Wendy Bernero is co-founder of Bernero & Press, a management consultancy that helps law firms maximize their client and market opportunities. Wendy specializes in helping firms enhance their profitability and revenue growth by developing and promoting high-value service offerings, building strong value propositions, results-oriented business planning and budgeting, and customizing and pricing their services to meet client needs. She also works with practice and industry groups and client teams to increase their contributions to the firm’s bottom-line.
How did you get into your field?
I spent the early part of my career working in legislative and press roles for the Florida State Senate and then for Congress. Eventually I was recruited to take a senior public affairs role at a financial institution. My role expanded over time to include oversight of all of the bank’s product development, marketing and communications. In 1990 (truly the early days of law firm marketing), I was approached by a major law firm with a significant banking and finance practice about joining the firm in a senior business development role. The job was a good fit — bringing together my love of law and policy with my experience in marketing and business development — and provided an opportunity to be a part of a burgeoning new field.
If you had to do something else for a living, what would it be?
If I could choose another career, I would be a reporter or news producer for National Public Radio. I have an insatiable curiosity about how things work, organizational dynamics and a broad range of public policy issues. I would have enjoyed the opportunity to be constantly engaged in learning and helping people develop a deeper understanding about important issues that impact their lives and communities.
What is the most surprising thing you have learned in your career?
The most surprising thing I’ve learned is that it’s not enough to be the best at what you do. Becoming a leader and a change agent in your field requires a strong ability to build enduring relationships with your work colleagues (a/k/a gracefully maneuver through office politics) AND be the best prepared, most knowledgable and reliable professional. We all come to the table with a unique set of strengths. And then we spend the rest of our careers focused on the hard work of building those skills that don’t come naturally to us.