In her formative years, Brigette Koreny believed that becoming a lawyer would allow her continue to learn and grow. Decades later, that conviction has held strong within her as assistant general counsel for Enviri Corporation (formerly known as Harsco Corporation), a global market leader providing environmental solutions for industrial and specialty waste streams.
Koreny is proud to help the company find creative and workable solutions. “Our businesses are focused on trying to help their customers solve their most pressing sustainability challenges, and my role is to support those efforts,” she says.
In her work, she collaborates with a cross-functional global team of legal and nonlegal professionals and greatly values others’ views, knowledge, and experience. She strongly believes that asking questions, soliciting feedback on different options, and developing a solution that all the key stakeholders are aligned on leads to better outcomes.
“Of course, as legal counsel, I have to ensure that we are achieving our objectives in a legal and ethical way,” Koreny explains. “But just because you’ve always done something a certain way doesn’t mean that’s the right answer in the new situation. In this profession, it is often better to listen before you speak, a skill which lawyers aren’t always good at. I believe that you have to approach things with an open mind and realize that there isn’t always just one right way.”
Koreny joined the company in 2019 to execute on the company’s transformation strategy to become a global, single-thesis environmental solutions business. In addition to advising on various acquisitions, divestitures, and strategic equity investments to further this strategy, she also works with individuals at all levels of the organization—from site personnel to the board of directors—on a wide variety of other legal matters. “There’s never a ‘boring’ day at the office,” Koreny jokes. Since joining the company, she has taken on new responsibilities every year.
Her desire to work on complex, challenging projects that would never become routine prompted her to pursue a joint JD/MBA program and then to seek out a role as an M&A associate. In part, Koreny credits her MBA education for being able to take a business-minded approach to her work and not just provide an answer to a specific legal question.
She started her career in Pittsburgh at a mid-sized law firm, which allowed her to take on more responsibility and have more client interaction earlier in her career than many of her big law peers. When two of the partners she worked with closely decided to move their practice to a larger firm, she transitioned with them, armed with experience and a hunger for more.
“Starting at mid-sized firm and then transitioning with partners that already knew my work was the best of both worlds,” Koreny reflects. “The move gave me a bigger platform and the opportunity to interact with and learn from more lawyers who helped me further my legal skills.”
In addition to supporting the company’s vision, Koreny has a passion for mentorship that stems from the many individuals who’ve helped her throughout her career. She pays it forward by offering her time and guidance to young professionals both within her company and as president of the Pitt Business Alumnae Council.
She has come to realize that being the mentor can often be even more rewarding than being the mentee. In fact, she often finds herself leaving conversations with up-and-coming professionals feeling recharged and with a different perspective that she wouldn’t get from speaking with her peers.
“Early in your career, you have that excitement and fire that you can lose after a while if you’re not careful.” she says. “You become so used to the day-to-day that you forget why got you into it. They challenge you to look at things differently. If you’ve been doing something the same way, you can fall into that trap of saying, ‘This is just the way it’s done.’ There’s a lot to gain from at least having others challenge your thinking.”
Koreny advises young people to take time to build broad, diverse professional relationships with people at all levels of your organization as well as with individuals outside of it.
“A lot of young professionals often assume that building a professional network is finding people with the right job title and who exert a lot of apparent power, but you often learn the most from the people you may least expect,” she says. “If you take the time to get to know individuals and learn how they add value to the organization or project, not only will you make better decisions, but you will also build a network that is much more willing to help you and that sincerely wants to see you be successful.”
“Brigette has a broad knowledge of many complex areas of law, and her commitment to delivering the highest quality outcomes is apparent in everything she does. We are so pleased to work with her and the Harsco team!”
—Michele Connell, Global Managing Partner