The OWL event held at White & Case office’s on 11 June 2019 was a panel discussion on ‘Standing out from the Crowd’. However, the personal insights and truly motivational advice provided by the illustrious panellists went beyond this central message to provide the attendees with practical steps in how to further their career.

Judith Freedman, Pinsent Masons Professor of Taxation Law at Oxford University and moderator for the event, focussed the discussion on individual successes and career achievements. This allowed the attendees to gain an understanding of how they could achieve their personal goals, disregarding the stereotype of desiring to become the ‘office superstar’.  

To begin Clare Pointing, organisational consultant, advisor and executive coach for DML Consulting, drew on her experience in her own career. She remarked that the only way to achieve your career goals is to manage it strategically. Clare provided a succinct list of five truths with which to facilitate this; highlighting that exposure and reputation are the biggest driver for success and that, despite its often uncomfortable nature, change is essential for progression.  She reinforced that in order to succeed one must be proactive, make choices and believe that you belong. Frances Moore, Senior Learning and Development Manager at Slaughter and May, then built on Clare’s point about work place anxiety and ‘imposter syndrome’ by sharing three personal stories. Her advice was to find your ‘thing’ and your ‘people’, and to use both to help differentiate and motivate yourself in your working life.  

The course of the discussion was changed by Maria Coyle, Media and Communications Professional, who gave some extremely helpful and poignant tips about the best way to present yourself and your company via different forms of media. She emphasised the different ways traditional and social media must be treated in terms of their audience and purpose. Through sharing her own stories, Maria emphasised the importance of preparation and thought as to wider considerations before doing any media work. The overall take-away was that media is a fantastic, if not essential, way to help one stand out in a career, but it must be treated tactically in order to do so. 

Flora McLean
The final panellist was Flora McLean, Partner at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, who rounded up the points made by her fellow panellists and injected several of her own. She built upon the previous point made about showing vulnerability and making mistakes by explaining how to balance being human with presenting your brand as successfully as possible. Her advice on making mistakes was always to be honest as soon as possible and to embrace vulnerability as a way to connect with people. Flora finished by highlighting that women should be true to themselves in order to allow other women to do so in pursuit of creating a more authentic working environment. 

The discussion was followed by a Q&A which gave OWL audience members the opportunity to engage with the panel and expand on the advice given. The evening ended with a networking reception with drinks and canapés. 

by Maia Gibb (First year BA Jurisprudence)