Karin H. Berg Recognized in The Secured Lender’s 2023 Women in Secured Finance Issue
Blank Rome LLP is pleased to announce that partner Karin H. Berg has been recognized in The Secured Lender’s 2023 Women in Secured Finance issue, which profiles "inspiring women who exemplify excellence and have distinguished themselves within the secured finance industry."
This year’s issue honors 65 women who are "an impressive and diverse group" and represent the sectors of the Secured Finance Network’s member organizations, including banks, factoring organizations, law firms, appraisal and consulting firms, and institutional capital providers.
To view the 2023 Women in Secured Finance issue, please click here.
Karin's honoree profile, as published in The Secured Lender, is copied in full below.
Blank Rome LLP
Karin Berg joined Blank Rome LLP in 2019, as a founding partner of Blank Rome’s Chicago office. Karin brought to Blank Rome - and continues to demonstrate - a zeal for and commitment to excellent client service and securing successful outcomes for her clients. Karin’s practice focuses on the areas of secured financing and complex loan workouts and restructurings for various industry sectors, along with vast experience in healthcare financing. Her wide range of clients include banks, commercial finance companies, mezzanine lenders and other institutional lenders. This includes representation of agents in large, syndicated financings and restructurings, as well as complex bi-lateral transactions. What further sets Karin apart from her peers is her community involvement, leadership and unwavering dedication to advancing women’s initiatives. Karin has been and continues to be involved in numerous community and civic activities. Most notable is the pro bono legal service to refugees and other immigrants through the respected World Relief non-profit organization. Karin has also served on the Chicago Chapter’s Board of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society (Alumni Association) for over a decade. Throughout her career, Karin has devoted a significant amount of her time promoting women’s initiatives.
What role has mentorship/sponsorship played in your career?
Mentors and sponsors are critical in career satisfaction and advancements. I have had many mentors throughout my career, both men and women, each providing unique perspectives, advice and life experiences. As a young professional, these mentors helped me in many areas, from serving as role models both professionally and personally, to advocating for me in different stages of my career. These mentors helped me define what success in the different stages of my career and life could mean and what success in each of those stages can look like. The positive influence mentors and sponsors have had on my life and career development has underscored the importance and responsibility that I have in giving back to the younger generation of professionals. Women in leadership roles bear a responsibility to represent, guide, build and support. We have a unique voice to not only represent, but to actively help younger professionals. This includes providing guidance and motivation, actively supporting them in setting and achieving goals, developing contacts, and defining what success can be. This is a role that I take seriously within my organization, in my community of women professionals, and in my larger community as well.
What is the best advice you ever received?
One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was from my first female mentor, who advised me to actively seek opportunities to learn and to grow professionally. A leader advances in her career by building her professional toolbelt. A professional toolbelt, as she described it, is a skill set essential to career development and advancement. There are different sets of tools, including technical skills, a specific area of expertise, and leadership skills. Identify and define what skills will support your career path and growth. Mentors and sponsors can help in identifying tools - skills and opportunities - to support and further your career development. Be open to opportunities, including those that may be outside of your comfort zone. If the opportunities do not present themselves organically, identify and then seek them out.
Studies have shown women are more reluctant to tout their accomplishments in the workplace. What advice would you give to help women be more comfortable with speaking up?
Self-promotion is a necessity for anyone looking to get ahead in their career. It has to be done. However, for many women, the idea of self-promotion prompts feelings of angst and apprehension and conjures up visions of arrogance and egotism. Many women take the view that if their work is good enough, it will stand out on its own merit. Early in my career, I thought this as well. If I worked hard enough, my work would get noticed, and I would be recognized and promoted. I have learned, in my own career and watching others, that hoping to get noticed rarely yields the needed recognition and the desired promotions. Self-promotion is necessary for success. While self-promotion does not come naturally to all, it does not need to equate to forced awkwardness. A few ideas that have worked include consciously using the word “I” instead of “we” when describing your own work. Make yourself more visible – including in-person meetings and make sure your camera is “on” during Zoom or other virtual meetings. Find women role models in your or other organizations who you feel have mastered the art of self-promotion and take notes, particularly those strategies that resonate with you. And finally, practice, either on your own or with a trusted colleague or friend.