Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.
I'm Lauren Zajac. I'm Chief Legal Officer at Globoforce, a company that focuses on employee recognition and performance. My current focus has been working with leaders in the HR space on initiatives that ensure women are paid equally and fairly for the work they do.
Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?
I just joined Ellevate recently, so I look forward to getting more involved in the networking events. One of the things I really appreciate is their content. Ellevate sends me inspirational quotes on different topics for women every day and they're always very uplifting and positive.
How would you define your professional mission?
My professional mission is to support all women – to make sure that women who are outspoken, or who don't necessarily conform to societal norms, are accepted, given a seat at the table, and have the same opportunities as others. I've never been one of those fit-the-mold kinds of people, and I'd like to use my success to give others the same kind of opportunity.
What are some career challenges on your radar?
Our challenge at Globoforce is growth, and culture is very important to us. Finding the right person who is an add to our culture and doesn't cause the culture to shift is always a challenge. I am growing my department and restructuring, so I'm hoping to find others who are of similar mind and would be positive adds to my team.
We’d love to hear more about your career path. What led you to where you are today?
I grew up in a household where technology was the thing. My dad was a director of marketing and a CMO, and then became a CEO and had a very successful IPO in the Boston tech market when I was in middle school. Although I was an English major and had no background in technology, it was always something that fascinated me.
I started telling everybody I was going to law school when I was seven years old. And when I decided to go to law school, we were just coming up on the technology boom.
One of the things that interested me was there was no real way to protect technology under the Copyright Act. At the time, the Copyright Act only protected works of art, music, and books. They were trying to figure out how to protect code, which was such a new concept. I knew this was an area I wanted to be in.
I think I papered every tech company in all of Massachusetts trying to get a job. I came right out of law school and went into an XML markup company as the second counsel. I didn't know anything other than what I was taught in law school. Learning how to be an in-house counsel and to protect a company was trial by fire. I was fortunate to have a great mentor there who I am still in contact with, and I've now been in-house for almost 23 years.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
When you're a good business lawyer, you're mostly a business person with a legal degree, and that means that you don't just spot issues. You try to think outside of the box. And that's a hard thing to do, especially with a fast-moving, innovative company like Globoforce. The business is constantly changing and you have to think six or seven steps ahead. It allows me to have a seat at the table, to weigh in, and learn about all of our innovation way before it happens. I can steer things in the right direction and make sure I'm protecting the company.
The other part is winning deals. I've been here for more than a decade, and for a long time I closed every single deal, which is how we make our money, which is how we get paid, which is how we reinvest. Those wins are hugely satisfying, and to be able to help our sales team do that is great fun.
What is your morning ritual?
I started meditating every day about five years ago. I have three children who are coming up on their teenage years. Our house is chaos in the morning. Unless I take 10 to 15 minutes to center and ground and put aside all of the things I have to worry about for the day, it makes for a more difficult day.
What is your favorite social media site? Why?
I'm not a huge social media person, especially because I have teenagers and they are on their phones all the time and we constantly try to juggle that. The only social media I'm on is Facebook to keep in touch with my family around the country and friends from law school, college, and high school. I see the power of social media, but it doesn't necessarily lend itself to my life or my career, so I'm not a huge user.
Is work-life balance a problem for you? What is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?
I think work/life balance is a problem for any working woman and for any working mom, especially. I've heard so many friends who are moms say, "I’m awful at both, because I'm never really mentally there." I go back to meditation. The one thing that's such a struggle for moms and others who juggle different worlds is you're constantly projecting forward.
Meditation has really helped me to stay present in the moment. I think that's the only way you can get through it is to just be present, whether you’re in a meeting or driving to soccer practice, whatever you're doing. Be present in that moment and try not to think about the next thing to be done or beat yourself up about something that went wrong in the day.
What is one piece of advice you’d offer working moms?
Let yourself off the hook. As women, we take on so many things and we hold ourselves to a standard that’s a little too high. We have to be the perfect PTO mom and an executive who brings home the bacon. You can't do it all and you have to let some of it go. The more you can say, "This is the best I can do right now," I think the healthier your mind is, the better parent you are, and the better you are at work.
Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.
Chief Legal Officer
General Counsel and executive with significant high-tech experience. Focused on commercial contracts, intellectual property, information technology, licensing and strategic initiatives. Key accomplishments include: establishing a global legal function; drafting and negotiating complex commercial agreements and, working closely and effectively with sales and support organizations to facilitate revenue generation and growth. Proven achievement in entrepreneurial settings. Recognized for strong analytical skills and practical business judgment. Ability to communicate clearly and effectively with internal business clients, customers... Continue Reading
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