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Perspectives

Transforming legal experience into board value

A legal leader’s career evolution story

How can chief legal officers translate their expertise to the skills and know-how valued by a corporate board of directors? Experienced general counsel and SLH Advisors Principal Sara Hays, who is also the independent director, chair of the Nominating & Governance Committee, and a member of the audit committees at both Draper & Kramer Incorporated and ECI US Real Estate Holdings, shares her journey.

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Reframing legal expertise to advance to corporate boards

In this episode, Sara discusses insights she gained in her career path that ultimately led her to become a board director. Viewing her law degree as a language to unlock career paths in both law and business, Sara is a seasoned general counsel who has successfully translated her legal experience in the real estate industry to business value in various board and other leadership roles.

I talk to lawyers all the time about the transition into boardroom, and you do need to step back and not say ‘I'm going to be a great director because I'm a lawyer.’ What are the things that have made you effective as a lawyer that are important in the boardroom? And I think there's a great story to tell there, but you have to think about the way you package your value proposition and get away from your title, get away from talking about the role as if you're applying for a general counsel job. They already have a general counsel.

Transcript

Lori Lorenzo: Welcome to Resilient. I'm Lori Lorenzo, Deloitte's research and insight director for our Chief Legal Officer Program and co-host of the Chief Legal Officer track of this podcast series.

We've been hearing from leaders who have set a path to a better future and demonstrated resilience. They've shared with us their mindset and how they take action to move beyond obstacles.

We go deeper on all that and more in this episode with Sara Hays, the independent director, chair of the Nominating & Governance Committee, and a member of the audit committees at both Draper and Kramer Incorporated and ECI US Real Estate Holdings. She's also a principal at SLH Advisors and former SVP and general counsel at Hyatt Hotels Corporation. Sara's built a successful career spanning legal to the boardroom and other leadership roles.

Sara Hays: I talk to lawyers all the time about the transition into a boardroom. What are the things that have made you effective as a lawyer that are important in the boardroom? And I think there's a great story to tell there, but you have to think about the way you package your value proposition and get away from your title, get away from talking about the role as if you're applying for a general counsel job. They already have a general counsel.

Lori Lorenzo: I hope you enjoyed this preview. To listen to the episode, go to your favorite podcast app and search “Resilient”. You can also listen on Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud, Stitcher, Amazon Music, Spotify, or wherever you go to get your podcasts.

If you're curious about legal leadership and trends that are impacting today's in-house counsel, I encourage you to visit our Chief Legal Officer Program site on deloitte.com.

Until next time, stay safe and remain resilient.

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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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