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Q&A with Germaine Winnick Willett - Chair of the Defense Trial Counsel of Indiana’s Women in the Law

Q&A with Germaine Winnick Willett - Chair of the Defense Trial Counsel of Indiana’s Women in the Law Committee
July 11, 2018
Senior Counsel Germaine Winnick Willet currently serves as Chair of the Defense Trial Counsel of Indiana (DTCI)’s Women in the Law (WITL) Committee, an organization which works to promote its members through networking events, educational experiences and leadership opportunities. Germaine first joined the committee in 2014 and began serving as Vice-Chair in 2016. She is in the midst of her two-year term as Chair of the WITL Committee.

Germaine talked with us about balancing her many commitments, seeking opportunities through DTCI and being a female leader in the legal industry.

Q: Why did you choose to chair this committee?

A: I was invited to take on the role of Vice-Chair by then-Chair Vanessa Davis. Vanessa informed me that, as Vice-Chair, I would handle committee business if she was absent and, more importantly, would ascend to the position of Chair when she completed her term. In deciding to accept the role, I considered the strong leadership exhibited by both Vanessa and the committee's first Chair, Kori Chambers; the exceptional event-planning skills of DTCI's Executive Director, Lisa Mortier; and the WITL Committee's engaged and energetic membership, and I decided that taking the helm would be a worthwhile and rewarding undertaking.   

Q: What responsibilities do you have has Chair of the committee?

A: As Chair, I work with the other WITL Executive Committee members and DTCI's Executive Director to plan and execute a series of networking and educational events, including developing program topics, finding speakers and planning event logistics. I also prepare periodic communications with WITL members to encourage attendance at WITL events. Finally, I prepare for and lead periodic meetings of the WITL Executive Committee.

Q: What are the challenges of leading the committee?

A: The primary challenge I face stems from the fact that I, and my fellow WITL Executive Committee members, balance the demands of our legal practices with other community involvement and family responsibilities, and as a result, it can be difficult to find time to meet to do the work of the committee as well as to attend its events. I have been genuinely impressed by the dedication shown by my fellow Executive Committee members in remaining involved and engaged whenever they can. 

Q: What advice do you have for women interested in leadership roles?

A: Women who are interested in leadership roles should first find an organization whose mission is meaningful to them. Second, don't be shy. Find out who is in charge of the organization, then reach out to express your interest in becoming a member of the planning committee or board. Nine times out of ten, the group will be thrilled to have you. Once you are on the committee or board, be engaged. Try not to miss a meeting. Arrive early to meetings so you will have time to chat with other members. And most importantly, volunteer your time in furtherance of the organization's initiatives. It is in those moments that you truly get to know your fellow committee or board members and have the opportunity to demonstrate your abilities commitment, and follow-through.

Q: How does being involved in DTCI allow you to connect with the local and legal community?

A: There are many great things about DTCI, one of the best being its state-wide membership that presents the opportunity for members to meet lawyers outside their local communities who can serve as referral sources for each other. Additionally, I tend to see the same members over and over again at DTCI events and meetings, which has helped me quickly build strong networking relationships. Moreover, opportunities to speak at DTCI's continuing legal education programs are easy to come by for those members who are interested in demonstrating their knowledge of a particular area of law or improving their public speaking skills. 

About DTCI

DTCI is “an association of Indiana lawyers who defend clients in civil litigation.” The organization exists as a forum for members to discuss ideas and a space to advocate for members and clients. The primary mission of DTCI is to assist and support members in managing different aspects of their legal practices. DTCI upholds strong guidelines outlining expectations for professional integrity.

About Germaine

Germaine Winnick Willett practices in the Firm's Labor, Employment and Immigration Section. She focuses her practice primarily on employment litigation matters, assisting clients with employment discrimination, wage and hour, contract and other employment-related litigation. She also advises clients on a broad range of issues including proper handling of employee complaints, employment termination, employee leave and accommodation issues and employment policies. She has represented clients in Indiana's state and federal courts as well as before administrative agencies.

This publication is intended for general information purposes only and does not and is not intended to constitute legal advice. The reader should consult with legal counsel to determine how laws or decisions discussed herein apply to the reader’s specific circumstances.

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