In/Fertility in the City: why and how we need to acknowledge and support it in the workplace

The path to parenthood is not easy for so many people and having to deal secretly with infertility, IVF procedures, miscarriage, abortion or baby loss whilst working so as not to damage career prospects or reputation with employers or peers is lonely, traumatising and highly stressful.

We want to open up the conversation about fertility issues in the workplace so that it can be a more inclusive and honest environment for working women and men who want to start a family. It shouldn’t be secret or shameful.

Join us for this panel event to discuss the personal and professional challenges of fertility. This event is for you, if:

• You’re a lawyer thinking about family planning now or in the future.
• You’re a lawyer experiencing fertility challenges and/or pregnancy loss.
• You work with lawyers/law firms.
• You’re a lawyer and your significant other is experiencing fertility challenges.
• You’re interested in joining the conversation and raising awareness around this very real, very hard, and very common issue, even if you’re not a lawyer.

Our brilliant panel, made up of several partners and senior lawyers, 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.

  1. 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 five 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Fatema Orjela, Partner at Sidley Austin LLP – Fatema is an award-winning private equity partner at Sidley Austin LLP. The Law Society of England and Wales named Fatema as “Woman Solicitor of the Year” in its Excellence Awards 2021. Fatema has previously been named as one of the world’s top 30 private equity lawyers under 40 in the prestigious Private Funds Management (pfm) “30 Under 40”. Fatema is also distinguished by her work in promoting diversity in the legal profession. She has been included in the Class of 2021 at Law.com’s Women, Influence & Power in Law UK Awards as “Mentor of the Year” for which Fatema was the top “Outstanding Winner” and also for “Law Firm D&I Initiative of the Year”. Fatema is also a mother to a three year old.
  4. 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.
  5. Natasha Stourton, Partner at Withers LLP – Natasha is a partner in the trust, estate and inheritance disputes team at Withers in London. As an associate, she went through numerous rounds of IVF and experienced multiple pregnancy losses, once at 24 weeks. She hopes that by sharing her experiences and raising awareness she may be able to help others in similar situations.
  6. Rose Losardo, Associate at Howard Kennedy LLP – Rose is a commercial property lawyer at Howard Kennedy LLP and helped to pioneer Howard Kennedy’s recent pregnancy loss policy. As a loss sufferer herself, Rose is passionate about having honest and open dialogues about loss with the aim of smashing the taboo, as well as making her work environment more adaptable to the employee’s personal experience of loss.
  7. Navene Alim, Senior Lawyer at Channel 4 – Navene is a Senior Lawyer at Channel 4 within the Corporate Legal department. Navene is an experienced commercial lawyer, specialising in platform deals, ad tech and software development. She is committed to diversity and inclusion and, alongside her day job, is a co-founder and co-chair of 4Women, the Channel’s gender equality network. 4Women were responsible for launching the Channel’s dedicated menopause policy, the first among UK media companies to do so, and the recently launched pregnancy loss policy. Both policies were shared publicly to encourage other companies to use it. She also sits on Channel 4’s network for ethnic diversity and works closely with HR on employee initiatives that promote inclusion across the channel.
  8. Emma Menzies, Fertility at Work Coach at Ready Steady Coach – Emma is a Fertility at Work Coach, former Employment Lawyer and fertility patient. Through her 1-2-1 online coaching programmes, she helps people to manage their fertility at work challenges so they can live happy lives on their path to parenthood. She also provides bespoke consultancy services to organisations, helping them to manage fertility in their workplace. Her business (Ready Steady Coach) is a product of the successful management of her own fertility at work challenges. Emma previously worked for a multinational law firm and major British multinational retailer where she dedicated over 13 years to providing legal advice on work related matters.

The event is taking place on Monday 6th December at 9.30am (coffee and croissants at 9.15am) at the office of Sidley Austin (70 St Mary’s Axe, London, EC3A 8BE).  You can register for free via Eventbrite here.

We hope to see you there!

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