Taking Pride in who you are is easier said than done for the LGBTQ community


It’s Pride month - a joyous time filled with parades, sparkles, and rainbows celebrating inclusiveness and the LGBTQ community. However, for many in this community the workplace does not have this magical, accepting environment.  GLAAD reports that 40% of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people and almost 90% of transgender people have experienced employment discrimination, harassment or mistreatment.

Not okay.

When being yourself could cost you your livelihood, it’s easy to understand why it’s extremely difficult for the LGBTQ community to come out in the workplace.


Does this qualify as business casual?

To help us understand how to manage LGBTQ identity in the workplace, we enlisted the insight and experience of Lucas Bierlein, Business Development Director for Student Support Programs at Morneau Shepell. Lucas partners with campuses to extend student mental health support. We thought he’d be a great resource to talk about his experience as a gay man in the workplace, and offer insight to those considering coming out to their employers.

Out, proud, and Instagram-ready

Out, proud, and Instagram-ready


What does Pride mean to you?

For me, Pride season is about celebrating this journey the community has been on over the past century, to take stock of where we are now, and to identify priorities within the work that still needs to be done in the future. Most recently, I’ve also seen it as an opportunity for advocates and allies to step forward and celebrate with us, and a time for others to learn more about a community that they may just becoming aware of. For many, it’s also a time to let loose and embrace the components of their identities that sometimes aren’t celebrated as equally as others -- even by them, themselves.

Have you ever experienced any discrimination in the workplace?

In my post-college career, working within higher and international education, I’ve been very fortunate to work for organizations that embrace diversity, and for supervisors who seem to share those values.

I had an early experience with gender discrimination that may have set a tone for me in terms of the types of organizations I’d later seek to work for: When I was 16, my very first job was working at a pizza restaurant in my very rural hometown in Washington state. The owners were religious and conservative, and I wasn’t “out” yet. They had a policy of dividing work tasks between genders: women (in their late teens and 20s) could hold certain roles, and men (guys of the same age) could have other jobs. I didn’t like the tasks associated with the roles men could hold, and I wasn’t good at them. I requested to be assigned to a position that was typically assigned to women, and they continued to ignore this request and assign me to the men’s roles. Eventually I just walked out. My parents didn’t love this approach, but I knew I was gay and I knew that my values, even where gender norms were concerned, didn’t fit with that working environment. I found a much better job within a week or two.

How can companies create a positive culture for its LGBTQ community?

I think this has to start at the top; it’s difficult to create a positive culture that embraces diversity unless your leaders do -- and that’s a personal, professional, and conscious decision on the parts of these individuals. Hiring managers and recruiters have a huge part in this as well -- you have to advertise this positive culture in order to attract LGBTQ community members as talent. It’s not enough to have team members march in the Pride parade once a year; this has to be a 365-day commitment to diversity (including LGBTQ) year-round. There should be LGBTQ representation on all major decision-making committees in the organization, especially those that relate to employees’ welfare (benefits, company culture, and HR-related committees). If these decisions are being made unilaterally without committees, the company has bigger problems than just underrepresentation of the LGBTQ community and should probably seek outside support from a corporate diversity consultant.

What kind of questions can candidates ask at the interview stage to gauge how welcoming a company is of LGBTQ staff?

I think it’s a pretty nuanced process to gauge the company’s overall attitude toward working with LGBTQ team members, and I think you really have to look at it on two levels, at least: the attitude at the company level, and the attitude at the team level within which you’d be working.

At the company level, of course you’ll want to be sure that LGBTQ or sexual orientation is included in their anti-discrimination policy. For larger companies, you may be able to discern its activity within the LGBTQ community with a simple Google search (Pride celebrations, donations for non-profits that further diversity initiatives, etc.). On the team level, do your homework on the individuals for whom, and with whom, you’d be working. You can bet that they’ll be taking a look at your social media presence, and you should do the same.

If you’re meeting with someone from HR, I would ask how the company defines diversity and how its commitment to diversity plays out in the day-to-day. I’d also ask what mechanisms are in place to be sure that diverse voices within the company are heard. For any company that purposefully considers diversity in their hiring and operating practices, these answers should come pretty easily.

What tips do you have for folks managing their LGBTQ identity in the workplace?

I have pretty high expectations for organizations in 2018, and I don’t think managing your LGBTQ identity should be any different from a straight person managing their “straight” identity within the workplace. Your activity with LGBTQ organizations -- whether that’s volunteering, or affiliation as a member, or a special event like an HRC Gala -- should be as openly shared as if those organizations were focused on religion or music or other hobbies and interests. Overall, I believe pretty firmly that organizations that don’t promote and support your values -- LGBTQ or otherwise -- probably don’t deserve to benefit from your talents, skills, and perspective.


For more information about being an ally to the LGBTQ community, visit the Human Rights Campaign. If you want to promote inclusiveness in your organization, contact us for training and consulting opportunities we offer.

How badass lawyer ladies can take their career expertise outside of the courtroom and build a personal brand

We live in a world where just simply doing a good job in your role is no longer enough. If a tree falls in the woods and no one hears it, does it actually fall? If we do good work and know our s*it, but don’t tweet about it, does it even matter? How do you build a personal brand without seeming over the top?

I recently showed a group of super badass ladies from the Hispanic Bar Association of Pennsylvania and their guests how to get started on building their personal brand. Managing identities as both a woman and a minority make it difficult to grasp the concept of building a personal brand without feeling like one is bragging or being obnoxious. Studies show it’s especially crucial for women to be their own cheerleaders. In a male-dominated field such as law, it’s an especially sensitive art to master. In today’s society, it’s becoming increasingly important to not only do a good job in our work, but to also establish ourselves as industry experts and share our expertise to the twitterverse, instagrammers, and Linkedin connections. Through an effective personal brand, we attract clients, influence others, and become more respected by our peers for our work.


Below are some takeaways from this session that will help other badass lawyer ladies build their personal brand and help them share their expertise outside of the office.

Be yourself. The most important part of personal branding is simple, but perhaps the most difficult. Be yourself. Your voice is your power, and I want you to make sure you’re leveraging yours in the best possible way. Having knowledge is one thing, but sharing it (in the right way) is what sets you apart as a real thought leader.


Regardless of your audience, platform, or forum, knowing and understanding who you are and how you provide value is imperative. During our session, we did my favorite character building exercise, where I challenged the women to define what they believe to be their personal brand. Here’s what I came up with for myself:

Forward-thinking career and content strategist who gets to the point and uncovers your best self. English major geek. Recovering New Yorker. Bravo enthusiast. Mom of two boys who always have dirty faces. 

Getting Started. During a webinar hosted by Shewolf, founder Jordan Lacenski shared, “Your personal brand is what other people think about when they hear your name.” What do people think when they hear yours? You’re responsible for putting the information you want at the front of their minds. I asked the group if they wanted people to think of cheese fries, litigation, immigration law, or something totally different. There are a variety of ways to share knowledge and to connect with constituents. Making yourself visible is important! This can be through engaging in Twitter or engaging with the right people at your firm through networking events.

Overall, to build a strong personal brand, you want to make sure you are choosing the right platforms (this can be within the virtual space, such as social media, or the real world, like meetings and conferences).

Also, think about your message - what do you want to say? What are your expertise? What are your goals?

Get on the right platform



This shows the reach of the popular platforms. Consider your audience. Who are your target clients? Where do you find them? Strategically reaching them is key. Remember to start small. Pick one platform that you think your audience is on and go full force. No one is expecting you to be a social media guru out of the gate.

Content is king. Be consistent. Make sure you’re posting a good amount (but don't be obnoxious). I doubt that this has reached the law industry but most people don't read a thing. Trying to tell stories in fun pretty pictures or gifs/jifs (whatever the kids are saying these days) will grab people’s attention. Gifs are great resources

Sharing is caring. Share what cool people are doing. The bigger the following the better. This will get you noticed in their realm and have them see what you’re doing eventually too. Think about how you’d act in real life. Have dialogues. Engage. Also keep in mind that hashtags are the secret code you need to get into the cool parties. Piggybacking off of big ones will help you to get noticed and be part of the community

Work smarter. There are tools out there to help you schedule and manage your postings. Hootsuite is what I use. Feedly is a great way to aggregate content to find articles to post. Anything you can do to keep consistent, quality content will help you stay visible and interesting.

Who’s doing it well. Believe it or not, some lawyers are out there doing cool stuff on social media! Here are some examples I shared during the session:





Get in with LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a powerful tool in many ways. You can both target clients by having a compelling, searchable headline and share content through its blog feature. You can also make connections with the right people and participate in industry-specific groups.



Get out there IRL. Folks need to see you to hear you. Get out there and not only attend conferences, but present at them. Join affinity groups and participate (or even organize) networking events. Whatever direction you go in, it’s important to take initiative beyond the everyday grind of your job. Invest time in yourself and in your interests.

When in doubt think like a white man. So many women are apprehensive about putting ourselves out there in this way. Traditionally, white men don’t give a crap if what they say is compelling or interesting. Channel some of that confidence, while mastering the sharing of yourself.


Have fun with all of this! Building a personal brand serves as a way to express your creativity, build meaningful relationships, create more visibility for yourself and your firm, and establish yourself as a true innovator in your field.

Need help? Feel free to contact me for a free consultation!

Schtick in CareerBuilder: What to wear for different job interviews based on the company

We were thrilled to share our two cents on interview attire with the folks at CareerBuilder. 

Overall, the most important piece of advice we can give is to make sure you are dressing for the industry, and follow common sense rules of hygiene...and lay OFF the cologne perfume. 

Check out the full article, and share your thoughts!

Keeping it real in the mom and the professional jobs

Motherhood. The name itself inspires a complexity of thoughts. Regardless of whether you’re a stay at home mom, a tiger mom, a foster mom, a desperately trying to become a mom, a career mom, or a Pinterest mom, motherhood evokes emotions never experienced prior to taking on the great mom job.

One thing is for sure, I am not a Pinterest mom. Exhibit A: #browniefail.

Poop or brownies? You decide.

Poop or brownies? You decide.

I’m more of an eat off of the floor/get your ass to bed no later than 7:30pm so I can have a glass of wine kind of mom.

Becoming a mom both saved and nearly ended my life. Not to get too science fictiony, but your brain literally changes from pregnancy. Throw in a traumatic birth experience, and it reeeeeally can cause you to reevaluate things. With new perspective as a mom to two little boys, I wanted to be a better person (although to be fair, there was a lot of low hanging fruit to make that happen after my first child), and wanted to desperately try living happily in the moment (although have been known to scream into a pillow in frustration with two annoyingly inconsolable children in the kitchen). For better or worse, my experience with pregnancy and motherhood taught me invaluable lessons. Many of them can also get incorporated into becoming more successful in your career. In the spirit of Mother’s Day, I thought I’d share some thoughts on succeeding in both our mom and professional jobs.

Shit happens. Literally. Motherhood stinks sometimes. You haven’t truly lived until you’re on an Amtrak ride alone with your son and he gets massive diarrhea, or when your baby zombie vomits all over himself when you’re five seconds away from the hotel. During times like this, maintaining a sense of humor, flexibility, and resourcefulness will get you through these crappy times. The same goes for work. Everyone experiences a time when things didn’t go how you painstakingly planned. I’ve given an impromptu presentation in front of 50 people when the scheduled speaker mixed up the day and time. Whatever happens, have confidence (or at least know how to fake it). You are still the badass goddess who deserves to be worshipped. Make sure everyone else knows that, too.

Imperfect perfection gets the job done. I mean is there anything more annoying than the mom on social media whose children are perfectly clean with cherubic smiles and perfectly matching outfits? They likely use #blessed without irony. The truth is, that is probably the seven millionth picture they took, and their kids are smiling from a sugar high. I love a good keeping it real photo.

This was our 701st picture before we gave up because the bus was coming.

Look how happy we are while daddy is on a five day business trip to Napa without us!

Look how happy we are while daddy is on a five day business trip to Napa without us!

Who has time for perfection? Embrace the imperfection and let it fuel you getting things done. Kid got himself dressed, but his pants are on backwards? Good enough. In the workplace, I’ve seen people so crippled by achieving perfection that they never launch anything new or achieve their goals. Perhaps the backwards pants approach would help.

Build a diverse dream team. I am obsessed with my good friend Tina and Amy’s dope squad video.

We aren’t really friends, but this is my blog post and I’ll frame it however I want.

It’s too true. You need a tribe of people from nannies, to physicians, to shrinks, to friends who won’t let you get away with saying you’re fine when they visibly see things on fire behind your instagram filters. The same goes in the workplace. Surround yourself with mentors and staff who challenge, inspire, and help you get shit done. There’s strength in admitting weakness. Shout your weaknesses from the rooftops, and watch all of the kindred spirits come out and stand with you in solidarity.

If you’re too lazy to read the specifics of this post, the main point I can’t drive home enough is to just keep shit real. No one likes the sanctimonious mom. We’re all lucky to be here and to fight the good mom fight to raise non-serial killer, happy kids.

Be real. Be flexible.  Build a village. Make (good) shit happen.

Working through new motherhood: Leaky boobs, lunch dates, and chunky jewelry

This was me on my first day back to work after a 12 week maternity leave...

olviia pope .gif

Riiiight. As much as I wish I channeled my inner Olivia Pope, my first days back looked more like...

leslie knope.gif


New motherhood is the great humbler. Nothing knocks you off your “I got my shit together” high horse like a teeny tiny, nocturnal human. While some make those first days seem easier than others, we all know that a few weeks of time off is not enough to feel like you’re operating at your best when you do go back to your job. I’d like to offer the new moms out there tips to make the transition back to career woman a little easier.

Mind your boobies. If you are breastfeeding, make sure your time is blocked effectively on your calendar. I explicitly posted “PUMP” in capital letters so that no one dared to interrupt my “milking:” time. May as well put it all out there. While we’re talking about pumping strategies. Long meetings could make your boobies ticking time bombs for leakage so make sure you tell people when you have a hard stop.


Go shopping. Retail therapy solves all of life’s problems, right? Maybe not, but before you throw a toddler level tantrum about none of your clothes fitting, remember you are a badass goddess boss lady who brought life into the world and deserve to be worshipped - stretch marks and all. Investing in a few, reasonably priced pieces that will make you feel comfortable and stylish. I lived in “legging pants” and longer, button down tunics (easy boob access), with a cardigan/blazer over it. Gigantic, chunky necklaces also serve as a nice distraction from other “problem areas”.

Call upon your village. The first day is….rough. It seems unconscionable to leave behind this helpless little bundle of love who JUST started to smile, coo, and provide some sort of return on investment for those lonnnnnnnnnnnng nights. Find other mamas in your company, or who work nearby, and make a lunch date with them. They know your struggles, and it will be nice to have something to look forward to on the first day. For example, my village of working mamas introduced me to this medieval device that made pumping much more efficient.

Look how happy this model is!

Look how happy this model is!

Don’t quit your day job. New motherhood turned your life inside out. Now everything seems different (who knew diaper commercials were SO emotional???). Before you decide to light your entire career on fire, quit your job, and start a new life where your baby and you live together uninterrupted in mommy/baby bliss, remember working moms are good for babies. Take things day-by-day and know you’re doing the best you can.

Schtick Guest Blogs for Switchboard | Be Your Own Unicorn: Building a Strong Personal Brand

Thanks for inviting us to guest blog for you, Switchboard! It was great to share my thoughts with higher ed professionals about how to build a strong personal brand. 

There is so much buzz (read: extremely annoying buzz words) around building a strong personal brand. How can you own the internet? How can you make sure you are the go-to person for your area of expertise? The jargon and the tools suffocate, and at times, choke your very essence to death. As a recovering higher ed professional myself, I’ll offer some straightforward ways to unlock your inner unicorn and make the biggest impact on your campus. Read more on Switchboard's website


Ignite your meetings with efficiency...not with frustration


A meeting can be a great opportunity to collaborate. The nature of how we meet has changed thanks to modern day technology (see Slack, Trello, and other great tools). Embracing technology doesn't always replace good ol' fashioned real-life discussion (aka the robots haven't taken over...yet).

If you do feel like an in person meeting or conference call is necessary, we encourage you to think about how you run meetings. You don't want your attendees to consider lighting the room on fire just to make.it.stop. (not that we've EVER had those thoughts ourselves). Send an agenda ahead of time (and stick to it), leave individualized questions/concerns for private discussion, and always keep your goals in mind. 

When you were little I bet you all dreamed of playing this game, right?

When you were little I bet you all dreamed of playing this game, right?

#TuesdayThoughts: Know Your Worth. Show Your Worth. Shine on.

On #TuesDayThoughts we deliver a friendly reminder that you must let your light shine. It doesn't matter what stage you are at in your career. You should always shine a light on yourself. Keeping track of the impact of your work (Hint: that means quantifiable data in terms of growth, money saved, etc.) goes a long way.

How can keeping track of boring numbers help your career? Here are a few ways:

1) Get yourself that raise. Some people are TERRIFIED to ask for more money. Whenever clients come to me with this fear, I ask them what they've done to earn it. Make a list. Show them why they need you. Numbers are hard to argue with so use them to your advantage!

2) Kick butt in your performance review. Reviews are a great way to highlight some of the amazing work you've done that went unnoticed. Keeping a running tab of the unglamorous, but impactful work you accomplished can help to wow your supervisor and gain additional visibility on your team.  

3) Make it the silver bullet in your resume. A  strong bullet point that stands out has something like a number, a percent, or a dollar amount that shows you did something that actually made a difference, and wasn't just copied and pasted from your original job description. 

It doesn't matter if you set aside a email folder for "awesome things I've done, keep a section in a notebook (what??? paper and pen?? the horror), or send yourself voice memos. Just make sure you're doing something that documents the awesome things you do. It's easy to forget the difference our work makes. Know your worth. Show your worth. Shine on!

Shine a light on yourself.png

Style your virtual professional outfit: Tips to optimize LinkedIn and get noticed

Don’t get left out of the party. 50 million people are on LinkedIn. Are you?

Why LinkedIn

Think of LinkedIn as the nice virtual equivalent to the nice outfit you wear for an interview or the rolodex of contacts people kept back in the day.

                                     FYI this is a rolodex

                                     FYI this is a rolodex

Quick Tips:

1)    Complete your profile. Do you show up shirtless to an interview? Nope. Make sure your profile is fully dressed, too.

       What's your snack policy?

       What's your snack policy?

Profiles that are 100% complete get the most exposure. Make sure you completed your summary, added relevant experiences, asked individuals for recommendations, and included a picture.

2)    Make personalized connection requests. You wouldn't randomly knock on someone's door. The same etiquette applies when reaching out to potential LinkedIn connections. Include a brief message on how you know a person and why you want to connect with them.  Many people indicate their connection preferences in their profiles. Begin by asking people you know to join your network and expand from there.

3)    Keywords are Key.  Understand and use the language of your audience. Use the “Skills & Expertise” tool, located in the “More” menu and on your profile. This will help you identify keywords to populate your profile which can help you demonstrate your expertise, use of relevant jargon for a particular career path and potentially be found in a search.

4)    Join Groups.  Groups are a great way to build your network within your industry and community.  Consider your career/professional school interests. Join university alumni groups. Identify groups based on professional associations and common interests.

5)    Summarize Yourself. Creating a summary for yourself on LinkedIn is extremely individualized based on your experience and your goals.  If you need inspiration, take a look at what like-minded professionals write about themselves. Highlight key achievements, list specialties and skills you have, and explicitly state any goals you want to pursue.

LinkedIn Profile Guides and Resources

Contact Schtick We take the time to get to know you and optimize your LinkedIn profile. Connect with us and get noticed.

LinkedIn Help Center provides  support for whatever stage you are at in the profile building process.

Spring cleaning for your resume

Spring is (almost) upon us. The season brings warmer temperatures, frizzier hair, and the inspiration to get things organized and clean up.

This is my hair in the spring humidity

This is my hair in the spring humidity

It never hurts to get a jump start on spring cleaning - why not start with your resume?

Declutter While we don't offer revolutionary, Japanese-inspired approaches to decluttering your resume, there are common sense rules that go a long way. Get rid of things that are 10+ years old, or that are irrelevant to positions you want to pursue. It's great you one the science fair in 8th grade, but no one in your marketing industry cares. A study conducted by TheLadders.com shows you have 6 seconds to make an impression. Don't mess it up by being the hoarders of resume content.

Declutter While we don't offer revolutionary, Japanese-inspired approaches to decluttering your resume, there are common sense rules that go a long way. Get rid of things that are 10+ years old, or that are irrelevant to positions you want to pursue. It's great you one the science fair in 8th grade, but no one in your marketing industry cares. A study conducted by TheLadders.com shows you have six seconds to make an impression. Don't mess it up by being the hoarders of resume content.

Does your resume resemble this room?

Does your resume resemble this room?

Rearrange Did you ever feel that life changing moment when you move your couch from one side of the room to the other and life instantly improves? The same happens when you move stuff around on your resume. If you are thinking of entering a new industry, you may consider changing how you prioritize your experience. You may also think about trimming some areas to make room for a Summary of Experience. A summary is a great chance to craft 3-5 different bullet points that describe you and your high level experience as it appropriately relates to a job/industry.

Update Is your resume still rocking the Jennifer Aniston (oops - two Friends references in one post. I blame Netflix). Consider giving it a makeover to stay on trend with current styles. Times New Roman and Arial are not the only professional fonts out there; give Century Gothic a whirl. If you aren’t showcasing current hard skills you have such as social media management make sure to include them!

This was cute...in the '90s.

This was cute...in the '90s.

A resume is a crucial way to showcase the great professional experience you have and what you bring to a position. Keeping it updated is important for your professional development. If making these changes seem daunting - don’t stress! You hire a professional organizer, an interior decorator, or a hair stylist to make some of the changes that help you in your personal life. Consider the help of a trusted colleague, or seek out a coach (cough, cough - we can help) to get your resume up to date and looking great.