I’m the General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Zapier, a leader in automation technology. I landed my current role because one of the recruiters at Zapier reached out to me via Linkedin and we started talking. The more we talked, the more I wanted to know about Zapier’s founders, people, culture, business and technology. After a series of conversations with a number of different teams at Zapier, the fit made sense from both sides. I was fortunate that I was in a position to be able to join when the right opportunity came along.
Zapier’s mission is to make automation work for everyone. In order for our customers to automate their teams’ entire workflow on Zapier, we continue to build capability and reliability of our platform, and continue to integrate with both leading and emerging apps (we currently integrate with more than 4,000 apps). As a fast-growing company that’s constantly innovating and with a fully distributed workforce (Zapier has been 100% remote since 2012 when the company started), our legal team works closely across various teams across the organization to provide proactive legal support in key areas like data privacy, marketing, compliance, recruiting and HR.
The legal team at Zapier provides important guideposts for responsible growth of the business and the corporate culture continuing to incorporate and reflect the company's values. Zapier’s company values are unique to our culture and some of these, such as “default to action” and “default to transparency” can be challenging for the legal team because of the type of work that we do. However, to be an effective and a valuable legal partner to the business and stakeholders across the organization, the legal team needs to incorporate these values in our work. We discuss and debate ways in which the legal team can embrace the Zapier company values, which, in addition to the two mentioned above include “grow through feedback”, “empathy, no ego”, and “don’t be a robot, build the robot”.
Being a general counsel of a technology company provides constant opportunities to learn, problem solve and grow. Often, these steps involve not only the legal team, but a cross functional team of stakeholders whose input and perspectives are invaluable to the process. Working closely with experts in their respective fields for a common goal is a fulfilling experience for me both personally and professionally. Combine that with continuous learning in specific legal practice areas that are relevant to the business, such as data privacy, M&A, remote-working, equity incentives, I find that there’s always something interesting and challenging to engage my attention.
At the risk of sounding clichéd, my recommendation is to follow what interests you. If you want your legal career to be fulfilling and engaging for a long period of time, I think that’s the most important criteria. I didn’t plan on becoming a general counsel of a technology company. I believe my career path naturally evolved in this direction, because I was fortunate to have the opportunities in the first place, and because I pursued legal specialties, companies and interests that piqued my curiosity. My career path is somewhat unusual in that early in my career I took 2 years off from working, between two different law firm positions, to travel. I then took an additional 4 years off before joining an in-house job because I wanted to be a full-time mom for a while. In my case, pursuing my passions, both personally and professionally, has been an important part of connecting with people and teams who also do the same. While having the appropriate level of legal expertise and capabilities is the baseline, your unique experiences, interests and perspectives play an important role in determining your success in getting hired and your success in the position.