Episode 6

Navigating the Legal-Security-Privacy Relationship: Celaena Powder’s Experiences at Seismic

Episode summary

Introduction: 00:00

  • Introducing Seismic’s VP of Legal Celaena Powder, her background, and what Seismic does in the sales enablement space.

Finding inspiration for what you want to do in your career: 02:39

  • Being inspired by women figures in media to choose a career in law.
  • Discovering a passion for start-ups and venture capital during law school.
  • Finding a passion for building businesses at law school.
  • Realizing what you want to do in your career and going after it.

Accelerating professional growth when working in small teams: 11:08

  • Working at Gunderson Dettmer, located at Abbot Kinney in Venice.
  • Learning by osmosis and getting greater exposure when working in a small team.
  • Experiencing exponential professional growth and facing off against partners as a fourth-year.

Going in-house and becoming VP of Legal at Seismic: 14:01

  • Building strong relationships with clients, exposure to boardroom dynamics, and the desire to actively contribute to business challenges.
  • Actively exploring and evaluating career choices to become an operator in the business.
  • The transition from being an outside counsel to an in-house counsel.

Transforming the perception of Legal within the org: 18:20

  • Overcoming initial challenges and Legal’s negative reputation at Seismic, and demonstrating legal value.
  • Building credibility over time, leading to a significant shift in how Legal was perceived by stakeholders across the business.
  • Showing up, getting budget, and building out a legal team.
  • Understanding perception of legal through surveys and monitoring growth.

Setting your legal team up for success: 22:20

  • Building a high-performing team through coaching, investing in talented individuals, and being available for guidance and feedback.
  • Building a brand for Legal as a whole, and not just for yourself as its leader.
  • Fostering an environment of openness, providing opportunity to learn from mistakes, and embracing a culture of growth and support.

Navigating enterprise sales as a legal team: 26:12 

  • Supporting the enterprise sales motion as an in-house legal counsel.
  • Contrasting sales and contracting processes at SMBs vs. enterprises.
  • Adopting a customer-centric approach to contracts and legal matters.

Leveraging privacy education to drive revenue generation: 32:43 

  • Allocating resources towards privacy, an important part of revenue generation.
  • Building trust and confidence with customers through effective communication and understanding of privacy and regulatory issues.
  • How the global nature of business operations and the increasing importance of privacy in a remote-first environment drives the need for effective privacy discussions with customers.

Nurturing productive relationships between Legal and Sales AEs: 35:22

  • Optimizing and strengthening the legal-account executive partnership for smooth and productive deal cycles.
  • Having perspective into what’s important to your AEs.
  • Understanding your leverage when it comes to negotiating enterprise contracts.
  • Backchanneling and conducting internal strategy calls to improve collaboration.
  • The value of GC-CRO relationship in driving success for Legal.
  • Identifying advocates and champions for Legal within the organization.

The intersection of the Legal and Security functions: 40:54

  • GCs managing the security and privacy functions at organizations.
  • Navigating security incidents as an in-house lawyer.
  • The importance of integrating security within the legal framework.

Bridging the gap between Legal, Security, and Privacy: 44:50

  • Overcoming friction and embracing shared values of Legal, Privacy, and Security.
  • Nurturing the relationship between GCs and CISOs, and Legal and Security.
  • Building a foundation on risk mitigation, value protection, and being stewards of the business.
  • The friction between Security and Privacy.
  • Building strong working relationships through open and honest conversations.
  • Educating yourself on security issues and news for better collaboration.
  • Dividing and conquering as a GC-CISO duo.

How the GC’s role will evolve with tech and AI evolution: 54:10 

  • Legal tends to be later in tech adoption, but a class of GCs tech companies are taking the helm in adopting tech into their workflows. 
  • Looking to AI as the future, and incorporating it into processes to enhance efficiency – not to replace decision-making.
  • Why AI is department-agnostic, bringing Legal to the same playing field as other departments.
  • Harnessing the power of CLMs like SpotDraft, which acts as a co-pilot for legal teams.

Advice for younger attorneys: 57:23

  • Making the distinction between good and bad advice in relation to your own career and ambitions.
  • Chasing your "North Star", if you have one, and not waiting for green light from others.
  • Taking action and not settling for a career path that doesn't align with one's aspirations.
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Tyler Finn
Head of Community and Growth, SpotDraft
Celaena Powder
Vice President of Legal, Seismic

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