This blog is part of our on-going Women in Technology series. Women in Technology Series - Featuring Liz Erickson, Headline, Title

Liz Erickson is a Senior Director within the Discovery Consulting Group here at Consilio. Liz has been in the legal industry for more than 17 years, initially practicing as a litigator in big law and later moving to the vendor side as a discovery consultant. Liz earned her dual bachelor’s degrees in Italian language and International Business from Washington University of St. Louis, and her law degree from the University of Chicago. To Liz, the most exciting parts of working at Consilio are the people and the talent. 

What pivotal moments in your career helped get you to where you are today?

I think that having the right mentors at the right time has always been very important to me. When I think of my career’s defining moments, the great connections and collaboration with mentors come to mind. And I’ve tried to pay that forward by supporting the careers of those around me. It can really make a difference.

What is something you are particularly proud of accomplishing during your career?

I teach a law school course on eDiscovery, which is very much outside my comfort zone. Public speaking does not come naturally to me, so I’ve made a deliberate effort to put myself in situations where I’m forced to work through those issues. Reaching the point in my career where I can successfully design and teach a law school-level course has been a highlight for me, both in terms of my experience in the discovery industry and reaching new levels of comfort with public speaking. I’m proud to have faced that fear and will continue to conquer it by putting myself out there again and again.

Have you ever noticed a time during your career when your gender was an apparent obstacle?

In my professional life, I’ve never felt negatively impacted because I was female, even when many of my team members were men. I’ve been lucky to work with people who have been supportive and fair. You do tend to see women’s representation diminish as you look at more senior positions in the legal world. Diversity in general tends to decrease as you move up the corporate ladder, but I think it’s getting better. And that doesn’t happen by accident – it requires meaningful, thoughtful efforts to drive that change.

Working in big law, female associates would share their concerns about how maternity leave might impact their professional success. I’ve been impressed with Consilio’s efforts to address diversity and women’s issues – to continuously foster and improve upon a corporate culture that values those perspectives. It’s not something we should take for granted. And there’s still a lot of work to do.

What is your advice to women who are working in predominately male settings?

Find your voice and ensure it is authentic. We can sometimes feel pressure to mimic the leadership styles of others. But this can muffle the unique qualities that often make us good at our jobs.

Another area to consider is how you approach your self-evaluations during performance reviews. My first instinct is to be more humble, but it’s a performance review—this isn’t the time for that! Don’t be afraid to let your strengths shine. Be honest with the areas you need to improve, but don’t sell yourself short. You are your own best advocate, and you should be proud to emphasize your accomplishments.

Because the industry can be very chaotic, what are your techniques for managing work-life balance and stress right now?

I really enjoyed Consilio’s mindfulness series with Susan Milkie. It was great to set aside my worries for a brief part of the day so I could focus on my breath and regroup. I also have a subscription to Headspace, which has been great for maintaining that mindfulness practice. Having these mental breaks is so important for self-care—this year more than ever.