Thrive Global and Authority Magazine sat down with Pond Lehocky Giordano’s Chief Operating Officer,Jackie Donovan, for a conversation about being a woman in leadership for their series “Women of the C-Suite: Leadership Lessons I Learned As An Accomplished Female C-Suite Executive.” Donovan’s article,Why I Would Like to Inspire a Movement that Helps People Believe in Themselves shares valuable advice to other women leaders.
“Understand who your people are. Not just personally, but how they work and what motivates them,” Donovan shared. “Not every person is created equal. Know what makes people tick so that you can get the most out of them. It’s your job but will also help your team to thrive.”
Donovan is the Chief Operating Officer at Pond Lehocky Giordano. She has held that position since 2012. Before that, she served as the firm’s Office Manager/Administrator from its opening in 2010. Under her watch Pond Lehocky Giordano has become one of Pennsylvania’s largest workers’ compensation. Jackie is a proud D1 athlete.
Under Donovan’s leadership, Pond Lehocky transitioned to a remote workforce amid the coronavirus pandemic. Donovan shared that “at the risk of sounding cliché, the transition to remote work at the beginning of the pandemic was by far one of the most interesting things to happen to me since I began leading the company.”
Pond Lehocky has embraced a modern, personalized leadership model with business professionals helping to form and implement the firm’s strategy. Pond Lehocky’s partners recognized that the legal profession has been slow to change in the face of societal and demographic shifts. The executive team at the firm is proudly 50% female.
“I think women need to have a louder voice, a bit more confidence, less emotion,” Donovan said about challenges faced by women executives compared to male counterparts. “I am fortunate that with our team, this is not an issue. We are proud that our executive team is 50% female and was originally only female. However, I do think our set up is rare and unique, and female leadership is lacking in other companies.”
If law firms are to embrace effective change, they need strong leaders with strategic vision and the ability to secure buy-in from their colleagues. Thus, Pond Lehocky is turning to business professionals with skills and expertise beyond the legal realm.
“I would love to inspire a movement that helps people achieve their potential. A movement that helps them believe in themselves. Focus on their strengths, rather than their weaknesses,” Donovan shared. “I’ve learned that women, even intelligent and confident women, often doubt their self-worth. The inability to believe you are not only capable, but worthy is one of the biggest hurdles I’ve seen women face in my career and personal life. While the support of others you respect is incredibly encouraging, you must truly believe deep down in your self-worth. That is one of the keystones of success.”