Marsha Dungog shares how she 'found her purpose' in firm leadership

In The Press 07 March 2022 Experience

Marsha Dungog is a partner in the private client and tax team who specializes in international wealth planning and tax. She is the Withers San Francisco office’s Office Managing Director and recently launched our US-Canada practice, which provides cross-border legal representation and advice to families, entrepreneurs and businesses with Canadian interests. She was recently interviewed by Law.com about her path to law firm leadership, including discussing her motivations, what she’s learned along the way and advice for people who aspire to join firm leadership.

Leadership is nothing new to Marsha, who was a founding partner at a boutique law firm in Los Angeles, and then was a director at a Canadian law firm before joining Withers. Marsha shared in the article that she was the “first and only female director out of eight directors” at the cross-border law firm in Canada, setting a lasting precedent.

When asked about what surprises she faced after becoming a leader at the firm, Marsha said “I was delightfully surprised when I realized that people appreciate candor and authenticity, whether they agree with you or not… This has made all the difference in the quality of my interaction with my clients, colleagues and with myself. I was surprised to find that I am at my best and can rise to the occasion when I am being no one else but myself.”

Marsha is well-known in the office for her high spirits and emphasis on team-building. “Community builds resilience,” explains Marsha when asked on how she keeps her teams motivated through unprecedented times. “I seize opportunities to expand the scope of our cross-border tax and estate planning practice in Canada and Australia, give my team a broad range of work, clients and experiences to discover their strengths and share with them my vision for their careers and our firm. I [also] try to make every workday fun, focused and productive. We have unstructured days to balance the stressful ones.”

“Putting the best interests of others first before your own is cathartic and will open up so many paths to leadership you never knew existed,” Marsha says in the interview, offering advice to others interested in pursuing firm leadership. “Find your purpose and nurture community to build resilience. Be open to feedback and dialogue so you’re always learning something new. Be generous with your time and energy.”

When specifically asked about how other women can position themselves for success in leadership, Marsha responded, “Welcome opportunities and experiences that bring you outside of your comfort zone, explore and take calculated risks. Make decisions based on your values and the results will follow.”

To read Marsha’s full interview in Law.com’s “How I made it” column, please see ‘How I Made Office Managing Director: ‘Find Your Purpose and Nurture Community to Build Resilience,’ Says Marsha Dungog of Withers.’. Please note the article is behind a paywall.