Armstrong Teasdale broke new ground when partner Tessa Trelz
founded the Professional Advancement of Women program (PAW) in 1998. At the time, few firms focused resources on helping qualified women partners and associates succeed. Since then, PAW has served as a model for programs at other firms and Tessa was honored with the Women Trailblazer Award from The University of Missouri-St. Louis.
The PAW program’s mission is to create a positive and supportive environment for women partners and associates through mentoring, networking and educational opportunities. It also aims to strengthen existing relationships with women clients and prospects as well as forge new relationships between professional and executive women in the community. The program is now led by partner Hillary Schumaker
Through its PAW and Diversity programs, the firm has been a thought leader in acknowledging that women and minorities face different challenges at law firms that require different solutions. These two programs bring to bear the power, influence, time and effort of a larger number of attorneys and staff who are committed to the goal of inclusion. The programs offer both minority and women lawyers access to a wide array of professional development programs and initiatives.
Evidence of PAW’s success can also be found in the leadership roles women now hold at Armstrong Teasdale, including positions on the firm’s management and compensation committees. The following are some examples: Lori Bockman
co-chairs Armstrong Teasdale’s public finance practice area and is the firm’s general counsel; Tessa leads the Corporate Services practice group; Jennifer Schwesig
, a Law360 “Rising Legal Star,” heads the International subgroup; and Jovita Foster
chairs the Diversity Committee. Several key staff directors are also women.
Additionally, Armstrong Teasdale is an original sponsor of the annual St. Louis Business Journal‘s
Most Influential Business Women Awards, which began 15 years ago. The awards recognize top area women for their business acumen and significant accomplishments.