I was introduced to Jeri Somers at WOC’s Signature Event this spring in Chantilly, VA. Jeri is a judge for the Federal Government who joined Women On Course that day. Her career path might not be typical, but as many of us have learned, playing golf has its advantages in the business world. Jeri took up golf about 15-20 years ago and even on her first outing, she was hooked. Though not particularly athletic, a couple of phenomenal shots her first day out were all it took for Jeri to decide that this was one sport she was willing to work at to see how she could improve.
Now, years later, through a law career that has taken her from private practice, to serving as a reservist in the Air Force and now as a Judge for the Federal Government, Jeri realizes that golf has played an important role in her career too. Though she only worked for a private law firm for a few years, it became apparent to her that golf was a great networking tool. As Jeri says, “There’s only so much of your personality that you can hide during 4 -5 hours of golf!”
As a judge for the Federal Government, Jeri hears cases that result from complaints brought to the government through the Contract Disputes Act. These cases vary and can include construction dispute cases or arguments concerning a service that is being provided by a contractor. In the 8 years Jeri has been a judge, she’s connected with colleagues during golf outings – colleagues who later become a resource for her, both locally and nationally.
As a trial attorney, Jeri mentions that it is very helpful to have a mentor or sponsor who can provide assistance and help guide your career path. For a woman, it’s sometimes harder to find that sponsor. It can be a difficult field for a woman to fit in. But when you are a woman who knows how to golf, there’s a certain camaraderie that helps form relationships. Jeri admits that you don’t have to be a great golfer – you just have to understand the game and be able to keep up with the pace of play. If you know the terminology, that’s even better. Besides being challenging and relaxing at the same time, golf is also a networking tool that can help your career. As you golf, you spend time with colleagues and get to know them outside the business environment. And they get to know you. Being a female judge who golfs definitely sets Jeri apart. “When I attend conferences that include golf, it’s also fun when the guys want me to be part of their foursome,” says Jeri. “Teeing off from the red tees can be a huge advantage when you’re playing a tournament!”
Jeri joined Women On Course with the idea that she would like to play at different courses and meet different people. Until recently she belonged to the Army-Navy Club and played there on a regular basis. Now, her daughter is active is several sports which require travel and Jeri can’t play as much golf as she has in previous years. So she decided to spend some time getting to know more courses in our area – and meeting other women who like to golf. “I’ve been receiving the emails from WOC for some time now and always had it in the back of my mind that I should join the organization. I’m so glad I did. I look forward to improving my game by playing throughout our area.” Great idea Jeri. Welcome to WOC. And when it comes time, check out one of those 3-day Signature Events that WomenOnCourse is so famous for! You’ll love it.