In Fatigues or Stilettos – Battling Inequities and Finding Your “Why”
...a conversation with Diane Ferreira, Senior Law Clerk
Today we shine the spotlight on someone who’s figured out her “why”. Diane Ferreira, Senior Law Clerk, shares with us how different aspects of her life like her experience as a sergeant, running, and journaling with her daughter contribute to her success and happiness.
Tell me about your background – how long have you been with dentalcorp and what were you doing before you joined?
My 4-year anniversary with dentalcorp is coming up in April, and because dentalcorp is turning just ten years young this year, I consider myself one of the ‘originals’. I’ve met so many new people and have cultivated some great relationships along the way. In a way, four years with this entrepreneurial, thriving organization feels like a lifetime – the constant learning, growth, trials and tribulations make every day meaningful. Prior to dentalcorp, I was working at Goodmans LLP in capacity as a Law Clerk, I was one of 3 senior clerks who worked in the banking and finance department.
Have you always wanted to be in the legal profession? What did you want to be when you were a kid?
One of my favorite movies growing up was Police Academy: part comedy, part crime and filmed here in Toronto. I envisioned a life for myself with equal parts laughter and committing myself to addressing inequities and injustice. In short, I wanted to make a positive change in the community, join the police academy and be the best 4’11 police officer on the street. At 13 years old I joined the Royal Regiment of Canada located at Fort York Armoury in Toronto and became an Army Cadet. One of my greatest achievements was being promoted to Sergeant and having to command a squad of cadets. The drills, combat, and pressing my uniform for parade shaped my confidence and self-esteem. I also developed discipline, leadership, team-building and problem solving skills through challenging, fun, peer-led experiences. In my late teens, I found my interests expanding and evolving, and fashion found its way to the top of my radar. I still wanted to be involved in law, but in a new way, so I traded in my combat boots for a pair of red soled pumps and became a Law Clerk. It was a great compromise where I was still addressing inequities and fighting for justice but also able to maintain a healthy work life balance.
(I recently watched Police Academy with my daughter and though it hasn’t aged well, it still makes me laugh: “Freeze Dirt Bag!”)
What was your first paying job and what did it teach you?
I worked at my uncle’s dollar store called Shamrock Dollar House – we liked to think of it as a ‘boutique’ dollar store. It was one of the cleanest and organized at the time. I wasn’t even 15 years old and worked there on Saturdays stocking shelves and serving customers on cash. This job taught me that I never want to work at a dollar store, EVER! It was very labour-intensive. It also taught me to appreciate everyone’s role in life and to recognize that every job has its struggles, regardless of title or position.
Can you tell me a bit about your role on your team? What does a typical day look like?
My role is demanding and varied. From assisting our SVP of Compliance to VP of Legal to Contracts, every day is different and unpredictable. I identify what needs to be done each day and execute – plan and conquer! Being resilient and organized is key to succeeding in my role.
Tell me something about yourself that your co-workers would never guess?
Every morning, I take 5 minutes and journal with my daughter. We name something we are each grateful for, and write down our strengths, accomplishments, and goals. I find this helps set the tone for the day. At bedtime, our routine consists of brushing our teeth together (we keep each other accountable!) and during that time we think about what we are grateful for and try to end each day with a positive mind and heart.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love to work out and run a good 10K in the morning after my journaling at least 3 days a week. The principles of fitness – discipline, purpose, and the gratification you feel afterwards – apply to business, to love, to all aspects of life.
What’s the first thing you plan to do once the pandemic is over?
Travel! I have a few places in mind and was gifted a trip over the holidays. I am in desperate need of “vitamin sea, sand and sun”. If all goes well you will find me celebrating my 40th in Turkey, Greece, Italy, France and Portugal this summer – follow me on my Instagram journey @diane_fg
What advice do you have for new team members joining dentalcorp’s Support Centre?
In order to find your “why”, you need to create your own happiness with discipline, purpose, and gratitude. If you approach all aspects of your life this way, happiness will always follow.