As the level-head of the business, the GC promotes strategic influence while, at the same time, supporting crisis scenarios. A balanced approach is essential as the expectations placed upon General Counsel - integrity, leadership, knowledge - they bear greater weight than most executive roles.
TechGC is all about sharing stories (war stories especially). By observing others' approach to issues, we open windows of insights to our own.
"Civis Analytics is a data analytics technology company that offers cloud-based solutions to help organizations use data to inform their most important decisions and audience campaigns. Our founder, Dan Wagner, built the core data science and technology behind the first data-driven Presidential campaign in 2012. After the campaign, Dan and his team noticed that a similar problem exists across organizations that need to reach people: building messages, finding customers, and measuring campaigns with math and science. They started Civis to bring that same approach to companies, nonprofits, and governments.
Our clients range from some of the world’s biggest companies to the largest social causes, including McDonald’s, Discovery, the Human Rights Campaign, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The goal is the same for all - unlock data to understand key audiences, create targeted campaigns to compel them to action, and measure what's working."
"In addition to me, we have one talented in-house attorney who handles the majority of our client agreements. She works very closely with our product and business teams to understand our offerings and to negotiate and review our agreements with commercial, non-profit and advocacy, and political clients. She also works on optimizing our contract management process and tools, from intake through execution, and collaborates with me on various legal projects.
We have a burgeoning government data science business (which quadrupled in the past three years) and we are currently FedRAMP in-process, with the expectation that this investment in our security and data programs will allow us to grow our federal government work. Because government contracting is so specialized, we also work with a part-time contract attorney, staffed through an external provider, to respond to RFPs, draft templates, and review and negotiate government agreements. My team also consists of two non-lawyer compliance professionals, who specialize in information security compliance, and our Cybersecurity team who support global information security strategy, compliance, and risk-based programs focused on protecting information systems, product, and data, as well as detection and response of threat."
"Data protection is likely top-of-mind for most GCs, including those who don’t work at data companies. I’ve highlighted a few areas that I view as key to an organization’s data security program.
"It sounds very obvious, but I do what I say I will. My actions need to match my words, and if for some reason I cannot follow through on what I’ve said, I’m transparent as to why. Moreso, while I can tell my team and my colleagues what my priorities and my values are, I prefer to show them. I can tell them that I value their time, but it means more that I set clear agendas for our meetings and don’t email after hours or on the weekends. I can tell them that we should have a growth mindset and learning culture, but I need to back that up with a budget that provides for them to pursue certifications and attend conferences. I can tell them that I value cross-functional partnerships, but I need to demonstrate that by being curious about other teams’ work and getting their input on what they think their relationship with legal should look like.
I’ve heard other GCs say to “fake it ‘til you make it,” and I understand where this is coming from in terms of exhibiting confidence and trusting your sound judgment. But I’m at a new company, in a new industry, in a new role. I don’t, and I’m not expected to, have all the answers. What feels more natural to me is to embrace that I will always have more to learn. The most impressive thing about Civis is our people - their intellectual curiosity, their tenacious pursuit of excellence, their desire to better their clients and communities. We have so much to gain from each other, and it’s important that my colleagues know that I recognize their value and I genuinely want to learn from and with them."
Privacy | Legal Team Structure | GC Career | Contracting