The challenges of finding a mentor in the professional world are well-known and greater for female attorneys and doctors. In Afghanistan, where cultural norms prevent men from mentoring the driven young women entering the legal and medicals fields, the challenges are greater still. It is these women that Gayle Zilber, former Fenwick litigation associate and current Mentor Program Director at the Alliance for International Women’s Rights, spends her days helping.
Gayle’s lifelong interest in international work led her to her current role. Before joining the Alliance for International Women’s Rights, she worked in the Israeli peace corps, founded the Middle East Dialogue Group at Indiana University Bloomington, studied in India and reported to the United Nations on Tibetan children’s rights issues. Of her years at Fenwick, Gayle fondly recalls working on a licensing dispute with several Fenwick alumni and “having lunches with Melissa Manwaring.”
In her current role, Gayle connects American mentors with Afghani mentees in the legal and medical fields. Mentors help with English language development, advise on conventions, systems and rules within the legal or medical fields and assist mentees with preparing applications, understanding cases and the like. With her own mentees, Gayle frequently imparts the knowledge she gained at Fenwick about effective communications and efficient legal research and analysis.
In addition to international women’s rights, Gayle is passionate about photography and strolling Seattle’s botanical gardens. Along with her husband, Fenwick alumnus Steve Young, Gayle can often be found adjudicating minor disputes between her twin teenage daughters in their family tribunal, where the girls are required to adhere to standard courtroom decorum.