NextChapter: Women-Led


Back in May, the NextChapter HQ team exhibited at the annual NACBA conference. As the largest consumer bankruptcy conference in the country, NACBA is such an exciting opportunity for our company. Exhibiting at this conference not only allows us to showcase our modern bankruptcy software; but it also gives us the chance to speak with current users first-hand.


Although NextChapter is more transparent than many other tech companies in the industry, with a fun team page on our website and internal social media posts, many of our users are unfamiliar with who's behind the product. This became even more apparent when NextChapter user Nancy Jacob passed our booth and caught sight of our team. What first started as a brief conversation about the product turned into so much more when Mandy Ballinger, NextChapter COO, and Janine Sickmeyer, NextChapter CEO, introduced themselves as such. Nancy had absolutely no idea that NextChapter was led and operated by women. As she and NextChapter's leading ladies continued speaking with one another, Nancy discovered that Janine built NextChapter from the ground up. Nancy herself is also paving the way in her industry (bankruptcy law) and is passionate about female advancement so she was so thrilled to be supporting a fellow women-owned business. She encouraged us to spread the word about being women-led, owned, and operated and her words resonated with us deeply.


People like Nancy are the reason why we do this. Janine created NextChapter to be a modern, forward-thinking solution for attorneys and paralegals working in the bankruptcy field. But Janine brings so much more than a bankruptcy software to the legal and business worlds; she promotes the rise of female leadership internally and externally. And while Nancy Jacob talked about how she admired us, we are inspired by her and all the other female trailblazers out there. Women like her that are leading the way in a male-dominated industry deserve to be recognized, highlighted, and celebrated.


NextChapter is kicking off this campaign for that reason: to tell the stories of female powerhouses that often go unnoticed. But first, we'd like to tell you the story of how NextChapter came to be.


Janine Sickmeyer started in the legal industry as a paralegal at a law firm in Columbus, Ohio. Her entrepreneurial spirit and desire to travel the world ultimately led her to leave her job to start her own virtual paralegal firm. While working as a virtual paralegal, Janine used just about every software on the market and discovered the need for a cloud-based bankruptcy software solution. After teaching herself how to code, building a team of developers, and being in beta testing for two years, Janine launched NextChapter. Just a month before NextChapter had its first paying customer, Janine hired her first employee, Mandy Ballinger, who was eventually promoted to COO. Over the years, Janine has built a team of nearly 20 employees, majority female. NextChapter has women in every department, from engineering to customer success.


NextChapter is not your typical tech company and with the help of this campaign we're showing that to our current female users, attorneys and any other women out there looking for inspiration. Join us over the next month as we celebrate powerful women of history and women currently paving the way!



The Influencers


Women have been influencing the world for years and our mark is getting bigger and bigger. With every new accomplishment, we are paving the way for yet another female to find her passion and run after it. The movement of female empowerment is a ball that's been rolling for decades, and it isn't going to stop anytime soon. Multitudes of powerful women in history have made it possible for their fellow female powerhouses to continue the women-led legacy:


Anna Lee Fisher | NASA

Not only was Anna Lee in the first astronaut class to include women, she was the very first mother in space.


Grace Hopper | U.S. Navy

Former United States Navy Admiral Grace Hopper is also known as the First Lady of Software after her contributions in computer programming. 



Hedy Lamarr | Actress & Inventor

Hedy Lamarr used her power and fame for good and created a radio signaling device to keep Nazi enemies from decoding messages.


Katherine Johnson | NASA

Katherine Johnson stomped on racial and gender stereotypes when she became a leading NASA Mathematician.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg | U.S. Supreme Court

Ruth was the first female member of Harvard Law Review, then went on to become an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.


Amelia Earhart | Pilot

Another famous female innovator, Amelia Earhart was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean.



With these ladies setting the foundation, many more women were able to soar above and beyond in their careers, eventually establishing themselves as leaders in their space today:



Meg Whitman | Quibi

Meg Whitman has left footprints all over the technology world—she is the former CEO of eBay; CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise; executive of DreamWorks, The Walt Disney Company, Procter & Gamble, Dropbox and Hasbro; and current CEO of Quibi.


Sheryl Sandberg | Facebook

A long-time icon in the technology space, Sheryl Sandberg has had leading roles at Google and founded her company Today, she serves as the COO of Facebook and is the first woman to be on its board of directors.



Susan Wojcicki | YouTube

After helping found Google and serving as its first ever marketing manager, Susan went on to become the CEO of YouTube.


Beth Comstock | GE

Former Vice Chair of General Electric Beth Comstock later worked on the founding of Hulu, had leadership roles at NBC, TBS, and CBS, and currently serves on the board of directors for Nike.



Over the course of history, these women dominated in their field and exceeded expectations. NextChapter is proud to be part of that female empowerment movement in the legal technology space, where tons of women are rising to the top.



Fellow Women in Legal Tech


The technology has always been and remains a male-dominated industry. There are so many talented male innovators, and now women are rising up to meet them. In recent years, many women have started taking over leadership roles in the tech space:


Erin Levine | Hello Divorce

Erin's innovative theories of personable divorce processes lead her to become a leader in the legal space. Today, Hello Divorce helps many people take steps toward the next phase of their lives.


Haley Altman | Doxly

Doxly was founded by Haley Altman to turn the old ways of legal transactions on its head and make it more streamlined than ever.


Janine Sickmeyer | NextChapter

Janine's bankruptcy software has transformed case filing into a smooth, automated process. Her dream is that NextChapter will become the single-trusted source for all bankruptcy attorneys.


Nicole Bradick | Theory & Principle

Nicole Bradick's company brings innovative digital design to the legal tech space by working with different groups to change all facets of the industry for the better.


Felicity Conrad | Paladin

Felicity and her company Paladin work to address the needs of everyone in the justice system. Her goal is to rework industry technology to help many different groups and organizations increase the access of their pro bono programs.


Haben Girma | Author & Lawyer

The first Deafblind graduate of Harvard Law School, Haben has been tearing down barriers in the world of legal tech as a disability rights lawyer.


Alma Asay | Allegory

Alma is dedicated to helping attorneys think outside the box and ensure wins for their team with her litigation software Allegory.


Lauren Sanders | Clio

The high-stakes, challenging environment of being a woman leader in the legal tech space, is what drives Lauren Sanders in her position at the industry-leading software company Clio.


Katia Alcantar | Text a Lawyer

Katia is a woman on top of the world learning from, teaching, and supporting other women who have passionate visions for the future of accessibility in legal techn through her company Text a Lawyer.


Kristen Sonday | Paladin

Kristin Sonday is the COO of Paladin and a true female powerhouse being a minority executive aiming to close the social justice gap by increasing accessibility to those in need.



NextChapter's Own


NextChapter is no different! We're made up of various women in different roles who are all an essential part of the team:


Janine Sickmeyer | Founder & CEO

Janine has had to overcome a male-dominated field to put herself and her company on the map and has shown her skills and know-how time and time again over the years.


Mandy Ballinger | COO

Mandy takes pride in the quality of her work and is a true believer in celebrating wins with other women and encouraging female leaders to take credit where credit is due.


Katie Stasiulewicz | Customer Success Manager

Katie's passion for NextChapter comes from her belief that no product is better, and it's not hard to stay motivated when surrounded by so many powerful women who have that same passion.


Jaime Houssami | Marketing Specialist

Jaime's journey to discovering her passion for marketing and realizing her true talent has been made more possible by the constant encouragement of the women led company she works for.


Megi Malushi | Virtual Paralegal Specialist

No matter how hard and stressful the work is, and no matter what obstacles she has had to face, Megi never stops trying to perfect her paralegal skills and grow in the legal tech industry as a woman.


Darian McCoy | Marketing Intern

Darian's passion for writing and marketing has flourished under the women she works for in the legal tech industry because of the pride she takes in being a female in the space and having more responsibility to succeed.


Danica Misic | Female Engineer

Danica is proud to be one of the few female engineers here at NextChapter paving the way for other women to take over the technology space too.


Coumba Winfield | Graphic Designer

Coumba is incredibly grateful for being given the opportunity to enact change in the world around her by working in creative design for NextChapter.


Melisa Navarro | UI/UX Designer

Melisa is a true innovator. She's creative, thoughtful, and always looking to perfect her skills to become a top woman in her field.


Bojana Filipovic | Research & Data Assistant

Being a woman in the legal tech space has made Bojana more and more confident in all aspects of her life, and she continues to create, improve, and innovate.


Alexis Lkhagvadorj | Female Engineer

Alexis is passionate about using her skills in engineering and technology to solve real world problems and showcasing her strength as a woman in the legal tech space.


Jelena Popovic | Research & Data Assistant

Jelena makes research and testing creative with innovative problem solving. She's proud to be a woman in a technical field so she can show other women that it is possible to rise to the top.


In the coming weeks, we'll be highlighting the powerful women of NextChapter. Check out our blog to learn more about what our female leaders do, their journey, and why they love being a female in the legal tech space!



The Podcast


NextChapter continues to inspire women by sharing stories and encouraging each other to pursue ambitions. NextChapter's CEO, Janine Sickmeyer will be hosting the second season of her podcast, She Starts Up. Season 2 will highlight legal tech companies and women in the industry. Tune in to hear others' stories of challenges and accomplishments, listen to some powerful guest speakers, and maybe find some inspiration fo your own!



Stay tuned to experience all of this in action as we launch our Women Led campaign!