“Say ‘Why not?’ instead of ‘Why?’”

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30 juni 2021 '“Say ‘Why not?’ instead of ‘Why?’”

Interview Daphne Bens, former participant Women Leadership Programme OSR

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Women Leadership Programme (WLP). Time to look back at the changes and innovations. We therefore spoke to several participants who took part in this programme.

“The year I participated in the Women Leadership Programme, I was in the prime of my life. I was on the track to becoming a partner at DLA Piper, while also embarking on another more personal journey of raising a family with a toddler and being pregnant of my second child. While I was taking all these steps, I noticed some friends in my circle and former colleagues were taking a more slower approach, even taking some steps back. I was committed to the programme and it took hard work, but I got so much energy from it. During this time, it was also very helpful to meet like-minded women. One of the most important things I learned during WLP is that you don’t have to be liked by everyone, and to focus mainly on the inner circle, that small group of people who can really support you. Another important lesson I learnt is that even though I was not yet a partner, I should already exhibit partner behavior. Practicing role-play gave me insight into my body language, which allowed me to understand the adjustments I needed to make to further develop my soft skills.

I believe that it is important that everyone follows their own path, however one should always be realistic. I think women often think: why would I want that? Why would I want to become a partner? This is really a mindset. Instead, I would encourage women to ask themselves: Why not?, instead of Why? In this regard, the WLP can provide you with the support you need. However, I think that there is still a task for law firms: give women the confidence that they can become a partner and think along with them about creating an individual time schedule and partner track. Every year, a few of my colleagues follow the WLP. A programme like this helps you to explore what you want and what you don’t want; it gives perspective and self-insight. Following the WLP programme is also great for growing your network. Now that I say that: it would be nice if all alumni would come together for a reunion!”

Participating in the international version of the programme? We will start in September 2021 in Amsterdam with a new group. If you would like to receive more information, please email us at anoek.laarman@osr.nl.

Daphne Bens

Daphne is a partner and head of the Corporate practice group at DLA Piper. She attended OSR’s Women Leadership Programme in 2009-2010 and is now a mentor in the same programme.

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