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Nicole Gladden Matthews, AT&T’s AVP-senior legal counsel, encourages young women to ‘take more leaps’

AT&T’s Nicole Gladden Matthews emboldens young women to ‘take more leaps’

This Sisters with Superpowers story is sponsored by Chevy.

Nicole Gladden Matthews, AT&T’s AVP-senior legal counsel, encourages young women to ‘take more leaps’
Photo Courtesy Nicole Gladden Matthews

Nicole Gladden Matthews is an assistant vice president -senior legal counsel at AT&T, where she specializes in insolvency. She graduated with honors from Pace University School of Law where she was president of the Black Law Students Association. Following law school, she joined one of the nation’s top 100 law firms.

Matthews dedicates time to pro bono service and has worked with Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, the Justice Resource Center and the Equal Justice Initiative. She is also vice president of the Head Start of Rockland Board and is a member of the Spring Valley NAACP.

What are your day-to-day responsibilities and why did you select your career?

I am an attorney specializing in insolvency and I have been in that specialty for my entire career. I’ve always liked the litigation and transactional aspects of the work. My daily responsibilities vary but in general, I am tasked with protecting company interests following the bankruptcy (or other insolvency proceeding) filed by a vendor or customer.

As a Black woman, what do you consider your superpower(s) to be? 

Resilience. There is a unique gift in navigating the world as a woman of color—a mental toughness that develops from life experiences that may not always be the most fair. The ability to keep going, to spring back, and even to mentor those coming up behind you is a superpower that has served me well.

What thoughtful or encouraging piece of advice would you give to your younger self? 

Don’t be afraid of change and discomfort. Some of your biggest stressors will come because you’re too comfortable to pivot. Take more leaps. Failure is not the worst thing that can happen to you.

How do you balance work and life responsibilities? 

I balance work and life responsibilities by learning that balance is overrated. I’ve found that giving my best self to the aspect of my life that needs it most is the best balance I’m going to achieve. Sometimes, that means giving time to work at the expense of family time or a break, sometimes it means prioritizing family and sometimes it’s about self-care so I can regroup and show up as my best self afterwards.

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