Who We Are

Marla S. Persky

Marla PerskyMarla Persky is CEO and President of WOMN LLC, a company dedicated to helping women succeed in the business of law by increasing their knowledge of and acuity with financial drivers, client development, and leadership. Throughout her professional life, Ms. Persky has had the opportunity to understand and practice business principles that lead to personal and company success. Through years of mentoring, she has shared her experience and observations with other attorneys and professionals to assist them in career development and business excellence.

Ms. Persky retired in 2013 as Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for Boehringer Ingelheim USA, where she oversaw a department of over 70 individuals. She also was a member of Boehringer’s executive management team and a director of the company and several of its subsidiaries.

Prior to joining Boehringer Ingelheim, Ms. Persky spent 19 years at Baxter International Inc. where she held numerous business and legal positions, the most recent of which was Acting General Counsel and Corporate Secretary. During her tenure at Baxter, Ms. Persky managed global legal services, was General Manager of an international medical device business, led international crisis management teams, acquired and integrated international businesses, and designed/implemented legal strategies to manage global mass torts.

Ms. Persky practiced with the Chicago firm of Lurie, Sklar & Simon. Before entering the legal profession, Ms. Persky worked in sales and marketing for the Colgate-Palmolive Company.

In addition to her legal work, Ms. Persky served on the Board of Directors of Cytyc Corporation, a NASDAQ traded medical device and diagnostics company. She was also on the Board of Boehringer Ingelheim Corporation, the largest privately owned pharmaceutical company in the world. Ms. Persky was a director of Watermark, Inc. a private publisher and broker of children’s literature.

Ms. Persky is a frequent speaker on a variety of subjects including: leadership principles, mentoring, diversity, crisis management, and negotiation techniques. She is a graduate of Washington University School of law and Northwestern University.

Debra Goodman Holzman

Debra Goodman HolzmanAs COO and Senior Vice President of WOMN LLC, Debra Goodman Holzman brings more than 34 years of sales, marketing, and operations experience, working with corporations, law firms, accounting firms, government agencies and law schools. As a Principal at DGH Consulting, Ms. Holzman has focused on advising and training companies on increasing their revenues through utilizing consultative selling skills and cross-selling opportunities.

Ms. Holzman has significant expertise in understanding the needs and requirements of law firms through her work with JAMS and LexisNexis. Ms. Holzman worked in various roles for JAMS, most recently as National Director of Business Development. Prior to working for JAMS, Ms. Holzman spent over 13 years in sales and sales management at LexisNexis, the world’s largest electronic publishing company.

Ms. Holzman’s operation and management experience has included responsibility for $12M in revenue and 22 direct reports. She has developed and implemented new products and programs, sales and marketing strategies, and training programs. Ms. Holzman has conducted internal and external training programs and presentations, including courses on top level selling and account management.  She has also developed, reviewed and evaluated pricing plans, compensation plans, hiring practices and profiles, and various training programs.

Ms. Holzman is a graduate of Northwestern University.

Tracy O’Flaherty

Tracy O’Flaherty is Senior Vice President, Programming and Development in the WOMN LLC Chicago Region.  Ms. O’Flaherty focuses on expanding WOMN’s leadership coaching and development offerings for female law firm attorneys who see to advance and hone their business development, networking and leadership skills.  Her true passion is helping top-talent individuals reach their highest potential; to teach that is the “how” as much as the “what: that leads to success.  Ms. O’Flaherty’s mission at WOMN is to bring out the best in every professional by encouraging each to focus on honing their leadership and business development skills, turning weaknesses into strengths, developing the necessary gravitas to be a powerful force within their organizations and building a book of business through authentic marketing and networking.  “There is nothing more rewarding than seeing a woman you helped achieve her goals.”

Ms. O’Flaherty has long engaged in her passion by serving as a leadership coach, mentor and sponsor to many and measures her achievement through the success of others.  She is on the Board of Directors of the Chicago Legal Clinic, Inc., a volunteer teacher for Street Law, Inc., and has been a long time mentor for the WOMN 12 Month Mentoring Program.  She is also a manager of the Chicago Jets Hockey Club.

Prior to joining WOMN, Ms. O’Flaherty was Vice President, Associate General Counsel of Baxter International, In., heading the global litigation, employment and benefits’ department at this Fortune 250 company.  She not only led the strategy and oversight of all international litigation, but was also a member of the global Human Resources Leadership Team and the Global Inclusion Council.  Before her time at Baxter, Ms. O’Flaherty was a partner at the international law firm, Winston & Strawn LLP focusing on employment and products liability litigation.  At Winston she served on the summer associate recruiting committee and on the associate performance and evaluation committee and received the Super Lawyers “40 under Forty” recognition.  Earlier in her career, Ms. O’Flaherty was a litigation and employment law associate at Matkov, Salzman, Madoff & Gunn and Testa, Hurwitz & Thurbow.

Sheila Murphy

Sheila Murphy, joined WOMN LLC in the New York Region as Chief Talent & Leadership Officer in January 2019.  Her mission at WOMN LLC, is to have each woman with whom we work understand, appreciate and proudly communicate their unique skills, strong authentic brand, and network effectively for career development.  Ms. Murphy is creating a community of women who reach their highest potential in the field of law. As she says, “I don’t want my final job title to be my professional legacy, but rather be known for successfully helping others reach their highest potential in careers that they love.”

Ms. Murphy’s commitment to helping others advance in their careers has been recognized by the Women’s Venture Fund which awarded her the highest Leaf Award. She was named a Most Influential Irish Woman by the Irish Voice, a Leading Women Lawyer in NYC by Crain’s New York, and a Business 100 honoree by Irish America.  She also has received the Benchmark Litigation In-house Award at the Americas Women in Business Awards, the Virginia S. Mueller Outstanding Member Award from NAWL and a First Chair award for hard work and innovation and significant contributions to the legal community.

Prior to joining WOMN,  Ms. Murphy was Senior Vice President & Associate General Counsel of MetLife.  In her over 20 years at MetLife had various responsibilities, the last of which was leading the Distribution and Products Unit where she provided litigation support and advice to the Retail Group of the Americas. In addition to her legal and management responsibilities, Ms. Murphy was executive sponsor of the US Women’s Network, co-chaired the Academy, a MeLife worldwide Legal Affairs learning and development organization and served as a member of its US Diversity Task Force.  She started her legal career as an associate at Thacher Proffitt & Wood where focused on complex financial litigation.

Ms. Murphy is a member of the Boards of Directors of National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL) and PowerPlay, NYC an organization that engages and educates underserved girls focusing on sports. She serves on the advisory board of Transforming Women’s Leadership in Law and co-chairs the CARE’s Women’s Network of New York, which works on eradicating poverty by empowering women and girls.   She previously was an executive sponsor of Fortune 50 US Women’s Network.

Ms. Murphy is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School where she worked on the Comparative Labor Law Journal and her bachelor’s degree from the School of Management at the State University of New York at Binghamton where she graduated magna cum laude.