Carolina Zang, Partner, Zang, Bergel & Viñes Abogados
How long have you been working for your current company?
I joined Zang, Bergel & Viñes Abogados in 1995 as junior associate in the corporate law department, and have been working at the firm ever since. I studied at NYU and worked as a Foreign Associate with Chadbourne & Parke LLP, New York.
Briefly explain your career history and what led you to your current position
While I was studying at university, I spent my summers doing internships at ZBV Abogados, where my father is a founding partner. After graduation, I analysed my options and decided that joining ZBV was not to be discarded. I started as junior associate in the corporate law practice and gained experience in several markets, such as debt restructuring, real estate, M&A, banking and finance. In 2008, I was became a partner in Banking & Capital Markets.
What is your proudest professional achievement and why
I believe my greatest achievement is being able to successfully remain in the profession all these years, with a husband, two children and a dog whilst also building a name for myself in the banking and finance market. Nowadays, I advise approximately one-third of the Argentine companies that are active in the Buenos Aires Stock Exchange.
What are the greatest challenges that you face in your current role and what do you do to overcome them
The main challenge was and still is balancing family and work all at the same time. Women need to be a lot more flexible than men because when we balance work and family, we need to handle heterogeneous activities at the same time. Fortunately, we have lots of characteristics that are very valuable for a business and help us overcome many challenges: intuition, strength, humanness and empathy. Women tend to humanize the workplace and deal with situations with understanding and empathy. This certainly helps to create more motivated, cohesive work teams, to attract and retain talent and to be able to listen to client’s needs.
How difficult is it for you personally to attain work-life balance and how do you endeavour to do this?
It's very difficult but it's possible. That’s why I am positive that a job needs to be rewarding and challenging. I have two young children that demand my time and attention, and I have many other interests besides my job. How do I manage? First of all, I have a great partner. My husband respects what I do and has always encouraged me to pursue a successful career. He is a very present parent so we can actually share child-rearing responsibilities and I always remind myself: perfection is the enemy of possible.
Did you have a mentor or role model in your career or while you were studying law? Who were they and how did they help you?
In terms of mentoring, I was lucky enough to have my father as my main mentor, working alongside him at the same law firm. I have always been very open to receiving advice and trying to learn from all the people I work with, both colleagues and clients.
How effective do you think corporate diversity initiatives are? What methods do you think are most effective and why?
Companies need to find creative ways to make marriage and parenthood compatible with work, not only because of women, but also because nowadays men are a lot more present in their children’s lives. Some initiatives, such as specific recruitment strategies, flexi-time, wokring from home and more vacation days are definitely needed if we want the participation of women at the top. Also, those of us who are in managerial positions need to be more active in mentoring and supporting other women so that they can reach their maximum potential at work without resigning motherhood and work-life balance. We need to keep doors open for other women. Last, but not least, I think it is very important to give the right message to our children; to show them that it is possible to choose and succeed and be happy with those choices.
Were there any points in your career when you felt you were at a disadvantage or at an advantage because you were female?
No, actually I felt quite the opposite. I have always used my female traits to my advantage. This has always helped me in my career.
What do you think have been the most significant changes for women in the legal industry over the past five years?
I am happy to see more women lawyers in all positions: partners at firms, heads at corporate legal departments and at the judiciary as well.