Patricia Scott is a lawyer, shareholder and practice group leader at Foster Swift Collins & Smith, PC, in Lansing. As leader of the firm's Finance, Real Estate and Bankruptcy law practice group, Patricia concentrates her practice in the areas of bankruptcy, finance, collections, real estate, and commercial litigation. For Patricia, there are many types of leaders. "We all know many people who quietly lead others, and that silence speaks volumes!"
What does leadership mean to you?
A good leader always “leads by example.” None of us are perfect, but we must put our best foot forward and help others do the same. I have found it to be very helpful to understand every team member’s “job” at the organization. That understanding affords me the ability to be more relatable, as well as encourage and advance everyone’s potential to be, and growth to become, their best self.
A good leader also ensures that every person on the team understands his/her importance on the team. People are all motivated by something, and if you understand their motivations, you can help them excel, as well as the organization. In that regard, I have learned that the most instrumental component to leadership is understanding yourself first. Being able to be more of who you are, knowing your strengths and weaknesses only helps you influence others in becoming more of who they want to be.
Who has influenced your idea of leadership?
For me, experience and education have shaped my views and style in relation to effective leadership. There are many types of leaders, and a title is not required. We all know many people who quietly lead others, and that silence speaks volumes! Understanding others, building relationships, determining what motivates people; all influence the ability to lead effectively.
Why do we need more women in leadership roles? What do they add to the table?
In my experience, having more women leaders in the organizations I’m involved with has increased the diversity of perspectives on subjects and decisions. As a result, we have fuller discussions leading to well-informed decisions. Similarly, over the years I have found that most women are naturally strong collaborators, networkers/relationship builders, and clear communicators. Those skills help build trust and strong relationships. We all know that everything in life centers on relationships. Therefore, those skills are essential if you need to get a group of people to achieve an objective.
How are you leading in your career/community?
In 2017, I was chosen to lead Foster Swift’s Finance, Real Estate and Bankruptcy Law Practice Group. This responsibility challenged me to grow professionally as a leader and to focus on the bigger picture beyond my own personal practice. I love working in this role with my group and other practice group leaders to enhance how we as a firm can better serve our clients and the community. Related to work, earlier this year I was honored to be selected to the “Leaders in the Law” Class of 2019 by Michigan Lawyers Weekly.
In relation to philanthropic endeavors, I was recently appointed to serve as Legal Counsel for the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce and as a member of its Board of Directors. It is a privilege to serve local businesses, business owners and professionals in this capacity. In addition, I am on the Board for Big Brothers Big Sisters Michigan Capital Region, and I serve as the Endowment Treasurer for the Junior League of Lansing. Previously I served as the Vice-President for the Small Talk Children’s Assessment Center.
I have always been involved in giving back to my community because there have been so many people who have helped, and continue to help, me on my journey. Regardless of where we are in our walk in life, we are all in this together. It is our job to help others, whether it is in a time of need or to help someone see and reach their full potential. This is a privilege that reaps rewards – for everyone.
Outside of work, I love my role as a wife and mother, and I am extremely proud of my daughter who was recently accepted to the Physician Assistant Program at Clarkson University in New York.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Do not expect perfection in life, but always give your absolute best. There are days you will fall down, but that does not equate to failure. As we have all heard, “failure is when you stop trying.” Most importantly, never let a mistake destroy your confidence. Instead, learn from it and become a better person and leader.
What is the best way for someone to contact you?
I am a shareholder at Foster Swift Collins & Smith, PC in its Lansing, Michigan office. The best way to contact me is by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, my LinkedIn profile and firm website are good ways to reach me.