In this installment of Women Who Wow, meet Lowenstein Sandler’s Penny Paul!
A graduate of Yale University and Cardozo School of Law, Penny has over 15 years of experience in communications, PR and marketing. Currently the Senior Manager of Marketing Communications at Lowenstein Sandler, Penny has worked both in house and as a consultant conceptualizing, designing, and launching integrated PR, business development and marketing campaigns for law firms as well as Fortune 500 companies and non-profit organizations. She is active in local theater in Northern New Jersey.
Why did you choose your profession?
When I was growing up, what I really wanted to be was an actress. After trying to make it out in Hollywood for a few years – yes, really – I decided to follow in my family’s footsteps and go to law school. While I loved the study of law, especially research and writing, I quickly found that the practice of law was not for me. I am not fond of confrontation! I also became a mom, and I wanted to be more available to my children than the practice of law would have allowed me to be at that time. My first job in communications was doing PR for lawyers, and suddenly everything seemed to click into place. I could use my law school education in ways that were more suited to my lifestyle and my personality.
What do you love most about what you do?
Growing up in a family of lawyers, I’ve always had great respect for the law, and interest in how it shapes our lives. I love working with smart people who are doing what they can to make the world a more equitable place. In legal marketing, no day is ever the same; sure, it can be stressful, but it’s invigorating to have lots of projects going on simultaneously, and to work in an environment where people expect excellence. I’m always learning!
What do you wish you could tell your younger self?
I would tell my younger self that we define our own success. I spent way too much time in my life comparing myself to others. (I went to Yale, so it is hard not to compare myself to some of my former classmates who have Oscars and Pulitzers and who have run for president!). Now I realize that my personal happiness is my own success. I’d also tell myself that things really will work out, I hated hearing that when I was younger, and I was crying over a breakup or a lost job opportunity or anything else that seemed like the end of the world while I was going through it. Now I look back and realize that things really did work out for the best, even those events that seemed so horrible and painful.
How do you achieve work/life balance?
I find I am much happier when I have a creative outlet. I have been involved in theatre my whole life. I thought I had to give that up when I became a lawyer, but when I moved to New Jersey 20 years ago I found all kinds of wonderful opportunities in community theater.
I have acted in and directed countless productions in Northern New Jersey since coming here in 1998: these outside projects always inspire and energize me. My law firm marketing jobs have not always allowed me enough free time to pursue this passion, so I am grateful that my current job and commute give me the evenings free for rehearsals. This allows me to really to be my “whole self,” and also introduces me to an entirely different set of people than those I meet in the corporate world. Theater also enhances my professional life: through theatre I have learned how to work hard, collaborate with others, improvise when necessary, and that “the show must go on!” It’s really helped me better communicate with all kinds of audiences, understand nuance and subtleties of human behavior, and to find innovative ways to achieve objectives.
Who inspires you?
You, Stefanie, have really influenced me when it comes to bringing one’s “whole self” to LinkedIn and the workplace generally. I used to keep my theatrical life, and a huge part of my personality, separate from my “work identity.” I even dressed differently at work, in hopes of being taken more seriously, I’ve been following you for a few years and really admire your openness on social media, and how to refuse to tamp down your style and experiences to fit a corporate cookie cutter image. So I had you in mind when I posted my recent interview in Broadway World on LinkedIn, which I usually use only for work items. I got my biggest reaction ever from that post – so thank you!
What is a surprising/fun fact about you?
I have a bit part in the movie “Electric Boogaloo, Breakdance 2.” Blink and you will miss me! If you want a really fun fact about me: my grandfather was a founding partner of Paul, Weiss!