Episode 37

IPO, Acquisitions & Board Membership: Nithya Das, Chief Legal & Administrative Officer, Diligent

Episode summary

Introduction: 0:00

  • Introducing Nithya Das, Chief Legal and Chief Administrative Officer at Diligent.
  • Overseeing 1.9 billion dollar IPO as former COO and CLO at Olo and leading acquisition to AT&T as Chief Legal and People Officer at AppNexus
  • Ensuring you take time off to refill your tank between roles.

Planting the seeds of your legal career: 3:36

  • Hitting a delay after you get waitlisted by your top choice legal schools.
  • Taking on a paralegal role and learning customer service and attention to detail at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

Moving into your first in-house role at AppNexus: 4:47

  • Looking for elusive legal roles in NYC’s challenging startup scene.
  • Leaving law firms in order to find work that reflects allows you to engage in and bring value back to business.
  • Accepting a “GC plus” role in order to challenge yourself and inspire personal disruption.
  • Leaning into the unknown in order to find the most opportunity.

Running the IPO and acquisition process as GC at AppNexus: 8:29

  • Setting controls and procedures for the IPO process.
  • Getting a call from a board member with a broad M&A mandate about getting acquired by AT&T.
  • Understanding the value of owned-and-operated inventory and data assets to an independent full-staff ad platform.

Choosing to move on from AT&T after acquisition: 10:43

  • Struggling to leave after holding CLO and CPO roles and running women’s network and DEI strategy.
  • Preferring high-growth environments to established, major companies.
  • Dealing with the loss of a parent through an intense M&A process.
  • Prioritizing transparency with your CEO and the teams around you about where you are and what is going on in your life.

Taking time off before joining Olo as COO and CLO: 16:02

  • Leaving a role with a sense of having unfinished business.
  • Choosing to work in food tech because of your personal passions for food and cooking. 
  • Responding to a job offer by making it clear that you are three months pregnant.
  • Knowing that you would only work at a company that accepts you and allows you to bring your authentic self to work.

Running operations at Olo: 20:12

  • Switching from a broad role running cross-functional initiatives to a narrower CLO/GC role with a smaller scope.
  • Being clear with your manager about what you want to do, what brings you energy, and where you want your career to go.
  • Expanding your role to take on product and engineering and overseeing a team without expertise in the subject matter.
  • Bringing the team leader into the care team so they can directly report on their work and needs.

Offering practical advice to lawyers trying to take on business roles: 25:10

  • Never assuming that your manager knows what you’re doing or how you’re spending your time.
  • Learning from every experience and framing yourself as a business partner.

Working with private equity versus working in a public company: 27:47

  • Choosing new roles based on the problems you enjoy solving.
  • Finding that working in private companies makes your role as legal leader much less restrictive.
  • Focusing on the people you are working with and the challenges you are working on.

Leading legal at Diligent: 29:58

  • Enjoying work in an industry where the legal officer is the primary buying persona.
  • Going beyond the legal team to run sales and the Diligent Institute, a content department for directors and c-suite leaders.
  • Sharing The Diligent Institute’s Podcast, The Corporate Director Podcast.

Finding your way onto the board at Outbrain: 31:53

  • Telling your managers and wider network that you’re interested in serving on a board.
  • Making sure your LinkedIn tells an accurate and compelling professional story.
  • Offering tactical advice for board membership.
  • Understanding the company’s culture and leadership before you agree to join.

What you wish you had known as a young lawyer: 35:52

  • Considering the wide variety of career paths being a lawyer can take you down.
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Tyler Finn
Head of Community & Growth, SpotDraft
Nithya Das
Chief Legal & Chief Administrative Officer, Diligent

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