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2013 WOMAN OF INFLUENCE: Francina Dlouhy

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dlouhy-3-15col.jpg Francina Dlouhy (IBJ photo/Eric Learned)

It’s one thing to open doors for yourself. It’s another to expand the openings in those doors for others.

As the first woman appointed to the management committee of what was then Baker & Daniels—and as one of the firm’s first two women to become a partner—Francina Dlouhy sees helping others as a key part of her job.

Thanks in large part to her efforts, Baker & Daniels adopted a reduced-hours policy to help balance work and family for talented staff it wanted to retain. Adoption reimbursement credits, flex time and remote work options are just some of the results of her efforts.

“The most important thing we have is talent,” Dlouhy said. “When you spend years training a young lawyer to be a senior lawyer, why make the only option walking out the door? Balancing work and home life isn’t just a women’s issue. It’s a family issue.”

Dlouhy’s original career plan was to be a securities lawyer. But a senior partner at Baker & Daniels suggested she try tax law. Her initial response: “I’m not a CPA. I can barely balance my checkbook.” But her resistance dropped after she immersed herself in a case involving interstate shipments.

Now, with more than 35 years of experience in law and leader of FBD’s tax group, Dlouhy has filed more than 100 cases in Indiana Tax Court, represented many Fortune 500 companies, and was named a Sagamore of the Wabash. Her alma mater, IU’s Maurer School of Law, named her to its elite list of Academy of Law Alumni Fellows, the highest honor it presents to its law school graduates.

She’s in demand as a board member, serving on the board of advisers for the Sisters of St. Benedict in Beech Grove, with the Indiana Manufacturers Association, and on the Indiana Chamber of Commerce’s tax committee.

“I’m a big believer in not being on a board for a long time,” she said, despite having served 13 years on the board of governors for the Riley Children’s Foundation. She also believes in not just looking for involvement that matches your day job. “I hate to be asked to be the financial person on the board. I look for something different than what I do day in and day out.”

As a mentor, she believes in assisting young lawyers both inside and outside her practice group.

“Young lawyers usually assume that they cannot develop business,” she noted. “They expect that they’ll just get work from a partner. I tell them to start from day one building your reputation, your skills and your networking even if you don’t think you can do it. I believe in getting people out to visit clients, to learn their business.”

And, for Dlouhy, one-on-one communication—ideally away from a computer screen—is preferred.

“People are so pressed for time. We communicate so frequently by email. But a real conversation can tell you so much about a person. I get frustrated that people down the hall won’t come down and talk to me.”•

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  1. I had read earlier this spring that Noodles & Co was going to open in the Fishers Marketplace (which is SR 37 and 131st St, not 141st St, just FYI). Any word on that? Also, do you happen to know what is being built in Carmel at Pennsylvania and Old Meridian? May just be an office building but I'm not sure.

  2. I'm sorry, but you are flat out wrong. There are few tracks in the world with the history of IMS and probably NO OTHER as widely known and recognized. I don't care what you think about the stat of Indy Car racing, these are pretty hard things to dispute.

  3. Also wondering if there is an update on the Brockway Pub-Danny Boy restaurant/taproom that was planned for the village as well?

  4. Why does the majority get to trample on the rights of the minority? You do realize that banning gay marriage does not rid the world of gay people, right? They are still going to be around and they are still going to continue to exist. The best way to get it all out of the spotlight? LEGALIZE IT! If gay marriage is legal, they will get to stop trying to push for it and you will get to stop seeing it all over the news. Why do Christians get to decide what is moral?? Why do you get to push your religion on others? How would legalizing gay marriage expose their lifestyle to your children? By the way, their lifestyle is going to continue whether gay marriage is legalized or not. It's been legal in Canada for quite a while now and they seem to be doing just fine. What about actual rules handed down by God? What about not working on Sundays? What about obeying your parents? What about adultery? These are in the 10 Commandments, the most important of God's rules. Yet they are all perfectly legal. What about divorce? Only God is allowed to dissolve a marriage so why don't you work hard to get divorce banned? Why do you get to pick and choose the parts of the Bible you care about?

  5. Look at the bright side. With the new Lowe's call center, that means 1000 jobs at $10 bucks an hour. IMS has to be drooling over all that disposable income. If those employees can save all their extra money after bills, in five years they can go to the race LIVE. Can you say attendance boost?

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