Careers Blog

#ChooseToChallenge: Spotlight on Women@CRA

March 15, 2021
Collaboration with colleagues

This year’s International Women’s Day theme was #ChooseToChallenge. In honor of IWD and the many impactful women at CRA, we are highlighting several colleagues who lift others and make a positive difference on the communities and organizations to which they devote their time and support.

Patricia Peláez, Principal, Forensic Services, Chicago

  • Women’s White Collar Defense Association Chicago chapter member and CRA liaison; member of the Annual Symposium Committee of the Illinois Association of Healthcare Attorneys; Auxiliary Board member of the American Red Cross; Auxiliary Board member of PAWS

What interested you in the particular initiative(s) with which you are involved?

I am involved in various initiatives and each intrigued me for different reasons. Each of these organizations provides help, hope, and support and makes a big impact to the members each one supports. Further, each one of these initiatives facilitates connections among individuals with a common goal and mission, while supporting networking, business development, and enhancing awareness.

How did you get involved with these initiatives? What steps did you take?

I was introduced to each initiative under different circumstances. For WWCDA, a male colleague introduced me to the organization and its founder, Karen Popp, and I volunteered to be the liaison between the Association and CRA. My relationship with IAHA came to my attention given my healthcare focus. The American Red Cross is a relationship I have nurtured for many years. PAWS is a personal passion of mine: I am a huge supporter of animals, and have been personally involved with PAWS for almost a decade.

What opportunities/advice do you have for others who may wish to get involved with these initiatives?

When looking to get involved with any initiative, make sure you are passionate about the mission and goal of the organization. This will make the initiative that much more rewarding for it and for you.

What other areas of interest/expertise would you like to share with your colleagues, thereby inviting them to contact you about learning more/getting involved?

Forensic Services. I specialize in applying forensic analysis, compliance, and financial expertise across a variety of industries with a particular interest in healthcare and financial services. I manage compliance assessment engagements, Compliance Monitoring Program projects pursuant to regulators’ expectations, and investigate possible fraud and non-compliance related matters. I invite you to reach out if you’d like to continue the conversation about these, or any other forensic or compliance matters.

 

Cécile Matthews, Vice President, Life Sciences, Cambridge, UK

  • Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association – Cambridge, UK organizing team and mentoring programme

What interested you in the particular initiative with which you are involved?

The ability to meet like-minded women and bring the benefit of our respective experiences to each other, but also to other women that are facing similar challenges, or who are early in their career.

How did you get involved with this initiative? What steps did you take?

I joined the HBA and went to a local Cambridge meeting – the idea to create Cambridge-specific events stemmed from that initial meeting.

What opportunities/advice do you have for others who may wish to get involved with this initiative?

It’s a great opportunity to network within the Cambridge, UK area, to meet other professionals and to share experiences – do join our Cambridge events once they resume post-lockdown!

What other areas of interest/expertise would you like to share with your colleagues, thereby inviting them to contact you about learning more/getting involved?

There are lots of opportunities to get involved with HBA, and they have Chapters in most countries and large cities – if you are UK-based, do reach out, and I can either give you more info or let you know who to contact to get involved!

 

Lisa Stockley, Associate Principal, Antitrust & Competition Economics, Toronto

  • Co-leader of CRA’s global Women@CRA affinity group

What interested you in the particular initiative with which you are involved?

My involvement in corporate diversity and inclusion (“D&I”) does not have typical roots. It started for two primary reasons. First, a member of my professional team was involved in a corporate affinity group, and I found that I was struggling to be a good sponsor to them because it was an area of the firm to which I was completely blind. I decided to get involved in D&I so I could better support them in achieving their career goals. Secondly, this was an opportunity to bring voices from a smaller office into the mix. I wanted to ensure we had a seat at the table and didn’t miss out. I quickly realized, though, that I am a good fit in the D&I community. Although I had never thought of myself as an ally or a champion of D&I, per se, my worldview, my personal and professional goals, and my passions all aligned with fostering a more inclusive and accepting workplace. I found that amongst the affinity groups, I was surrounded by like-minded peers, and I wanted to take on a larger role. I had not realized how well this cause fit me until I tried it on for size.

How did you get involved with this initiative? What steps did you take?

I reached out to Manmeet Desai (Global Immigration Counsel and co-head of CRA’s Diversity & Inclusion Taskforce) in the early spring of 2020, and I told her I was willing to be a leader if there was room for me amongst those ranks. And Manmeet was able to make room for me both within this affinity group and at CRA for the issues I voice at the table.

What opportunities/advice do you have for others who are trying to get involved in a new area?

I’d say try it on for size! Before you start volunteering your time, or joining the board of charities, or jumping into the deep end championing a cause, test out the waters by attending events, suggesting activities, or learning more. Maybe championing the initiative will be the right fit for you, and maybe it won’t – but championing a cause isn’t all or nothing. If you are interested in learning more about Women@CRA or getting more involved, I encourage you to reach out to me or Heidi Whitfield (co-leader).

 

Margarita Patria, Principal, Auctions & Competitive Bidding, Boston

  • Member and supporter of Women’s Energy Network Boston chapter; Northeastern University graduate course lecturer (Economics of Energy Markets and Data Analysis)

What interested you in the particular initiatives with which you are involved?

Women in Energy promotes women’s roles in an industry that is historically male dominant.

How did you get involved with these initiatives? What steps did you take?

I joined, attended multiple events, and then volunteered my time to the marketing committee.

What opportunities/advice do you have for others who may wish to get involved with these initiatives?

It’s a wonderful organization, and I encourage my colleagues to join.

 

Elaine Wood, Vice President, Risk, Investigations & Analytics, New York

  • General Counsel and Board member of Legal Momentum; Member and Director of the Board of the Women’s Forum of New York

What interested you in the particular initiatives with which you are involved?

There are a few reasons: 1) social justice, 2) clients invited me to join, and 3) I wanted to develop relationships with fantastic women whom I admired and then give back and mentor young women who now look at me in the same way!

How did you get involved with these initiatives? What steps did you take?

I started on the advisory board to the Women’s Legal Defense & Education Fund. I am a lawyer and a litigator by training – this caught my interest in social justice and my ability to contribute – plus I love to fight when my client is kicked in the teeth!

What opportunities/advice do you have for others who may wish to get involved with these initiatives?

Follow your passion and your talents. It is only by rolling your sleeves up that you really get to know others and to network.

What other areas of interest/expertise would you like to share with your colleagues, thereby inviting them to contact you about learning more/getting involved?

Litigation support is one area, and sharing expertise across the Women’s Forum is another: we can collaborate to present our knowledge on several subjects. This allows us to showcase our talents and promote the CRA brand.

 

Rachel Berk, Principal, Risk, Investigations & Analytics, New York

  • Board member of CaringKind (former NY chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association)

What interested you in the particular initiative with which you are involved?

Alzheimers and dementia care has always been near and dear to my heart, after seeing family members struggle with the disease and seeing firsthand the toll the disease can take not only on those afflicted with it, but their caretakers and family members as well.

How did you get involved with this initiative? What steps did you take?

I volunteered with the organization for several years before joining the board. I simply enjoyed working with the organization, volunteering to be a “walk ambassador” for the annual walks to raise awareness/funds as well as volunteer the day of the walk at one of the booths, soliciting donations for the silent auction at the annual Gala, volunteering at the auction desk the night of the Gala, and working in the offices to prepare materials for the annual walks.

What opportunities/advice do you have for others who may wish to get involved with this initiative?

It is incredibly fulfilling, exciting, and rewarding to volunteer and/or become a board member for a cause you are dedicated to. If you have the time and resources, I recommend getting involved in any cause that interests you.

What other areas of interest/expertise would you like to share with your colleagues, thereby inviting them to contact you about learning more/getting involved?

I am also a board member for New York Institute on Disability, whose mission is to support family life and community inclusion for children and adults with developmental disabilities who live at home with their families.

 

Cynthia Catlett, Vice President, Risk, Investigations & Analytics, São Paulo

  • Leads the Women’s Network – a women’s empowerment group in Brazil; mentors several minority women from underprivileged financial backgrounds in Brazil

What interested you in the particular initiatives with which you are involved?

Growing up in a multicultural and privileged background in a developing country made me question at a very young age the reason behind so many inequities in the world.

How did you get involved with these initiatives? What steps did you take?

I’ve always been particularly interested in empowering girls and women. I went to an all-girls college – Mount Vernon College – and have since deliberately found ways to empower, hire, motivate, coach and mentor women in my personal and professional life.

What opportunities/advice do you have for others who may wish to get involved with these initiatives?

Don’t get carried away on the formality of doing good. There are plenty of opportunities to help others in our day to day lives.

Any additional information you would like to provide about how you #ChoosetoChallenge?

I choose to close the gender confidence gap.

 

Abby Turner, Principal, Labor & Employment, Tallahassee

  • Leads CRA Tallahassee’s annual holiday gift drive supporting the Guardian ad Litem Foundation Second Circuit

What interested you in the particular initiative with which you are involved?

I am a member of our office’s Social and Volunteer Committee. Several years ago we were interested in finding a charity event to complement our annual office holiday celebrations, and I took the lead on reaching out to the Guardian ad Litem foundation to coordinate our efforts with theirs. The foundation helps children who have experienced abuse, abandonment, and neglect find their way to a safe, loving, and permanent home.

How did you get involved with this initiative? What steps did you take?

I just reached out to the organization and have kept in touch over the years!

What opportunities/advice do you have for others who may wish to get involved with this initiative?

Reach out to your local Guardian ad Litem foundation and get involved! If you are interested in coordinating efforts across your workplace, get involved with the volunteer committee, or start one if it doesn’t exist.

 

Stacey Cornell, Talent Acquisition Manager, Human Capital, London

  • Volunteers with UK-based charity Re-engage

What interested you in the particular initiative with which you are involved?

I feel that elderly people are often forgotten about and charities supporting them are sometimes overlooked. I liked the idea of providing socialisation to elderly people.

How did you get involved with this initiative? What steps did you take?

I searched online for volunteering opportunities. Re-engage was also running an advertising campaign at the time, so that created some awareness of who they were.

What opportunities/advice do you have for others who may wish to get involved with this initiative?

Don’t delay – look for something now and sign-up. I feel like volunteering was something I had thought about for a while, and I wish I signed-up sooner.

Any additional information you would like colleagues to know about the support you provide to the initiative?

I enjoy the tea parties that I take part in as the elder generation have been through so many changes in their life and their stories are incredible. I believe that engaging with that generation gives you perspective on life and helps you educate them about things that are happening today. Know that a lot of them have family that have moved far away, and your contact with them can give more than you think.

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