This blog is part of our on-going Women in Technology series.
Kristy Bird is a Solutions Consultant at Consilio, located in Charlotte, North Carolina. Kristy has been with Consilio since 2008, but in the industry for over 12 years now. She earned her Bachelor in Business Administration from Hofstra University and her Juris Doctorate from Touro Law Center. Kristy is on the Board of the Miami Chapter of Women in eDiscovery and is involved with many other chapters across the country as well. To Kristy, the most exciting part about working at Consilio is the people, many of which are her colleagues and clients who have become some of her close friends.
How did you get into this industry?
I didn’t intend to start a career in eDiscovery, but instead it fell into my lap and I ran with it. During and following law school, I practiced labor and employment law in NYC. I loved the experience I was getting litigating cases in both federal and state courts, but I decided I wanted to change fields. I knew that my passion stemmed from my interest in trusts and estates law so I pursued opportunities in that field. While I was searching, I started performing document review, with my second review job at DiscoverReady, and the rest is history. I was instantly intrigued with eDiscovery and wanted to learn more and more each day. I quickly became a review team leader, then review manager and director, working in review management for about 7 years. From there, I moved into other operational roles throughout the company which led me to be a Solutions Consultant on our Sales Team.
What lessons have you learned from being in this industry?
Having worn many different hats in the eDiscovery world over the years, I would say one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is don’t be afraid of a good challenge or making mistakes. You don’t have to know it all. In fact, collaborating with your colleagues and leveraging their expertise in tandem with your own leads you on a much more successful path – strength in numbers. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel, especially when you have the best resources at your fingertips and on the same team, plus who doesn’t love a good brainstorming session! I would add that another important lesson I’ve learned in this industry technology is forever evolving, which in turn makes the legal world and discovery evolve – you have to stay on top of things and educate yourself otherwise you will fall behind. For me, it’s one of the things I love most about eDiscovery. It never gets boring because there is always something new and exciting to learn and add to your skillset toolbox.
What has been your experience with mentors during your career?
I’ve had the pleasure of working with many amazing mentors over the years that have all contributed in their own unique way to my success. I find it essential to maintain close relationships internally and leverage the knowledge of other experts around me. They do not have to be on your team, but I personally love getting to know other well-rounded folks across the organization. In addition, it’s also essential to develop and maintain close external relationships. Being out in the field networking and on the board of Women in eDiscovery allows me to do just that and be involved with other eDiscovery professionals in any location.
What is your advice to women entering the workforce?
Don’t be afraid to speak up, to challenge yourself, and always strive to do better; it’s the only way to learn and grow. What’s unique about tech and eDiscovery is typically cases are never the exact same, which makes different legal scenarios exciting and fun. But, sometimes you have to make mistakes and learn from those mistakes as well. I probably have learned my greatest lessons by making mistakes and accepting that “failing forward” is a very real mantra you should embrace.
I am a huge proponent of teamwork, collaboration, and bouncing ideas off of people. Voice your opinion and participate – you’re not going to get anywhere if you pigeonhole yourself.
Lastly, stay humble while also exuding confidence and strength as an expert in the field.
What are your techniques for staying organized, managing priorities, balancing work-life, etc.?
Everyone has a different system that works for them. For me, I live by lists and prioritize them efficiently. In this field, no matter what your job role is, you need to be able to multitask while managing stress levels. Often times eDiscovery lends itself to unpredictable spikes in work coupled with tight legal deadlines and abnormal work hours. In tackling my workload, I think it’s super important to set measurable goals that I can work on every day. In doing that, it’s vital to track progress and set small goals so you can reward yourself. When you meet these goals, it builds up confidence, and you become stronger as a result.
In terms of work-life balance, self-care is extremely important to me. I wake up every single day and work out, which not only sets my mind right for the day but also allows me to focus on myself and have more energy to concentrate on my work. Conversely, it is also important to notice when there may be a lull and to take advantage of any downtime to refresh yourself mentally. eDiscovery work can come in waves. Sometimes the wave seems like it will never end, but when it calms for a bit, try to take advantage of this time – get fresh air and take a walk in between meetings or calls, meditate or stretch during pockets in your day, take that personal vacation or spend time with family and friends when you have a free week without work travel.
When you’re not working, how do you spend your free time?
I greatly value and make a point to spend my free time with my family and friends whether it’s going on adventures or simply spending precious quality time together. I also love traveling and staying active – beaches, mountains, touristy locations, I enjoy it all. Cooking is also one of my favorite things in the world – both making old family recipes and trying new ones pretending I am on Top Chef of course.