Ben Chiriboga (00:01.11)
Hey, hello and welcome back everyone. This is Ben Chirvoga, the chief growth officer here at Nexil coming to you with another This Legal Life. I am sitting down today with Tahisha Fugate. Tahisha, how are you? What’s going on? Welcome to the podcast.
Tahisha Fugate (00:17.959)
Hello. Hi, Ben, how are you? I am very honored to be a guest, so thank you for the invite.
Ben Chiriboga (00:23.958)
Yeah, it’s amazing to sit down with you again. You were on the LMA, of course, the wrap up, and that was a whole lot of fun to sort of sit down and get your perspective on LMA. Today we got you back for a really, really interesting topic. We were talking a little bit off camera about the importance of advocacy and advocating for yourself.
You know, there’s so many different ways to talk about this, but sorry, when I say the word advocacy, what’s like the first thing that sort of pops into your mind? Why is it, I feel like it’s so relevant today in like 2023.
Tahisha Fugate (00:59.846)
It is. So the first thing that comes up for me is intentionality. Because it is really something that you know you have to be aware of when you need to do it. Because sometimes we shrink ourselves so much that we lose our awareness of you know when you know we really need to you know make our voices heard.
Ben Chiriboga (01:26.646)
Yeah, totally. Okay, so we’re gonna get into this. We got some topics that we wanna go to. Tell us a little bit about you. For those who don’t know you, you’ve had a very long career in legal. You’ve been at Paul Hastings, lots of really great organizations. Big, small, not that small, but you know, you’ve a lot of different shapes. You’ve been around the block. Yeah, tell us a little bit about your background.
Tahisha Fugate (01:47.346)
I have, I’ve been doing this a very, very long time and had the fortune of working with some really good firms. Right now I’m a senior marketing and business development manager for Axon, Veltroop and Harkwriter. And it is a bit-sized firm and I’m based in the firm’s DC office. I’ve been with them about nine months. So it’s a fairly new role, but I have done, you know.
various things in my marketing and business development career, just, you know, in all of the firms that I’ve been lucky enough to support. So right now I’m supporting the firm’s antitrust practice, which is, you know, it’s new to be able to get so immersed in a practice because I’ve worked at like these large firms where I’ve had, you know, sometimes four or five practices that I’ve been responsible for. So being able to be in position to be a subject matter expert.
It’s something that’s pretty exciting for me right now.
Ben Chiriboga (02:48.802)
You know, whenever I think about you, you know, we’re only getting to know each other, but you know, I’ve, from what I’ve seen from the outside, you know, advocacy really runs through a lot of the things that you think about. I know you’ve had a deep commitment to LMA. If you want to say more about that, you’ve been with the LMA. And I know you have a background in DE and I as well, and that’s sort of a core part of it. You know, I think, you want to say a little bit, you know, all of those things have strong advocacy sort of like components.
I’m so happy to be talking to you about this topic. We’re going to get into it. But yeah, do you see that as a cross advocacy is kind of central to all of the communities that you sort of play? And well, yeah, do you see advocacy as essential to all of that?
Tahisha Fugate (03:37.058)
Yeah, for sure. So within LMA right now, I sit on the International Board of Directors for LMA and I also serve as co-chair of the DEI SIG. And so, you know, with both of those roles I find it, you know, my responsibility as a person who has been in this industry for so long to really avail myself to helping to advance.
the next generation of legal marketers. We’re also in an industry where our roles, while we are supporting the growth and revenue of firms, our roles are seen as administrative. And many of them are back office roles. And so we have to do a lot to build credibility and trust with the lawyers. And that requires you advocating for yourself and for your team.
advocating for our functions and really the sophistication of the marketing and business development roles and what you know we bring to the table.
Ben Chiriboga (04:44.047)
Absolutely. This is a podcast that you can’t see, but you know, I’m shaking my head because like it’s so true, you know, the that last LMA, you know, believing and advocating for the fact that you know, as core revenue drivers and as core business leaders, marketing and business development really have a seat at the table and I think that’s just but it takes it takes Let’s be real, you know, it takes it’s hard to sort of advocate for yourself. It’s hard to sort of like step up And maybe and maybe that’s a good segue
Tahisha Fugate (05:12.234)
Ben Chiriboga (05:14.852)
way into kind of like the first thing that we wanted to sort of talk about, which is overcoming fear, developing confidence, even allowing yourself to even have an opinion. These sorts of things can be very, very difficult when, I love your phrase, you know, you’ve shrunken yourself down or you’ve boxed yourself into something specific. You want to say a little bit about how the role of fear, gaining confidence, allowing yourself to have a voice
little constraints that maybe your role or even worse that somebody has put you in within a role you know what do you what do you have to say about that I mean I feel like the first step is always the hardest you know in that way
Tahisha Fugate (05:55.422)
Oh my goodness. How, look, how do we begin to unpack that? You know, um, so, you know, we, we work in, if we’re, you know, talking specifically to the, the legal environment, you know, we work in an environment where we have been conditioned to, I’m just going to say it, like fear the attorneys, right? You know, even though there are just some amazing attorneys, they’re so nice and so personable. That’s just how we’ve been trained. They say jump, we say ha ha.
right? And also I think that is part of, you know, just working in the professional services industry. We are a service oriented industry. So it is our jobs to service our clients in, you know, the best way possible. And, you know, the good thing about legal marketing is that we just have some really good, just people who are empathetic and like understand like what it means to be a service provider. But, you know,
Again, that’s what it is, right? So we look up, you know, just in terms of like hierarchy in a firm You know, it’s like the attorneys are way at the top and you know, we’re like somewhere, you know down below behind the curtains And so that can make you You know a bit nervous in interacting right? It makes us even amongst our teens It may be some you know junior team members who may be a bit nervous about interacting with the CMO because it you know
Ben Chiriboga (06:59.778)
Tahisha Fugate (07:25.178)
the lines of separation seem so far. And so it can really, you know, back to what you said earlier and referencing my point of kind of shrinking yourself, you don’t know and building good judgment takes time, right? So we have to be, we have to allow ourselves grace. You’re going to make mistakes. And, you know, I’m, you know, so many years in now but I can remember.
you know, working at a law firm for the very first time, right out of college. I mean, I’ve worked in an office environment before, but it’s a very different environment and it can be very intimidating. And so having good leadership in that is so important to really encourage you and give you opportunities to stretch yourself and having your back, because again, you’re going to make mistakes.
So knowing that at least within your department, there’s someone there that has your back, really will help you to gain confidence and encourage you to put yourself out there a little more.
Ben Chiriboga (08:33.442)
Yeah, I want to ask you, you know, I totally understand what you’re saying and it resonates really deeply and I want to ask about maybe the importance of allowing yourself to ask questions. I mean, I think that sometimes just allowing yourself to ask a question. Let’s say you are a marketing operations manager, you know, you’re 24, 25, 26 years old, new
and you have some communication with sort of like the CMO. I mean you know I can put myself in that in that person’s shoes and they might think I can’t even ask a question to the CMO about is this right is this wrong I’m expected to sort of know because I’ve been given this role and I just sort of sometimes I think you know you’re now in leadership positions where you know the idea really is no like the best thing that you can do is ask clarifying questions.
questions and I sort of almost think like maybe sometimes if we could make this tactical a good first step to overcoming fear would just be and of course you top-down leaders out there who are listening to this you know socializing that there’s no stupid question you know I hate that term because there’s like a weird thing built into that and nobody even believes that but you know or more like all questions all the best thing you can ask is questions you know effectively but even then you know
Tahisha Fugate (10:02.034)
Ben Chiriboga (10:03.348)
It almost feels like if you’re that junior person, like you can at least say, I have a question I do not understand, or I have a question I would like to get your understanding. It seems like that sometimes is, people can find that within themselves, even to just ask questions if, you know, so far. You’re not in school anymore, you know? I mean, that’s like the thing, but that’s even where we’re even coming from in that venue, especially if you’re straight out of school two, three, four, five years ago.
Tahisha Fugate (10:11.074)
Ben Chiriboga (10:33.28)
just straight out of college you’re thinking I don’t want to raise my hand in a large class of 30 people and look and look stupid but I don’t know what do you think you sort of you feel what I’m sort of saying in terms of just even overcoming fear might just be just ask the question just raise your hand you know pull somebody aside and DM just hit them in chat or something what do you think
Tahisha Fugate (10:52.442)
Yeah, as you were talking, like I felt my level of anxiety raised up because I have been there, right? Like plenty times, like there are times now where I’m there, right? I have to send something, especially like, I don’t know, internal emails, you know, broadcast emails, like just make me nervous. Because you don’t, don’t dare like…
Ben Chiriboga (10:55.75)
Tahisha Fugate (11:18.262)
you know, make a mistake, you know, grammar’s wrong. I mean, we’re just in an environment where you’re expected to be perfect. And that in and of itself is one, not realistic, but two, it just contributes to like this, the dread of like just ripping the bandaid off and doing it. But I will say having like an internal champion, a champion, a mentor that you could say, hey, I need to send this email.
Ben Chiriboga (11:20.33)
Ben Chiriboga (11:41.986)
Ben Chiriboga (11:47.094)
Tahisha Fugate (11:47.118)
Can you check the tone? Can you make sure I don’t have any typos? Like give it some fresh eyes or being able to hit someone up on Slack channel, whatever it is that we’re using and just say, hey, I’m getting ready to go into this meeting. Here are my talking points. Is there anything that I’m missing? Can we role play? I actually just had a conversation with someone.
Ben Chiriboga (11:59.435)
Tahisha Fugate (12:13.478)
this morning about just kind of role playing different scenarios, especially if you’re in a situation where you have to give a presentation or like you say your point of view and you’re like okay I’m really not sure how my delivery should be. So I would say the very first thing I can think of is like having a champion.
Ben Chiriboga (12:30.178)
I know it’s really about like overcoming fear is almost sometimes about Being vulnerable with somebody and knowing that nobody nothing happens, you know And like that just that just that situation happening Oh, I literally laid it out and nothing really happened to me That can at least help you get step one over the fear in terms of this long train of trying to advocate for yourself Okay, so let’s assume that that’s the case. Yeah God. Yeah
Tahisha Fugate (12:41.463)
You have to.
Tahisha Fugate (12:45.518)
Tahisha Fugate (12:50.433)
Tahisha Fugate (13:00.702)
Yeah, yeah. And, and LMA, I mean, but before we go to the next point, I feel like LMA is great for that. Like this is, I mean, I haven’t been in many other industries, but I will say like people are so open to like, just sharing and like listening. And I mean, we like share stuff all the time, which, you know, no one has like pride of ownership. They’re like, oh, like, you don’t know how to do this thing. Like, let me like walk you through it. So, um, you know, just this.
Ben Chiriboga (13:03.76)
Yes, right, exactly, exactly. Yeah, 100%.
Tahisha Fugate (13:28.098)
fighting your champions internally, but also just utilizing your network because we have all been there, right? Like you’re not the first person, you know?
Ben Chiriboga (13:35.702)
Yeah, totally. No, you’re never the first person. Everybody, we’re more similar in our mistakes than we are in the things that we’ve accomplished in a weird way, you know? Totally, totally, totally.
Tahisha Fugate (13:46.802)
Indeed, indeed, indeed. And it gives you a sense of comfort, right? Like this person who I may be looking up to, who, you know, maybe like doing all these like great things externally in the market, like they’ve made some of these mistakes, right? And they can like guide me through it.
Ben Chiriboga (13:55.172)
Yes, right. Right, right, right.
Ben Chiriboga (14:00.182)
Yeah, totally. Totally. OK, let’s get to like, um.
Let’s get up to building confidence, you know, because, okay, maybe step one is overcoming your own fear, you know, and that can really be alleviated with the idea of allowing yourself to ask questions, giving yourself that permission. The second is having a mentor, somebody who can bounce off in a low rep, in a low-risk environment, I guess I’m doing air quotes here. What about building confidence? Because I feel like sometimes that’s a mindset shift, you know, that goes into, I have a point of view
Tahisha Fugate (14:11.148)
Tahisha Fugate (14:27.809)
Tahisha Fugate (14:35.006)
Ben Chiriboga (14:36.677)
And to me, you know, I’m now 39 years old. I’m in an executive position Da da all of this kind of stuff I mean in that capacity what I really what I felt I really always had to learn is
we all just have a piece of the puzzle. Everybody, the puzzle is very complex and some have people larger pieces, but nobody has the entire puzzle, right? Everybody has a little piece and everybody has a perspective and it’s incredible. Things are so complex today that it is, even if you deeply believe that, you can say, I have a perspective on just this one little part of something and it’s helpful because nobody can.
Tahisha Fugate (15:02.318)
that’s what I’m talking about.
Ben Chiriboga (15:21.06)
have the entire perspective, nobody can have the answer, and nobody has the entire puzzle. So yeah, what do you say about that? That’s what I’ve been able to internalize. That’s what’s been resonant to me. But building confidence is wow, like what do you what do you say about that? You know, like how do you do that?
Tahisha Fugate (15:26.902)
Tahisha Fugate (15:38.026)
I love what you said about mindset because that is so important, like recognizing that like failure isn’t the end, right? Like it’s like our stepping stone. And so we got to embrace those challenges as opportunities for growth and just being like, you know, I’m going to learn and I’m going to improve, right? Every single time I’m going to learn and I’m going to improve.
Ben Chiriboga (15:41.142)
Ben Chiriboga (15:50.603)
Tahisha Fugate (16:03.578)
And so I think approaching it in that way is very helpful because you are in turn training your mind To feel like you’re developing your own success because it like our success is our responsibility
Ben Chiriboga (16:15.464)
Yeah, yeah, totally, totally. No, I agree. I know, this is snaps. Yeah, I know.
Tahisha Fugate (16:22.788)
I love the finger snaps. So that we’re audio, but it’s the two snaps. I love it.
Ben Chiriboga (16:29.21)
the snaps I’m feeling. Okay, we can go so much deeper into that. How have you, could you get a little more, like how have you started to develop confidence? Has it been a function of reminding yourself, this is like my wife, my wife reminds herself of her wins, you know, and it’s, she has a board of this and she sees this every single day and this is what resonates for her. For me, it’s like the idea of just reminding that things are so complex that every perspective matters. It really sort of helps.
Tahisha Fugate (16:45.303)
Ben Chiriboga (16:59.184)
everybody sort of see more. How have you sort of like given this idea of confidence? What do you do?
Tahisha Fugate (17:06.774)
So I read something, I have like these little, I don’t know, inspirational cards, right? And so one of them I remember, it said something like, each day teaches the next. And so I keep that in mind, like every single day is like teaching me, right? Every single day is teaching me and so I’m growing and I like that your wife, you know, really kind of like…
her wins because I do that as well. And sometimes even when I make a mistake, I’m like, well, to the point that we were talking about earlier, the luxury of this is that I don’t work in an emergency room. I don’t want to make too many mistakes, but I’m still here, right? I’m still here. I’m still able to do this another day. I haven’t made so many mistakes that I can’t overcome. And guess what? I have, you know, to this point outlived all of my bad days.
Ben Chiriboga (17:46.708)
Yeah, that’s right. Yeah, I know, right?
Ben Chiriboga (18:01.986)
Yeah, yeah, I know. That’s such a good one. Yeah.
Tahisha Fugate (18:03.498)
You know? So that gives me confidence as well. And, you know, finding opportunities to step outside of my comfort zone, which is like super scary and something that I am constantly working on. But the more I do it, the more comfortable I feel. And I can say, you know, three years ago, I may have been on this podcast and you may have heard a little more like inks in my voice.
and nervousness, but because someone gave me an opportunity to try some podcasts and get comfortable and keep raising my hand, I’ve gotten a lot better at it. Not to say that I’m not still nervous, but I can see my progress. And so that keeps me going as well. So while I’m not officially tracking things on…
paper, sometimes I do, but most times I just have to remember like you’ve done this before, you got this, right? So being conscious of the messages that I tell myself because sometimes we can like talk ourselves back into our whole, you know, that self-talk.
Ben Chiriboga (19:17.442)
That self-talk, it’s for real, it’s real. Don’t worry for everybody who has that, you know, I mean, everybody has self-talk in some weird way. It’s like kind of like the human condition, you know, it’s just, it’s our nature, you know, it’s, you have to, it goes back and you know, you just have to, you have to counterbalance that, you know, it’s never gonna go away, but you gotta, you gotta do the work to basically be able to counterbalance that with the bigger perspective sometimes. And you know, this stuff works, you know, totally.
Tahisha Fugate (19:20.157)
Tahisha Fugate (19:37.483)
Tahisha Fugate (19:47.274)
Yeah, your community is important too, right? Like so surrounding yourself with people that are like going to pour into and like talk you back off the ledge and like remind you when you’re so far in your head, remind you that you’ve done this before you’ve done something similar. You know, this is not as hard, you know, just having someone again, to just like be your champion when you can’t find those positive thoughts to like get you going.
Ben Chiriboga (19:47.956)
Talking about…yes, totally, totally. 100%. Yeah.
Ben Chiriboga (19:57.172)
Yeah, right, right.
Ben Chiriboga (20:14.094)
yourself. I know, I hear you. Talking about communication, I think one of the other big things is actually…
how to communicate and effective communication whenever you are advocating for yourself and advocating for your position. You know, there are strategies. We’re just going to be real. You know, right now we were talking, before we jumped into the thing, you know, we were just this last pillar, we were talking about, hey, use whatever you need to get yourself out of your own head and give yourself some confidence. Cards, track your wins, have a mentor, check in with a community member, etc., you know what it is.
There’s also strategies for communicating effectively. And let’s be real, great communication goes a very, very long way. My personal thing is I love telling stories and anecdotes. I love talking. And so I am more, whenever I’m advocating a position, I am more confident whenever I use something like a storytelling framework, whenever I have a little bit of data, whenever I have an anecdote, whenever I have somebody else’s perspective that’s sort of championing this.
You want to say anything about what you’ve learned over the years of sort of advocating in an effective way, be it to management, other stakeholders, to, you know, down to people maybe who report to you? Yeah, what do you think about the effective communication strategy around advocacy?
Tahisha Fugate (21:40.354)
Yeah, I would say first and foremost, like take the emotion out of it. Because that in itself can kind of send us on the spiral. So take the emotion out of it, focus on the facts, focus on the data, also read the room, read your audience. And this comes with practice and time, right? So, you know, you…
Ben Chiriboga (22:04.927)
Tahisha Fugate (22:07.574)
have to be nimble in adjusting your communication style, based on who your audience is. Your communication to your CMO may be different from your communication to the practice chair. That may be different from the communication with the firm’s general counsel. It may be different from your communication to an LMA board president. So you have to make these adjustments. And that comes from.
Ben Chiriboga (22:29.346)
Tahisha Fugate (22:35.866)
a lot of listening to when you’re in the room, you know, paying attention to how those folks communicate and how, you know, they like to receive communication and being able to adjust your style. But staying, you know, staying true to who you are in your message, but, you know, definitely adjusting so that people can receive it because sometimes it’s not…
Ben Chiriboga (22:43.15)
Ben Chiriboga (22:49.848)
Exactly, right, right. Yeah.
Tahisha Fugate (22:58.77)
what you say, it’s literally your delivery. And so, you know, you mentioned using a few different things like, you know, stories and antidotes and jokes and, you know, whatever it is that’s going to help your message to be received. You need to pull those tools out of the kit.
Ben Chiriboga (23:01.486)
I know. I know.
Ben Chiriboga (23:06.691)
Ben Chiriboga (23:13.738)
Yeah. You know, what do you think about the idea of, you know, making an effort to meet people? Let’s say you’re stakeholders, you know, you have a handful of people that you’re always sort of communicating with. You’re direct reports underneath the person above, the people who are practice management leaders. Let’s make this about a while from context. Other practice group leaders and other department leaders. You know, I’ve just, what I have learned…
Tahisha Fugate (23:39.713)
Ben Chiriboga (23:43.618)
you know, oh man, you know, as a young man, you know, I was trained that like the facts will speak for themselves. And then I went to law school and it was all about that, you know, and I’ll never forget this, you know, a senior, I was a litigator whenever I was practicing law and it said, yes, the facts matter, of course, but how the facts come out matters even more. And do you understand who you are speaking to matters the most. And you know, in a trial case, of course, you can’t take out the jury to like dinner
get to know them. But thankfully, most of us aren’t in jury trials. Most of us are actually just in business. Thankfully, most of us are just in business environments where we have the opportunity to actually get to know the people who we’re trying to communicate on a day-to-day basis with and just say, what do you like? What do you… you can ask them explicitly how do you like to get feedback? How do you like to be told things? How do you like… but even then, you know, the human beings are so relational, you know, you can
Tahisha Fugate (24:17.294)
Ben Chiriboga (24:42.672)
just sitting down with somebody for two hours you could get to know them and sort of see what their vibe is. What do you think about that as kind of like, I don’t want to call it a tactic, but just something smart to do whenever it comes to communicating with people. Just getting to know people outside of what you’re trying to tell them effectively. Yeah.
Tahisha Fugate (24:59.35)
Absolutely, you have to. I mean, we tell our attorneys to do this all the time, right? Like we read that companies hire the lawyers that they like genuinely like, right? And so it’s the same way, you know, on the marketing and business development side, your lawyers are more, I mean, some of them, like they gotta work with you because they gotta work with you, right? You gotta get stuff done, but you know, there are lawyers where you have built relationships with.
Ben Chiriboga (25:03.523)
Ben Chiriboga (25:09.218)
Yeah, I know.
Ben Chiriboga (25:19.81)
Sure, of course.
Tahisha Fugate (25:25.282)
that could be a little more empathetic when you’re like, hey, you know, you mind if like we meet on Monday? Cause I have this like pitch that I’m working on at 3 p.m. on a Friday. And like, I’m just completely swamped. But that comes from spending time with them. And I know, you know, this kind of return to office thing has us like, you know, all up in arms. And you know, luckily we have more than one way to get FaceTime with people, but you have to be
Ben Chiriboga (25:35.117)
Ben Chiriboga (25:43.058)
Ben Chiriboga (25:51.127)
Tahisha Fugate (25:55.058)
intentional, right? Like I feel like I use that word a lot, but you do like you have to put it on the calendar. And you know, whether it’s like early morning, you know, coffee chat or whatever, and like starting it, not just like going in business, you know, all day all the time, but you know, getting to know them personally, right? And that can be uncomfortable because it takes a while to build up to that because we all come in with like our guards.
Ben Chiriboga (25:56.17)
Yes, right. Yes, I know. I know. Yeah.
Tahisha Fugate (26:24.666)
Right? You know, if getting involved in the firm culture too, right? So attending some of those social events. If you have an opportunity to attend the partners’ meetings or, you know, retreats or, you know, social events, I think that is so important because people get to see you in a different context. You have different conversations. And so when you go back and you’re talking business.
It’s a little lighter, right, for both parties. So, you know, this week my CMO and I had a dinner with the chair of the practice that I support. And it was nice, I mean, we talked some business, but I also got to know him a little better. I’m new to the firm, and she’s new to the firm. So, you know, it was nice to like have a conversation about, you know, where’d you grow up? And…
you know, what was your childhood like? And you know, just those sorts of things that we don’t necessarily, you know, you don’t go in meeting someone, a lawyer for the first time as a marketer and be like, so tell me about your life and how’d you grow up? And you know, we’re more, you know, so asking questions about like the practice and goals and you know, stuff like that. So it was just nice that like, it was the end of the day, everyone was relaxed and we could just like have a conversation like human beings.
Ben Chiriboga (27:32.481)
Ben Chiriboga (27:38.797)
Ben Chiriboga (27:48.118)
I’m reading this book right now. It’s called on relationships, you know, and it’s and it’s inspired by this old this old Philosopher from Germany his name is Martin Buber and he was like around the turn of the century But you know, he had a whole philosophy about relationships and he says at any point and the book just is so beautiful. I want to shout out to
Shout out to Alex, maybe we’ll put it in the notes. He’s a friend of mine, Alex Krosby. He wrote this book inspired by this dude, this whole philosopher. Anyway, the point of it is, you can always basically show up to people and say, there’s me and then there’s you. He used the words like, I, it, you know, there’s like me and then there’s you. And he says, but there’s another way, you know? And sometimes that’s fine. You need to get business done and you guys need to, you have both agendas and that’s okay.
Tahisha Fugate (28:40.046)
Ben Chiriboga (28:42.37)
We’re arguing a contract and let’s see where we land or you need this. I need this. Okay, it’s fine It’s not a problem, you know, but there’s also another way which is there is us There’s we together and he uses the word I thou and thou You know thou is like an old world that sort of means like thou like you are and you know in a way it’s just saying you are me I am you because together we are we are a we and
Tahisha Fugate (28:45.483)
Ben Chiriboga (29:09.814)
that’s always like really deeply resonated. And I think, you know, in the best relationships that we have in our life, you know, the lines between who you are and who I am, it sort of blends, you know, I mean, in your deepest partnerships, of course, that’s sort of how you show up. But I think…
We think of business relationships and even in the day to day, everything is just, I have my agenda, you have your agenda and that, that. And there is, that’s fine. You can have that, but you can also have, how are we also coming together before or after and really recognizing that there’s also us, there’s also a we thing happening here. And quite frankly, it’s the most amazing thing. The fact that two people can even come together like that. It’s in a weird way.
a very small M miracle that even happens because that doesn’t explicitly happen in let’s say, I don’t know, I don’t know, it’s incredible. Everybody, you know what I’m sort of like talking about and recognizing that I sometimes feel like it’s just really incredible to just point that out and be intentional and be like, okay, yes, we both have our perspectives on things, but we also share, we’re also sharing something. Yeah, I don’t know, does that resonate with you sort of this concept?
You know, I’m just pointing to this. Yeah.
Tahisha Fugate (30:29.188)
Yeah, striking the right balance, right? Striking the right balance. I love how you mentioned partnership. We often don’t think of ourselves sometimes in the workplace as partners across the board, right? We may think of ourselves as partners within our department, but we’re all like, we all have the same objective, right? We all have a small piece of the puzzle.
Ben Chiriboga (30:52.686)
That’s right. Totally. Yeah.
Tahisha Fugate (30:52.886)
but we all pretty much have the same objective and we’re partners, you know, at the end of the day. So I really, you know, can appreciate like striking that balance. And look, also understanding that you’re just not gonna jail with everyone, right? Like, let’s be clear. It’s just, you’re not gonna jail with everyone. And so being mindful of that, not letting it intimidate you, but also just finding a way.
Ben Chiriboga (31:06.89)
Yeah, that’s true. Thank you. Yes, you’re right.
Tahisha Fugate (31:20.182)
to just have a mutually respectful relationship. That’s okay too. You’re not gonna be buddies with everyone. Everyone’s not gonna wanna go to lunch with you or like, you know, spend seven o’clock on a Thursday with you versus their family. Like it’s just, that’s just not gonna happen all the time before, you know, in the situations where that does happen in your building that community, like hold on to that and take some of those best practices and continue to weave them into other relationships. And you know, sometimes.
they mend and sometimes they don’t, and that’s okay. That’s okay. You’re going to have different types of relationships across your organization.
Ben Chiriboga (31:58.986)
Yeah, yeah, I hear you, I hear you. No, totally, you’re right, you’re right, you’re totally right. And that’s also just like a comforting thing to kind of have that perspective and just sort of sit there and be like, you know, I have different types of relationships with different types of people, that’s just the truth.
Tahisha Fugate (32:14.069)
Ben Chiriboga (32:16.042)
Okay, so let’s, for the sake of time, I just saw we’re already at 32 minutes. You’ve been so graceful with my mouth. The things is just, I know, when we’re, you know, let’s just keep on going. Okay, so we, the last thing I think is about, this is a good one.
Tahisha Fugate (32:21.287)
Are we really all ready? Wow!
Ben Chiriboga (32:32.754)
It’s about putting yourself in the other person’s shoes and how empathy, man, empathy, empathy has had a last five years, it has had a roadshow of success. Wow, the word empathy has just come back. And I mean, with good reason, I think empathy is really sort of coming up very high. You know, whenever you think about empathy, how does empathy sort of show up in your life? How does?
Tahisha Fugate (32:54.635)
Ben Chiriboga (33:03.108)
about empathy that you know gets me always thinking the other side of empathy a little bit but what do you think about empathy where do you where do you where does empathy fall especially whenever it comes to advocating yourself and putting yourself in the other person’s shoes whenever you’re coming to something yeah what do you think
Tahisha Fugate (33:20.126)
Yeah, wow, that’s a really good question. Understanding that like we are all human beings. Like everything that’s going on in the world, it’s affecting us all in some way. Even if it’s not every single thing, say that there are like 10 things going on in the world. All 10 may be affecting me, six may be affecting you, but like we are all affected and we bring so much with us.
Ben Chiriboga (33:33.206)
Tahisha Fugate (33:48.478)
We’re carrying so much with us from a day on a day to day basis, like so much. You’re working with colleagues and I wrote a LinkedIn post about this maybe like a year or so ago when there was like a diaper shortage. And I was thinking to myself like at the time I had I think at least like two colleagues with like newborn babies. And we were just I mean cranking it out busy, right? Like everyone was just swamped. I’m like, my goodness.
these parents are showing up to work and they don’t even know if they’re going to be able to buy formula and diapers for their babies. You know, like people don’t, we’re returning to the office and there are some people who like can’t afford gas because like the gas is so expensive or there are some people who are like going through things at home like with their spouses and you know, kids or you know, parents or you know, taking care of like loved ones with COVID. I mean…
you have to consider the strongest people have been going through it, right? And I think, what does it say? Check on your strong friends. That is so true. And I keep that in mind because we are carrying a lot, a lot, and still trying to show up and thrive.
Ben Chiriboga (34:54.99)
Yeah, that’s right. Yeah.
Ben Chiriboga (35:02.258)
Tahisha Fugate (35:08.394)
and you know get to like the next thing there are some people that are like still in like the hustle and bustle and I can respect that right no matter where I am so being able to respect that allows me to like empathize if that’s where they are in their journey to your point meeting people where they are um but yeah so long answer
Ben Chiriboga (35:17.326)
Ben Chiriboga (35:25.346)
Yeah, right. Totally.
Ben Chiriboga (35:31.026)
I know. You know, I wanna ask your opinion, cause there’s this whole thing, you know, that like…
How do you strike the right balance between being deeply empathetic and not falling down this sort of like empathy sort of thing where you’re just almost crippled because you almost, it’s like you wanna accept the entire whole person and at the same time you also, let’s say you’re advocating for yourself and advocating your position. I mean, I know that sometimes I can get, I’m like maybe,
It’s like, I can’t even say this because I don’t know anything about this person. I don’t know where they’ve come from. I don’t know what they’re going through. It’s so hard for me sometimes even for all of us, you know, to be so direct with somebody, especially in terms of, let’s say, giving feedback. You know what I’m talking about, you know, and I think a lot of leaders struggle with this, you know, and I’m really interested in dissecting this idea, which is how do you strike the right balance between being empathetic, but also at the same time, giving people the feedback and
and also just driving sort of moving things forward. There’s no right or wrong answer, you know, obviously this is just the wisdom, but it can be difficult. The more empathetic that you are, sometimes the more difficult it can be to move forward and get things done. You know what I’m trying to say, yeah.
Tahisha Fugate (36:58.954)
Yeah, it is not easy, my friend. It is hard. But as you were talking, I just kept hearing boundaries. Boundaries, like you’ve got to create boundaries, especially for if you’re a leader of a team. And at the end of the day, no matter what, we got business to take care of, right? So going back to striking the right balance of like, okay, we’re…
Ben Chiriboga (37:09.058)
Yeah, it’s true. Yeah.
Tahisha Fugate (37:27.79)
friendly candor with like trying to like get work done. Same way with feedback. And I think, you know, ultimately like building respect. I think once you do that, it makes it easier to, you know, provide feedback and striking that balance of still being empathetic because people understand that you don’t have any ill intent and you want to help them grow.
Ben Chiriboga (37:46.079)
Ben Chiriboga (37:52.216)
Tahisha Fugate (37:54.546)
and develop and sometimes you have to have uncomfortable conversations. I have, you know, had to do it with team members and I want to think that ultimately, you know, they, you know, respected the feedback and took it to heart because I always lead with like, I want to help you grow, I want to help you develop. I am your partner in your career, you know, and so if there is anything that I can do to show up for you, which
It’s going to be giving feedback. I’m going to have to do that, right? And I’m still going to respect that you have life things going on and ask how can I support you, but we got to get things done.
Ben Chiriboga (38:37.922)
Yeah, I know, I know. No, it’s such a good answer, you know? And within the boundary thing, that’s for sure, like 100. Within that boundary thing, it’s like…
for both parties, you know, it’s like, just assume the best intent for most people. Most people are truly trying to help. Like, there’s so few terrible people in the world. I mean, unfortunately, there are terrible people and really bad people in the world, they’re true. But most of the time, most people are trying to help in the best way that they can, and, you know, they’re doing the best to sort of strike the balance. And I’m just, that’s even just a good way for you to live your life, you know, in that sense. And it just allows you to be more open
Tahisha Fugate (38:57.024)
Tahisha Fugate (39:06.53)
Tahisha Fugate (39:10.251)
Tahisha Fugate (39:17.261)
Ben Chiriboga (39:20.952)
the right way but you know just assume that the person is trying to be as empathetic as they can to the situation and they just don’t know you know they just they can’t read your mind they don’t know they you need to tell them I mean and maybe it all comes back to oh my goodness just communicate you know this communication solve how many things but yeah I don’t know you see
Tahisha Fugate (39:34.339)
Tahisha Fugate (39:37.972)
Yeah. And then also, again, back to community, right? Like even in our workplaces, like you have to get yourself in an in an environment where, you know, you can assume good intent. And and sometimes, you know, that that’s a bit of trial and error. But like just knowing what works for you in terms of like what is going to help you thrive, you know, mentally.
Ben Chiriboga (39:54.198)
Yeah, now it’s strong. Yeah, I know.
Ben Chiriboga (40:06.487)
Tahisha Fugate (40:08.382)
in a particular environment is so important and that comes, that just comes from, you know, the wisdom of life and experience and, you know, being on, you know, different teams and working with different types of people that hopefully you get to a point in your career where you get to, you know, choose your team and choose the people that, you know, you want to spend so much of your working, waking hours with, right? People that you can trust.
Ben Chiriboga (40:32.654)
I know, that’s the dream. That’s really, that’s the dream. What do you want to end with? Feel like, what resonated with you? What’d you feel like? Takeaways, yeah.
Tahisha Fugate (40:45.898)
So take away from this, this was a great conversation, thank you. Take away is community, partnership, showing up for yourself. It is your responsibility. I’ll never forget that I was at a firm and I got so burnt out, right? I was just burnt out, I didn’t know what to do and I was not advocating for myself. I was like.
people should see me drowning and like come and like rescue me, right? That was my mentality. And I submitted my resignation letter and I didn’t even have another job. I was just like, I just can’t do it anymore. And so I had the CMO at the time, basically pull me to the side and basically she was like, you have not because you asked not, right? Like you haven’t said anything to us, right? Like you’ve just been drowning.
no one knew. And at that point I was like, you know what, like it is my responsibility. It is my responsibility to speak up, to raise my hand, to say like, hey, this isn’t working for me. Like, can we discuss, you know, some other avenues? Like, it is your responsibility. Your piece is your responsibility. You know, everything that you’re getting out of your career, like you have to create.
that space for yourself and that all advocacy leads to that. You’ve gotta speak up and you gotta practice. Cause if you don’t do it, it’s never going to be comfortable. You’re always gonna question yourself a little bit, but then it goes back to that community. Do you have people you can bounce ideas off, role play, say like, hey, can you check my temperature?
people know, like I will like text someone and be like, hey, like can you check my temperature on this? Because sometimes, you know, we get in our heads or in our emotions and you just need, you know, someone that you trust to kind of check you.
Ben Chiriboga (42:49.742)
Yeah, that’s it.
I mean, that’s the best way to end this totally. I think it’s just ownership and really putting yourself in there and understanding and just allowing yourself, you know? And, yeah, I mean, you just said it perfectly, you know, just really owning this, owning and the first step just being like, yeah, I’m going to advocate for myself. I’m going to allow for that to happen. I’m going to take the first step for that, you know, overcome the fear, you know, gain a little bit of confidence, learn how to say it effectively, invest in other people’s really
Invest in learning other people and then you know bringing it sort of like all together and really saying you know It’s within my capacity to basically be able to do that I mean all of that kind of stuff is just stepping stones on this path and it never ends You know in a weird way it never ends and never The end has no end, you know, it’s just it’s just it’s just a path, right exactly It is a process, right? Okay
Tahisha Fugate (43:36.086)
Tahisha Fugate (43:40.95)
That’s right. That’s right. You’re a work in progress. You are a work in progress all the time.
Ben Chiriboga (43:48.53)
I appreciate you so much. Thank you so much for being on. Yes, thank you for being on here. All right, everybody, we’re gonna wrap it up. Another This Legal Life. I am so, so excited to share this one whenever it comes out. Tahisha, thank you so very much. Bye, everybody. All right.
Tahisha Fugate (43:50.278)
I appreciate you, thank you. It’s a great conversation.
Tahisha Fugate (44:02.702)
Thank you, take care.