On this week’s episode of the Wealthy Woman Lawyer® Podcast, we speak with Katy Goshtasbi, the Founder and CEO of Puris Consulting. For 14 years, Katy enjoyed her career as a securities lawyer, a federal lobbyist on Capitol Hill, and an attorney for the Securities and Exchange Commission. Twelve years ago she decided on a career change and now trains executives, entrepreneurs, and attorneys to define and communicate their personal brands with ease.
Katy says, “No one can know you, except for you; that is what really is the essence of the brand development work. Your power lies within your own understanding of who you are. That’s why you need to figure it out.”
We discuss the power of silence, as well as:
- The big “aha” moment that prompted her career change
- Developing a holistic brand that’s true to you and aligns with your ideal clients
- Establishing and effectively communicating your personal brand
- The incredible effects of tuning into your unique and individual story
- What to carefully consider before picking a practice area
- And more.
Mentioned in this episode:
- Degree of Influence Brand Assessment: 1:1 session with Katy to answer all your branding questions and determine your plan for 2021. Regularly $179. $79 for your audience: https://katy-goshtasbi.securechkout.com/brand-assessment-checkout
- [email protected]
Davina Frederick: Hello, and welcome to the Wealthy Woman Lawyer Podcast. We believe all women lawyers deserve to be wealthy women lawyers. Our mission is to provide thought provoking, powerful and practical information to help you in creating your own sustainable wealth generating law firm without overwork or overwhelm so you can live your best life. I’m your host, Davina Frederick, and I’m so excited for you to be our guest today. So let’s get started.
Please join me in welcoming attorney Katy Goshtasbi, founder and CEO of Puris Consulting. For 14 years, Katy enjoyed a career as a securities lawyer, a federal lobbyist on Capitol Hill, and an attorney for the Securities and Exchange Commission. Then one day, she was faced with a choice that would cause her to make a life changing decision to leave her law career and start a new journey helping other attorneys develop their own personal brand story. So we’re so excited to have Katy here today, to hear her story and learn all about how we can be better at branding ourselves and our practices. So welcome.
Katy Goshtasbi: Thank you very much. Thanks for having me. Appreciate it.
Davina: I’m so happy that you’re here. I want to jump in. And I know you share on your website, your story and your journey of coming to the United States as a young child. And what, what your feelings were about that. And where that led you in life. Could you share that story with us?
Katy: Sure. Thanks for asking. That’s part of what we teach people in my program. So I’m always leading with my story as an example of nothing else. So yeah, I’m an immigrant. Actually, I found out about eight months ago, working on my third book, my editors turned to me one day, and she said, you realize you’re not an immigrant you’re a refugee. And I said, Oh, my gosh, what’s the difference? And so of course, I knew the difference, but I hadn’t stopped thinking about it.
So actually, I’m a refugee, I have to keep reminding myself of that. And you know, that’s, that’s part of the funny part, I want your audience to consider, like words define how we see ourselves for I’m 48 years old for 48 years, I did not see myself as a refugee. And then I was like, What do I do with this new information? I’m now a refugee. I’ve always been a refugee. But now. So anyway, I really ask people to take that into account is it really changed who you are and what you’re up to and your purpose in your life? Or is it just another word that you could use as a good label or bad label and part of your story?
So I’m a refugee. We left Iran in 79. Because the revolution because we weren’t Muslim and had to leave the country. Not that there’s anything wrong with any of the religions, but we were not of the religion. So we left with two suitcases thinking we were gonna be gone for two weeks. That’s all we packed. And we went to Indiana where my mom’s brothers lived, and I never went back. And that was the biggest blessing of my life. I mean, I miss Iran, for the nationalism and the kind people and the culture. But I would have never had these opportunities to be a lawyer and do all the fun things I’ve got to do in my career, and in my life, had I stayed in Iran.
So I always wanted to save the world. And I thought that that meant becoming a lawyer, and I’m a public speaker, when I tell the story to my audiences, they want to laugh and I until I give them permission, because no one saves the world necessarily by becoming a fill in the blank, a lawyer or whatever, right. But I wanted to so I did. And like you said, I became a securities lawyer, because I was also very clear, I wanted to practice securities law. And I knew that even before I took my first securities law course in law school, and it was odd, but I just did.
And so that’s exactly what I did. I was at the state securities division. Then I went to Washington, DC, where most of my career was, I was a federal lobbyist. Then I went to the securities exchange commission, when Enron blew up, I was there and Bernie Madoff was happening. And I actually knew Bernie Madoff. And my husband always says don’t tell people that.
Davina: That’s fascinating
Katy: I didn’t like I didn’t hang out with him. And I didn’t know but as business dealings, we were always trying to put a bandaid on that afterwards. But, I mean, we were a small group of regulators and regulated and I tell that part of the story because I was slowly becoming jaded with the financial services industry, which I was regulating and a part of and writing the rules around. And so when I left the SEC, I went to a major law firm, I switched hats in my career was about, you know, having the clients that I used to regulate.
So it was always me and the big boys Fidelity, Franklin Templeton, wirehouses. And there was always me wining and dining them, but it was at that job that I started to develop my second career. Other lawyers would come to me and go, Hey, how’d you get ahead? How’d you get that great case, had the partner in charge put you in charge of this and that and I would say, I don’t know. But let me take you to lunch I get an hour that’s all the time I got to give you and I’ll tell you what I’m doing try it. If it doesn’t work for you come back and we’ll try something else.
And you know, all those jobs I had in my career, every two years, my resume I had a new job, but I wasn’t looking for it. They were finding me because now I understand my brand stood out I emotionally resonated with my audience. And I knew exactly what I was about. And then of course, once you get there, you have to b able to do the legal work, right. Otherwise I bust but it was balanced. So then I went in house out here in California, I was in House Counsel, and a large mutual fund conglomerate and I was investment counsel and I, you know, for lawyers going in house, at least it used to be like it was the becoming, right? Like you made it and you’ve done it.
Davina: Right, right.
Katy: But it was there that my story takes a drastic turn. I was super stressed. It was a decent job. But there was lots of toxicity as I see in a lot of firms and a lot of corporate cultures, which is why I do what I do. And my doctor literally said to me, Katy, you’re stressed so high, it’s gonna kill you, you need to quit your job. And I laughed at him. And I said, all this time I put myself through law school, are you gonna pay my bills.
But it was that thought in my mind, it was a Wednesday I had spent 15 hours drafting just a small part of a mutual fund prospectus and if none of the your listeners know what that means, that’s, that’s fine and dandy. Not everyone needs to. But I went home that night, nine o’clock at night opened up my own mailbox there just so happened to be my own prospectus. And I reflexively did what? I threw it away, because no one reads that stuff. And that was my big aha moment that Oh, my gosh, I have a purpose in my life, just like I think everyone does. And I was not meeting it. That was not my life purpose.
So that was my big aha moment. I quit my job cold turkey, there is about six months worth of drama. But I did I said, I can’t do this for a living. It’s a very personal decision. I want your audience to know that you and I are never telling lawyers to stop practicing law. You know, but it was, it was a reckoning because two years before the recession, no one was recreating themselves. No one was changing careers. I thought I was crazy. Everyone else thought I was nuts. I just couldn’t do it anymore.
So I set out on a journey. I really did to figure out who I was, I didn’t know this at the time, who I was not just what do I do for a living. I had to figure out the form or before I get to the ladder. And it was really about understanding that I’m a human. I’m so confused. Took seven years, I worked with an ex Harvard litigator, I took a random community college course with 40 other people. And for 20 minutes of it, I was so pathetic. They spent all their time on me, saying to me, what is that natural thing you do that somebody else doesn’t. And I was like, I don’t have a natural talent. I’m just the lawyer.
Davina: There’s no natural talent here!
Katy: No. And so we really developed that for me. And it was seven painful years, I remember the day standing in the lobby of a hotel, I was crying to my sister going, but if I’m not a lawyer, then what am I who am I and she looked at me and she, she’s an engineer. She’s just as left brain linear as the rest of us lawyers. She said, Oh, my God, you’re a human being what is wrong with you. But I was literally going through an identity crisis. And so I came out of it. And I turned it into a program for other lawyers, because I really don’t want people to go through the pain that I went through.
But I want them to get the results that I get that that you do, then when you get to decide if you come out of this process, you get to decide, hey, I want to stay a lawyer and I want to do it this way. And you have an intentional branding plan. And I started to notice a mostly women lawyers were saying to me, I don’t know how to do this. I’m not being heard, my voice isn’t met, I don’t have the message to communicate. It doesn’t really match who I am. Am I supposed to do what everybody else does? What’s my brand.
And so it just grew and grew. And two years ago, I was chair of the American Bar Association law practice division, which was just a big honor. And then this year, they asked me to chair the diversity and inclusion portion, because your brand is about diversity. When people understand their own uniqueness, and how to develop a brand that emotionally resonates who they are for their audience. It’s not a website, it’s not a logo. It’s about you, the person really getting it and being able to relate to others. At that point, then diversity really blooms because you accept other people for being diverse and equity and inclusion and belonging really blend. So that’s my story.
Davina: Oh, that’s a that’s a lot to unpack. I have lots of questions. But that’s wonderful. I love hearing your story. I wouldn’t have this moment and his epiphany. I think that a lot of attorneys struggle because they have an idea in their head of what it means to be an attorney. And they go to law school with this vision, maybe something they’ve seen on TV or some family member they admire or friend of the family.
And, and then they get into it and they do the work. And then they realize I really hate the day to day of this. And so then they start looking around do I practice and another area is the problem area of practice, to make the decision to leave working as an attorney full time. I know for me, I had a friend who said to me because I’ve wrestled with it because I work so hard to get it to be there and I’m still you know, still licensed lawyer. I just don’t actively practice anymore and and I had a I’ve really struggled with it because I put so much effort into it so much invest.
Davina: And I see that with a lot of women attorneys who say, I’m not happy and fulfilled here. But there’s, you know, there’s this aspect of no well changing course in the middle, what are people going to say? What are they going to think? And I had a friend say to me, you’re still an attorney. Like you’re still like, didn’t know we could take that away from you.
Katy: No one’s gonna take anything away from you.
Davina: Right? So what are some of the things that you said, you really wrestled with that and you worked on that? What are some things that came up for you? And what are some things that you hear other attorneys say when they start to explore maybe different aspects of their personality and their gifts?
Katy: Yeah, it was this notion that I was trapped in my left linear brain. I mean, it’s it makes us great lawyers, right? Analytical, a plus b equals c, that’s just how we process data. We’re taught that in law school. But I didn’t even understand that I had a right creative brain. And that I could actually bring that creativity if I chose to the practice of law or to any other job and work. But I had slowly started to become spiritual along the way, in my early 20s. So I started to really explore that.
But it’s also a function of people really understanding that imposter syndrome is just a function of you not knowing who you are, right? And really getting that whatever you do for a living, whether it’s the practice of law or not, people aren’t going to buy it and reward you for it. Easily. That’s the key. Unless you get it and you really own who you are and what you then bring to the practice of law. It’s a huge distinction. And lawyers are like, well, it’s working now. And I’m like, Yes, but just think how much better it could work, how much easier your life could be. How much lower your stress could be? How much you wouldn’t have to grapple with imposter syndrome?
Because I did I mean, but it was, it’s bigger than an imposter syndrome is a is a small term, I think, for the identity crisis of Who am I really right? And it’s not an existential question, as much as it is. Once you figure that out, your life just rolls a lot easier, like everything falls into place, and you’re just attractive to all sorts of people, you know, finding your brand isn’t just about business, it’s about you want to find a date, you want to, you know, do some some work on the side, you want to lose weight, you want to gain weight, you want to just so much exploration around that.
And professionals really weren’t willing to take that leap until I think it was Uber, four years ago, five years ago, started saying take the whole human to work. And that’s really what it amounts to. And that was really instrumental for my work, because we’re all human. And if we stop ignoring the fact that we’re human, we’re going to get a lot further in our careers as lawyers, because we’re going to give ourselves permission to show up as people and not just be like, Oh, this is all working, you know, these law firms where these lawyers work these insane hours and the whole billable thing, you know, I’ve been marching on that billable, non billable wagon for the ABA for years. Like it’s just it doesn’t work. It’s a broken system, just like politics is broken, right as a former lobbyist, and yet we still are okay with these broken systems. And why?
Where is your voice? Why are you not speaking up kindly, though, not arrogantly not so they can label you a b i t c h, but really is someone where you you’re willing to have courage and go inside and figure out who you are, and then bring that to business because it belongs in business? It really does. That’s what I would say.
Davina: I do think there’s a there is a traditional culture, a patriarchal culture, in law firm and in business, Wall Street, that, as you’re seeing more and more women are coming along and saying, this doesn’t work for me. It doesn’t work for me, and, and really struggling with that. Whereas you might have men if they’re in, you know, in the mindset of I’m a traditional, I’m a breadwinner, and this is what I do.
And then I have the spouse taking care of the children and you know, doing whatever else she needs to do to fulfill herself or whatever, you know. So with men you might have I can see having more resistance. I know that a lot of women and certainly women in the 80s who had their careers in the 80s we were that was the way you you wanted to go in and be like men in the workforce. It was a very intense corporate environment. Everybody had a strong work ethic. Everybody was reading Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. And that’s how we roll you know, so, but I’ve seen one of the things that I think that the internet has done for us and social media has done for us and that’s a good thing is that it has leveled the playing field and allow people a lot more flexibility to envision a life and a career that will be much more satisfying to them.
But I do think that, you know, we still struggle with this. How am I going to be perceived? I know I had, when I started working virtually, I had a colleague say to me, I mean, and say to me, you know, your clients aren’t going to like that, you know, there’s that external pressure, they’re not gonna like that. And I have always been the person that says, you know, well, let me just try it anyway. I don’t believe I know that, you know, but I, but that is a real that is a real thing for people, family and friends saying, that’s not gonna work. What are you doing? You spend so much on your college education and you got that law degree, what do you mean, you’re not going to be a lawyer? That was the expectation. And so have you had to deal with that kind of thing from others from external factors and people saying, You’re crazy. What are you doing?
Katy: Oh, sure. I mean, I think if anybody ever answers that question of yours with a no, they’re, well, they’re not just lying to you, they’re lying to themselves, because that’s just a part of being a human, right? I mean, in school, we used to call it peer pressure. Now, it’s just other people’s perceptions and beliefs. And it’s okay, right, but I’m human, too. And I have many bad days where I’m like, son of a, what did you just say? And why? Why do I care what you just said. But perception is reality.
In our programs, we really work with lawyers, particularly women lawyers, and understanding that their brand is defined by them by not by other people, however, you have to take other people’s feedback and comments into account, to have a holistic brand that you can then sell to the right audience, that’s definitely part of the program. But you cannot start off out out of the gate by it’s a faith orientation. And faith is not about religion at all. It’s just a belief that it’s what you and I do, if you just say, Yeah, but I’m gonna try this. It’s because you’re trusting your gut and your inner voice, and that higher source that that I believe we’re all connected to, which is what I call faith, and you’re not willing to relegate yourself to other people’s views of you, their feedback is valuable, which is huge.
And there’s a whole system, I teach around that for developing your brand around people’s feedback. But it is not you, no one can know you, except for you. That is what really is the essence of the brand development work is your power lies within your own understanding of who you are. That’s why you need to figure it out. Because otherwise, then everybody’s input, feedback, whatever you want to call it, perception becomes real for you, right? And then you lose yourself and other people. And that’s really why, you know, I couldn’t figure out who I was because I was so used to in Washington, DC walking around saying, I’m a lawyer, that’s how we started every conversation.
What do you do in bars, at happy hours, and there was such a social scene in DC, at least for me. But that was the conversation. So that leaves you very much wedded to other people’s belief in your identity, which is tied to what you do and not who you are. So there is no room for other people’s definitions of us, except to help us chart around course, really. And it takes courage. Curious brands win and courageous brands win. That’s what I always say. So people have to be willing to do this work that I do with them. If they’re not, that’s okay. But until they get to that point, if they value what other people say more than they value their own voice, then it’s always going to make life difficult.
And there’s going to be this strain, and they’re going to be pushing back against they don’t even know what and I see this day in and day out with women lawyers. I’m like, What is the struggle here? The struggle is I’m listening to other people tell me who I am versus trying to figure it out for myself, because it’s easier at one level. I mean, they love me, they must know me, right? But no one knows us the way we know ourselves.
Davina: Right? Right. It’s been getting to that point where you can trust your, your own voice. I remember being that time when I was younger and struggling in my career in my life. And I had a lot of people, I was inviting a lot of people’s opinions, because and I realized at one point that I had to take some time, just to shut out all the other voices because I was at such low feelings about myself at that point, that I couldn’t hear my own voice. It was like this little flame, I always pictured it as this little flame that’s just barely burning.
Kind of in the back of my brain. I’m hearing all these other cacophony of voices around me offering their opinions and advice and all that and I had to get really quiet and really go inside some to ask, what do I really want to do? What do I really want going on? And I think that that’s so important when you’re When you’re growing, your business, your practice, whether you are working for someone else, or you have your own practice, it’s so important for you to be able to take that time and say, what is it that I really want?
And I’m not going to worry about whether or not other people are going to think this is crazy or not, I’m going to think about it and say, What do I really want? Who do I really want to serve? How do I want to show up in the world? You talk about branding. And I want to I want to dissect kind of what what branding is, and a brand’s story is, and how it’s different when we’re working on our own brand story versus something for a business entity that is separate from us, you know, that we may own or work in it. Tell me about that?
Katy: Yeah, really good question. And I will answer that in a second, I just want to go back to one really good point you made. And I want your audience to consider this, that getting silence is the hardest part, with all the distractions coming at us. I really encourage women lawyers to sit still. And it’s so hard to sit still. You know, I practice it because I have my own coach, you know, good coaches pay a lot of money for other good coaches to tell them what to do. And my coach one day said, I need to sit still for four hours, the hardest four hours of my life right? Now that’s in front of the ocean, which was made a better but getting silent is really gold.
Now to your other question. Personal Branding, as I define it, and it’s defined in my my first book that I wrote, for the American Bar Association, there’s the plug, but that was many years ago, 2013, then go get the book, if they want to read about it is a three step process. It’s really unearthing who you are, your unique and relevant attributes, as I call it, it’s got to be unique, and it’s got to be relevant. And there’s a whole process we take people down on down to figure out what’s unique and relevant. But you’ve got to unearth the, it’s there, you have to dig it up, it goes to what we were talking about. Second part of the definition, then is communicating those unique and relevant attributes consistently to your target audience. So it presupposes, you know, your target audience, which is a huge thing we work with clients on because not everyone is your audience.
But you’ve got to really define that in terms of your marketing message and who you are. Because you just can’t go out there and sell, which is a whole other problem women lawyers have which we all have actually functionally, as professionals, we can’t even get to that part until you develop all this stuff. And then the third part is, what is the audience take of that, and what’s your feedback, that feedback loop that I talked about earlier, it’s critically important because that’s how we course correct and how we know what works, so we’re not wasting time spinning our wheels, time is money, and we have to make effective use of our time. So clarity and consistency becomes very important.
And that those are the two C’s of brand development, in order for people to be able to meet the definitional goals and really develop what I call an intentional branding plan, which then makes them highly functional and useful in all other aspects of their life. And to do work with other coaches, you know, like, you know, once we establish this foundational framework for who they are, then they can go off and blossom and work with other professionals and develop other skill sets, because they’re grounded in the foundation for their house, which is their brand. And then the house, which is all the stuff you can develop and build the content and with us on top of it is what I say.
So I collaborate a lot with other women coaches and coaches and consultants because we go first we lay the foundation and then everything else blossoms from there, you know, legal technology vendors, all sorts of things. Now, what was the second part of your question? How do you define the brand and the distinction between personal brand and business brand?
Katy: Your business brand does not exist without your personal brand. So every like take a law firm of 1000s. Every lawyer there in my world functionally has their own personal brand then contribute to that to the business brand. The business brand doesn’t exist, there is no law firm brand that exists without your brand. It precedes it always because I am not buying anything except you. I’m not buying the logo. I’m not buying the storefront. There’s no human there. And we don’t buy in any other way except for emotionally. That’s just marketing and psychology 101.
So people really need to understand is that nothing emotionally resonates like them. And there is nothing that exists outside of their own brand. So it’s a question I get all the time. So thanks for asking it well, which which comes first or which is that we’re working on or what’s the difference? Your personal brand is always going to come first because it’s an attachment to you the person and so then what’s your story, which was your next question is is the answer to that.
You know, when people ask you, you know, tell me about yourself. I always tell my clients, you never lead with what you do for a living because it’s irrelevant because if I don’t like you and I don’t feel connected to you emotionally and get you and feel like you get me more importantly, then I don’t care about what do. You know if I have to pay $500 an hour to a lawyer, I’m gonna assume that they all know what they’re talking about. But I’m going to always, subconsciously, everything we work on in my programs is about the subconscious processing of data not conscious, I’m going to subconsciously gravitate towards the one that I emotionally like, because their story resonates with me.
So people are always squirming around that, well, I don’t want to talk about my story, it’s so personal, you get to pick which aspects of your story you share, you’re in full control. I think that’s the other thing is women lawyers, we feel like we’re not in control of our lives. So many external pressures, right? Family, children, aging parents, like we were talking about earlier, my mother just passed away. And there’s just a lot of our external things vying for our time. And so we feel like we have no control, but you have control over everything. And certainly your story and how much of it you want to share. But you have to remember is your story matters, and your voice matters.
So many women come to me and go, I want to get promoted, I’m not getting paid the right salary. At meetings, no one listens to me. And it’s it’s a function of their own ability or nonability to convey who they are and put themselves out there. Because it’s not a sign of weakness at all, it’s a sign of strengths. You know, I work, I consult for a global billion dollar company and their CEO, the entire company, all male dominated, do this work, because they know it matters. But for some reason is women are perceived as weak if we do so, right.
Davina: Right, right. There’s a lot there to discuss.When you are talking about brand story and sharing, I do think that there’s a couple of points that I really want to touch on. One is that so many people say, you know, I don’t have as interesting of a story as you have, I mean, to come, you know, to flee your country at age six as a refugee, you know, like, that’s a that’s a real story, right? You know, I grew up, you know, kind of in a, you know, household with two parents who worked and you know, whatever, right?
So people don’t think that there story’s interesting, first of all, and I want to talk about how we can dig in and explore and find the most interesting story. And then the other thing is that with, with the brand story, there’s the visibility aspect, and the vulnerability aspect. I have an interesting story. But man, I don’t want people who are potential clients to know that, you know, I don’t want them to know about the, you know, all the marriages and divorces, and you know, all the things, the bad money, mistakes I’ve made, or whatever.
And we see a lot going on in social media right now, where social media influencers are just coming, and they’re just telling everything, and they’re just, you know, all their gear and all their dirty laundry, and people are going, I don’t want to air my dirty laundry. So and then there’s also connecting up that personal story with something that is relevant and attractive to prospective clients. Right?
Katy: Yep. Absolutely.
Davina: All those pieces. So can you address those questions, those three, that I wasn’t even compound question. That was a three part question.
Katy: Well, we make sure I address it all. Because it’s a common question I get. And it’s a very valid set of inquiries. And for 12 years, and 1000s of lawyers I’ve worked with, we address all of that. So it’s all good. Because you have to understand that we all have those issues in oulives. But because we do not share and we do not talk about it, we assume were the worst off, right? And if I had a dime for every time somebody said to me, oh, your story is so much more interesting than I I don’t have anything interesting. I would be retired in Maui.
Although I always tell people, I don’t know what retirement means I’m living my purpose. If I stopped doing what I do, I might as well die because there’s just this is what I do. And it’s not money aside. So you let me be the judge of what whether your story is interesting or not, is what I tell people. And because you are too close to it, you can’t see it. I once gave a talk and a gentleman came up to me, gentlemen, white, 45 year old man came up to me afterwards and said, we’d like to hire you to work with my firm. And I said, Okay, well, thank you. What about my story resonated with you? And he said, the part about you being an immigrant, and I said, Where are you from? And he said, Nebraska, and I said, I don’t get it. And he said, I’ve always felt like an outsider in my own skin. Get it?
This is a human condition and we all have it. If we don’t talk about it, then we all think everyone is better than me. And I must be the victim and I must be awful. Look. Life is a spectrum on one side of the spectrum is love. On the other side of the spectrum is fear. As humans, we tend to live in the fear spectrum more so than the love. And this is not mushy, romantic love, because we were like, where does love belong in business? Kindness belongs in business. Caring belongs in business. Your brand must resonate, that you care. If you don’t know who you are, you cannot give yourself enough self care and self love. And this is not airy, fairy, soft, mushy stuff, this is real.
This is what attracts people to you and gets people to engage with you. If you can’t do that for yourself, you can’t do that for others. So you must be willing to give somebody a chance. This is what it really amounts to, right? That’s the real sales job. And, you know, when people come into my programs, I have them write their full story for me. And then I say, let me be the judge, I read the full story, we have a full on session where we dissect that story. And at the end of every session, people say 100% Oh, my God, I never knew I was that interesting, because they’re not seeing the facets.
And that is my job. That is my natural talent, I pull out those things that we underutilized and underappreciated about ourselves. And then we package it in a way that you want to share it with your audience, right? And then you still get to pick. But writing that story is cathartic. It’s healing, but it also allows people to be like, Oh, you know, it’s a narrative. It’s an autobiography. It’s just words on paper, and Wow, I’ve really done a lot with my life, we don’t take the time to do that for ourselves. And then we don’t really get to become authentic, and live on that love spectrum with ourselves and appreciate ourselves. So then, of course, no one’s gonna listen to you because it’s inauthentic. It’s fake. And you’re not, you’re not giving it up, right? You’re not sharing who you are.
So the number one rule of PR in Hollywood is really that, you know, like you said, like, tell who you are, who cares and notoriety, we’re not doing it to be notorious. We’re not doing it as a calculated scheme. We’re doing it because we know that others deserve to know our story and who we are. And we’re gonna learn a lot about people. And then guess what your right audience just filters through that way to you. It makes life so much easier. It makes selling the practice of law so much easier when you do that. If but people have to get over that hump of do I really want to talk about my divorces? Well, it depends on how you view your divorces, which is the first step right like it people always tell me they’re like, you’re a business therapist. It’s like therapeutic. I’m not a therapist, I always don’t like this claimer is a good lawyer, I’m not a licensed therapist.
But so much of what I do is therapeutic because we have to get through that level, right. And then people just shine after that really do. It’s exciting, their life’s easier. And it’s just truly a transformation where everything comes to them with ease and grace, the clients show up, they sleep better at night, they do better work, they’re more time efficient. They get to fire those clients they’ve never wanted. They’d never have to stand up in a room again, and say what they do and wonder if it lands on dead ears, because they’re clear about it and more people, they’re influential, they’re memorable, and they’re more credible. And life just was easier to them. Who wouldn’t want that? Right? So.
Davina: So as you’re talking about all of this, and one of the things that I had mentioned earlier, I want to circle back to is how we connected to what we do. So let’s say you are that attorney who your job is to write that perspective. And you actually kind of enjoy it. Right? You are, you’re a securities lawyer, and I’d love to know why you knew before you even took your first class.
Katy: I have no idea. I have no idea. I’m a finance undergrad. And I’ve always had a fascination with the markets. So it was it was wonderful. My best job was working with the SEC, just a bunch of brilliant minds. Really good works for the country. Yeah, but go ahead.
Davina: Um, so so you know, there are a lot of law practice, there are a lot of practice areas that are not sexy. They’re not sexy to other people, they’re not, you know, and some people look at one and go, I’ve never do that, and somebody else looks at and go, that’s fantastic. I absolutely love it, you know? So how do you connect that story of who you are to this area of law that you you know, that other people may perceive? That’s just not a very sexy area of law? And, and do it in a way? How does that how does that work?
Katy: That’s a really good question. The answer is very individualized. So I can’t give one blanket answer. The and the big answer is, it depends on what your motivations are and why you went to law school and a lot of people’s motivations, quite honestly and I love it when they own this is. My mom was a lawyer. My dad was a lawyer. And you know, mine was that I was an immigrant or refugee don’t get this right. One day.
You know, I was beaten up as a kid a lot, you know, because I look different in Indiana growing up. And so I thought maybe if I become a lawyer, they’ll respect me more, and they’ll love me more because it was either a doctor, lawyer or an engineer can’t say an engineering beside a blood makes me want to, you know, faint. And so I’m like, lawyer it is, right. So if that’s your story, that’s okay. I shared it, do you do think less of me? No, because everyone has some version of that.
But it’s, again, individualized to you. And then you just really have to match it up with why you chose the practice area. And for those of you who are younger, who are listening, take that into consideration. And for those of you who are 30 years into your practice, going now you tell me, I feel okay. You know, you can reinvent yourself at any age, at any phase in your legal career. And just know, though that it’s a very noble and honorable profession, it truly is, we make a difference in people’s lives every day, even when I’m not practicing. And maybe you will agree with me on this, I use all of my skill sets as a lawyer to run this company CEO. Every I mean, I still hire lawyers when I just hired one. Because we’re doing some international work, and I need some international legal consultation. I don’t do that for a living.
So I pay somebody else who does. So I value that, and I but I use my skill set. So the type of practice you have is important. Because it’s about your interactions with people and how you take care of them. And being able to sleep well at night. And I no one will ever be able to convince me that litigation is ever it’s like they’re they’re geared up in their natural talent is litigation. Litigation by nature is adversarial. Again, I understand the necessity of it in some cases. But, you know, I do a lot of global work into the global community as the US we’re just like such a litigious society. And we have so many of these conversations with lawyers that they’re they’re pounded into the ground as a result of it right. It doesn’t make lawyers feel like they’re moving the needle on anything.
So litigation is an area where, you know, I always shake my head at but you know, it isn’t necessarily evil. But you get to pick and your voice matters. And you can change. And I look, I have plenty of clients or divorce lawyers that that are doing good work. If that’s the one area when you said it, you know, it’s not a happy area. But you’re making people’s lives and choices easier for them. And if you do it well, with honor with integrity, which is what everyone should be doing with care and with love, then you’re helping the legal community, not only district clients, but you’re helping us lawyers look better, because, I mean, I went to law school to make a difference. And I put myself through law school blood, sweat and tears, and I really hated it.
When people would scoff at me when I said I was a lawyer, they roll their eyes, and they were like, you know, like chuckle and oh, yeah, you people. It was like, wait, I’m offended at that. You know, I’m trying to do something good here. So whatever area of practice you pick, pick it because it means something to you not because it was the first opening. I remember those days in law school. I remember a girlfriend of mine. She got her job out of law school big firm. We said what are you doing? And she says, I’m a bond lawyer. And we’re like, what does that mean? None of us knew that. And she just, I don’t know. But it was an opening. Okay, to this day, I graduated in 1997. She’s still a bond lawyer. And we still laugh about that. We’re like so and so you figured out what that is?
Davina: Yeah. What a bond lawyer is?!
Katy: Right. So, I mean, it worked for her, you know, her personality was easygoing. But it’s it’s a good thing to look at twice.
Davina: Yeah. I do think we mentioned litigation. I think litigation are warriors. I mean, I really love. I love people who are natural litigators, who, you know, fight for people on that and something that’s it’s challenging, and it’s difficult to do to go into a courtroom.
Katy: Oh, for sure.
Davina: I think it I think it really takes a you know, it takes a special kind of person to do that and to live that because it is an intense high pressure lifestyle, just like it would be if you were a neurosurgeon, you know, there’s that level of living. I do think that oftentimes, a lot of women miss out on opportunities because they let their fear of being a litigator, hold them back, you know, being being noticed and being you know, seeing hold them back and and because there’s a lot of money to be made as a litigator.
But you know, it all it all has, you have to get like you and I discussed you have to get really clear on who you are. And that can be a journey and a process. It’s nothing that we start out at 20-30 years old, knowing that oh, this is you know, so we make the best decisions we can make at that time with the information that we have, and you and I both, you know, had longer careers and had an opportunity to do some of that inner work, which I think is everybody should do. I think it’s wonderful. I’m that person who beleives everybody should have therapy.
Katy: Healthy people have therapy. Yeah, yeah, that’s the other thing. People are like, I don’t have time for this, or what’s wrong with me and my clients are A, they come to me because they’re an A, they want to be an A plus. And they are the gift that and boy, that means they are stellar lawyers for their clients. Because they bring they’re not just their A game now they’re bringing their A plus game.
None of my clients are broken. There’s nothing wrong with my clients, and therapies for healthy people. And self exploration is not, Ihate the word soft skills that drives me crazy, because it’s 50% of what people see of you your brand is what they’re buying at the get go. You know, I mean, I do what I do to bring marketing knowledge to professional lawyers, because we were just taught these skills in law school, and then they’re like, good luck, right? It’s like, That’s so unfair. But my husband’s a dentist, he had the same training, right? Here you go, here’s all this clinical demo. And then good luck, fill in that chair to figure out how to serve people. We just took your money and taught you about dentistry or law. It’s not fair.
But that’s why really lawyers need to understand there’s so much more to it than that. And it there’s it’s not about being broken. It’s just about tapping this process down pat, so that you can just escalate your growth and your practice from there. And I see it daily. So I know it works.
Davina: Yeah. I want to ask you, before we wrap up here in a few minutes, I want to ask you, when we’re talking about a lot of the listeners to this podcast, are women law firm owners, and they have small firms, they’re growing to be larger firms. And so when we talk about your brand story, they say, Okay, great, I’m going to start out with my brand story, because I am the law firm right now.
But as I grow, and I start adding more and more people to my business, and maybe I’m elevating, you know what I’m doing, and I’m doing more of kind of being the CEO, I have these attorneys working for me, just that story. You know, people, if I tell this story, people are going to work with me. And they’re not going to want to work with my team. And so do we need a story about the firm? Or is my story, the firm’s story? And how do I sell that from a team? Core values, philosophy? You know, all of that stuff? What are your thoughts on that?
Katy: Well you can’t hide your story. Even if you’re a team of one, you start with your story. And then you add other people’s story to your story. And that becomes the firm story. Again, the firm doesn’t have one story, the firm is an amalgamation of every other lawyer.
Davina: You’re trying to to create a brand, you’re trying to create a brand around the firm.
Katy: So the brand becomes the accumulation of everyone’s stories. And there’s a process I take firms through. And it’s a long process too long for dialogue right now that literally we have steps we go through to develop that. So this isn’t anything. And by the way, developing your story is not even step one in my process is step three in my process right so there is a process and we teach that in virtual branding boot camp, which starts at the end of February, or beginning of February.
For those who want to figure this out for themselves. There’s my plug on that one. So it’s it’s the firm brand does not exist without each individual lawyers brand. And it’s okay that you are at the helm. I work with a lot of women own law firms where their name is on the firm, and it’s about their brand, but it works beautifully that they bring in the business and then they disperse it but they buoy all the other lawyers within the firm, we just got done with working a Canadian firm like this, where all the other firm lawyers have their they went through boot camp together, they developed all their own stories.
And she leads the way because she’s the one that’s known and she’s really good at marketing. But everyone else’s voice matters. Because she sets it up like that. There’s a lot of HR skills to this right and lawyers and just like dentists like everyone else, I didn’t go to law school. I didn’t go to dental school to manage people to lead people. Oh, yes, you did. Right. If you want to grow this business, even to for lawyers or something, you shared it. So there’s a combination of being able to make sure you through the process allow other people, other employees to really leverage their brand and their story.
It’s an HR skill set. So you know, I’m one part HR one part, business development, one part marketing, one part leadership development, one part there, because that’s what it takes to run a healthy firm. brand and be willing to allow other people to join you.
Davina: I think when you, I think when you start with getting really clear on how your life journey this far informs what you do now, which is really what that brand story is about, and how how to how to take that story and create something that will resonate with other people from that common human experience. That that’s part of that’s the level of growth. And then we start to expand that and grow other leaders. You know, so there’s a, you know, we don’t just wave magic wand overnight.
Davina: Voila. This is a growth and a journey and a process.
Davina: I really appreciate you being here and sharing with us. This has been a wonderful conversation. Tell us how you can find out more about you connect with you and and check out that boot camp?
Katy: Sure. So the website is purisconsulting.com. www p like Paul, U R I S like Sam consulting.com. There’s all sorts of information on there. The virtual branding bootcamp, which we’ve been running for eight years now, but I just restructured it because when lawyers were telling me they wanted it even sleeker, and they had time constraints, so we just restructured it.
So it’s really it’s what everyone asked for starts, beginning of February. And it is a nine week process that we take people through. And then I tacked on at the end of it three, three months of free maintenance work, because I think maintenance is critical. And I wanted to be able to offer that for women. So they can go on the website and get information on that I have a free three part branding, self branding guide, they can they can get access to and learn on their own. And of course, anyone can reach me at [email protected]. So there you go.
Davina: Thank you. We will definitely include your website in the link and they can find out about bootcamp on your website, correct?
Katy: Yes, absolutely.
Davina: Great. Thank you. So thanks so much for being here we really appreciate it.
Katy: You’re welcome.
Davina: We hope you’ve enjoyed today’s episode of the Wealthy Woman Lawyer Podcast. If you have, we invite you to leave us a review on your preferred podcast platform. The more five star reviews we have, the more women law firm owners will be able to positively impact. Your thoughts and opinions are so important to us. If you are a woman law firm owner who wants to scale your law firm to a million dollars or more in gross annual revenue, and do it in a way that’s sustainable and feels good to you, then we invite you to join us in the Wealthy Woman Lawyer League.
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