Growing up, people used to always tell me I would make a great lawyer because I argued about everything. It was in college that I really started to pursue an interest in law, particularly criminal law. I interned at a public defender’s office where I got to work on a few death penalty cases. One particular trial experience that stood out was a highly charged case where a police officer had been killed, and I was defending the defendant who was my age at the time, 21 years old. I remember thinking here we are at the same stages of our lives, yet our lives and experiences couldn’t be more different. This particular trial taught me the importance of upholding the legal process and making sure it’s followed accordingly, no matter how much emotion may be involved.
I learned a lot about the criminal justice process, which made me want to pursue a career as a prosecutor. Upstanding prosecutors really can make the biggest impact in the criminal justice system. I loved the courtroom environment and the research and investigating that went into it. Having to uncover the truth, that is what ultimately got me to law school.
It has always been important to me that any career role I pursue is one that serves the public good. It was appealing that Credit Karma is a mission-driven company, and a mission that really resonates with me. I truly felt the company was making a profound impact on people’s lives. I’ve seen so many instances, even in my own family, of people not having even a basic understanding of finances, which can often times lead to devastating outcomes. At Credit Karma, we always put our members first, and I don’t think I would have left my prior job if that wasn’t at the core of our business.
Another thing that appealed to me about Credit Karma was the challenges that came with working at a company in a period of hypergrowth, in a highly regulated industry. Its state of innovation was important to me as I always encourage myself to embrace change and to recognize when disruption is taking place in an industry. This brings challenges and opportunities for law professionals to ideate ways of implementing innovation in a legal and compliant manner. In my previous roles, I had handled all types of regulatory issues, but I had never led an entire legal team. It was an opportunity to expand my skill set and learn what it takes to drive a company toward growth.
The biggest learning curve I experienced was not so much tied to the workings of the legal department, but rather the company itself. As part of the leadership team of a company with 1,100+ employees, it was important that I really learned the insides and outs of the business. There was no way I could do my job or lead a team successfully if I wasn’t an expert on all things Credit Karma, from both a legal and leadership standpoint.
I owe a lot of my expertise to my mentor Seth Weissman, the general counsel at SolarCity who hired me for my first in-house role. He taught me so much about team leadership and how to build a high-functioning, collaborative legal team. A few principles and skills that have helped me succeed in this management role, include:
Credit Karma has experienced tons of growth this year. We announced a major growth milestone of more than 100 million members on the Credit Karma platform, we launched Credit Karma in the UK and we launched Credit Karma Savings, our first step towards helping our members with their assets.
I look for the following types of qualities in candidates: