Pictured above are (l to r) Courtney L. Engelke ’11 and Emilie Kennedy ’11.
Two FIU Law alumni, Courtney L. Engelke ’11, an associate at at Colson Hicks Eidson, and Emilie Kennedy ’11, an associate at Lipscomb, Eisenberg & Baker, P.L., have been elected to the Florida Association for Women Lawyers’ Board of Directors.
Founded in 1951, the Florida Association for Women Lawyers strives to propel women lawyers into economic, social and leadership spheres of power. This is exemplified by their mission:
“To actively promote gender equality and the leadership roles of FAWL’s members in the legal profession, judiciary and community at large. To achieve these goals, FAWL will uphold the highest standard of integrity, honor and courtesy in the legal profession, promote reform in law, and facilitate administration of justice.”
We recently caught up with Engelke and Kennedy to discuss what prompted them to run for FAWL’s Board of Directors.
What prompted you to run for a spot on FAWL’s BOD?
Engelke: One of my mentors, Julie Braman Kane is a Past President of the Florida Association of Women Lawyers (FAWL) Miami-Dade chapter. By attending FAWL events with her when I was a law student and when I became an attorney, I came to fully appreciate the organization’s goal—to propel women lawyers into economic, social, and leadership spheres of power. This mission aligns with my beliefs in wanting to actively promote the advancement of women in the legal profession, and in supporting our members in their endeavors to attain leadership positions in our community, state-wide and nationally. As a result, and with Julie’s encouragement, I decided to run for FAWL’s Board of Directors to further these goals.
Kennedy: I was inspired by Deborah Baker, a partner in my law firm. She has been in FAWL for years and is currently the President Elect of the Miami-Dade chapter of the organization. As a member, I was able to witness the exciting work she did for FAWL and the impact the organization had on the community. I wanted to be a part of that, and help others benefit from the organization and the amazing people that encompass it.
What does it mean for your career to be on the board?
Engelke: As a young lawyer, being on the Board will provide an opportunity to foster contacts and professional relationships that will hopefully develop into business opportunities in the future. I hope to assume an officer position within FAWL in a few years.
Kennedy: I am really honored to be on the board of FAWL. I expect my participation within the organization to help extend my network and to facilitate my professional growth, exposing me to many of the most successful women practitioners within the State. FAWL also reminds me that there is more to being a lawyer than just putting in long hours, and the relationships I’ve formed with fellow FAWL members have yielded different viewpoints and insight towards what constitutes a healthy work/life balance. Ultimately for my career, as a board member I will learn from women ahead of me how to have a meaningful career and grow as a lawyer. As an aspiring long term FAWL member, I similarly hope to inspire those after me.
What is the value to female law students and lawyers to be a member of FAWL?
Engelke: I strongly encourage all law students to become involved with FAWL, both male and female, for not only the networking opportunities, but to take full advantage of the great programming events offered to law students. Recently, Miami-Dade FAWL hosted a panel entitled “Resume Writing and Interview Panel for Law Students” which helped law students gain varying perspectives from panelists from large and medium size firms, and lawyers serving in governmental office. This programming event allowed law students to prepare for all types of interviews and many stayed after the formal presentation to continue their candid discussions with the panelists.
Additionally, Miami-Dade FAWL created a new monthly programming event this past year called “Meet the Judge Lunch Series” where judges have lunch with 6-10 FAWL members. These lunches provide a great opportunity to get to know members of the South Florida judiciary in a more intimate setting.
Membership and active participation in FAWL can assist law students in obtaining job and clerkship opportunities as well as long lasting professional legal relationships.
Kennedy: The value is in getting a chance to network and associate with the people in the organization, women that are impacting the community, and then getting to make that impact yourself. As a law student, you’ll learn about issues female attorneys face, and how to effectuate change of attitudes and customs. The networking opportunities within an organization like FAWL also will expose you to future opportunities you might not have otherwise known existed. And as an attorney, it is a great way to get your name out there and establish widespread recognition for your efforts.