We’re living in an unprecedented time. As we adjust to new ways of collaborating, redefine our home and work boundaries, and try to process the impacts of COVID-19, it may feel like there is a lot of information flying around out there. We know, some of it’s ours. But if you have a minute, we’d like to try to bring a little inspiration to your (new) normally scheduled workday.

Earlier this year, we interviewed some incredible women in anticipation of International Women’s Day and 2020 Women’s History Month. We asked some of the (intimidatingly) intelligent women of Schwabe’s industry groups and some equally talented women in the community one small question“What advice would you give to your younger self?”

 For anyone needing a little encouragement in these uncertain times, please keep reading. In this second edition of “Celebrating Women: Beyond Legal Advice,” we sat down with Schwabe’s Carmen Calzacorta and Elizabeth Schleuning, Robin Gantt of Northwest Pipe Company, Denise Graves of Genentech, and Deb Hatcher of A to Z Wineworks.


Carmen Calzacorta, Shareholder and Manufacturing, Distribution and Retail and Natural Resources industry group member
“It is okay. It is okay to be wrong, it is okay to take credit, it is okay to yell back, it is okay to make a mistake, it is okay to take a compliment, it is okay to give the answer first, and it is okay to laugh, giggle, smile, and help others.”

Robin Gantt, CFO, Northwest Pipe Company
“The classic saying ‘even pace wins the race.’ Don’t worry so much if you are not where you want to be. I graduated college without a job, and the first career job I had did not have an obvious path to my longer term career goal. I kept that goal in mind, I set up a plan to get there, and I executed the plan. I just needed the time and patience to get it done. Fourteen years after graduating college, I was appointed the North American CFO of a multi-national company.” 


Elizabeth Schleuning, Shareholder and Healthcare and Life Sciences, Natural Resources, and Technology industry group member
“My advice to my younger self: The adage that ‘it is the risks that you didn’t take in life that you regret, rather than the risks you took’ really is true. Take some risks and don’t worry so much about your career. Take that extra week of vacation and visit that holy site that you will never forget. Apply for that grant and take a leave of absence. Go to the concert you really want to see even though you have a presentation the next morning. You can do it all with a little planning and hard work (and a little less sleep). And wear sunscreen when you do it!”

Denise Graves, Senior Counsel, Genentech
“When I was very young, I believed, like so many other young girls, that I could do anything I wanted to do—play sports (including with the boys and be as good as them, sometimes better), dress and wear my hair however I wanted, learn or study anything I wanted and that I could even become a lawyer. While that was true at the time, as I grew older, I started to doubt that unfettered belief in myself and often questioned whether I was deserving or worthy enough in the eyes of others. So I’d tell my younger self to fearlessly claim your authentic voice and don’t start or end so many conversations with “I’m sorry” unless you have done something to truly be sorry for, beyond just expressing your well-intentioned opinion. When that unkind, scolding, and judgmental inner voice pops into your head (which it will relentlessly do as often, and as loud, as you let it), remember you are enough (self-ascribed failures, inadequacies, shortcomings, and all), you have something to offer—without apology—and you are worthy of the life you make and dream of. While it’s easier to be kind to and forgive others, make dedicated efforts to learn and practice how to do the same for yourself, as it will lead to a more joyful and fulfilled life.”

Deb Hatcher, Founding Partner and CMO, A to Z Wineworks
“Take chances! Live in a tipi. Run the rapids. Adopt bobcats. Start a company.”


As we adjust to our new normal together, we hope you appreciate these pearls of wisdom as much as we do. Thanks to the amazing women of Schwabe and the equally awesome women in our community for sharing their advice. Please stay safe and tune in next week for our third edition of “Celebrating Women: Beyond Legal Advice.”

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