Women Who Mean Business: Why Holland & Knight's Sara Bernard Chose to 'Lean In' to Lead
Real Estate Partner Sara Bernard was interviewed by the Orlando Business Journal about how she led her team to successfully navigate the turbulent waters caused by 2020 and emerge stronger while maintaining a thriving practice. To ensure the firm was successful through the pandemic, Ms. Bernard said she focused on several guiding principles, including the health and well-being of her firm's employees and the fundamentals and principles of customer service. She also noted the importance of making sure "our own home is in order," as the entire firm went remote. She focused on finding new ways to reach out to prospective clients and market services, as well as increasing communications and engagement while individuals worked from home. Additionally, Ms. Bernard said she felt compelled to step in to lead her team through the fraught political environment, and increasing racial and socioeconomic tensions. As a female minority — she is half Korean and half American — she was acutely aware of the inequalities, challenges and insecurities often experienced by diverse individuals. So, she chose to lean into this movement to be a vocal leader in the movement for change.
"Crisis has a way of revealing, course-correcting and recalibrating what leadership really means. One thing that the pandemic taught me is true leadership comes in all sizes, shapes, colors, and has little to do with one’s title," Ms. Bernard said. "Anyone still relying on their title to validate their sense of power or control soon will find out that title is not everything."