Kindness – An Interview Featuring Kathi Vidal, Winston & Strawn’s Silicon Valley Office Managing Partner

Inspired by the idea that habits are formed by repeating an activity for 21 consecutive days, Winston & Strawn encouraged all firm members to pledge their participation to Born This Way Foundation’s “21 Days to Be Kind” Challenge as part of our Year of Mental Health.

One way that Winston’s Silicon Valley Office Managing Partner Kathi Vidal participated in the #BeKind21 campaign was by contributing her thoughts on kindness – including ideas for showing kindness every day – to Spark Plug Labs’ “21 Days of Kindness” blog. Here is the full content of Kathi’s post.

How are you sharing 21 days of kindness?
As part of the firm’s 2019 Year of Mental Health, Winston & Strawn is one of the 80 organizations that has partnered with Born This Way Foundation for its second annual 21 Days to Be Kind Challenge. We encouraged all firm members to take the #BeKind21 pledge and make acts of kindness a habit during the 21-day campaign and beyond.  

I personally launched the 21-day challenge by offering to help the associates in my office and on my teams with their self-evaluations. I curated helpful information (impactful articles and some tips from a fellow partner), sent it to the associates, and offered to them – and provided – my feedback. This was already shared on Winston social media. Though I practice kindness every day, I took the 21-day challenge as a challenge to purposefully add an act of kindness each day to my normal practice. Here are other examples from my challenge:

  1. Yesterday, I invited a number of my friends, clients, and partners to be Pattie Sellers and Nina Easton’s guests at the Calabasas Film Festival for the Los Angeles premiere of Port of Destiny: Peace. The 52-minute documentary, directed by Emmy-winning filmmaker Robert Abbott, tells the extraordinary story of former Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos, who, against all odds, negotiated a high-stakes peace deal with the FARC rebels to end 54 years of civil war—and win the Nobel Peace Prize.  By doing this, I checked multiple “kindness” boxes.  I supported a film that emanates kindness, I supported Pattie and Nina, and I supported my friends, clients, and partners by giving them this opportunity.

  2. I asked my incredible assistant to identify three ways in which I could bring her more joy in her work and when she identified that having a meditation room at work would be top on her list, I created the room that very day and teamed with others to build on the original conception.

What does kindness mean to you?
To me, kindness is an active practice of bringing joy to others.

What will you do to share kindness today?
Though it feels uncomfortable to take “credit” for acts of kindness, I know that kindness is contagious and that others seeing or feeling kind acts multiplies its effect. Today I will reach out to a few of my fellow Office Managing Partners and will encourage them to tell their stories. 

Favorite example(s) of how others can share kindness:

  • On a plane, offer to help someone with their luggage

  • Stop by someone’s office to check in on how they are doing

  • Email or text someone you know is struggling and let them know you are thinking about them

  • Use your network/friends to connect or help others

  • Promote someone you know is good through social media or by emailing someone of influence

  • Say “thank you”

  • Send a personal note to let someone know you care

  • Donate to someone’s favorite charity and send them a note that you were thinking of them

  • Post a positive or supportive note or comment in response to someone sharing about themselves on social media

I am grateful for…
Those who look for joy and beauty in everyone and everything.

What do you do when your day doesn’t go as planned? 
The antidote when things don’t go as planned or when others’ actions are out of your control is to find something to which you can positively contribute and to focus your efforts and attention on making a positive difference. You can’t control the actions of others; you can only bring your best self to the table. 

I am inspired by…

This entry has been created for information and planning purposes. It is not intended to be, nor should it be substituted for, legal advice, which turns on specific facts.