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Get to know three of our London Business Services professionals

January 2024: Cheryl Ashman (Senior Program Manager in the Business Intelligence Group), Wumi Olukoya (Senior Manager, Legal Project Management) and Michael Wellavize (Associate Director, Accounting & Finance Operations EMEA) tell us about working at at White & Case in London and around the world.

Cheryl Ashman

Cheryl Ashman: I've been with the Firm for 10 years, but it feels like in that time, I've had not just several different jobs, but different careers entirely. It's amazing to think about it—I never would have said that I would have continued to be challenged and to grow at the same firm. At every stage, I've been supported to explore new opportunities.

Wumi Olukoya

Wumi Olukoya: This is a top-tier law firm, so everyone who works here is smart. That makes for a stimulating environment and colleagues really see each other as equals and are open to new ideas. There isn't a strong hierarchy culture, you always feel that it's ok to challenge each other, to make suggestions. In fact, you're expected to have a voice.

“When you get the opportunity to do something groundbreaking, you can go for it here”

Tell us about your career journeys at the Firm?

Michael Wellavize

Michael Wellavize: I joined White & Case in Australia, and helped set up the Melbourne office. I'd previously had a really good grounding in another law firm, but the chance to build something from the ground up was a no-brainer for me. It was the exciting, adventurous work that I was looking for. When you get the opportunity to do something groundbreaking, you can go for it here.

CA: I started off in the Business Development, Knowledge & Marketing function working as the Program Manager for Clients & Industries and a few years later I moved over to the Business Development Reporting & Analysis team, which was short lived, as the global Business Intelligence Group was formed, and I became Program Manager for the group. It's the variety and the ability to change roles and the diversity of the work that is a real bonus. I'm currently working on the installation of a large enterprise technology system, and that's a whole new world for me. What I appreciate is that not only can you step into a new area of the business, but you get the support and training to help you succeed in the new role too.
WO: Like many Business Services colleagues, I work directly with clients to craft strategies and oversee the execution of complex, multijurisdictional projects. My role has taken me on international secondments affording me invaluable experiences and insights. On a daily basis, I collaborate with partners across the globe—from our offices in Japan to the dynamic hubs of Dubai and Cairo, the bustling centers of Mexico City, Washington, DC, and New York, to the strategic locations of Brussels and Paris. This global interaction is not just a feature of the job, it highlights the Firm's expansive reach and it's commitment to fostering an inclusive culture that harnesses diverse perspectives to drive success.
What's the workplace culture like at White & Case in London and in other offices?
MW: What I've always liked about this Firm is the fact that there's always something new, a challenge that you haven't seen before. If for example you work for an accounting firm, you get an overview of lots of different industries. I have enjoyed the fact that I have been able to focus on one industry throughout my career but have been able to see it through different lenses—every partner is different, every country is different and every region is different. The fact we're a global business, means that no two days are the same.
WO: Diversity at White & Case is a big part of our identity. I'm currently on the leadership committee for the Women's network in London and we have had a very busy calendar of events this year. There's an appreciation for intersectionality too—we've done workshops with the EMEA Black affinity network and our Spectrum LGBTQ+ affinity network. I feel that people hear me, they see me and they value me.

“You can be entrepreneurial here”

Tell us about what's next for you and how the Firm is enabling your growth and development?

CA: The Firm never stands still, so there are always new opportunities here, including those that you make for yourself. You can be entrepreneurial here. For example, in my role as Program Manager for our Business Intelligence Group, I work with the team to focus on ideas of how we can deliver better reporting across the Firm based on the feedback that we hear. As a result, we get to be innovative and entrepreneurial, which is very satisfying and empowering. 
MW: I like the fact that the people I work with are real leaders in their field. In order to be leaders in their respective fields, our lawyers have to rely on what our business services professionals bring to the table. The fact that the business owners—the partners—are people you work with every day means that you always feel close to the action.
WO: Learning and development is really taken seriously here. There's a lot of training available to help you achieve your professional goals. Coaching and mentoring, formal and informal, is really important too. The tools are there for you use.
CA: The workplace culture is welcoming and there's a lot on offer outside of the day job. I value the chance to be involved with our affinity networks—in my case as co-chair of our Black affinity network. I also volunteer one-to-one with reading support work for young kids and I'm a member of the London Office committee. There are many ways to be involved and grow here.