Powerwomen Awards 2023 Focus

Date: 14 Feb 2023

Silvia Ricciardi

Citywealth yearns to put under the spotlight some of the Powerwomen Awards 2023 shortlisted individuals who not only have had successful career progression but have also been active in maximising the potential of other women in wealth.

Being a Powerwoman: a successful career journey with highlights from last year

Ronni Davidowitz (Katten), shortlisted for “Woman of the Year – Professional Services – New York (Large)”:

Katten’s Private Wealth group handles all aspects of law that may be associated with trusts and estates including planning, administration and litigation, and my own practice is a clear reflection of this. During the past, very busy year, for example, I have advised my client involved in a major family trust dispute, handled significant estate administration and estate tax filings for high-net-worth families, and counselled many on wealth transfer and not-for-profit concerns. This type of work continues to be rewarding, as does the opportunities I have had to mentor and coach associates and junior partners on their career advancement. This past year I also led our practice group in seamlessly relocating to our lovely new office at Rockefeller Centre in New York without any disruption to our legal work or client service.

Tiffany N. McKenzie (Harrison & Held), shortlisted for “Woman of the Year – Professional Services – USA”:

After law school, I received an LL.M in Taxation from New York University. Shortly thereafter, I began my career as an associate attorney at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner.  I worked for Bryan Cave for 10 years and made partner at Bryan Cave.  In 2021, my team and I decided to move our practice to Harrison & Held, a national boutique firm dedicated to Trust & Estates.

Sharon Mungall (Little Bay Consulting), shortlisted for “Woman of the Year – BVI”:

Over the last year, Little Bay Consulting’s client list has continued to grow, albeit we pride ourselves on quality not quantity, when it comes to both our clients and the work we do. With the advent of the Virtual Assets Service Providers legislation in the BVI in 2023, we are seeing an increase in the number of crypto and DeFi clients who require director and compliance services in the BVI. Approximately 75% of the directorships we hold are involved in this space. Due to demand from clients, we are also expanding our business to provide additional services in 2023 – watch this space for news!

Alicea Castellanos (Global Taxes), shortlisted for “Entrepreneurial Woman of the Year”:

Just like that we made 4 years from our official launch in 2019.  We have grown so much that we opened a second office for team members who wish to work from the office.  Although we give everyone a choice to work remotely or from the office, many choose to work from the office and we had to get a larger space for them. 

Women in the workplace: maximising the potential of women in wealth

Tiffany N. McKenzie: “It was important to me that Harrison & Held have an executive committee focused on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. I firmly believe that it is important that women’s voices are not only heard, but taken into account.

We are taking the appropriate steps to ensure gender diversity at all levels, especially for women of colour. We want to ensure that women have the opportunity and resources available to advance in their careers.  Work-life balance, our continued commitment to diversity, and support from our senior leaders directly influence the potential of women in wealth.”

Alicea Castellanos: “Our firm is composed of mostly women of different generations and cultures and we all learn from each other by working together on a daily basis.  We also have our own Global Taxes University “GTU” and have internal training lead mostly by women.  This gives them the opportunity to shine and lead trainings of topics they choose which are relevant to what we do and at the same time they are teaching and mentoring other less experienced staff, who will eventually lead these trainings.  We want our staff to feel empowered and not to shy away from presenting in a nurturing environment. We have very successful female clients who come to us and complain that their previous accountant weren’t paying much attention to them.  We endeavour to give all of our clients the attention they deserve and especially to clients who have felt overlooked.  Sometimes women don’t have experience in managing wealth and have a lot of questions and we are happy to patiently listen to them and answer any questions they have.  We want all of our clients to feel comfortable and ask us any questions they have without feeling intimidated.  Having a more educated client about tax matters makes our work easier and they can appreciate it more.”

Sharon Mungall: “Little Bay Consulting was founded and is managed by a fully female workforce. In turn, we are always keen to promote the interests of other women in the industry, whether clients, colleagues or competitors. In Q2 of 2023, Little Bay Consulting is launching its mentoring programme, which is being offered to women in financial services who are from the BVI. We believe the experience and knowledge of the team, will enable Little Bay Consulting to actively mentor and assist other women in the workplace and also give back to the BVI at the same time.”

Ronni Davidowitz:Diversity, equity and inclusion is a core value at Katten and the firm is deeply committed to attracting, developing, retaining, supporting and elevating diverse talent. Katten has provided diverse attorneys with programming focused on mentoring, sponsoring and coaching to support the advancement of their careers. One such program is its Women’s Leadership Forum. I was an initial executive member when it formed many years ago and continue to serve as a designated mentor. Through my leadership role at Katten and my involvement with the Women’s Leadership Forum, I make myself available to offer advice about workplace issues and career development to help women at the firm better position themselves for greater success in the legal field. To further support the New York Private Wealth group, which has a significant female representation, I help ensure that all members of the group, regardless of gender, are given thoughtful feedback, professional development training and immediate client contact to empower them reach the next level of their careers.

For success: our Powerwomen recommend …

not to be afraid to ask for what you want. You may get a few ‘Nos’ but eventually, you will get a Yes and you’ll be happy you asked. Also, don’t take anything personal and be grateful for every opportunity that comes your way, which will open doors for new opportunities.  If something doesn’t work out, it wasn’t meant to be, move on. Alicea Castellanos

… I advise those starting out in the legal profession to focus on getting a grounding in the law and then setting goals that they hope to achieve, looking at a five-year window. This, I believe, sets attorneys up for success by identifying aspirations and giving themselves a reasonable period of time to achieve those goals. Such a measured, thoughtful approach is a good way to put together an action plan and take ownership of one’s own career path. Ronni Davidowitz

… to actively seek mentors and sponsors inside and outside of your firm as they will be integral to your professional development, but never be afraid to be your own advocate! Tiffany N. McKenzie

… I have received some great advice over the years, from believing in your abilities” or “learning from your failures”. However, I think the one piece of advice I would offer is that it is okay to not know everything. Whilst no one likes being unable to answer a client’s question, it is better to offer to check and come back to a client than provide wrong or confusing advice. If a client is unwilling to wait for the proper response, then perhaps they are not a client you need to retain. Sharon Mungall

Check one of our latest features: Trend wealth: where is wealth coming from?

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