I was raised by English parents in Pittsburgh, PA. I spent my childhood going back and forth to England to visit relatives. This will explain the dry sense of humor with a healthy sprinkling of sarcasm thrown in for flavor. I do try to add an occasional emoji or gif because sarcasm doesn’t always translate well in written form.
I have a husband and two children – a boy and a girl, both in their teens.
I enjoy walking, biking, reading and listening to music and podcasts.
I am actually a shy introvert which can be hard at an all-remote company. It is hard for me to take the initiative to reach out to fellow employees I do not know to schedule a coffee chat. If you happen to be an extrovert who likes coffee chats, please consider adopting an introvert.
My college career started out in pharmacy, and when I realized I really didn’t like biochemistry or microbiology, I switched to psychology/criminalistics with a plan to work for the FBI. My career plan didn’t work out the way I expected so I found myself thinking about law school. I attended a paralegal program at a local law school to see what it was all about. Once I received my paralegal degree, I got a job, forgot about law school and that is how I entered the world of contracts.
I’ve been a professional contracts manager for almost 30 years now. I am well versed in all sorts of legalese and, notwithstanding the foregoing (< dorky legal humor), I prefer the KISS method to contracts – “keep it simple stupid”. You should not need a law degree to understand what you are agreeing to both personally and professionally. I should say that my off-hand comments like “you’re never going to get that body in the oil drum feet first” while watching Breaking Bad probably confirms that I was meant to be a FBI profiler.
I am currently managing the Contracts Managers in the Legal Department and my main focus at GitLab making sure that my team has to tools and education they need to handle all types of customer-facing agreements. In addition to negotiating pretty much any agreement type out there, I also have experience in data privacy, in particular with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation. At my previous company I was responsible for developing the action plans for establishing internal compliance with GDPR.
My approach to contracts is to determine the customer's needs, compare with the company’s requirements and find a mutually agreeable solution. I do not redline everything just to see what I can get from the customer. That is not the way to build a relationship with the contracts person on the other side.
From the sales perspective, if you need a deliverable from me, please be clear in what you are asking for and if you aren’t quite sure what you need, let’s have a chat to discuss. I’m happy to spend a few minutes discussing than wasting time to provide a deliverable that is not what the customer was looking for.
Alternatively, when you are explaining something I don’t know, I tend to ask “why?” quite a bit so take a note from Reddit’s ELI5 subreddit and dumb it down for me. I like to learn in general but I also like to learn so that I don’t have to keep asking for the same help over and over.
My typical working hours are between 8:00am – 4:30pm Eastern. I am generally completely off-line after 5:00pm with no checking of email or Slack messages.
One of the things that drew me to GitLab was the value of Results - it’s what you accomplish within your working time rather than the number of hours you work. At former jobs there always seemed to be this so-called medal of honor for working long hours even when the production from those long hours was nominal at best (I have a funny story about this if we ever schedule a coffee chat). When I review a 60 page customer contract and need to hyper focus for hours at a time, I need some time away to clear my head before I move on to the next contract. The fact that I can take a walk or go to the gym between these tasks and no one bats an eye or makes a snarky comment is extraordinary.
I am good at what I do for a living but many legal issues require some thought, and possibly some discussions, before an answer can be provided. If I say I have to get back to you it’s because I need some time to mull over the issue to find possible solutions. Or I may need to talk to another group to get feedback. I try to provide updates on pending issues as time permits but if you haven’t heard from me in a few days, feel free to Slack me to ask for an update. And while I am good at what I do, I do not like to be rushed. Please do not rush me. As Miracle Max said in The Princess Bride “You rush a miracle man, you get rotten miracles.” Same goes for contracts.
I sometimes forget that legal terms which make sense to me will not always make sense to others. If you don’t understand something that I am explaining to you, please let me know. I am happy to explain concepts like indemnification and limitations of liability so that next time I go off on a legal tangent, you’ll be able to follow along. You can assume that 99.9% of the time, there is a method to my madness even if you don’t see it.