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LAW FIRM AND CORPORATE SPEAKING

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As attorneys and professionals, we don’t ask enough questions. It is crucial that we nurture ethics conversation and help each other stay on course in our practices and organizations. As a once prominent Columbia law school lawyer, Rashmi Airan is fighting to create a culture of conversation to shift the paradigm of ethics standards. As a corporate speaker, Rashmi shares wisdom from personal and professional ethical choices and teaches why it is so critical to be open, ask questions, and make good, deliberate ethical choices.

Law Firm and Corporate Speaking Topics

When Good People Make Bad Decisions

Good people make bad decisions. Most people travel down a road of bad decisions unknowingly at first, but soon walk a set path from which they decide they cannot return or do not want to return for fear of losing money, a client, their reputation, or more. Rashmi shares that the question of ethics is one that must be ingrained in our minds daily lest we find ourselves down a road of trouble. Learn from Rashmi as she shares lessons learned from her experience making bad decisions as a prominent attorney.

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The Pressures of Our Immigrant Cultures

As immigrants in United States, we face internal and external pressures to succeed for our families and ourselves. As a first generation woman from India, Rashmi knows all too well the cultural, familial, and self-induced pressures inherent for individuals from an immigrant background. The drive to achieve the American dream led Rashmi to seek perfection to please her family and friends but it blinded her from making good ethical choices and kept her from asking for help. As a corporate speaker, Rashmi shares her personal story to inspire hope and to teach you how to make exceptional ethical choices despite our cultural barriers.

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Honoring Our Children with the Truth

Our children are our legacy and our future. As parents, raising our children is our most valuable and significant role. Faced with separation from her two children for six months in prison, Rashmi honored her children with truth every step of the way in an effort to teach them lessons learned. Rashmi encouraged her children to be their best, without pressuring them on the need to fit into society’s notion of success. Learn how Rashmi continues to inspire mothers and fathers to broaden their parenting approach so that our next generation learns that it’s the relationships in our lives that bring true joy.

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Vulnerability and Shame Give us Strength

Our corporate cultures are designed to condone perfection with a perception that strength comes from knowing all the answers. Rashmi shares that this is not the case. We must ask questions and show our true colors. Rashmi was raised to be tough, strong, and independent with a belief that she could never ask for help or fail, for fear of being weak. In spite of extreme difficulties in life, Rashmi teaches that our true strength emerges when we openly live in vulnerability and shame.

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Life Off-Course, of Course

Our lives are made up of moments of sidesteps, diagonal lines, downward spirals, and upward rocket launches. We will surely get thrown off our set path and get knocked down. During these times, our strength, tenacity, and willpower are learned and matured. Rashmi shares her downward spiral experience of losing her business and going to prison. Join Rashmi as she teaches you how to overcome downward spirals in life and fly high again.

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Creating a Culture of Conversation

We are taught that success is perfectionism and receiving accolades and status is the pinnacle of that perfection. But at what cost? As students, we cheat on tests to get higher grades; as professionals, we skirt laws to make more money. Our world continues to emerge without asking questions or reviewing the ethics of decisions made. Rashmi is on a mission to promote a culture of conversation around ethics and compliance starting at home, in academia, in our places of work, and in our communities. Ethics must permeate ALL aspects of our lives and it starts with conversation.

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From Top of the Class to the Bottom Bunk

Above me was a prostitute heroin addict, to the left of me was a homeless woman, and above her was a 24 year old meth dealer. Never before in my life had I been exposed to women who had experienced so much. I ate, slept, worked out with, watched movies, cooked, and lived with these women for six months. I was honored to learn from and humbled to get to know these women. As a corporate speaker, Rashmi shares that not passing judgment on others, no matter their circumstances, is vital for the next generation of leaders.

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Owning it – Taking Responsibility for Our Actions

We all make bad decisions and do not always recognize our wrongs immediately; it could take days, months, or even years. Once our errors are put into light, it is vital that we own them and take responsibility for our actions – no matter what the consequences will be. Rashmi committed a crime and faced a prison sentence, lost her business, and wasn’t able to take care of her children. Learn how transparency in your life can give you strength to move forward and inspire.

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Ethical Pitfalls We Face in Society

There is a belief that lawyers are too smart to make wrong decisions. Therein lies a massive ethical pitfall: A lawyer could be making a wrong decision and refuse to admit it to themselves and others for fear of losing prestige and reputation. After years of schooling and time perfecting their craft, lawyers do not want to be seen as weak or needing to ask for help. Lawyers face ethical decisions to gain new customers, reputation, and community notoriety. If we’re not careful, we can begin to rationalize questionable behavior to achieve even good goals. Rashmi shares that as professionals, a culture of conversation around compliance and ethics is critical.

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Testimonials

University of Miami, School of Law
Kendall Coffey, Adjunct Professor
“I invited Ms. Airan-Pace to speak to my class in September 2016. The students in my class were fascinated by her story and cautionary tale. The class had one of the most attentive groups of students that I’ve had this year. I am confident that the discussion in class with Ms. Airan-Pace will be remembered by the students throughout their legal careers. Ms. Airan-Pace speaks from a place of remorse and truly has owned the wrong that she committed. I imagine that this is a very difficult subject for her to address because of her actions. However, she opens herself and shares her lessons for the benefit of others. I look forward to inviting her to speak again next year to my class.”

Columbia University, School of Law
John C. Coffee, Jr., Professor
“Because Ms. Airan was only a few years older than the law students she spoke to and because she graduated near the top of her class, her impact on the students was powerful and immediate. She showed the students how involvement in fairly ministerial activities (house closings) could result in criminal liability. I think her presentation gave students an entirely unique, more nuanced and certainly more vivid sense of how seemingly normal professional practice can cross the line over into fraud. She made a very valuable contribution to the students’ education that others cannot duplicate.”

Silent Victims of Crime
Paulette Pfeiffer, Executive Director
“I had the opportunity to invite Ms. Airan-Pace to a college class at Florida International University in September 2016. Speaking about your failures in front of complete strangers must be difficult. Rashmi is strong and dedicated to making an impact. She is a unique woman with the courage to talk about her shameful experience with openness with the sole purpose of helping guide people to make better choices than she did. Her only goal was to share her story with the students to guide them with her cautionary tale on how to live their lives making the right choices.”

University of Miami, School of Law
Michele DeStefano, Professor
“I am a big believer that repeated exposure to the ethical contours of legal practice (rules, obligations, risks, and aspirations) yield a more careful and serious consideration of the vows we make when we enter the profession.  In sharing her story, Ms. Airan-Pace is helping make a difference and helping to favorably shift the ethics paradigm in the legal profession.”