Are you wondering what it means to be a courageous leader for change? Do you want to be a professional advisor that adds value rather than just deliver services? Do you want to sharpen your leadership skills and impact? Our special guest Deana Labriola answers these and other questions about leadership, adding value and making a difference in the business of law.

Deana Labriola is a partner is the Raleigh, NC office of the law firm of Fox Rothschild and has been practicing law for twenty years. More important, Deana is unique as a lawyer in that she’s deeply and fully committed to being more than a lawyer for her clients – she’s committed to adding value to them and their businesses. She’s also a connector of people, business advisor, relationship builder, “consigliere” and a courageous leader.

As Deana puts it, she’s a mom, a wife, a lawyer, an athlete and a leader, and in that order of importance. Deana has a dynamic transactional practice that spans a range of business matters, including mergers, acquisitions, and debt/equity financing deals. She also assists a wide variety of businesses with corporate governance structuring, development initiatives and expansion opportunities. Deana serves as outside general counsel to a number of closely held companies.

Listen as Deana shares her wisdom and experience on courageous leadership, diversity and inclusion, and change.

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Show Notes

Episode highlights…

  • What it means to craft and plan your law career by design and based upon priorities
  • What it means to lead courageously by speaking up for yourself and for others
  • Leadership as a woman in a male-dominated industry
  • Real life examples of diversity and inclusion leadership in the legal industry
  • Every day strategies to enhance your diversity and inclusion efforts and results
  • Understanding the business case for diversity and inclusion – lead with the business case to create change
  • The importance of putting yourself in a position to speak up (and be heard) for change
  • Leaders genuinely and deeply care about their people (and take action to support them)
  • The importance of courageous conversations
  • Truths about trust – losing it and building it in leadership
  • Stepping up as a woman in leadership
  • Career paths require choosing wisely including surrounding yourself with champions / mentors
  • Grit, scrappiness and resilience are essential for succession in law and any profession
  • What it means to be a true business advisor for your clients in the law
  • Lawyers must be willing to share their opinions (not just assess risk)
  • Lawyers must understand the psychology of advising clients and decision making (you also must get to know and understand your clients and their businesses, including their risk tolerances)
  • Leaders are constantly asking themselves “In what ways can I add value” to this situation, circumstance, client, culture, etc.
  • Connecting people and helping others build relationships is a great way to add value
  • Women need to lead like themselves rather than learning to lead like men (lead authentically)


Special Guest

Your Hosts

Jeff Nischwitz

Author, speaker, coach, consultant, and
Chief SHIFT Officer of Cardivera

Craig Mathews

Strategist, innovator, consultant, and
CEO of Cardivera