Monica B. Stallings – TCWLF Board Member
From a very young age, I knew I wanted to be a lawyer. I’m grateful to have been raised by parents who told me that I could be whatever I dreamed of being when I grew up. What I didn’t know as a young girl; however, was how marginalized women have been in the legal field. While women have equaled or outnumbered men in law school attendance since the late 1980s, men still dominate the profession at the more senior levels. As such, I’ve found it extremely important in my career to meaningfully connect with other women attorneys. The close personal and professional relationships with my female peers allow us to empower, support, guide, and cheer on each other. And it’s equally important that we women who are privileged enough to serve as attorneys take the time to help the women in our communities who are far less fortunate.
In that vein, in May of 2015, just a few days after I moved to Austin, I attended the Travis County Women Lawyers Association “Membership is Sweet” event. I had been invited to the event by an especially kind woman named Lessie Gilstrap, who was the president-elect of the TCWLA, and whom I had met the month prior at the Austin Bar Association’s annual Bench Bar Conference. When I met Lessie again in May, she encouraged me to attend the events and build friendships with the very supportive and friendly members of TCWLA. I became a member, and the more women I met and the more I learned about TCWLA and its sister group Travis County Women Lawyers Foundation (TCWLF), the more convinced I became that this was a truly special organization. I set a goal early on that within two years I would join the board of either faction and, thus, join the ranks of women attorneys who dedicate their time and efforts to building up other women in the community.
This spring, Lessie honored me by asking me to serve on the board of the Travis County Women Lawyers Foundation, the fundraising charitable group linked to the TCWLA. Each year, TCWLF puts together a luncheon where it awards several thousand dollars to local groups and nonprofit organizations that work for the advancement, safety, and welfare of women. It is truly an honor to serve on this board and work with this team of powerful, smart, passionate women. I’m extremely grateful, and I hope to help make this TCWLF’s most successful year of giving yet!