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Culture is Everything

by Ashala Naidu, Lawyer
Family Law • Real Estate • Wills and Estates

Workplace Culture was, and continues to be very important to Naidu Legal. As a person who has worked in both positive work environments with a huge amount of autonomy, to negative work environments with a traditional top down approach, I knew that setting a positive and collegial tone in the workplace was an integral part of my core values as a business owner.

Family First.
A family first approach and support of mother’s in the workplace has been a part of workplace culture that has remained very true to my heart. We attract extremely talented mother’s to our firm, in particular because they know they will be in a work environment where “doing it all” never translates to “look after your work first, and your family second.” As a mother myself, who was well supported in my previous gig (including encouraging leaving work early for child commitments, and frequent rice puddings to battle pregnancy nausea!), to being completely misunderstood in another legal job, I knew that setting a culture which valued and encouraged moms to be “moms first”, would be fostered. It has taken me my entire life to not feel that crying is a sign of weakness, and most of the girls on the team have seen me shed a few tears, and have maybe even shed a few tears themselves, when we feel the impact and intersect of busy days, and our roles as parents. We always make it work because that is what great teams do.

Be Inclusive.
Inclusivity is vital in creating amazing culture. Our approach to teamwork in projects and cases has been a rewarding part of working with my team. We always work together collaboratively. Different people, from different backgrounds and skill sets, always have something diverse to bring to the table. Including team members into discussions makes us all feel valued, and more accountable for the work which we produce for our clients. Inclusivity in decision making and important work has resulted in better production and commitment to our projects. That sense of empowerment goes a long way in creating beautiful culture.

In any workplace, there will be certain relationships that grow and flourish more than others – and that’s ok. I have always been mindful to ensure that new team members are made to feel welcomed and valued from the moment they step in the door. I learned an extremely hard lesson earlier this year relating to a bad call that I made for a team event and the impact it would have on a colleague. I think about this mistake often, and am mindful that I never want anyone to ever feel unwelcome. Part of being a leader is owning up to mistakes, and this is one I take full accountability for, but with a hung head.

Embrace Diversity.
Fostering and encouraging different strengths and weaknesses is a wonderful way to set workplace culture. We are all extremely different people at Naidu Legal, but we all have attributes that truly enhance the workplace environment. We have procrastinators, academics, empaths, odd ducks (a few, including me), go-getters, extraverts, introverts and everything in between. Part of a positive workplace culture for me is embracing diversity, and that if we all did things exactly the same, or were exactly the same people, it could be a super stale, boring and lame work environment.

Walking into Naidu Legal is not perfect, but I know that we have a positive, friendly and encouraging workplace, and that is because of the wonderful people who are inside of it. When I walk in, I feel like I am at home.