Spotlight: Kim Cochran

Kim Cochran

Q: Please tell us about your current role and how you got to where you are today.

A: I am currently counsel in the Novant Health Legal Department, focusing on board governance and corporate matters.  I also support our direct-to-employer health group. Prior to this role, I worked in the Legal Department at Wells Fargo in recovery and resolution planning, with a focus on governance mechanisms. My career path has been shaped by doing good work for good leaders. I have benefited from good leaders getting new opportunities, which in turn have created new opportunities for me.

Q: What are some best practices when looking for a new position within your organization?

A: Look for synergies between your current role and the new position. I had no experience in healthcare when I accepted my current role. However, I did have experience in a highly regulated industry, something banking and healthcare have in common. Give thought to how your skills could transfer to the new role, even if the industry or practice area is different.

If you are lucky enough to work for a great leader, lean into that relationship. Work hard and prove your value. Be open to hitching your wagon and seeing where it leads you. Sometimes who you are working for is more important than what you are working on.

Q: What are some best practices for junior lawyers looking to stand out and move up in your organization?

A: Train yourself to have confidence. I used to stay quiet in the conference room, scurrying down notes, and then try to decipher everything alone in my office. There is value to speaking up, asking questions, and throwing out ideas, even if you are new on the scene. Perception becomes reality, and you will be perceived as a confident contributor who is invested in the matter.

Next, find trusted thought partners and bounce your ideas off them.  I regularly pick up the phone to run my thoughts by colleagues.  Two brains are better than one, plus it gives me a preview of what follow-up questions clients might have.

Lastly, I believe deeply in organic relationship building.  Not the kind where you want something from the person down the road, but actually getting to know people because it makes your life and theirs richer.  At the end of the day, people like to work with people they like.  Take the time to ask your colleagues, clients, and partners about their families, their interests, their weekends.  It makes work a lot more enjoyable, and it builds trust in your professional interactions that follow.

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