NYBJ Women of Influence honoree: Belinda Schwartz; Herrick, Feinstein LLP
Belinda Schwartz, chair of Herrick's Real Estate Department, was named one of the New York Business Journal's Women of Influence for 2022. The women featured represent a cross-section of industry lines in New York City, including finance, law and technology. The ten executives are active in their communities and with charitable endeavors, showcasing a degree of influence not only in their respective professional careers, but also away from their offices.
The 2022 Women of Influence honorees were selected from a field of nominees submitted to the New York Business Journal for consideration. A team of editors and reporters with NYBJ and its parent company, American City Business Journals, reviewed the nominations and collectively selected this year's field of honorees.
This profile spotlights one of the ten New York Business Journal Women of Influence honorees for 2022. NYBJ asked each of the 10 to complete a survey through which they share with you some of their background, their achievements and their industry insights. An expert of Belinda's full profile is below.
How would you quickly describe your job and what you do to someone you just met?: I am a consigliere. At the heart of it, I am first and foremost a lawyer who must be both excellent at what I do and bring all of my work and life experience to bear on the situation at hand.
The best advice I've received for career development is: Understand the business deal. It's imperative to understand your client's business proposition or the deal in order to appreciate your client's end goal and do a good job.
Do you serve as a mentor for someone? If so, how do you fill that role? I serve as a mentor for more than 70 attorneys at Herrick, primarily in the real estate department but across all aspects of the firm. I have always felt that we lead by example in our daily interactions. I've been honest with my team about how I've navigated my own career — the good and the bad, the mistakes and the successes. I think sharing that information creates trust and builds relationships while demonstrating that there is more than one way to "be" in professional relationships.
Do you have a mentor yourself? If so, what do you get from that individual? I try to stay in touch with the senior members of the bar who helped me get where I am today — and I am lucky to still have many of those relationships. They are not necessarily practicing lawyers anymore, but they are good sounding boards and outstanding professionals.
What's the biggest challenge facing women who want to take on leadership roles, and what can be done to address that? People often assume that women come in two categories: tough with a chip on their shoulder or too nice. Obviously you can be nice and tough at the same time; those characteristics are not mutually exclusive. To view women in leadership as an "and" rather than an "or" would be to see that women have always brought more to the table than the dichotomy described. And you know what tough and nice gets you? Respect and loyalty.
What time-management strategies or lessons-learned do you use to manage your schedule and meet your obligations? Delegate with trust but don't lose track of where things stand.
What's something about you that would surprise your fellow Women of Influence honorees? My schedule may say otherwise, but I'm not the fan of an early morning meeting.
This fill profile originally appeared in the November 8, 2022 publication of the New York Business Journal. Access may require a subscription.