Bethani is a nationally recognized financial attorney with experience representing banks and large financial institutions in a variety of asset- based lending transactions, including loan syndications and participations, revolving and term loan facilities, secured and unsecured credit facilities, intercreditor arrangements, and acquisition financings. Last year, she represented clients in transactions with total value surpassing $7 billion. Bethani has 10 years of practical business experience prior to her legal career, which enables her to easily recognize client’s needs and goals. In addition to her professional accolades, Bethani is actively involved with the Zaban Paradies Homeless Shelter, a local charity that helps homeless couples transition off the streets by providing financial support, social services, meals, room and board and other vital services.
Bethani was named a member of the inaugural class of the Secured Finance Network’s 40 Under 40 Award winners in September, 2016.
Bethani received her J.D., cum laude, from Georgia State University College of Law, 2014 and a B.B.A., magna cum laude, from the University of Georgia, 2005
What advice would you offer to women just starting out in the industry?
Foremost, focus on learning your craft and keeping that focus as you advance through your career. There’s so much to learn at the beginning that it’s easy to get lost in it all, so keeping that focus as your guide is key. The industry changes faster each year to keep pace with evolving technology, so take advantage of the endless continuing education opportunities as a way to learn and grow throughout your career. But always remember at the end of the day, good work product and responsiveness to client needs remain the very best marketing.
Second, find opportunities to add value and take ownership of every assignment— no matter how insignificant you think it might be in the scope of the broader transaction. Your senior colleagues deeply appreciate meaningful effort put into assignments and the diligence with which you complete it. Moreover, look ahead and anticipate the needs of your supervisors and your clients. Eagerness, attentiveness, curiosity, and responsiveness never go unnoticed.
What do you know now that you wish you knew in the beginning of your career?
When I first started out, I had no idea how many different ways there were to get involved in the industry and my community. This is the best and easiest way to start networking early in your career. Industry groups and community organizations are eager to bring new faces into the fold, and these groups provide great opportunities for younger professionals to expand their network. So don’t be afraid to raise your hand and be willing to contribute your ideas, energy, and time. With that said, with a finite number of hours in each day, it’s easy to over-extend and over-commit. Volunteering for 10 different boards will not help your career if you cannot give each organization the time and energy it deserves while still doing a bang-up job in your work. If you’re unsure about which group is best, my advice is get involved in community groups with missions that align with your passions.
What kind of role has mentoring and/or sponsorship played in your career?
I am fortunate to have very strong mentors and sponsors (both men and women) who are vital to my success—both in honing my skillset and achieving my career objectives. Each mentor provides something different, so I can lean on them for training, career advice, or just being a sounding board for various issues. Furthermore, my mentors and sponsors have been role models for the kind of leadership, work ethic, and quality service that I seek to emulate each day.
They not only promote me to clients and firm leadership, but have also helped me establish myself in the industry as a respected attorney and community leader. Some of these relationships have been formal while others grew more organically, but, their significance to my career is the same, irrespective of how our relationship started. In the end, every young professional needs a network of people they can turn to for advice and support while navigating their career.
What do you think the industry could do to attract and retain the best and the brightest today?
The industry changes every day, and many organizations think outside of the box in terms of recruitment and retention. These organizations try new methods to attract and keep the best talent while constantly evaluating and adapting these programs to remain relevant and effective. I’d encourage the industry to remain focused on initiatives that provide training opportunities, education, and formal mentoring for younger professionals because these programs foster and cultivate better trained and productive leaders in all professions.
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