Amy M. Gardner
Principal // Apochromatik
Description of your practice:
I am a Certified Professional Career Development and Career Transitions Coach with Apochromatik, the career coaching and consulting company I co-founded. I spend my days helping attorneys figure out where they want their careers and lives to go, and then develop the tools to get there, whether through a career transition or advancing in their current role. I provide one-on-one coaching, lead masterminds of small groups of attorneys with similar goals, and teach workshops for employers and professional organizations. We also offer a resume service, ResumeRedo.com, and online courses to help professionals improve career skills such as executive presence. I also spend time most weeks writing blog posts and workshop materials and appearing on podcasts.
Why are you a member of the WBAI?
Throughout my career, I have seen again and again the ways gender can impact careers, and I’ve been grateful for the WBAI’s terrific programming and networking. The WBAI has been an asset whether I was practicing law (first as an associate at Skadden, then as an associate and partner at Ungaretti & Harris), serving as the dean of students at the University of Chicago Law School (where I got to support candidates for Women’s Bar Foundation scholarships), directing lawyer chapters for the American Constitution Society, or today as a small business owner coaching attorneys. The breadth of programming and events ensures there’s something for everyone and every stage of your career.
What do you think is the best way to empower women in law? What are the qualities you have seen and admired in a senior female attorney you know?
I think the best way to empower women in law is to provide equal opportunities. When women have an equal playing field, we know we can deliver. But women (and, to be clear, many others, including People of Color) still don’t have that equal playing field yet.
The qualities I admire in senior female attorneys are the same qualities I admire in senior male attorneys: ethical, excellent attorneys who make it a priority to mentor and teach when it comes to both the strategic and the tactical; people willing to share their mistakes and struggles honestly so others can learn and overcome the imposter syndrome so rampant in our profession; attorneys who make a concerted effort to help others rise through referrals, speaking invitations, award nominations, and passing along positive feedback to female attorneys and their supervisors; those who have other lawyers’ backs and will help them when they struggle or speak up with them when power imbalances or other circumstances keep them from being heard; and those who strive to be role models in having a legal career they love and a life outside work that makes the hard work worthwhile.
What are you most looking forward to in the following year, personally/professionally?
My answer to this question certainly would’ve been different before March! I am most looking forward to visiting the family and friends I’ve not been able to see in person over the stay-home period.
Professionally, I’m looking forward to working with our attorney mastermind members over the fall. Seeing how the group starts off not knowing each other and then coalesces to become allies, supporters, and champions over the course of the 6 months as they learn and grow together is tremendously satisfying.
Tell us something interesting about you.
In 2018, my husband and I spent 10 weeks circumnavigating the globe. We started a photography and travel blog, www.reddotbluedot.com, where we still occasionally post about our travels, and it’s led to some fun opportunities and new perspectives about work.