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Legal leadership with purpose

How Meta Financial’s CLO is transforming legal in a mission-driven organization

How can today’s corporate legal executives lead with purpose? What is “financial inclusion for all?" And how has Meta Financial Group brought that mission to life? Anthony Sharett, chief legal and compliance officer for Meta, shares his perspectives on the Resilient podcast’s chief legal officer track.

Editor's note: After this episode was published, Anthony Sharett became the president of the company. Meta Financial Group has also changed its name to Pathward Financial, Inc.

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Doing good and giving back

A diverse career spanning a variety of professions has helped Anthony understand what’s important to him: doing good and giving back to the community.

I was an attorney examiner with the Ohio department of commerce and one of the things that I really enjoyed about that job was I felt like I was doing public good. I was in public service, giving back to taxpayers and those in our community that wanted to make sure that our financial services companies were operating soundly and smoothly and protecting consumers at the same time.

Aligning corporate values with your own

Anthony feels working for a company whose mission aligns with his personal passion makes all the difference—especially when you’re working 12- or 15-hour days.

There is no way to separate what was happening in our community over the last 18 months from our work environment. You cannot do it. I am fortunate enough to work for a mission driven organization. Our mission is financial inclusion for all. I feel good when I go to work, every morning, knowing that I'm driving towards a mission like that.

Creating financial equity for all

The mission of financial inclusion for all meant stepping up during the COVID-19 pandemic when Congress passed the CARES Act with payments to millions of Americans, many of whom didn’t have access to a bank account for direct deposit or the ability to easily cash a check without a fee.

We partnered with the department of treasury to offer these payments to millions of Americans on cards. This directly illustrates what financial inclusion for all means. We did not want people who clearly would qualify for these stimulus payments to not receive them, because of a technicality or because lack of access. And so we stepped in there to bridge the gap and we are very proud of that.

Driving legal transformation and modernization

When Anthony started his current role, his legal team was made up of two departments from recently merged organizations, so he knew he needed to focus on breaking down the silos.

We sent a survey out to both internal and external stakeholders to ask them, How are we doing, what could we do better? I wanted to accomplish a few things. I wanted to demonstrate to them that their opinion matters to us and their feedback is a gift for our team. Secondly, I wanted to know what some of the areas of opportunity for the legal team were, where could we grow and improve, and where were we on the sort of the maturity scale. And then, third, I wanted them to be a part of our solution.

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How can you lead through crisis and disruption? Find out on Resilient, the podcast of authentic and engaging conversations with leaders who never leave adversity where they found it. Launched in 2016, the series broke new ground by featuring interviews with those who embody resilience and went on to win the Gold-level AVA Digital Award and Gold-level MarCom Award.

Resilient leaders don’t take obstacles as the final answer. Hear their personal stories of resilience by not letting adversity define them.

For more in the series, visit the Resilient podcast library page.

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