Ashley Norgard calls herself stubborn, but that same quality also means that she is determined and persistent. This has paid off for her and her clients, as she focuses on labor and employment counseling, mediation and litigation. She represents clients in lawsuits and claims involving discrimination, retaliation and harassment. In addition, she also counsels companies regarding personnel decisions, investigations, accommodations and helps to draft handbooks, policies and other documents.
What are your proudest career accomplishments?
A growing client asked me to help design a high-performance workplace culture, then draft employment policies that benefited the employees and also protected the company. It was a privilege to help that client be proactive in practice instead of reactive in litigation.
What inspired you to get involved in the public service or justice system?
Strong female mentors have been the consistent thread throughout my legal career. In high school I shadowed a female judge who, to me, was the coolest person in town. My first clerkship was at a woman-owned antitrust boutique. My current mentor, Virginia Fry, (2015 MLW Woman of the Year) is the most ethical, intelligent, and savvy attorney I’ve ever known. Women who love being lawyers are forces of nature who inspire everyone around them. Their passion translates into success for their clients, and greater professionalism in the industry. The ladies who lead this industry inspired me back then, and continue to inspire me today.
What is something that would surprise people about you?
I’m stubborn. In college, Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America turned me down for a summer internship. It made me mad, so I moved to Japan, learned the culture, studied the language, and then reapplied for (and received) the job the next year.
What is your favorite part of your job?
The healthcare industry is people taking care of other people. I strongly believe that when a business takes care of its employees, they will take good care of patients. I love to help CEOs, HR directors, general counsel, and other managers understand the highly-regulated employment arena so they can deal with employee issues in a fair, legal, and constructive manner.
When you were growing up, what did you want to be?
A ballerina. But apparently I looked like I was stomping bugs on stage at the recital.