I grew up in Plano, Texas, and spent most of my childhood and early teen years training as an elite gymnast. It was a challenging but formative experience that showed me the value of hard work and discipline and taught me how to focus and perform under incredible pressure. Although athletics took up a lot of my time, my parents always stressed that academics were paramount. My dad’s constant mantra was “Understand the world around you” – a philosophy that I credit with instilling my love of reading at an early age. My friends will tell you that I still can’t be trusted to walk out of a bookstore without buying far too many books.
The prospect of being a lawyer always interested me. I saw it as an opportunity to continually use and refine skills that I valued, like analytical reasoning, negotiation, strategic problem-solving, and thinking on my feet. As I got older and learned more about the larger role of law in society, I was also drawn to its potential for effecting change on both a micro and macro level.
Both of my parents were entrepreneurs, and seeing them start, grow, and manage their own companies had a profound impact on me. My resulting interest in the startup ecosystem is one of the reasons I chose to go to Stanford for law school, and then chose to work at Cooley LLP afterward. At Cooley, I got to act as “outside general counsel” for hundreds of companies, which entailed advising them throughout their lifecycles – from formation to financings to exits, and everything in between. This experience was invaluable. It gave me insight not only into complex legal issues but also into a wide variety of strategic and operational concerns that founders grapple with on a daily basis.
I wear many legal and operational hats at Amplify. For one, I lead a bunch of our internal legal functions surrounding new investments and portfolio company exits. I also help our portfolio companies directly – I can serve as a sounding board for founders to talk through common issues (and their solutions). Odds are, if you’ve got an issue, I’ve probably seen it before and can point you in the right direction. Working with smart, passionate founders to help them turn ideas into reality is the best part of my job.
One of the best things founders can do early on is establish relationships with trusted and experienced advisors. Don’t ever feel shy about asking for help – remember, people, love being asked questions they know the answers to. Leverage the expertise of those people (including the Amplify team!) so that you can focus on what you do best.
Also, it’s much cheaper, faster, and easier to do things right the first time. You’ll avoid lots of headaches by simply staying organized and nailing basic operations. I know it can be a pain, but I promise it pays dividends!
During law school, I had the opportunity to participate in the Criminal Defense Clinic, where I represented defendants as they navigated the criminal justice system. It was a transformational experience that underscored my love for advocacy at the individual level. So, although my day job is corporate law, I still try to incorporate similar advocacy through pro bono work in juvenile immigration asylum, election protection, and clemency proceedings.
When I’m not doing “law stuff,” my dog Harper keeps me busy – we spend a lot of time at various SF beaches and parks. I also love to exercise. I’ve been boxing for over a decade now; it’s a great cardio (and mental) workout with endless opportunities to improve and learn. When I’m not boxing, you can find me powerlifting and doing yoga in my prized garage gym while Harper naps nearby.