Meet the next Woman Who Wows, Erika Galarneau, the Marketing and Business Development Manager at Hawaii law firm Cades Schutte LLP.

I met Erika through the Legal Marketing Association in NYC, when we were both volunteers, and I very much enjoyed getting to know her. She now lives in Hawaii (lucky her!). Learn more about Erika’s career path and background.

Tell us about your career path.

I started my career as a paralegal in Tokyo, Japan, while contemplating law school. A recruiter reached out to me with a legal marketing opportunity and once I accepted it I never looked back.

I worked at the Tokyo office of a major international law firm and through that firm, I made my big move to New York. After about five years working at larger international law firms in New York, I moved to Hawai‘i for family in the middle of the pandemic. Luckily my firm was looking for a marketing manager at the right time!

I am now working as a Marketing and Business Development Manager at Cades Schutte, full-service law firm in Hawai‘i.

Hawai‘i is a great place to live, I can’t complain about having warm weather year-long and it’s especially a great place to be during the pandemic (it’s easy to social distance on a hike or at the beach).

My career has taken me to many different geographies, and I have learned a lot from these experiences.

 Tell us about a woman you look up to and why.

I have worked with several amazing women during my career that I look up to. I am blessed to be working in an industry with so many powerful women. One person, who I’ve had the opportunity to work for at two separate firms and made a big impact in shaping my career, is Betsy Donovan. I really respect how she can bring the team together and give us a sense of camaraderie, in addition to making sure we have a voice at the table.

 What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?

One of my first bosses told me that no one is good at their job from the beginning, you need to learn and grow. She said that everyone makes mistakes, and the way you handle these are different depending on your level of experience. When you’re starting in your career, if you mess up it’s important to report it to your superior and ask what you should do. When you’re mid-level in your career this changes, and your messaging to superiors is probably closer to, “there was a mistake, I have these possible solutions, what do you suggest?”

Finally, when you’re senior-level the communication more closely resembles, “I made a mistake, but I already did XYZ to fix it.” This was very simple advice but it has served as a milestone for me throughout my career and also helped me gain confidence when I was feeling down when something didn’t go right at work.