You have more than two decades of corporate law experience. How has your interest in the law evolved over your career?
Law was actually my third career and evolved out of the other two. My first was in nonprofit management. I developed and ran the California Food Network, the country’s first statewide surplus food distributor, moving millions of pounds of agricultural surplus from fields, wholesalers, and retailers to food banks and social service agencies. Through service on another nonprofit board, I met a retired naval officer who hired me to work in purchasing and logistics for an airline. He said the skills were the same, even if the commodities were different, and I launched my second career, in business management for the aviation industry. I advanced to the role of Director of Contracts there, which was my fork in the road. To continue progressing, I could either pursue marketing or go to law school. I chose law school, and thereafter my aviation business experience opened doors to in-house counsel roles with aircraft sales and leasing companies and to the corporate law departments of large firms. Throughout my years in private practice, I have advised airlines, financial institutions, and even export credit agencies on long-term equipment acquisitions worth billions of dollars. The practical experience I gained in my first two careers has given me a unique view of the real-life implications of the contract provisions I negotiate for my clients.