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“Don’t let anything deter you!”

March 2024: As part of our celebrations to mark International Women's Day earlier this month, we asked three of our female leaders to reflect on this year's theme of "Inspiring Inclusion" and their own journey. Denise Diallo is a partner in the Global Debt Finance Practice based in Paris; Sydney-based Jillian McAleese is a partner in the Financial Restructuring and Insolvency Practice and Rebeca García López is a partner in the Global Capital Markets Practice, based in Mexico City.

What does inclusive leadership mean to you?

Denise Diallo: Inclusive leadership is looking for people who represent the different constituents of our population globally, including having diverse people represented in leadership.

I try to include a variety of people and to keep an open mind, because I think it is important you form your perspective, nourished by the backgrounds and experiences of others.

Jillian McAleese: Inclusive leadership is acting with authenticity and fostering an environment where others can be their authentic selves. When it comes to my own leadership style, I aim to do this by developing strong and trusted relationships—I think this is the foundation of an inclusive culture.

Rebeca García López: Inclusive leadership means intentionally fostering a culture where diverse perspectives are valued and all individuals feel empowered to contribute, which I manifest in my leadership through mentoring, an open-door policy and advocating for diversity initiatives within the Firm.

How has allyship impacted your own professional journey?

JM: The most recent example that comes to mind is my promotion to partnership six months ago. I work in turnaround and restructuring, which is a male-dominated space. Throughout my process to partnership, I received, and continue to receive, incredible support from my sponsor partner, colleagues and clients in our industry.

DD: Traditionally in a law firm structure, allyship has been evidenced by feeling like you have opportunities that you may not otherwise have been exposed to—whether that be leaders or clients—because partners have identified you for that opportunity.

If it weren't for allyship, I wouldn't be in the place I am in my career. I started in White & Case's New York office, and I was supported by a number of people at the Firm in my journey to transition to the Paris office and eventually become partner. 

RGL: Allyship transformed my career when Firm leadership focused on female talent and empowering women, paving the way institutionally and creating conducive circumstances for thriving and advancement within the Firm.

What message do you want to share with the next generation of women leaders?

RGL: You can reach success, regardless of your starting point, by being intentional about everything you do, and by supporting others on your journey.

DD: I would tell future leaders, "Be open-minded, creative and innovative in terms of the solutions and tools that can be used to arrive at the ultimate goal of equity and inclusion. Don't let anything deter you!"

JM: I am inspired by the cultural changes I have seen in the legal progression since I started my career over a decade ago. I encourage the next generation of women leaders to take advantage of your networks and be true to your own style.