Are You an Outlaw? Meet Tanya Riggan

Who has redefined what it means to think outside the law (aka OUTLAW) and is helping each of us in the process?

Meet Tanya Riggan, Marketing and Business Development Director at Koley Jessen, a 75 attorney firm in Omaha, Nebraska. In her nearly 20 year career in professional services marketing, Tanya has worked with a Big 4 accounting firm and two AmLaw 100 law firms. Her current role includes strategy, coaching, training, and managing an amazing team who helps accomplish the firm’s marketing and BD goals. Despite not having a formal LMA Chapter available, Tanya regularly organizes formal lunches with the legal marketing professionals in her area and participates in Toastmasters. After completing her B.B.A. in Marketing and Management at the University of Iowa, she received her MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. Tanya is also mother to Justin (9) and Kyle (6).

We asked Tanya a few questions, and her answers can be found below. Enjoy getting to know this Outlaw!

Q: Where would you like to live?
A: I’d love to be a snowbird and have a summer farmhouse in the Midwest with horses and an awesome farm pond and a winter home in the hill county in Texas overlooking a river or a lake. While I enjoy things that big cities have to offer – I’m a country gal at heart.

Q: What is your idea of happiness?
A: I know it’s cliché, but moments with my kids bring me such happiness. I love how their brains work and love their questions and observations. I also love getting out and experiencing nature through their eyes. It reminds me how much awe I have for this world.

Q: Who is your real life hero?
A: My mom is my real life hero. I admire her ability to make things fun. She knew how to turn a rainy day in to a pretend picnic adventure for her 4 kids and she’s always creating simple yet amazing adventures for her grandkids. She is also one of the most thoughtful and giving people I know. She shows up for people. It’s something that I admire greatly. She makes the time to check in on people when they are going through a hard time and does her best to make their lives a little easier, put a smile on their face, and truly listens.

Q: Your favorite virtue?
A: Kindness is my favorite virtue. “Everyone is fighting battle you know nothing about.” I think about this daily. As Brene Brown talks about in “Dare to Lead,” we all have a story we tell ourselves about whatever the current situation is, when in reality the actions of the other person probably have nothing to do with you. You have to have the courage to check the story you’re telling yourself and you need to come from a place where you assume everyone is doing the best they can.

Q: Who are your favorite authors/what are your favorite books?
A: I could write a book about my favorite books! I’m a total book nerd and love both fiction and non-fiction. Isabelle Allende and Edward Rutherford have always been two of my favorite authors. Willa Cather is an author I discovered after moving to Nebraska and I fell in love with her work. I think I it is so amazing how something written 100 years ago can still resonate so beautifully.

Wayne Dyer’s “Living an Inpired Life” and Louise Hay’s “The Power is Within You” were game changers for me when I was struggling with some anxiety and I still turn to them when I need some grounding.

I am also a total business and leadership book nerd. I just finished Brene Brown’s “Dare to Lead” and I can’t wait to share it with a couple attorneys who I know will nerd out with me about it. I was giddy when I read Heidi Gardner’s “Smart Collaboration.” I love how both authors use data and research to support how we can get better at leadership and service.

Q: What is your motto?
A: This year it is “Faith over Fear.” I’m focused on not letting anxiety (fear) get the best of me and having Faith that it is all going to work out (with a little help from intention and manifestation).

Q: If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
A: My Grandma Riggan. I remember her, but I was young when she passed away. I’d love to hear her talk about raising 18 kids and let her know what great people they turned out to be. I’d love to share with her how my dad has influenced my life and what a great man she raised. And I would relish in the stories she could share of his childhood – I know there have to be many!

Q: What got you into working in the legal industry?
A: Like with most of us, working in professional services marketing was a happy accident. I was set on moving to Austin, Texas after graduating from the University of Iowa. I didn’t have a job so worked through a temp agency to make some money while looking for a full time job. I thought I wanted to do HR work, but after interviewing for a few of those jobs decided that wasn’t the route for me. A job opportunity came in through the temp agency for a marketing assistant position at KPMG. I feel so very grateful for that amazing start in this career. I thought maybe after getting my MBA from UT I would move into more of a product marketing role, but I landed at Dechert in Philadelphia as a BD Manager for their litigation department. Turns out professional services business development/marketing is my jam.

Q: Your favorite musician or band?
A: I love live music from lesser known artists. Those years in Austin spoiled me with constant access to amazing shows in small venues. Cowboy Mouth, Bob Schneider, Galactic, and G. Love were some of the shows I saw whenever I could, and lots of other local bands were on my rotation. Whitey Morgan and Michael Franti are two live shows that I try to catch whenever they come through Omaha. Though I usually avoid big arena venues, I saw Paul McCartney live with my mom last summer and that show blew my socks off.

Q: What is your current state of mind?
A: My state of mind always involves some level of curious. One of my Gallup top 5 strengths is “Learner.” I love being introduced to a new topic and going to the library to pick up as many books I can find to learn more about it.

Q: Finish this sentence: “If I could have one super-power, it would be…”
A: Teleportation! With my friends and family spread out across the country, it would be wonderful to just “appear” at any of their houses in a moment’s notice!

Q: Finish this sentence: “If I won the lottery tomorrow I would…”
A: I would pay off my house and the houses of many other people I know. I would find ways to help people without them knowing where the help came from. I’d also plan some amazing vacations with friends and family. I can’t imagine quitting my job. I love working with attorneys and I value helping them make progress on their efforts. I may need some extra PTO time to fit in all of those vacations I plan though!

Q: Who would you have liked to be?
A: Honestly, I can’t imagine being anyone else. I enjoy my life, career, friends, and family, and love being a mom to my boys. I’m incredibly fortunate to have such great people in my life.