Interview

Women in the workforce: meet Kathy Koorenny, General Counsel

We spoke to AlixPartners General Counsel, Kathy Koorenny about the essential role women play in the workforce. Since joining AlixPartners in 2015, Kathy has showcased her passion, energy, and wisdom while developing our firm’s global approach to legal and risk management. With more than 25 years’ experience as an attorney, Kathy is an integral member of the AlixPartners leadership team.

In this Q&A, Kathy shares some personal tidbits about her own life, advice for women who aspire to be part of a leadership team, and tips for working parents who are trying to find the balance between their professional and family lives.

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Q: What is the most challenging part of your role?

A: I need more hours in the day! I would like more face to face time with the AlixPartners team.

Q: Do you have any strategies for working parents who are juggling their professional and personal lives?

A: Every person’s child and family is different. What is common for working parents is the need for support. Working parents need relationships of support with family, trusted caregivers, other parents, and friends. This network of relationships will help you create solutions: for every day, for emergencies, and for extraordinary off-schedule events when you cannot be present.

Q: What advice do you have for women who aspire to achieve leadership status?

A: First, be willing to work hard. Second, find direct and indirect mentors. Indirect mentors are people who you believe are effective leaders. Watch what they do, and ask yourself what makes them effective. Adopt those behaviors in your professional life.

Q: Name a high point of working at AlixPartners.

A: Our amazing people generally and the Legal/Risk team specifically!

Q: You live in Dallas, Texas but work in New York. What do you love most about each city?

A: New York has a great energy! We have fantastic collaboration in New York, especially when our people are in the office. I also appreciate Dallas’ unique attributes. I like the freedom of movement in Dallas—it is an easy city to get around. Dallas also has a southern civility that makes it really livable. I get the best of both worlds by my association with the New York office and my continuing attachment to the great state of Texas.

Q: Previously you worked in the airline industry at American Airlines. How does it compare to working at AlixPartners?

A: In some ways, it’s very different—the airline industry is capital-intensive and highly regulated. It is also 24/7 with operations around the world. Running a safe airline really matters, every day and every flight. That’s the part that is similar—AlixPartners is global, and our success and our clients’ success depends on each of us giving our best every time, every day.

Q: What activities do you most enjoy outside of your job?

A: I enjoy gardening. I've been on a quest to grow the perfect tomato with vine-ripe flavor. That goal is a little inconsistent with my travel schedule, but I do plant tomatoes in Dallas. I am ready to get back and see all of the beautiful tomatoes from my plants!  

Q: Name your favorite restaurant—where is it and what do you love most about it?

A: My favorite restaurant is usually vegetarian or Indian. One of my favorites is Dishoom, in London and in Edinburgh (Iranian/Indian cuisine). They're eclectic and unique. Their Gunpowder Potatoes rank really high on the fabulous food scale.

Q: Tell us about a song that reminds you of a favorite time in your life.

A: While You See a Chance from Steve Winwood’s Arc of a Diver album. I spent a summer in Oxford, attending classes and living at Worcester College. That song was popular, and Steve Winwood came to Oxford on his tour. We scraped together money for the cheap seats and saw him in concert. I cannot hear that song without remembering that fantastic summer of pubs like The Eagle and Child and sitting where CS Lewis had a pint; punting on the river; a very modest amount of classroom learning; unremarkable food; rules begging to be broken; and staying at B&Bs that cost £6 a night for weekends in London (I wouldn't recommend the latter).