How did you get involved in TMA?
Fay: TMA Arizona's Board of Directors was creating a NextGen Board in 2012, and I was asked to join by my business development coach, who was on the main board at the time. From that start, I rose through the ranks, first chairing the Membership Committee, then the Programs Committee, and ultimately becoming president of TMA Arizona in 2016.
Rosa: I heard about TMA at conferences, and then I looked into joining the TMA Chesapeake Chapter. I joined to meet and network with others. I was then asked to join the TMA Chesapeake Board of Directors, and while on the board, I was asked to be the liaison for TMA NOW.
Hot topics in our community are: leading change, successes and failures, mentorship/sponsorship, and earning the role. Have you had any experiences in any of these areas that made a strong impact on you?
Fay: Mentorship played a key role in the development of my career because law school doesn't really teach one how to practice law, especially in an area as complicated as restructuring. I was fortunate to have two mentors - Dan Garrison and Joe Cotterman - who are not only brilliant, but enjoy teaching and working through problems with colleagues. Dan actually just won TMA's Turnaround of the Year Award in the mid-sized company division.
I have been incredibly lucky with mentors. While in law school, I was a research assistant for a bankruptcy professor who became an amazing mentor, Mechele Dickerson. I was then fortunate to clerk for Bankruptcy Judge Stephen St. John, who has also been a wonderful mentor to me. When I came to my firm, partners in the bankruptcy group took me under their wing and served as great sounding boards. Each mentor has played a different role in each stage of my career. I now try to give back to the next wave of leaders. I chair the Professional Development Committee at my firm as well as co-chair the Summer Associate Committee. I truly believe you need to take advantage of opportunities when they are offered and it's important to keep relationships in tact.
In your opinion, what's the most exciting/interesting trend or event happening in the turnaround and restructuring industry?
Fay: I think restaurants are a really exciting trend right now, both in and out of the turnaround industry, but that may be because of my love of food.
Rosa: We are seeing real changes in the industry. We are seeing the restructuring model change,
i.e., there are more quick fire sales, more out of court workouts, a lot more liquidations. The model for what we call bankruptcy/restructuring is changing and we have to be flexible.
What's the best career advice you've ever received?
Fay: "Why don't you give law school a try?" my undergrad Philosophy professor asked me. Ironically I'm not sure that's the best advice anymore given rising tuition costs and the changing legal landscape, but for someone who loved school but had no career direction, it was perfect. I think the takeaway is that if you're not sure where you want to end up, do something in the meantime that expands your knowledge and skill set and exposes you to a variety of paths and connections.
Rosa: Always say yes to an opportunity if you can, but remember anything you say yes to is part of your brand. You are your own brand.
What would someone who only knows you professionally be surprised to learn about you?
Fay: I am obsessed with Halloween. I plan a huge party every other year, and on the off years, I travel with friends to experience Halloween in places such as New Orleans and Salem, MA. I belong to a group called AZ Haunters that meets about once a month to build Halloween projects.