Leader Led Conversation Over Coffee – Silvana Schenone from MinterEllisonRuddWatts

By Rosey Nathan – Chief Commercial Officer

Silvana Schenone, Partner from MinterEllisonRuddWatts joined us for a Her Career Leader Led Conversations Over Coffee event. We were so honoured to have her share this time, and her experiences, with our Millennial INTRApreneurs thriving in their 9 – 5 FB Hub, and others in our wider network.

Silvana is a corporate and commercial partner, leading the MinterEllisonRuddWatts Auckland corporate legal team.  Silvana is renowned for her ability to get the most complex and innovative deals done in a pragmatic way, delivering excellent results for her clients, she has been involved in some of New Zealand most iconic transactions, including a number of market “firsts”, setting precedent in the New Zealand legal market.

It is little wonder then that she has been dubbed “the deal maker”

Silvana Schenone sharing in our call

Additional to those already fantastic accomplishments, she is a Director of SkyCity Entertainment Group, Board Member of the NZ Takeovers Panel, authored “Duties and Responsibilities of Directors and Company Secretaries in New Zealand”, holds a Master in Law from Harvard University and is a Founding member of OnBeingBold.  I encourage you to look at the website (www.onbeingbold.co.nz) and their upcoming conference.

As a member of Global Women and a frequent speaker at conferences and seminars in connection with Mergers & Acquisitions, corporate topics, diversity and leadership, this was a session that delivered so much to our Her Career community and beyond.

So with that Silvana, started with the key takeaways she wanted to leave us all with from her sharing across a fantastic career!

We received amazing insights around:

  • Imposter Syndrome
    • Yes, even Silvana has faced this, she understands it well, and gives amazing insights that can help
    • Why you shouldn’t suffer in silence or be embarrassed
    • The reasons you might be feeling this way and how you can balance those thoughts
    • Why it’s important to talk about this, especially now, when working remotely
    • How this can block you from achieving more
    • What “good comments” is and why you should have one of these folders
    • How to be realistic about it
  • Stress and burnout
    • How to identify, why you need to watch out for this personally, an in your family and friends
    • The importance of verbalisation and communication
    • Some great tips to manage stress before it overwhelms you
    • Set boundaries and work out what gives you positive energy
SIlvana in the offices of MinterEllisonRuddWatts Auckland
  • Resilience
    • What is important to you and how you can use that
    • Pay attention to the ups and downs of your energy and how you can act on them for best choices
  • Do what you like to do in life
    • Silvana’s take on her career and specialised area in the legal industry
    • No one is superman or superwomen, prioritise and lean into your teams
    • Compromise is important
    • Don’t accelerate your career, even if you’re ambitious, and the why


There were 3 additional questions we couldn’t get to in our time together, so Silvana kindly provided answers we can share with you here!

  • Do you have a list of steps that you took that contributed to your success?
    • Yes! It’s useful to also reflect on and list the activities or steps that have been useful and positive for you.  This can be very varied, from people who help you stay positive and energised (and a reminder to catch up with them often) to career progression or milestones that remind you of what can you aspire to do next.  I also find that reminding yourself of what works when you are struggling is very useful, such as go for a walk, eat healthy, catch up (virtually!) with friends, read a nice poem, write your feeling, etc.
  • Can you think of a key or recent disappointment in your career and how you ensured that you didn’t dwell on this and ensured it didn’t stop you continuing to succeed and believe in yourself?
    • Oh yes, I have examples of disappointments happening often enough to remind me of my own fragility!  But It happens to all of us and frequently if you are pushing hard to achieve ambitious goals. So I try to look at those situations as learning experiences and always try to find something positive out of it.  One example I can give you is missing out on a proposal for a client. We wanted to do something bold and different that hadn’t been used before in New Zealand. Admittedly there were risks with the approach, which we discussed at length with our client. The ultimate decision was to follow a more traditional path, and When the decision was communicated to me I felt like I had “wasted” a lot of effort in designing that strategy which wasn’t used.  But actually I now think it’s a great starting point for other proposals we can consider going forward.  So not all bad! If you can’t think of a recent disappointment or “failure”, it is because you are not taking enough risks!
  • As a young lawyer that is still learning about working in the industry (and is admittedly a perfectionist), does Silvana have any tips for us to manage expectations on the work that we are producing and knowing we still have a lot to learn?
    • You should look at every task you are given as an opportunity to learn. Not only technical skills but also soft skills: how to deal with people, how to manage your own time demands, how to balance expectations. Seeking honest feedback from your manager after the task is completed is a good way to learn and to reflect on your experience. What can you do better or differently next time?  If you are getting clear instructions from your manager and a good interaction with her or him (i.e. able to ask questions, share progress and discuss output) I think all challenges are great opportunities to develop your skills.

Our Her Career team and members thank you Silvana, and wish you all the best for the successes we know are still ahead with the amazing deals you have yet to fulfill!

Want the replay of Silvana’s Leader Led Conversation Over Coffee?

Watch the replay of Silvana Schenone’s session here

Conversations Over Coffee was created as a safe space for the members of our FB Group, “Millennial intrapreneurs thriving in their 9 – 5

We are always looking for successful senior female INTRApreneurial leaders willing to share their story, experiences and insights with our members to accelerate career, money, network. Get in touch if you are, or can introduce us to, someone that fits that bill!