Stewart Bradbury law firm puts meaning behind supporting women in Dallas
How a philanthropic initiative and women minority firm sets the standard for supporting women
Aside from offering health resources and federal support services, not many programs exist in Texas to empower women veterans. Whether to re-enter the workforce or improve access to programs for mental health, women veterans also have to do a bit of digging to gain access to such resources without breaking the bank. The opportunity to experience meaningful support groups does not come around often enough in Dallas, Texas.
Amy Stewart and Sarah Bradbury, two women who felt it important to do more through their work, founding the Stewart Bradbury Law Firm as the only women and minority owned practice in Dallas. Since its founding in September 11, 2017, they established a sense of community through S|B Impact, an arm of their law firm that serves as a philanthropic initiative. They are no strangers to thinking outside the box. The owners both fell into their careers from unique backgrounds having both been professional athletes. Stewart played basketball in college and was a Division I coach for Tulane University. Meanwhile Bradbury held national records as an equestrian show jumper.
This confidence in approaching life’s battles has helped steer their intentions to build confidence in the lives of women and minorities. Client or not, both Stewart and Bradbury don’t take lightly the impact they are witnessing on the women from their community through the S|B Impact Initiative.
“We wanted to set up a law firm that was different from the beginning,” Bradbury says. “There are a lot of firms that will sponsor an event or give money, and while that’s wonderful, we wanted it to be part of our core values that we are impacting the community with our time and our mission.”
It’s mission? To pay it forward by supporting programs like Mothers Abandoned or Widowed, which helps women who find themselves in difficult circumstances following the loss of a spouse; Additionally the veteran empowerment center, Honor Courage Commitment, offers events and programming to assist women veterans in making a successful transition back to civilian life. The firm has donated over 100 hours of service to groups like these.
Bradbury mentions that instead of throwing a party for their upcoming 1-year anniversary, they are doing a day of service on Sept. 11, with the Freedom Day Initiative doing Veteran service projects.
“What’s interesting about this year the service project is focused on women veterans,” Stewart explains. “That is one of the first groups we aimed to support through our firm. Which is why we are involved with the Honor Courage Commitment group.”
For the event they are making “Hope Boxes” that consist of non-perishable items and self-care items to be shipped around the world to where military heroes are employed.
“The women’s veteran mission started for me when I heard a speech about the plight of women veterans when they come back and how much they deal with while trying to successfully transition back into civilian lifestyle,” said Stewart. “They leave to serve our country at 18 and at 21 some of them may be married or have children but they need other skill sets. They suffer from issues like bankruptcy, mental and physical abuse and homelessness!”
She continued to add that often it’s only promoted that support services exist for male veterans but the mission of the firm is to change that.
In addition, they wanted to offer more of a mentorship within their firm. They hope to give their staff and partners a platform to get their name out there. Their first two hires were first year lawyers coming out of law school to help provide development to build their law careers.
“You know I coached basketball before I became a lawyer, and so training people is extremely important to me,” Stewart says. “So even though from a financial perspective it may not seem smart to hire two 1st year lawyers, I do think it’s important to train the future lawyers that are going to be trial attorneys, absolutely! It’s in our DNA to coach and train others for the future. It’s in our DNA to be responsible corporate citizens too.”
“Law firms taut themselves as often giving back to the community but all they do is give their money to sponsor an event,” Bradbury contests. “They really just want to put their name on an event but we want to be more than that.”
The proof of following through with their mission was evident at their last event which was a vision board session with local women veterans. Held in March with Hope Courage Commitment, Stewart invited her network of professional women to meet the veterans and offer encouragement while they created and shared aspects of their vision boards. Both groups have never met before but were not shy to opening up about their experiences.
“I invited people who were not just lawyers, but people in real estate, HR, marketing, public relations, bloggers, and we all showed up. We didn’t understand the impact of that event. As the night went on, people started mingling and then getting up to share their stories through the vision boards. They shared painful things, and some people were in tears and it was just amazing! It was supposed to be two hours and turned into four.” Stewart said.
She mentioned some women who were dealing with sexuality, PTSD, dealing with formerly being abused or raped or just frustrations of coming out of the military. They didn’t expect these women to open up the way they did.
“People were truly emotionally impacted by these women veterans and their plights,” Bradbury said. “Most of these women were also newly entrepreneurs so having women from different backgrounds really helped add perspectives and advice throughout the night. But we came away learning more from the female veterans than we could have taught them.”
Both owners felt it necessary to let others know that as women who are also mothers with their own lives, they can actually relate to what their clients or staff might be going through. They hope to encourage other firms and lawyers to work inside companies to do more meaningful work. They hope to get more corporate employees to come out and make a true impact on their communities.
In the future, Stewart and Bradbury plans to offer more programs as they celebrate their first year anniversary including a women’s entrepreneurial conference. Find out how to support women veterans through their programs at http://www.stewartbradbury.com/.
Photo Credits -
“Honor, Courage, Commitment” - From left to right: Amy Stewart, Veteran Women’s Enterprise Center Executive Director VR Small, Sarah Bradbury, State Rep. Victoria Naeve, Hon. Tonya Parker, and Navy Veteran/Honor Courage Commitment Program Manager LizAnn Destin.