Rachelle Rennagel, eDiscovery Counsel and Director of Research & Info Services, White & Case
Q: What did you want to do when you were 10 years old?
A: Sherlock Holmes. I loved his deductive ability and his ability to crack really complicated cases and problems with his keen powers of observation.
Q: What was your favorite class in high school?
A: I loved math and science -- I love the logic of both subjects and the chance to understand the how and the why.
Q: What was your first paid job?
A: Babysitting was my first paid job, but my first “official” job was a cashier at a local grocery store.
Q: What was your first big career break and how did it change your career path?
A: I had two big career breaks. The first was a position as a first-year associate at Jones Day, which recruited very few graduates from my law school. It was a tough job, but it trained me well. My second big break was to become the Chief Knowledge Officer (CKO) at Sheppard Mullin, which blended my legal and technical skills, a perfect marriage of my talents.
Q: How did you get your current position (internal promotion, company change, other)?
A: I have known Oz Benamran, the CKO at White & Case, for many years. The chance to work with him and his talented knowledge team was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.
Q: What do you like most about your current role?
A: The ability to think outside the box: White & Case has a truly innovative culture open to creative and innovative way to solve business problems.
Q: Who was your most important mentor, coach, advocate or role model and how did (s)he help you?
A: I have had many mentors, both male and female. Those who impacted most believed in me, pushed me to leverage my strengths and had my back. It’s always easier to take risks when you know someone is in your corner.
Q: What’s your 5-year career plan, i.e. where would you like to be in 2020?
A: As I have just changed jobs, I am currently reformulating my 2020 goals. I would like to be in a position where I am viewed as an expert in my field, while still able to balance my family life.
Q: Do you currently have a “board of advisors” to help make career choices? What kinds of advisors are on it?
A: I have a core team of friends who have known me through the years, ranging from partners at big firms and people in similar positions to my own to stay-at-home parents.
Q: What do you see as the biggest roadblock to your career advancement?
A: My fear of being bold, which I work on daily.
Q: What is the best career advice you’ve received?
A: Don’t be afraid to speak your truth. Don’t be afraid to take a job that is a career reach. Nothing is rocket science, unless it is.
Q: What career advice would you give to women beginning their careers?
A: Don’t be afraid to be bold and go after what you want. Don’t mute yourself (and apologize for your opinion). Dream big, act big.
Q: What mistakes do you see women making in their careers?
A: Women are quick to think we cannot do a job unless we have the exact required credentials, leading us to be more risk averse in career choices.
Q: What do you wish someone had told you about your career?
A: Careers aren’t linear paths. Law school trains students to think there is only one linear career path: summer associate, associate, partner and then retirement). But it’s ok to step off the path. Most of the time, you will land firmly on your feet and if you don’t, you can just pick yourself up and try again.
Q: What is your favorite quote?
A: It sounds so tacky and trite, but I always come back to “Carpe Diem.”