For those of you that don’t know Karen Popp-you need to. She is nothing short of a hero for women in this field. She has spent the last two decades committing herself to changing the playing field for women in the white collar field and she has done just that and more.
In 1999 she and a handful of women met at the American Bar Association’s White Collar Conference and noticed there were small numbers of women in private practice handling white collar cases. And they noticed that the big cases were going to the men. They vowed to support one another and change that.
They began holding regular meetings in Washington, D.C. and New York City. They also began meeting at the annual ABA White Collar Conference with women from other cities. In 2002, several of these women began the tradition of arriving a day early before the ABA conference to network at a nearby resort spa. They dubbed these network gatherings as “spa day” as a kind of comic spoof on the typical male networking location on a golf course. But almost two decades later that group has grown from about ten women to over 1000 women in 24 chapters around the world. And a large part of the heart and soul that has pushed this growth is Karen Popp. The group is now formally the Women’s White Collar Defense Association, with its own website and an annual meeting that takes place the day before the ABA White Collar Conference at a nearby resort spa. Two hundred women attend, with a wait list due to space limitations. The women of Collora, PL such as Maria Durant, Eve Slattery, and Kathy Weinman, along with other critical sponsors have organized and supported the annual meeting for years.
This hasn’t been a one-woman show by any means, and there have been many women that have committed time and resources to growing the association but Karen’s vision and commitment to grow a strong association of women in the white collar field has not only guided us but inspired us to do more to support one another. Read her interview in Corporate Crime Reporter here.
The Corporate Crime Reporter also provided their list of 150 women in the field but this is certainly not an exhaustive list of the great women in the field yet it is an important statement of our strength and growth. It also serves as evidence that the Women White Collar Defense Association is doing exactly what it set out to do.