International Women’s Day 2024: #InspireInclusion with Lynel Barrow


International Women's DayThis year, International Women’s Day has been themed #InspireInclusion, striving to forge a more inclusive world for women.  

Caravel’s Co-Managing Partner, Lynel Barrow, is a trailblazer in the legal space. Lynel is a technology and corporate/commercial lawyer who has been a trusted advisor to CEOs and others in the C-suite and understands first-hand the importance of inspiring inclusion in the workplace.  

This International Women’s Day, we sat down with Lynel to discuss her experience with inspiring inclusion in the legal industry.  

What was the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a woman in your professional career? Have there been challenges unique to the legal industry?  

I started my career in technology when it was a very male-dominated field. Often, I was the only woman in the room where the deals were being done.  While I did not see this as a disadvantage, it could be challenging at times.  Friends of mine from law school had similar experiences, and we learned to navigate various situations, becoming mentors and advisors for each other. Now though, it is great to see tech as an industry be more inclusive, with women as founders, and playing key roles across organizations.   

My biggest challenge was never working in a male-dominated industry, I worked with some exceptional men and generally felt there was a great deal of respect both ways.   My struggle was with the practice of law, and how to have this career and raise a family.  While I do not believe this is unique to women in law, I do think the practice of law in some respects, can be draconian; with billable hours as the benchmark for success, and lawyers working around the clock and burning out in the process.  I left big law and moved in-house, and I was fortunate to have a very supportive husband. As a result, I was able to be a member of the C-suite for various tech companies and do so while raising three daughters.    

How do you think the legal industry can inspire inclusion? What strides have been taken and where do you think further efforts need to be focused?  

The fact is, over 50% of law students at the time I graduated from law school were women, and I believe this is still the case. The question isn’t how to inspire women to become lawyers, but rather – how do we keep them in the profession?     

Major strides have been made in recent years and there has been a pivot to make the practice of law more accommodating to the demands of our lives outside of work. Businesses are exploring alternatives to give flexibility to their lawyers in-house, and firms are doing the same.   

This is why I joined Caravel Law and see it as the future.   Caravel is an innovative law firm that values flexibility, utilizes cutting-edge technologies, and gives lawyers the ability to work remotely.  It offers women the opportunity to have a career in law on their terms.  They can do high-quality legal work and, for instance, not miss their children’s activities.  It’s nice when you do not have to choose between your career and your personal life.  With advances in technology and firms like Caravel – I think the dynamic is slowly shifting.  

How are you and Caravel working to support women in the workplace and the wider community? In what ways do you feel you and Caravel have inspired inclusion? 

Caravel’s community is filled with amazing women. It makes me proud to see this in all aspects of the firm, with women in roles such as Co-Managing Partners, Chief of Staff, and Director of Legal Innovation, just to name a few, women have stepped into major roles and are doing impressive work. 

Outside the firm, I am a mentor to young women, and I believe it is important they know that their voice matters, and that they don’t need to compromise when it comes to their career.  I can be a role model and let them know – you can do this job (for a long time) and still enjoy it!  

In the spirit of inspiring inclusion and fostering connections between women, Caravel is hosting a Women’s Night Out with Caravel Law and Beacon Dermatology on March 14th in Calgary.   

The event is a collaboration with Beacon Dermatology and Dr. Susan Poelman, who is not only a brilliant dermatologist, but also my sister. We are both extremely passionate about supporting women in business and thought this would be a wonderful opportunity to get together as a community and support each other.

For those local to Calgary and interested in Caravel and Beacon’s event, invitation details will be included below.  

Is there a woman who you find inspiring?  

I would have to say, hands down, my mom. She raised four children while working nights as a nurse and later, running a hospital as a night administrator, while pursuing a Master’s Degree. She was a major influence in my life and has always been a big cheerleader and champion of her kids, including our education, and careers. Her tireless work ethic and community service still inspire me. 

My co-managing partner, Jackie Dinsmore, is also a very inspiring woman, both as a lawyer and successful entrepreneur. Jackie is always looking for ways to expand the pie, create win/win deals, and ensure inclusivity. 

Final thoughts?   

When women are in positions of power the playing field levels out.  Women have not reached gender parity yet, but we are striving for it.  For me, being a co-managing partner at a law firm that empowers women and embraces equality, is exciting.  The calibre of lawyers at Caravel, and all the people who work at the firm, is amazing and makes me proud to go to work every day. True inclusion happens when all people are welcome and part of the team. I believe it is my responsibility to champion others along the way, and I get to do it in an environment that is supportive and inclusive, which is pretty special.   

International Women’s Day takes place annually on March 8th. Learn more about #InspireInclusion and the International Women’s Day mission here 


Check out Women’s Night Out with Caravel Law and Beacon Dermatology!

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