What type of work did you do while at the Firm?
One of the things that’s great about S&C is that associates get to explore. I tried a lot of different practice areas – financial services, leveraged finance and capital markets, to name a few. I also did a lot of pro bono work, including writing a research paper on Somali pirates for the United Nations and Interpol, which exposed me to even more types of legal work. I discovered I liked the capital markets and securities law work best, and that definitely played a role in getting me to where I am today.
What led you to taking an in-house job at Nasdaq?
My interest in capital markets grew at S&C, and when the opportunity to join Nasdaq arose, it was the perfect intersection of capital markets and regulatory work. As a company, Nasdaq has such a unique mix of interests to consider – it’s a self-regulatory organization mandated by the SEC to protect investors, while also being publicly traded itself. It’s a global company and one that’s very purpose-driven. We champion inclusive growth by helping to power economies and contribute to a more sustainable world. My role allows me to participate in that greater purpose.
How would you describe the day-to-day aspects of your role?
My role sits at the intersection of a few aspects of Nasdaq’s business, which is what I love about it. On the regulatory side, I’m the legal relationship manager for the U.S. listings team. I support the team reviewing IPOs to make sure the company meets our standards for listings. I also work on public policy affairs, and am the legal lead for our ESG team, which puts together our sustainability and ESG reports. (On a related note, we just submitted our comment letter on the SEC’s proposed ESG disclosures. I have to give a shout out to the S&C team that put together the Implications of SEC's Proposed Climate-Related Disclosure Rules webinar this spring, which was very helpful for us as we tried to unpack how the proposed changes would affect Nasdaq and listed companies!) I also work with the marketing and advertising team on everything related to listings, and serve as the Corporate Secretary for the Nasdaq Foundation, which works to advance diversity in investor engagement.
How did your time at S&C help prepare you for this role?
Contract drafting, securities and nonprofit law, negotiation, advising on strategic and legal issues, professionalism, attention to detail, and constant editing are just a few of the skills that I honed at S&C and still use every day. I learned so much from the senior lawyers I worked with, and I can still hear their coaching in every email I write – especially when I double and triple check it before sending! I remember working on an IPO early on with Cathy Clarkin, and with Chris Mann representing the underwriters on several sovereign debt deals with the Brazilian and Mexican governments. Bob Downes and Inosi Nyatta were also great mentors to me.
What has been most rewarding about your role at Nasdaq?
I was part of the women-led team that formulated Nasdaq’s board diversity proposal, advising the team on legal strategy, rule language and media relations. Announced in August 2021, the proposal stated that each of our listed companies must have at least two diverse board members or explain why it does not. I worked with our executive team to lead and draft the proposal, reviewed and edited media statements, and engaged with the media, regulators and external stakeholders. It’s an important step forward for advancing diversity and enhancing transparency, and I am proud to be part of it.
What are the biggest challenges you face there?
Juggling multiple roles. There are a lot of different parts of my job, and S&C prepared me well for that. When you’re handling multiple deals in private practice, you have to be mindful of managing your time and prioritizing, and it’s a similar exercise for me and the different lines of business I support at Nasdaq.
What advice would you give to current S&C lawyers who may be interested in following a similar path, or more generally, going in-house?
Try as many practice areas as possible to find what you love doing. If you are interested in going to a place like Nasdaq, seek out ’34 Act experience in addition to deal experience. Get exposure to public company reporting, such as 10ks and press releases. I am also a proponent of the power of mentorship. Surround yourself with people further along in their careers that can provide ideas about where you might go with yours. This person doesn’t have to look like you to offer that insight, though it may be helpful to have a shared background or experience.