Who We Are

Marla S. Persky

Throughout her professional life, Marla Persky has had the opportunity to understand and practice business principles that lead to personal and company success.

Marla retired in 2013 as Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for Boehringer Ingelheim Inc., where she oversaw a department of over 70 individuals. She 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, Marla 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 career at Baxter, Marla 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 strategies to manage global mass torts.

In addition to her leadership at WOMN LLC and her executive coaching of General Counsel, Marla serves on the Audit and Chairs the Governance Committees of Xeris BioPharma Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: XERS), a biopharmaceutical company developing and commercializing therapies for patients with life-threatening endocrine, neurologic and gastroenterologic disease. Additionally, she is on the Board of Directors of REVOLO Biotherapeutics which develops therapies to reset the immune system to achieve long-term remission for patients with autoimmune and allergic diseases. Marla also serves as Chair of the Nominating/Governance and as a member of the Audit and Compensation Committees of Panavance Inc. an early-stage developer of treatments for pancreatic and ovarian cancers. Previously, she served on the Board of Directors of Cytyc Corporation (NASDAQ: CYTYC) a device and diagnostics company. She was on the Board of Boehringer Ingelheim Corporation, the world’s largest privately owned pharmaceutical company and a director of Watermark, Inc. a private publisher and broker of children’s literature.

In addition to her corporate activities, Marla is on the Board of several not-for-profit organizations such as the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Primary Stages (Off-Broadway Theater Company) and, previously, World Neighbors Inc.

Marla is a frequent speaker on a variety of subjects including leadership principles, career development, networking, board service, diversity, crisis management, and negotiation techniques. She is a graduate of Washington University School of law and Northwestern University.

Debra Goodman Holzman

Debra Goodman Holzman

As Co-Founder, retired COO – Senior Vice President, and current faculty member at WOMN LLC,  Debra Goodman Holzman brings more than 40 years of sales, marketing, and operations experience, working with corporations, law firms, accounting firms, government agencies and law schools.  With Debbie’s extensive knowledge and understanding of the inner workings of law firms, corporate legal departments, and corporations’ overall operations, she brings the non-attorney business perspective to how lawyers can attract clients and increase revenues.  Additionally, Debbie is a  Principal at DGH Consulting, where she has focused on advising and training companies on increasing their revenues through utilizing consultative selling skills and cross-selling opportunities for over 25 years.

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

Debbie’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. Debbie 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.

At this stage of Debbie’s career, she views her role as an advisor and mentor, providing contacts, resources, and impactful opportunities for The 12-Month Mentoring Program participants, by teaching or reinforcing the business development and leadership skills needed to survive and succeed in today’s business environment.  Helping women find their voice, their passion, and their success in their careers along with finding their voice, their passion, and their success in their personal lives is important to Debbie as she passes the torch to the younger generation.  She is looking forward to this next chapter as “time to give back” and “pay it forward.”

Tracy O’Flaherty

Tracy O’Flaherty is Senior Vice President, Programming and Development in the WOMN LLC Chicago Region and will assume responsibilities for leading WOMN LLC’s 12-month mentoring program in Chicago in the Fall of 2019.  Ms. O’Flaherty’s focus is 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 the “how” as much as the “what, which leads to success. Tracy brings out the best in every individual by encouraging each to focus on honing her leadership and business development skills, turning weaknesses into strengths, developing the necessary gravitas to be a powerful force within her organization 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 and the WOMN LLC program achieves that objective year after year.”

Tracy was formerly the Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Global Litigation, Compliance, Employment, Regulatory & Security at Groupon, Inc.  where she engaged in her passion by serving as a leadership coach, mentor and sponsor to many, and measures her achievements through the success of others.  Tracy was the Executive Sponsor of Groupon’s LEARN Resource Group helping to drive an understanding of racial injustice and foster inclusion and diversity initiatives.  She was also the executive sponsor of Groupon’s business resource group, Women@Groupon.  Tracy served on the Board of Directors of the Chicago Legal Clinic, Inc., was a volunteer teacher for Street Law, Inc., and was a long-time mentor for the WOMN 12 Month Mentoring Program.

Prior to joining WOMN and Groupon, Tracy 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 Baxter’s Global Leadership Team, the global Human Resources Leadership Team and the Global Inclusion Council.  While at Baxter, she was named by Super Lawyers rating service to its prestigious “40 under Forty” list. Before her time at Baxter, Tracy 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. Earlier in her career, Tracy was a litigation and employment law associate at Matkov, Salzman, Madoff & Gunn and Testa Hurwitz & Thibeault.

Sheila Murphy

Sheila Murphy, a certified coach, 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.”

Sheila Murphy’s commitment to helping others advance in their careers has been recognized by Corporate Counsel & Inside Counsel with their LifeTime Achievement Award for Women, Influence & Power in the Law, as well as 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. Sheila 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, Sheila 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, Sheila 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 she focused on complex financial litigation.

Sheila is a former 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.

Sheila 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. Additionally, she has been certified as a coach by the Co-Active Institute, the largest in-person coaching and leadership organization in the world as well as the International Coaching Federation.