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Baker Donelson Recognizes Commitments to the Advancement of Women in the Profession

Women's Initiative Newsletter

Susan E. Rich Award

Each year, Baker Donelson recognizes an attorney for excellence in the promotion of and commitment to women in the legal profession through the Susan E. Rich Award. The award honors a Baker Donelson attorney who displays excellence in the promotion of and commitment to women in the legal profession. Baker Donelson established the award in honor of Susan Elliott Rich, a shareholder in the Firm's Chattanooga office, who was the Firm's first woman shareholder, the first woman to be appointed as an office managing shareholder and the first woman appointed to the Firm's board of directors. This year, we presented the award to Sheila P. Burke, a strategic advisor in Baker Donelson's Washington, D.C., office chair of the Firm's Government Relations and Public Policy Group, who is an exemplar of these attributes. Sheila has succeeded at every step of her career in some of the highest institutions in our country, including leading the Smithsonian Institute efforts towards the establishment of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Sheila is a strong leader within the law firm, chairing the Government Relations and Public Policy Group, and championing the careers of women through her leadership on the Women's Initiative Pathways to Leadership Committee. Sheila is an amazing ambassador for Baker Donelson and a role model for many women and men.

Work-Life Warrior Award

The Work-Life Warrior Award honors an attorney in the Firm who demonstrates an ongoing commitment to excellence in maintaining a healthy work-life balance or who has advocated on behalf of work-life balance issues for the benefit of others. This year, Baker Donelson presented the award to Atlanta shareholder Jodi D. Taylor who has maintained excellent client service while managing numerous challenges in her life. At home, Jodi managed medical care for her infant daughter with glaucoma, which required multiple surgeries in the first year of her daughter's life. In a twist of unbelievably bad luck, a subsequent house fire displaced Jodi and her family from their home. All the while, Jodi managed a fast-paced litigation practice during a critical look-back year for shareholder advancement. Through it all, Jodi maintained a positive attitude, spoke on behalf of other attorneys through her role on the Associate Advisory Committee, exceeded clients' expectations and continued to develop new clients. She exemplifies a "work-life warrior" and inspires all of us on days when it feels like we can't have it all. Jodi showed her commitment to the practice of law and her clients, while dedicating the time that is necessary to support and care for her family.

We are proud of all that these two Baker Donelson women have accomplished and are fortunate to have them on our team.

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