The Quintessential JD Preferred Career: An Interview with Eliza Leigh

  • Published on:
    December 22, 2020
  • Reading time by:
    5 minutes
The Quintessential JD Preferred Career: An Interview with Eliza Leigh womenontopp.com women on topp

Meet Bossbabe Eliza Leigh, a Juris Doctor, the Senior Operations Manager at Tofer & Associates and among her various responsibilities, the main focus is managing the firm’s San Bernardino County Branch. She is the most senior employee in the firm and has worn many hats including demand writer, pre-litigation case manager, and litigation department manager.

Never heard of Juris Doctor? This is the highest education available in the legal profession in the United States and is considered a professional degree. The J.D. will prepare the student to take the state bar exam allowing them to practice law in their state. 

We interviewed Eliza Leigh in this article. She spoke to us about her legal work, as well as giving some advice to young women. 

What inspired you to pursue a career as a JD?

I was born and raised in the Philippines and at 16, I was elected to our town’s youth council (Sangguniang Kabataan) and it exposed me to public service, politics, law and the many injustices one can experience without help from the right people. That’s when the idea of going to law school first came to me.

How do you make sure you keep your clients happy and satisfied?

Our clients are the ones who are injured and vulnerable because they just had an accident. The easiest way to keep them happy is to listen to their concerns and then be able to address those issues. They appreciate it when you patiently explain every step that needs to be done in order for their case to move timely and efficiently.  

I keep my clients satisfied by making sure I deliver what I promised and I deliver it on time or earlier than they expected it to be done. Of course, there are times when unexpected hurdles get in the way of delivery but if you are able to update them of what is happening, then that will be appreciated as well. The key is always keeping them in the loop because it is THEIR case, after all.

What activities do you enjoy outside of work?

I love travelling – exploring new places and experiencing different cultures and I also enjoy a lot of socializing outside of work whether with family, friends or colleagues. However, I do appreciate my me time and love journalling and writing my thoughts whether in my blog, social media or my little notebook. I also watch Korean drama as well as spend a lot of time in Smule (a singing app) where I can sing to my heart’s content.

What advice do you have for someone young (or old) looking to build a career as a Senior Operations Manager?

I always say that there are three things that you need to succeed in any career – hard work, great work ethics and confidence. Hard work will always move your career because it will show what you can do and how you do it. It is almost impossible for anything not to move if you are working really hard.

Great work ethics is a bit different. Some people are born with it while others need to learn it. This is something I really believe in. When you have this, you will gain not just the trust of your employers but also the people around you. It shows a lot not just about the way you work but your own trustworthiness.

Lastly, confidence. A healthy competition never hurts but it is always best to compete with yourself. Each time you beat your own record, your confidence grows and when you have real confidence, everyone around you can feel it and it will be a strong driving force for your career to grow.

How would you describe your leadership style and what has made it so effective?

My leadership style is that of a coach. I am supportive of my team and my goal is for them to develop their strengths and to help them recognize their weaknesses so they can find ways to either eliminate or transform those limitations into something they can use to their advantage. 

I think it is effective because it creates a positive and motivating environment for our team. When you provide positive reinforcement with your feedback, team members are most likely to appreciate your efforts, respect you, and most of them, if not all, will feel motivated to do better as they see their own progress. 

Share with us the must-haves for working women

In general terms, working women need to have some “me time” where we are able to relax and enjoy ourselves. It is important to take care of ourselves – mentally, emotionally and physically.

In specific terms, my must haves are (1) my journal to organize my schedule, to dos and thoughts, (2) a skin care regimen to make sure stress and working a lot don’t contribute to my natural aging and (3) reliable high heels that will allow you to feel confident but will not punish you after standing on it for hours.

To what do you attribute your success?

I believe success is attained because of the help of so many people around you so the answer to this question will be my family and friends. Sepcifically though, I attribute what I have achieved:

  1. To my parents who raised me well, gave me the best education that they could give and supported me through my ups and downs in life. 
  2. My grandma – “lola mama,” who always brought me with her as she did her business and this instilled in me an entrepreneur mindset. 
  3. My aunt Raquel who is my constant cheerleader and backer.
  4. My husband, Stephen, my kids, Reisz, Sophie and my fur baby, Boba for being my source of strength, courage and love.

What is your next big goal? How do you think you can achieve this one?

My next goal is to create a program which can be a resource for Filipinos who are in California. The vision is for them to have a safe place to ask questions, to find people who can help them with their issues and to help them promote their own businesses.

It is quite a big dream so I will need help from a lot of people. For now, it is in the planing stages and in order to reach the end goal, I need to find people who have the same dream and figure out a way to work together.

How do you think modern women can be more fulfilled in their lives?

It is all about balance. Modern women need to find the balance between career and personal lives. What makes them happy, what makes them fulfilled, what makes them content may have different answers and finding an equilibrium between all that is important.It isn’t easy and the more they learn about themselves, the better the chances to find fulfillment.

What steps do you take when you want to get through a less of a good business day?

When I am having a bad day at work, I will take a breather.  I will close my door, close my eyes and not do anything for 5 minutes. This helps clear my mind and calm me down.  After that, I try to reflect on why my day is going down the slopes. I try to figure out what is in my control and what isn’t. Then I do the things that are within my control and let go of the emotions associated with what I cannot control. This way, I know I did my best to transform that day for the better.

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