Porter of Gibbons discusses "game changer" of her career
Name : Jennifer M. Porter
Title : Director
Company/firm : Gibbons P.C.
Years with Company/firm : 7
Years in field : 12
Years in real estate industry : 12
Address : One Gateway Center, Newark, NJ 07102
Telephone : 973-596-4615
Email : JPorter@gibbonslaw.com
URL : www.gibbonslaw.com
Real estate organizations/affiliations : Member, New York State Bar Association; Municipal Law and Real Property Law Sections; Member, New Jersey Bar Association; Land Use Law Section; Member, Connecticut Bar Association; Planning and Zoning Section; Member, Pennsylvania Bar Association; Real Property, Probate & Trust Law Section; Member of the Steering Committee, Young Community Development Professionals Association; and Leadership 35 Committee Member, National Women's Law Center
How do you and/or your firm use social media?
I use Linked In and Facebook to market myself and the firm. I regularly reach out to people I work with or have worked with in the past, to stay in touch and on their radar screens. I also like to post compelling articles I think might interest my network or events that people in my network may be interested in attending. For the Gibbons Real Property & Environmental Law Alert blog (rpelawalert.com), I frequently write articles on such topics as the State Environmental Quality Act (SEQRA) and recent case law developments.
What is your biggest leadership challenge, other than the "glass ceiling"?
My biggest leadership challenge is finding new ways to grow and expand my book of business. In the past, I have always focused primarily on providing stellar service to some of the firm's most significant clients, which helped propel me to a director position. However, in becoming a director, it is now just as important that I bring new clients to the firm as it is to continue to foster and grow existing firm client relationships. The key for me is getting beyond the fear of asking and putting my business plan into action.
What is the most daring thing you've done for your career? How did it turn out for you?
The most daring thing I've done for my career is leaving my prior firm, which I loved and at which I had worked since I was in law school, to come to Gibbons for an opportunity to devote my practice entirely to real estate development in the tri-state area. I'm thrilled to say that I have never once regretted my decision, and coming to Gibbons has allowed me to grow exponentially as an attorney and to find my niche in the field of real estate law and development. As they say, "the bigger the risk, the bigger the reward."
Which project, deal or transaction was the "game changer" in the advancement of your career?
I supervised a team of attorneys on all phases of branch development for a national financial services firm in connection with its regional expansion into more than 70 new locations. This was a "game changer" for my career because it put my leadership capabilities in the spotlight, and the multi-year project helped this client achieve all of its business goals. This project also helped my firm to forge a long-standing relationship with the client.
What do you consider to be the most successful way to increase referrals?
I have found that the most successful way to get referrals is to give referrals. I frequently reach out to my referral network and let my contacts know that I am thinking about them and am on the lookout for opportunities for them. This is also a great opportunity to mention that if they know of anyone looking for something in my field or in need of my services, they should not hesitate to call. Reciprocation is key!
What is the BEST advice you have ever received?
Believe in yourself and believe in your dreams. You can truly have it all!
What is your favorite tip for balanced living?
It's the quality of the time you spend on the different aspects of your personal life and career, not the quantity, that counts. When you're at work, focus on work and getting through your to-do list for that day. When you're at home, focus on your family. There will certainly be times where one world collides with the other and you have two masters to please, but if you work hard to create a separate space between the two and limit the overlap to the extent possible, you'll be happier in both worlds.
Where would you like to be in 10 years?
It would be great to be right here at Gibbons as an equity partner with a solid client base and a wonderful team of attorneys working with me on a number of large projects that I brought to the firm. I would like to be teaching a course on land use at a law school or college as well. I also hope to continue to be blessed with the love and support of my family....