Shared experiences of infertility, baby loss and alternative pathways to parenthood. A discussion on providing meaningful support in the workplace.
For many, the journey to building a family is not straightforward. Coping with infertility, invasive procedures, baby loss and terminations while working is traumatic, lonely, stressful and all too commonplace.
We want to destigmatise the conversation around in/fertility in work, so that those facing challenges receive the support and care that they need from their employers and colleagues. It’s time to #breakthestigma.
The event is also aimed at helping law firms better understand how to support employees living with fertility challenges. These challenges, include conception, extension of one’s family (whatever form that may take), pregnancy, fertility treatment disappointment and baby loss. Our panellists will share practical ideas to help law firms navigate these issues so that employees feel supported and seen. We will discuss the creation of roles including ‘Fertility Officer’ and the benefits law firms can offer those undergoing fertility treatment and experiencing fertility challenges. Including, for example, paid leave, financial support, interest free loans and rest and recovery time before, during, and after fertility treatment. Infertility is fickle and unpredictable. We will discuss the importance of policies being as inclusive and flexible as possible.
Our panellists will share their stories of infertility, surrogacy, pregnancy loss, and fertility treatment. They’ll discuss how this impacted their personal and work life; the constant juggle and collision of the personal and professional.
This event is open to all, but may be of particular interest if:
- You work in a law firm, whether as a lawyer, line manager or HR;
- You want to understand the intersectional challenges that those experiencing infertility issues may face;
- You are experiencing fertility issues, or have colleagues, friends or family experiencing fertility issues;
- You hold a leadership or management position within a law firm;
- You are thinking about family planning and/or have employees or colleagues thinking about it;
- You are a survivor of infertility and/or baby loss.
Our brilliant panel, made up of several partners, senior lawyers, a GP, and a fertility at work coach will be discussing openly the impact that fertility struggles can have on one’s professional life whether it be performance, promotion, and/or perception.
- Natalie Sutherland, Partner at Burgess Mee – Natalie is a specialist family law solicitor and Partner at Burgess Mee Family Law, a boutique family law firm where she spearheads the firm’s Modern Family department dealing with surrogacy and assisted reproductive technology law. Natalie is passionate about helping clients create their families and whilst she is a mother to a 6 year old daughter, has also suffered pregnancy loss and secondary infertility. Natalie’s interest in the fertility world has led her to become a Trustee of the charity, Progress Educational Trust, which advances public understanding of science, law and ethics in the fields of human genetics, assisted reproduction, embryology and stem cell research.
- Somaya Ouazzani, CEO of Mimoza Fleur – Somaya is the founder and CEO of a boutique partner search firm, Mimoza Fleur, prior to which she was a lawyer and teaching fellow at UCL. Somaya specialises in partner and team moves in the City. She is passionate about gender inclusivity in law, particularly at partner level and especially amongst mothers. Having experienced pregnancy loss herself, and as a mother to a four year old, she is committed to raising a greater awareness and understanding of the fertility challenges that so many women in law face, so often alone and in secret.
- Dr Belinda Coker, Dr Belinda Coker GP and Founder of Your Trusted Squad – Belinda is the founder and CEO of Your Trusted Squad, a boutique IVF and fertility concierge service that helps high-achieving, ambitious women who have difficulty getting pregnant to navigate their fertility treatment, reduce the stress and overwhelm of their journey, and feel supported and empowered to make informed decisions. Belinda has personally felt the devastating impact of infertility and repeated baby loss over the last 11 years, which led her to start Your Trusted Squad. She is an experienced NHS GP and Executive Medical Director with a wealth of expertise in fertility, women’s health, customer experience and clinical quality spanning 20 years.
- David Savage, Partner and Head of Financial Crime at Stewarts – David is a partner and Head of Stewarts’ Financial Crime team. David is recognised as a Next Generation partner in the Legal 500 and Chambers. David is an active member of the LGBT+ community and is a Founders’ Circle member of Just Like Us. David and his husband have been in the process of starting their family for the past four years and have extensive experience in the ups and downs of the world of surrogacy.
- Emma Harling-Phillips, Partner at Pinsent Masons – Emma has been a Partner in the Planning Environment Energy and Infrastructure team at Pinsent Masons since 2016. During the pandemic, Emma moved down to the South West and has recently accepted a role as a Partner at Womble Bond Dickinson in Bristol, where she will be starting later this summer. Since joining Pinsent Masons, Emma has been part of the Female Futures network and was responsible for setting up the Female Safety group in the aftermath of Sarah Everard’s murder last year. She also acts as mentor to a number of women in her team.
- Gillian Boateng, Associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP – Gillian is an Associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. She specialises in employment law, and previously trained and qualified with a Magic Circle firm. Gillian has two young children (having chosen to start her family as a trainee solicitor), and currently has a flexible working arrangement with her firm. Whilst Gillian has not dealt with infertility or baby loss personally, she is a keen advocate for creating workplace cultures that are supportive of parents and the journey to parenthood, however that journey might look.
- Louise Woods, Partner at Vinson & Elkins – Louise is a Partner in the International Dispute Resolution group in the London office of Vinson & Elkins and the mother of two young children. She serves as the London office co-chair for both the Vinson & Elkins Women’s Initiative and Diversity & Inclusion Committee, chair of the Firm’s New Parent Mentoring Programme, and sits as vice president on the Board of ArbitralWomen, a non-profit for the promotion of women in arbitration. Among her accolades, Louise was recently named a Future Leader in the 2021 Top 100 Women Future Leaders list, and was shortlisted as a finalist for the Women, Influence & Power in Law UK Awards 2022, in the Innovative Leaders in ESG and Diversity category.
- Suzanne Johnston, Partner at Stephenson Harwood LLP – Suzanne relocated from the UK to Singapore in 2013 and is a private wealth partner at Stephenson Harwood. Having struggled with the heavy burden of infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss, Suzanne is keenly aware of the challenges engendered by infertility in the workplace. Suzanne has been outspoken about her experiences so that she may help others in the thick of this mentally and physically exhausting journey. Spoiler alert, Suzanne overcame her infertility struggles and now has two children (one by IVF), for which, she is eternally grateful.
- Emma Menzies, Fertility at Work Coach at Ready Steady Coach – Emma is a Fertility at Work Coach and Consultant. She helps individuals to manage the impact of fertility challenges on their career and working life, and she helps organisations to manage fertility in the workplace. Her coaching and consultancy business, Ready Steady Coach, is a product of the successful management of the impact of fertility challenges on her own career and working life. Prior to qualifying as a Coach and establishing her business, Emma was an Employment Lawyer. She worked for Eversheds Sutherland LLP, then Marks and Spencer plc, and spent over 13 years providing employment law advice on a range of career and workplace matters.
The event is taking place on Thursday 7th July 2022 at the office of Stephenson Harwood, 1 Finsbury Circus, London, EC2M 7SH.
09.00 – 09.30 – Breakfast and networking
09.30 – 11.00 – Panel discussion and Q&A
You can register for free via Eventbrite here.
We hope to see you there!