BRENDA GILL – MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

What is your occupation and how did you come to work in this field?

My title is Practice Director for RGP Legal.  This is a business development role selling RGP Legal’s advisory, project and interim support services.  I was contacted by a recruiter who asked if I was interested in thinking differently about my next role.  While I had moved from the legal department to a strategy role in the sales channel, I had never done business development.  This role seemed like it would be challenging and I always welcome a challenge.

What is the biggest challenge of your work?

RGP is not a well know name; yet we compete against other better known legal services consulting and temporary legal staffing firms.  I find that people are surprised that we are a public company and have been around since 1996.  RGP’s services span advisory and interim and we also have broad horizontal expertise in legal, technology, HR, accounting and finance.  After identifying a company’s current goals, the challenge (and one that I enjoy) is to cull through the various types of services we offer in order to highlight how we can help the company achieve its goals.

What is your proudest achievement?

Being Chair of the Board of Directors for “The Door,” which is a multi-service not-for-profit agency servicing young people ages 16-24.  The reason this is my proudest achievement is not only that I was instrumental in helping The Door to realign its strategic direction or that I was in service to others, but mostly because I was a former member of The Door as a young person during a particularly trying time in my own life.  I had come full circle and was paying it forward and that felt pretty good.

What leaders, thinkers or doers do you admire most?

Alvin Ailey gave me a full dance scholarship to his school.  He was the artistic director of an off-Broadway play that I was in and his belief in me and my interaction with him stays with me to this day.  He believed in me when I hadn’t yet learned how to take chances and believe that I could manifest my dreams and get from here to there.  What he showed me, what he gave me – changed my life forever.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

I hope to have been a major part of the growth of RGP Legal’s business – to the point where the legal community in the Tri-State region (and beyond) comes to see us as a trusted strategic partner.

I have published essays both online and in print but, in the next ten years, I hope to have already published my first book and to be working on my second.  My goal is to be a sought after speaker and author, much like Bob Danzig, the former CEO for Hearst Magazines, who has coalesced his professional and personal experiences in speeches and in print for the benefit of others.  Like Bob, I would donate some of the proceeds from these endeavors to organizations, like The Door.

What would be your advice to young people who want their careers and lives to have an impact?

I created a framework for how to deal with professional and personal challenges.  It is called C2S2, which translates to “Conquering Challenges with Strategic Simplicity.”  This means that when faced with challenges, that you apply Occam’s Razor and look for the simplest solution to any challenge.  I have found that whether my challenge was professional or personal, it always helped for me to reduce the challenge down to its fundamental elements and then identify the most strategically simply solution.

Did you have a mentor or do you mentor someone else? How has that experience changed you?

Over the course of my professional career, I have many mentors as well as many mentees.  Each process has taught me many things.

With my mentors, I have learned that it is vitally important to be vulnerable and to share my fears, concerns and challenges in an open and honest way.  This is the only way that any mentor can identify the underlying issue and provide relevant advice.  I am humbled by the generosity of my mentors.

With my mentees, I have honed the art of really listening to what is being said and not provide “canned” advice.  There are subtle nuances to the challenges that each mentee may be facing.  What is needed will vary from person to person.  I learned that timing is everything – saying the right thing, at the right time, in the right way is what counts.   I try to serve as a conduit for what my mentors have taught me.  Being present for my mentees, has helped me to show up and be present in other parts of my life.