Sonya: Describe a significant challenge you have faced in your life or career. How did you overcome it? What did you learn from it?
Georgia: Some years ago we had to go through a significant restructuring and many positions in the law department of the company for which I worked were eliminated. It was very difficult to communicate the news and impact the lives of so many good lawyers and people I respected. Fortunately, most everyone found jobs at other companies or pursued different careers, and seemed content with their new roles. This experience taught me to never take for granted what you have as you never know when adversity may arise. And, when it does, persevere, embrace change and know that there are many other opportunities for which you may be suited.
Sonya: What does Diversity & Inclusion mean to you? How important is D&I to you personally? As a GC? To your company/legal department? What advice do you have for GCs and others seeking to make a positive impact on the progress of D&I in their organizations and in the legal profession?
Georgia: Diversity and Inclusion is very important to me and has always been top of mind, especially when making hiring decisions, whether it be in legal, other functions or even board members. As we stated in our proxy, I was pleased that our Board has undertaken a search to replace an outgoing board member with a diversity candidate. In order to make meaningful progress on D&I I think you need to challenge the hiring and promotion processes and make sure candidates from a broad spectrum are being considered – whether it be race, gender, thought processes, etc. The goal is to make sure the process is working and not circumvented so the best decision can be made for the company.
Sonya: If you were not General Counsel of your company (or of any company or even a lawyer at all), what career do you think you would most like to pursue?
Georgia: I think I would have liked to pursue something in international business as I loved learning about different cultures and had studied Spanish and Italian in college and learned Greek from my grandmother who lived with us when I was young. With that said, my prior job allowed me to travel internationally and combine business with law, so I feel as though I had the best of both worlds.
In addition, I enjoy serving as a mentor and coach to other young lawyers and often think that a career in professional coaching would also be personally rewarding.
Sonya: Knowing what you know now about being a lawyer and a GC, if you could give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be? At what point in your past would you give yourself that advice?
Georgia: I would have been more thoughtful earlier in my career and developed a plan of where I wanted to be at different stages of my career. If you want to be a GC you should think about the skills and experience you need and create a roadmap on how to get there. For example, if you are a litigator and your goal is to be a public company GC, explore whether there are opportunities in your current company to learn different skill sets – securities, compliance, M&A, to name a few. If necessary, move to a different company which allows you to expand your role to learn these different areas of law.
Sonya: Tell me something fun about yourself. A personal skill or hobby that, while not directly related to your day job, you feel makes you more well-rounded, helps you be better at your day job and/or helps relax and focus you to do your job as a GC better.
Georgia: I think it’s critically important to have interests outside of work. It allows you to recharge your batteries and function better on the job. I play tennis regularly with a group and I look forward to my weekly sessions to clear my head and get exercise too. I also enjoy hiking and have been touring our national parks the last few years. There is so much beauty to explore in the US that we take for granted. Finally, a good book is always an escape and helps me relax and prepare for the next day.
Sonya: Hashtag/Brand yourself in 5 words or less (For example, mine is #SelfiesWithSonya )
Georgia: I’m not there yet but working on it – it would be #livinginthemoment