Women's Business Resource Group


The Women's Business Resource Group empowers female professionals by enhancing business opportunities both in and outside the firm and by encouraging them to be active leaders in professional and civic organizations in their communities.

The Women's Business Resource Group promotes inclusion across the firm and provides increased career development and personal brand building opportunities for female lawyers and professionals. Throughout the year, the Women's Business Resource Group brings Carlton Fields lawyers and professionals together for a variety of workshop series and events on a wide range of topics, such as effective management techniques and developing executive presence. The Women's Business Resource Group also hosts a quarterly event that brings female professionals together for informal, roundtable discussions.

Recent Events

Sneha Desai presents at Women's Alliance "What's On Your Plate?" event held August 19, 2020

The Women's Business Resource Group "What's On Your Plate?" program held August 19, 2020, featured Sneha Desai, Deputy General Counsel of Litigation at BASF, who manages the company's litigation portfolio in North America with a team of attorneys and legal assistants, and oversees litigation-related policies and procedures (including legal hold protocols, outside counsel management, e-billing and e-discovery). Sneha chairs the legal department's diversity team, and is responsible for its Outside Counsel Diversity Program. In addition to her legal responsibilities at BASF, Sneha is a strong supporter of pro bono work and community service. Sneha and Shareholder Stacey Sutton led a candid discussion on the challenges that face businesses and society at large during the global pandemic and heightened awareness of racial injustice and inequity. 

Meet a few of our Trailblazers

  • Lori Baggett
    In 2019, Tampa Office Managing Shareholder Lori Baggett established the Baggett Family Scholarship at Stetson University College of Law. The scholarship supports the academic achievement and potential of African American students and seeks to increase their representation in the legal community. For Lori, the scholarship is her way of paying it forward, rekindling the same type of intentional financial assistance that enabled her to obtain a full scholarship for law school and helped propel her career. “The scholarship represents an acknowledgment that intentional financial assistance is required if we want to achieve greater educational advancement for historically underrepresented groups in the legal profession,” said Lori, who was elevated to managing shareholder of the firm’s Tampa office in 2020.
  • Jin Liu
    Tampa Shareholder Jin Liu was featured in the 2019 edition of Florida Super Lawyers, in which she shares her story on becoming an attorney after immigrating to the United States from China. After receiving her undergraduate degree in law from Sichuan International Studies University in Chongqing, Jin left her hometown of Liangping to pursue her legal career and see the world. When she arrived in the United States, she knew no one and had little occasion to speak English conversationally. She currently serves as a board member and founding member of the Tampa Bay chapter of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association. Jin is also a past fellow of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, and later served as historian and executive council member of its alumni association.
  • Amy Furness
    Miami Office Co-Managing Shareholder Amy Furness was featured on the cover of the July 2019 issue of Florida Trend and in an in-depth article focusing on Amy’s legal career. In November 2019, she was elected vice president – sustaining of PLAC, formerly the Product Liability Advisory Council. In recognition of her strong record of leadership, performance, and innovation, as well as her dedication to her community, Amy was named one of South Florida Business Journal’s Influential Business Women of 2020.
  • Eleanor Yost
    Tampa Shareholder Eleanor Yost was named to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Bar Association’s inaugural list of the Top 50 Women in PTAB Trials. The list recognizes female practitioners who have appeared in the highest number of U.S. Patent and Trademark Office PTAB trial proceedings since 2012. Eleanor will be featured in the PTAB Bar Association’s upcoming report on Women at the PTAB, which studies gender diversity at law firms and companies participating in PTAB proceedings. One of the few women in an exceptionally male-dominated field, Eleanor stands out as a triple threat; she has experience litigating patent cases in district court, arguing appeals before the Federal Circuit, and practicing before the PTAB.
  • Yolanda Strader
    Miami Shareholder Yolanda Strader was recognized by Legacy Miami as part of a new Carlton Fields shareholder class that included four women. She was featured as the cover story in the 2019 Legacy Power issue for her accomplishments in her career and in the community. During her tenure as president of the Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. Bar Association, she worked to improve diversity in the judiciary so that it is reflective of the communities it serves. This led to the forming of the Judicial Diversity Initiative, a coalition of minority bar associations dedicated to increasing diversity on the bench and to raising awareness of the issue. Yolanda continues to challenge the status quo statistics of being a black woman in a position of power, stating, “I’m comfortable in my own skin and asserting my voice. Even when I’m the only black woman in a courtroom or a meeting, I know I’m just as valuable as anyone else.”
  • Natalie Napierala

    Upholding Equality in Voting

    Led by New York Shareholder Natalie Napierala, a team of 14 shareholders, associates, and paralegals across the firm assisted in a nationwide project by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law to document the extent of racial voting discrimination in the United States. The firm’s detailed report for the state of New York, deemed one of the most complex states of the project, will be used by the Lawyers’ Committee to determine the extent of voting discrimination in the wake of the Supreme Court’s 2013 Shelby County decision, which struck down key provisions of the Voting Rights Act.

    As co-chair of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee, Natalie seeks to foster a culture of pro bono service and continue the firm’s long-standing commitment to helping those in need.

  • Gail Podolsky

    Tackling the Travel Ban

    On behalf of the ACLU, Atlanta Shareholder Gail Podolsky filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit demanding government documents related to the implementation of the president’s executive orders on travel and immigration. The legal action is one of 13 FOIA lawsuits by ACLU state affiliates around the nation seeking records from federal agencies related to the travel bans. The litigation resulted in the production of more than 95,000 documents and settled on favorable terms in July 2019.

    A member and leader of the ACLU of Georgia since 2008, Gail received its 2019 Volunteer Leadership Award in recognition of her pro bono contributions, including her representation of a Muslim woman who was forced to remove her hijab in a Georgia courtroom.

  • Marci Schmerler

    Atlanta Shareholder Marci Schmerler was featured in the November 2020 CREFC Women’s Network Member Spotlight, in which she shares how her involvement with the organization enabled her to empower women (and young professionals) in law and business. As a female attorney who started practicing law in the 80s, Marci was one of the few women attorneys not only at her law firm, but also in most commercial real estate circles. She explains that, while she was fortunate to have amazing mentors, clients, and colleagues throughout her career, she had very few women mentors in her field. This inspired her to pursue an active role in mentoring and professional development. She currently serves on the CREFC Women’s Network Advisory Board, has co-chaired the speakers committee, and actively participates in the community outreach committee.

Diversity Awards and Recognitions



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