In the next installment of Women Who Wow, learn more about Rafeedah Keys, Senior Marketing Manager at Perkins Coie LLP. I met Rafeedah at a Legal Marketing Association Leaders Conference a few years ago and instantly connected with her when we worked together on a group project. I admired her creativity and leadership style among so many other things.
Rafeedah was on the initial task force that organized LMA’s focus on and implementation of D&I in 2018 and she served as the SIG co-chair during the first two years of the D&I launch. She is now a member of the committee and in the process of getting an official certification as a D&I coach.
Learn more about Rafeedah.
What do you love most about what you do?
I love being a legal marketer because I have always been drawn to excellence, and what better way to ensure you are constantly striving to achieve excellent results than by working with people who demand it. I love working with attorneys. The way they process information and find creative solutions to help their clients inspires me to expand the perceived limits of my creativity to deliver inventive solutions that help Perkins Coie and each attorney with whom I work stand out.
My work is interesting because I’m promoting work that is interesting. Keeping up with market trends and monitoring developments has strengthened my professional agility. No two days are alike, which keeps me on my toes and fulfills me.
Tell us about a woman you look up to and why.
I am a woman’s woman. Supporting women and taking every opportunity I can to elevate them is something about which I am deeply passionate. There have been so many women that have helped me throughout my life and career that it is hard to narrow the list down to one woman whom I admire.
Besides my mother and other women in my family, my high school principal, Dr. Christine Katayama, was one of the first women who believed I could do anything and ensured I had a seat at so many tables in high school and beyond. When I didn’t think I could achieve something she insisted I could, and she was right. I will always be grateful to her for believing in me.
Someone who entered my life more recently is Deborah Ruffins, the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of Perkins Coie’s Marketing Department and an African American CMO who, for me, embodies much-needed representation. I feel privileged to be a member of her team because of her empathetic leadership style. She has impressed upon our team the importance of engagement, listening, radical inclusion, creating exceptional experiences, building strong relationships and seizing new opportunities to differentiate. Deborah expects us to be and do better and that expectation makes a huge difference in how we serve our clients and one another.
Any advice to young women who want to succeed in the workplace?
My advice to young women who want to succeed in the workplace is to (1) strive for excellence in all that you do but don’t sacrifice your sanity for perfection; (2) develop a strong team of advocates who will serve as champions of your goals; (3) never stop learning; and (4) do whatever you can to make the road easier for others through mentorship. You owe it to yourself to see how far you can take YOU. Setting achievable goals, seeking wise counsel to help you hone your craft, networking and surrounding yourself with those who can teach you about roles you would like to occupy someday, and giving back to help others more junior than you successfully navigate a course to their destination will benefit you more than you can know when you are beginning your career. You would be amazed at how many people would be honored to be a part of your journey. Let them in.
What is the best career advice you ever received?
The best career advice I have ever received was to follow the path that leads to doing something I enjoy. Enjoying what I do motivates me to meet my goals and makes me more effective and productive. It also means that most of my days don’t feel like work and I can look back on my efforts and feel fulfilled.