Senior Vice President, Hilco Streambank
Richelle Kalnit serves as senior vice president of Hilco Streambank, an operating unit of Hilco Global, where she manages intellectual property monetization engagements including the sale of brand names, trademarks, patents and domain names.
Richelle assists clients in developing marketing plans for their intellectual property assets and oversees the team implementing these plans by thoroughly and creatively canvassing the marketplace to maximize the value of those assets. She has experience in the sale of intellectual property assets in bankruptcy, out-of-court sale processes, assignments for the benefit of creditors and Article 9 foreclosure sales.
Richelle joined Hilco Streambank with more than a decade of legal experience. Most recently, she was a member of the bankruptcy and restructuring group of Cooley LLP. She began her career at the law firm of King & Spalding LLP.
Richelle graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, cum laude, and received her law degree from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University, where she graduated cum laude and was in the top 10% of her class. She lives in Westport, Connecticut, with her husband and two sons.
What advice would you offer to women just starting out in the industry?
Embrace your role by asking questions and pitching in.
Ask questions, multiple times if needed, of multiple team members, when you are unsure of how to proceed on a particular deal or assignment. Of course, your go-to will often be your direct supervisor or the person leading the deal, but if you don’t get the guidance you need, do not hesitate to reach out to others on your team. Even if they aren’t involved in the deal, they may have unique perspectives and may approach the issue with a fresh set of eyes. If nothing else, you are showing your colleagues and team members that you care enough to ask, that you are grappling with the issues, and that you value their opinions.
Pitch in as much as you can on deals that come across your desk and maybe even those that do not. When you are just starting out, make yourself available for nearly any work assignment that you can. Be careful though, as you get more senior, and especially as a woman, that you are not constantly falling in the trap of being responsible for ordering coffee during a late night meeting, or ordering lunch during weekend meetings. Be a team player, but be sure your role on the team advances as those less experienced than you join.
What do you know now that you wish you knew in the beginning of your career?
I wish I knew that I could serve as a mentor to others relatively early in my career. Many of the organizations we work with bring in new classes of associates/analysts each year. Use the opportunity in year two to make yourself available to the members of the incoming class. You have at least one year of experience they do not, and you will find it is rewarding for you, valuable for them, and beneficial for your team to help members of the incoming class navigate the minefields that perhaps you stumbled through. Before you know it, your experience will serve as a wealth of information to others, and you’ll have had years of mentoring under your belt. Whether it is how to navigate work trips while enduring morning sickness or helping others who return to work after maternity leave, mentoring the next generation of women with whom we work is incredibly gratifying and good for everyone.
What is your approach/advice to change in the workplace?
Be flexible, embrace change and do not let it catch you flat-footed. Develop a wide network, both within and outside of your organization. The people in this network will serve as valuable resources in a changing organization. There are often many opportunities to network outside of your organization, including conferences and events. But networking within your organization should not be underestimated. If you have been a summer associate or analyst, it can be easy to develop an internal network with the other members of your class. Utilize their expertise, which each of you will develop over time and, as they move on to other roles, and perhaps you may as well, continue to utilize them as resources and, perhaps, they will become clients and referral sources. If you find yourself in a new organization, draw upon the resources of your prior network while being proactive in forming or joining a new group of thought leaders, so that you have subject matter experts and resources you can turn to within your new environment.