Member Spotlight

WHF is pleased to announce a new monthly feature, the WHF Member Spotlight. Each month we will feature a new WHF member.

November 2016

Wendy Tran Novotne
Attorney, Ballard Spahr LLP

Hometown: Seattle, WA

Hobbies: Hot yoga, exploring new cities and restaurants, covertly leaving surprise treats for friends and colleagues

Fun Fact: I'll try (almost) anything once!  I've run with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, bungee jumped in the Swiss Alps, and planned a flash mob. 

How long have you been a member of WHF and what have you gained from being a member?  

I moved to DC from Los Angeles about a year ago, and I joined WHF during my first week here.  Immediately, I gained a community of mentors and colleagues.  At my first WHF event, Karen Bellesi, our past WHF President, introduced me to the Symposium Committee and Program Committee.  From the beginning, I felt fully embraced and valued as a member of both committees.  During this past year, I was encouraged to help plan our symposium on FinTech, several brown bag lunches, and our fall welcome reception.  I felt so honored to be recently appointed as Co-Chair of the Brown Bag Committee, alongside Lisa Ledbetter of Jones Day.  Needless to say, I am thankful for how WHF has supported and encouraged me as a newcomer to DC, a young professional, and as a leader.

How do you make the best use of your day? 

I like to start my day early and get to the office before everyone else arrives.  This quiet time allows me to plan out my day, catch up on industry news and legal alerts, and focus on any pressing deadlines.  Also, since I spend long hours at my desk, I like to stay active by walking to and from work, using my desk bike throughout the day, and working out daily.  Exercise helps me to both prepare for my day and unwind at the end of my day. 

What do you love most about what you do?

I love that law is a service profession.  While I find that analyzing and staying current on cutting edge issues in financial services and privacy law to be intellectually interesting and challenging, I also love being able to apply the law to help advise and counsel clients.  In addition, I believe that as attorneys, we have the unique opportunity and responsibility to provide equal access to the courts through pro bono service. 

What inspires you?

I am inspired by those who are bold, courageous, passionate, and persevere in the midst of adversity and failure, in order to do something purposeful, whatever that may mean to them. 

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

Don't give up on your dreams.  I dreamed of being a lawyer since I was five years old, so my parents gave me this advice for a solid 20 years!  

What are you currently reading?

Does reading statutes and regulations count?!?!  All joking aside, I am currently reading Chase the Lion by New York Times bestselling author Mark Batterson.  The premise of the book is "if your dream doesn't scare you, it's too small." 

What is your personal philosophy?  

Live a life worthy of the calling you have received.  Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

Who do you look up to the most and why?  

My mother came to this country not knowing any English and with just the clothes she wore on the plane.  She was really timid, quiet, and as she puts it, an "indoor girl" who was afraid to step outside the comforts of her home.  While her brothers were sent to school, she learned how to take care of the household.  However, in the U.S., being the oldest, my mother stepped out of her comfort zone to help support her entire family, including her parents, three younger brothers, and nieces and nephews.  By working three jobs, my mother was able to buy a house for the family within a year.  Since then, she has never stopped working hard to support our family, my sister, and me, selflessly making sacrifices so that we could pursue our own education and careers.  I am extremely grateful and thankful to be her daughter!