Monday 30th October 2023
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 Sutherland 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 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. Natalie is also Burgess Mee’s Fertility Officer, where she supports its employees on their fertility journeys, supporting them to navigate work whilst undergoing fertility investigation or treatment.
- Somaya Ouazzani, CEO of Mimoza Fleur – Somaya is the founder and CEO of an executive search firm, Mimoza Fleur; a search firm in the city of London dedicated to partner and senior-level searches within the legal industry. Prior to founding Mimoza Fleur, Somaya worked as a divorce lawyer representing clients around the world in their divorce, financial and children matters. She was invited to take up a teaching fellowship at UCL which she did from 2010-2012. As one of very few female owned and managed legal search firms in London, Mimoza Fleur and the work that Somaya does has always had a sharp focus on diversity and inclusivity. She has been committed since the firm’s founding to raising greater awareness of gender parity at partner level and the impact that family planning and infertility can have on a senior career. Mimoza Fleur is the only legal search firm in London to have cast a spotlight on infertility in the city and the shortcomings of law firms in this regard and as a result, and through the work that In/Fertility in the City is doing, significant progress is being made.
- Emma Menzies, Fertility at Work Coach at Ready Steady Coach – Emma practised employment law for over 13 years before utilising the power of coaching to successfully manage the impact of fertility challenges on her career and working life. This inspired her to establish her own coaching and consultancy business, Ready Steady Coach, and make it possible for others to receive the support with fertility at work issues which, for her, had been lacking. Through bespoke 1-2-1 coaching programmes and consultancy services, she helps professionals manage their careers and fertility journeys in harmony, and she helps organisations manage fertility in their workplace. In 2022, she also joined forces with Natalie Sutherland and Somaya Ouazzani to launch the In/Fertility in the City podcast which explores the complex relationship between in/fertility and work and how to manage this effectively. Happily, in the same year, she became a mother, giving birth to her daughter after 11 years of unexplained infertility and recurrent miscarriage.
- Keeley Lengthorn, Partner at Taylor Rose MW – Keeley Lengthorn is a leading Family and Children law partner, at Law firm Taylor Rose MW. More recently Keeley has also become a baby loss campaigner. After the loss of her son George in March 2022 Keeley started a national campaign calling on employers to enact baby loss policies within the workplace. Keeley has been working alongside MPs on enacting “George’s Law” which will entitle both parents who lose a baby under 24 weeks to 3 days statutory paid leave from work, to which there is currently no statutory protection. Keeley has won the following accolades in the last 12 months:- Inspirational Solicitor of the Year 2022, Lexis Nexis Family Law Partner of the Year 2022 and Kent Law Hero of the year 2023.
- Eraldo d’Atri, Senior Associate at Clifford Chance – Eraldo d’Atri is a Senior Associate in the Litigation and Dispute Resolution group who has been at Clifford Chance for 15 years. After their fertility journey, he and his husband are the proud parents of a 4-year-old and a one-year-old. Eraldo specialises in international arbitration with a particular focus on the energy and financial sectors. Eraldo acted on LCIA, ICC, SIAC and ad hoc arbitrations in London, New York, Paris, Singapore and Geneva. Eraldo acts pro bono challenging the UK Government’s refusal to issue non-gender specific passports and has been interviewed, including for his pro bono work, on various media outlets such as BBC News, the Guardian and Chambers & Partners Podcast.
- Nina Goswami, Head of Inclusion UK at Clifford Chance – Nina Goswami is the Head of Inclusion UK at Clifford Chance. Nina will share her personal story that led to the adoption of a 4-year-old daughter and how Clifford Chance aims to support colleagues on their paths to parenthood. Nina Goswami leads the UK inclusion team. She is responsible for developing and implementing Clifford Chance’s inclusion policies and campaigns within the London and Newcastle offices. Before Clifford Chance, Nina was the BBC’s Creative Diversity Lead and headed up 50:50 The Equality Project. The multi-award-winning initiative uses data monitoring to ensure media content better reflects society. Nina also worked as a journalist. She was a reporter for national newspapers and The Lawyer magazine prior to working at the BBC, where her roles included TV News Editor.
- Sophie Wellings, Barrister at QEB – Queen Elizabeth Building – Sophie is a Barrister. Since her call to the Bar at Gray’s Inn in 2011 she has been a member of QEB, a leading family law chambers. She is also a director and co-founder of an all-woman justice tech start-up, Courtney Legal, an accessible e-learning platform launching in 2024. Sophie was a guest on Season 1 of the In/Fertility in the City podcast, sharing her perspective as a self-employed woman and how she juggled the complex requirements of her fertility treatment with the demands of her career (and how she didn’t). In the past 5 years she has had two children, having navigated fertility treatment, hyperemesis gravidarum, complex birth injury and trauma, loss, bed rests, and finally a total hysterectomy this year. She believes that the only way to improve the outcomes for women (and everyone) both personally and professionally is by talking about our experiences openly.
The event is taking place on Monday 30th October 2023 at the office of Clifford Chance, 10 Upper Bank Street, Canary Wharf, London E14 5JJ.
17.30 – 18.00 – Registration and Networking
18.00 – 19.00 – Speakers
19.00 – 20.00 – Networking and Drinks Reception