Sweet grew up in Orange County, California. Her father painted cars for a living and her mother was a beautician, she told the New York Times in an interview published in January. She decided she wanted to be a lawyer in eighth grade, and about the same time, her mother began pursuing a college degree with the hopes of building a strong future for the family. Her mother graduated when Sweet was a freshman in college. Sweet went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Claremont McKenna College and a J.D. from Columbia Law School.
When Sweet started at Cravath, Swaine & Moore in 1992, there were just two female partners at the firm. By the time she worked her way up the ranks and was named partner in 1999, she was the ninth woman partner, and the third in the corporate department. The same year, she helped start the first women’s program at the firm, setting the stage for a major shift in the way women were promoted. “Now Cravath has 25 percent women partners, which is just extraordinary,” she told the Times.
In her current role, Sweet has helped increase the number of U.S. employees who are black, Hispanic, veterans and military spouses, as well as those who self-identified as persons with disabilities.
Sweet also serves on the board of directors of Catalyst, a prestigious global nonprofit that works to “accelerate progress for women at work” by building inclusive cultures and training employees at hundreds of organizations to reduce unconscious bias.
When it comes to listing some of the most powerful women in the corporate world, Sweet has consistently featured on various list by Fortune and Forbes magazine .