The Women to Watch Series was established by the Women in IP Committee as an avenue to recognize women within the AIPLA community for excellence and accomplishments. Through a peer-nomination process, the Women to Watch Series strives to honor women who have created their own paths, who lead through strong examples, and who are achieving successes as a result of their choices and leadership, but who may not be widely known in the AIPLA community.
We are pleased to introduce Cynthia Gilbert, in her own words:
Years working in IP: 11
Years with current organization: 5.5
Current location: Cambridge, MA
Current role: Owner, Patent attorney at Hyperion Law
What I do: Educate clients on how patents can advance their business objectives, develop and execute patent strategies, and empower clients to better understand and leverage their patent portfolios.
Previous roles: Associate at Choate Hall & Stewart LLP; Associate at Lahive & Cockfield, LLP; Member of Technical Staff, Verizon Labs (formerly GTE Labs).
Years and involvement with AIPLA: 11
Q. What was the best professional decision you ever made?
A. Deciding to start my own law firm. It is worth all of the risk and uncertainty and effort I put into the business to have the privilege of serving clients I genuinely believe in.
Q. What was the worst professional decision you ever made?
A. Getting lost in other people’s expectations for what my career was “supposed” to look like and losing perspective on what was really important to me. Once I was able to identify the type of work that mattered to me and the kind of environments that would support those priorities, I became a stronger lawyer (and a happier person!).
Q. What would you consider your greatest professional achievement so far?
A. Accomplishing my goal of building a successful legal career, sustaining my career during particularly tough economic times, and creating a thriving law firm.
Q. In your opinion, what could women be doing better to advance their careers?
A. I think many of us struggle with “good girl” syndrome – with finding (and listening to) our own voices, and putting other people’s expectations in perspective. We are not often encouraged to do the intense, soul searching work of honestly identifying what we really want to accomplish in life, and to make the necessary changes so that we are acting in a way that furthers those goals and to do that work over and over again over the course of our lifetimes, so that we stay in sync with our changing circumstances. But the mentors and role models I know (men and women) who invest in this effort benefit not just by advancing their careers but by becoming better professionals and people.
Q. What is the best advice you have received?
A. Remember that no one else is going to ask you if you’re happy, if you’re accomplishing your goals, if you’re finding fulfillment in your job. Make an appointment twice a year with yourself and ask yourself these important questions.
More about Cynthia:
If they bottled my personality, the label would read: Intelligence, ambition, curiosity, passion.
Something I said I’d never do, but did anyway: Become an entrepreneur. I always thought running a business was something my clients did – until I started my own law firm and realized I loved being an entrepreneur myself.
One thing people are surprised to find out about me: How passionate I am about both business (especially organizational design / culture) and science (especially astrophysics and neuroscience).
Stay tuned for our next Woman to Watch!
The Women in IP Committee