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My Pride Story
Mastin Fowler, Manager of Legal Assistants, shares his Pride story

Mastin Fowler is currently the Manager of Legal Assistants and was previously the Assistant Manager and Senior Legal Assistant with the Disputes-White Collar practice group, based in Washington, D.C. He is an active member of White & Case's US Spectrum LGBTQ+ Affinity Network's Communications.

What does it mean to be part of the LGBTQ+ community?
There are many communities rather than a single monolithic one-size-fits-all LGBTQ+ community, all with multiple, intersecting identities, but there are commonalities among them. It means having safe, welcoming, and understanding spaces (physical and abstract) with others who share the experience of being marginalized based on sexual orientation, gender expression, or gender identity. To me, this especially means being resilient, living openly and truthfully, and being proud to do so.

What does it mean to be your whole, authentic self at work?
As Mark Twain said, "If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything." Living truthfully is not only rewarding but is also easier. Everything we think and do requires energy. I recruit, hire, train, and develop our legal assistants. I monitor their utilization, staff short-and long-term assignments and cases, resolve their personnel or disciplinary issues, ensure compliance of Firm and external policies, and conduct their performance evaluation reviews. It takes a lot of mental energy, so it is critical for me to bring my best, whole self so I can provide meaningful and effective leadership to my team and excellent client service to the Firm's partners and attorneys. 

For me, when I bring my whole, authentic self to work each day, I am living truthfully and not wasting valuable and precious time and energy on my inauthentic self.

What does the Firm do to foster a stronger sense of belonging for all?
While I waited at Reception in the Washington office for my first interview seven years ago, I was impressed by the number of languages I heard being spoken by passersby, as well as the various ethnicities of employees and clients. I hoped that was a promising sign of the firm's possible commitment to diversity and inclusion. After I was hired and onboarded, my hopes were confirmed after learning about the firm's Pride involvement and its various Affinity groups. And the firm has continued to make progress in this realm!

For numerous reasons, I was not fully out at my previous firm. Being LGBTQ+ means always "coming out" in some way, every day. I was relieved and ecstatic to be in a place where that would be easier. For that, I am truly grateful to be here.

How do your experiences as an LGBTQ+ person positively impact your work and your career?
I take my work and career very seriously, but always with perspective and a sense of humor. Working in a large, fast-paced firm can be intense and challenging, but if there's one thing that binds every member of the LGBTQ+ community together, it's resilience. My resilience allows for me to take challenging situations in stride and approach each day openly, truthfully, and gratefully, with perspective and, hopefully, a smile.

Why is being part of Spectrum important to you?
Spectrum is important to me because it provides an opportunity to build and nurture a welcoming, inclusive, safe, and supportive workplace for myself and others like me. It's constructive activism. I frequently think about Elaine Welteroth's quote, "When you occupy spaces in systems that weren't built for you, your authenticity is your activism." I want to give a standing applause each time I read that quote.

What's your advice for the next generation of LGBTQ+ lawyers?
Always bring your whole self to your work daily. Be grateful, maintain perspective, remain flexible and open to learning new experiences, but always be yourself and, most importantly, trust yourself. If you don't have that, how can you expect someone else to? Also, be kind to and appreciative of your legal assistants.

How are you planning on celebrating Pride virtually this year?
Although I am disappointed not to be celebrating physically this year, I am thoroughly impressed by the number of virtual events offered. With "live stream" events de rigueur, my husband and I are hoping to attend at least a few music and literary events on the docket. We are more committed, however, to our call for action in being allies to our Black friends and loved ones, remaining focused on how we can combat the ongoing anti-Black racism that continues to plague our country and world.