Melissa Cleary is a workers’ compensation attorney in the firm’s Raleigh office. She leads the Women’s Initiative (WIN) @ MGC committee. We sat down with Melissa to learn more about her passion for WIN @ MGC and the legal industry.
What’s the one piece of advice that Melissa would give other women in the legal field?
“The times in my life that I find my work most rewarding is when I am focused on me and what I need to do, rather than comparing where I am with others,” says Cleary.
Experts would support her statement. According to Psychology Today, “New research suggests that the ways that we make comparisons may give us a biased account of our own skills and experiences.”
So, how does comparison predominantly affect women? “I see a lot of people crippled by a scarcity mentality – when you think there is not enough success or happiness to go around, you start to feel desperate and your world can get very small,” says Cleary. “This [initiative] is going to show everyone the positive impact they are already having, and the additional opportunities they have, when it comes to recruiting, mentoring, promoting and fostering leadership for women.”
WIN @ MGC is a commitment to recruit, retain and advance women in the legal industry, as well as to provide a platform for engagement, development and leadership opportunities for women at MGC. “When people are successful, they are celebrated,” Cleary adds.
With more than 20 years of experience in the legal field, and recent efforts towards WIN @ MGC, what got Melissa Cleary to where she is today? “Resilience, tenacity and empathy,” she says. And, understanding the equation to the work-life balance. “At some point the notion that you could have a family and a job outside of the home (‘having it all’) turned into the requirement that you have to do it all, 100% of the time. I think there is a work-life balance on the spectrum – it is not going to always be the same; sometimes your work requires more and sometimes your life requires more,” Cleary adds.