Q&A with New Girl Mika Mayer
I am very happy to introduce the first post in our ongoing Q&A series. New Girl Mika Mayer chats with us about gender bias, her mentor, work/life, and loving her job.
Mayer is a partner at Morrison & Foerster LLP and co-founded the firm’s Venture Intellectual Property Group with senior partner Tom Ciotti.
What piece of advice would you give young women early in their careers to help mitigate gender bias?
I think being able to recognize the patterns of gender bias is an important first step in understanding and learning effective strategies for dealing with the bias, and websites like this can be a great tool for getting information out there. I would encourage women to heavily rely on their personal and professional networks for support, suggestions, and guidance as soon as they have a concern.
What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of my team. They are an amazing group of individuals and we work extremely well together in a natural system of mutual help and contribution. I believe that our team interactions are one of the most concrete forms of a positive influence, and that is something I value very highly.
Who has been an important mentor to you? How has he or she supported you?
Tom Ciotti, a well-known and respected patent attorney and senior partner at my firm, was an incredible mentor to me. In fact, he was so much more than a mentor. He supported me in every possible way through all aspects of my career. He gave me challenging and interesting assignments and demanded excellence. He demonstrated confidence in my ability and work product, and never took credit for my work. He promoted me inside and outside our firm, and discussed my work and accomplishments whenever possible. He always brought me to the table and fought for me to be there when others were hesitant to bring me along. He also shared years of professional and personal wisdom, and helped prepare me for my success. I aspire to be that type of mentor and hope that I have a positive impact on others.
What do you love most about your job?
Sometimes I feel like I’m one of only a few attorneys who actually enjoys what they do. I recognize that one’s career has to fit into the broader context of one’s life, not the other way around. They are both (life and career) long haul projects, and so being able to grow, evolve, learn, and have a sense of satisfaction through the journey is simply critical to me. I am very fortunate to have a job that I love.
In addition to providing the opportunity for continued learning in science, technology, and the law, my job helps me feel connected to the process that brings life-saving technologies to the public. This is very rewarding to me. My job also reflects many of my inherent character traits, such as attention to detail and the satisfaction of helping good ideas become successful, and so it allows me to earn a living by being myself.
What’s your favorite drink?
My favorite drink is water, however sometimes I freeze it and mix it with other things.