New Perimeter

Our Global Pro Bono Initiative
Melissa Reinckens

Melissa Reinckens

Associate, San Diego - Downtown

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 1. What inspired you during the project?

Hands down, the women participants in the program. It was so inspiring to watch these women with such diverse backgrounds come out of their shells as the program progressed. They embraced the opportunity to learn and grow collectively in a safe environment. Many of the women traveled great distances to participate or had to plan for months to be able to attend, and it really made me appreciate the significance of what we were doing there and how impactful it was on the participants.

It was also inspiring to watch the participants interact with one another and seize the opportunity to foster a broader sense of empowerment in their community. As is true in other legal environments, the community of legal professionals in Nepal is relatively confined and is overwhelmingly occupied by male practitioners. These women face a range of challenges that many of their male counterparts do not face. It was remarkable to observe the participants interact with one another in a meaningful way and to utilize the program to network and come together as professional women to discuss their challenges and shared experiences. The sense of community that was garnered as a result of the program had a lasting impact on me, and I think it will have a lasting impact on the participants as well.

2. What was the most fulfilling aspect of the work?

Connecting with the women trainees through real conversations. It was so fulfilling to forge these connections and to be there as a resource for women who struggle with so many of the same issues that many of us struggle with here in the US – equal treatment, career advancement, balancing work life with family life and speaking up as women.   

3. What one word describes your New Perimeter trip?

Breathtaking. I felt like I was literally trying to catch my breath the entire trip. Part of this was due to Nepal’s immense beauty, from the Himalayan Mountains to the awe-inspiring scenery in Kathmandu. It is a visually stunning place. It was equally exhilarating to spend the week with a group of such energized and committed women, who embraced the program with such vigor, and who posed thoughtful and provoking questions that, at times, left many of us speechless. At the same time, every day in Kathmandu brought a cacophony of sounds, colors and smells. It left me feeling excited, intrigued and dizzy all at the same time.  I’ll never forget ending day one of the program, standing outside catching up with some of the participants. I asked how some of the women who were dressed in traditional Nepalese clothing – sarees with suit jackets – would be getting home that night. Several responded, “By motorbike of course.” Then, as I watched them step onto their bikes and fasten their helmets, I was astonished as they sped off into a sea of motorbike traffic. I remember thinking, “Wow, they are so cool.”

It was so fulfilling to forge these connections and to be there as a resource for women who struggle with so many of the same issues that many of us struggle with here in the US – equal treatment, career advancement, balancing work life with family life and speaking up as women.”

Women's advancement