Tell us about your background as a General Counsel and current career status…

I am a Director in the Legal Department at UJET is reimagining the contact center for modern consumers and brands. Our one-of-a-kind architecture delivers an entirely new foundation for security, reliability, and scale across customer service operations. A full voice and digital engagement suite is complemented by powerful AI and advanced analytics capabilities, and easy-to-use, intuitive design to make life easier for everyone involved – from customers and agents to supervisors and executives – all while driving meaningful operational efficiencies. Smart device capabilities like channel blending, photo and video sharing, and biometric authentication are available to deploy for full CX transformation.

How I landed the job is a crazy story!  I was the first in-house counsel at a telecom tech start-up, FreedomVoice, where we provided version 2.0 of the same services that UJET provides version 3.0.  After a year, FreedomVoice was acquired by GoDaddy. I continued on at GoDaddy where I held a few positions and helped launch multiple new features and services. I learned a lot during my time at a large publicly traded company but wanted to transition back to a start-up with a much smaller legal team.  I really enjoy the pace, chaos, and variety of work found in growing organizations. I sent out my resume and interviewed with many top tech companies. I made it quite far along in the process for several positions (eventually receiving multiple offers), including one where I really clicked with the General Counsel and team. That company went with another candidate due to a specific specialization (SEC compliance) which was understandable but left me in market continuing to look for the right fit.  Shortly after the rejection, one of the attorneys at that company reached out to me on LinkedIn and asked if we could chat by phone. She explained a former co-worker was now in the C-Suite at a new company, UJET, and had reached out to recruit her. She was happy in her current role but thought I would be a great fit.  She was right!  And here I am loving my new job!

How does your industry help define your role as General Counsel?

Telecommunications is one of the most highly regulated industries. The FCC, Public Utility Commissions, and EECC all have complex regulations that may (or hopefully may not) apply.  Let’s list some acronyms: TCPA, CAN-SPAM, STIR/SHAKEN, 10DLC, COPPA, CALEA, CPNI, CVAA, FUSF, e911, etc.  Not to mention all the PII (CCPA/GDPR) and PHI (HIPAA) that may be transiting our platform. Did I mention most companies consider their CCaaS Platform to be critical infrastructure?  Then there is the EU where you can’t access telecommunications resources without notice/registration. And we haven’t even gotten to MENA yet where things get really complicated!

How do you feel the General Counsel should act as a business partner?

My broad in-house experience and deep expertise in telecommunications regulatory compliance, product development, and privacy fills an important need for UJET. I was brought in to help build scalable processes, drive our international expansion, build a commercial team, and be the company’s first dedicated product counsel.  During my time here I have created multiple templates and implemented processes that allow the business to increase its scalability and velocity.  My work has been critical to the release of multiple features as well as positioning the company to offer its services in many new countries.  And the Legal Department is continuing to grow.  I was the second attorney hired for the team and have since hired a third and am actively looking for a fourth (if anyone is interested, please feel free to reach out on LinkedIn).

As for company culture, it’s important to me that the Legal Department is known for our approachability and being considered a valued partner.  I work hard every day to bring that to reality by being active on Slack, not only by being responsive to work related questions, but also participating in many non-work-related channels (Wordle, Cooking, Fitness, Sports, etc.).  I am not afraid to ask questions, am effusive with my praise and my thanks, and try my best to be responsive and provide valuable insights and information.  In short, I am my authentic self: curious, driven, helpful, silly, extroverted.  And I hope people feel comfortable being their authentic selves with me.   As far as culture in the Legal Department, I take a modern approach to my work and management style.  I trust my team and their professionalism and don’t micromanage where, when, or how my teams’ work gets accomplished.  I emphasize honest effort, contribution, and providing real value to the business.  My team supports me, and I do my best to support them by providing open communication, context, guidance, resources, opportunities to learn and grow, as well as a manageable workload.

How do you see the professional growth trajectory as a General Counsel?

I have always wanted to be a Consigliere, a trusted voice and advisor.  I could imagine taking a role in Strategic Operations, or maybe one day becoming a CEO.  But truthfully, I can’t really “envision” that transition.  My current goal is to become a General Counsel.  Preferably, as the first legal hire for a growing company in an intriguing industry.  I see myself building the department and team according to my vision and values.  If I did take a non-legal job, it would probably be as an Adjunct Professor teaching Business Law to Undergraduates.  Or, possibly teaching Contract Law to Law Students (but trying to make sure course was practical and useful).  Many years ago, I did teach Accounting and Finance at the Associates Degree level for two years and was voted Instructor of the Year by my students.  Hopefully, when my sons are a bit older and I have more free time, I will have the opportunity to teach again.

What is the best advice you can give for In-House Counsel?

My first piece of advice is to be your authentic self!  Life is too short, and we spend too much of it at work, to spend all that time faking it.  You are going to be the happiest, healthiest, and most productive when you are valued for being you.  Many of us think we want the job with the best logo, the most prestige, highest pay, and interesting work.  Sure, that can be important, but I think being respected, appreciated, heard, and valued for your unique contributions is more fulfilling.  So don’t fake it, or you will just need to keep faking it.  Be open, be honest and accept the risks and rejections that come with it.  Because when you do land the right role, it will be worth it.

Once you land the role: Work hard but set reasonable expectations.  Be open-minded, flexible, and focus on finding solutions (not just problems).  Be friendly and build non-need-based relationships with co-workers.  Never stop learning.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Be an active listener and make your words count.  Pick your battles carefully.  Take your work seriously without taking yourself too seriously.  This job can be stressful, so do your best to keep perspective and enjoy the ride!

About Gino Capozzi

Gino Capozzi is currently a Director in the Legal Department at a CCaaS provider where he oversees commercial transactions, product development and regulatory compliance. Prior to joining UJET, Gino was Director of Regulatory Compliance and Board Appointed Telecommunications Compliance Officer at GoDaddy where his team launched two new communications services. He is well versed in contract negotiations, privacy and other consumer protections. As a well-rounded, corporate attorney he can manage essentially any task within the legal department. But he is especially well-positioned to help companies facing complex and changing regulatory environments design. build and launch compliant products and services.