Attorney and managing director, Anderson, Zeigler, Disharoon, Gallagher & Gray , 50 Old Courthouse Square, Santa Rosa, 95404, 707-545-4910, www.azdgg.com
Professional background: Practicing real estate attorney for 26 years; managing director of firm for past two years.
Education: BA with double major in legal studies and psychology, UC, Santa Cruz, 1984 (College Honors and Highest Honors in Major/Legal Studies); JD Hastings College of the Law 1987
Tell us about yourself and your company: The Anderson Zeigler firm traces its Sonoma County roots back over 100 years. We pride ourselves in being a true “full service” law firm and, with the exception of family and criminal law, we can fill virtually any legal need our clients might have. The firm has a uniquely collaborative practice in which we put seamless client service first … we find the best attorney in the office for the job without concerns about who procured the business. This has resulted in incredibly strong client relationships that last for decades.
Over the last few years, we have focused on making a healthy transition from the founding generation of attorneys to those who will guide and shape the firm going forward. By creating an environment in which senior members of the firm remain engaged to mentor the next generation yet leave room for new decisions and direction, the firm has positioned itself to remain a top-tier North Bay law firm for many years to come.
I feel so proud to have helped the firm make this transition through both my role as managing director and through my dynamic real estate law practice.
[caption id="attachment_75573" align="alignleft" width="162"] Wendy Whitson[/caption]
Is there a major accomplishment in the past year or so that you would like to share?: Defining a vision for the future of the Firm and taking affirmative steps to achieve it.
What is the achievement you are most proud of?: Reaching a place in my life where I have a rewarding career, a great marriage, two happy, well- adjusted kids AND no regrets about what it took to get there.
What is your biggest challenge today? Staying flexible in the face of constant change (work, family and the world). I don’t want to be so rigid or entrenched in my current experience that I miss new opportunities.
Words that best describe you: Energetic, caring, and intellectually curious.
As a successful female professional, what were the biggest obstacles you faced and how did you overcome them?: I faced two major obstacles. The first was finding a way to succeed in a male dominated profession without becoming a “man in a skirt”… i.e. to integrate my female perspective and skill set into my law practice rather than adopt an aggressiveness that was not consistent with my personality. It took many years of following my heart and a move to a firm that valued interpersonal skills over sheer force of personality to figure it out.
I now make full use of my intuition, sensitivity, insight and no-nonsense, mom-lays-down-the-law approach to my clients’ advantage. The second obstacle was figuring out how to keep my career moving forward without making my children pay the price. I was lucky enough to work at a firm that gave me the chance to prove that I could do it via a job share and part time position when my children were young.