back and was ready to "ramp up" but like many women, found scaling back had cost me serious credibility and there was no "up ramp." So I joined a consulting firm in a related field. this time I learned the importance of knowing your role, and having ALL the leaders on the same page. I didn't have a role, and the vision for my job shifted until it no longer made sense to stay. So I came back to law, but I still feel there is something else that is right for me. I've always been the "resource woman" - the one who will research and consider issues from all angles and come up with solutions. I want to apply those skills in a way that helps other women.

What legacy do you hope to leave through your work?

I hope that I can inspire and inform women, those who work with them and the organizations that hire them. I want to develop a workplace philosophy that supports and values living a life that is meaningful to ourselves.

What is it about your job that makes you feel it’s the right fit for you?

In many ways, being a lawyer is a natural fit for me. I do a lot of reading and a lot of writing. I get to grapple with and solve problems for my clients. As an introvert, I appreciate that most of my job involves taking the time to really understand and think things through, with less emphasis on thinking on my feet. My abilities to think, plan and prepare thoroughly are an asset in this career.

What is your morning ritual?

I've always been a morning person and my morning time is special to me. I'd love to say I get up and do yoga, journal and meditate before showering, dressing and leaving the house for the day. And some days I do manage these things. But with two teenagers, one who likes to talk to me at the end of the day and the other who has zero period, this morning ritual is more aspirational. In reality, I get up, shower, dress, etc., feed the chickens, feed myself and get the band-girl out the door. This goes much smoother because my morning ritual is more of a night ritual - I pack my lunch, lay out my clothes and do any other tasks that make my mornings easier.

Is work-life balance a problem for you? What is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?

I think the problem with "work-life balance" is that "balance" isn't possible. Balance assumes a zero sum game, where work must necessarily take away from "life" and vice versa. I think we need to recognize that some days, weeks, months or even years, our focus can shift between our paid work and our unpaid work. And we need to be comfortable with the idea that we can't be at the best at everything. I guess letting go of what I think I should be doing is probably my no-fail tactic. Accepting where I am helps me find balance.

What is one piece of advice you’d offer working moms?

Show yourself the same compassion you show for your kids and others around you. This means deleting "should" from your vocabulary and enjoying where you are at the moment. Acknowledge those negative voices in your mind and then let them go.

Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.

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