After a grad program at Telecom NZ and despite always having an innate talent for science and maths, I somehow found myself building a career as a corporate lawyer in a top tier law firm advising on large M&A deals, complex regulation and billion-dollar stock exchange listings. At the other end of the spectrum and keeping me sane through these years, were my ‘passion project’ tech and startup clients.
By productising our work and embracing technology (unheard of at the time), we paved the way for startup clients to be able to access top tier advice and built a name for ourselves as the go-to startup advisors.
I escaped the world of billable hours to be closer to the tech coalface by joining one of my clients - a risk and cyber analytics scaleup listed on the NZX. Working alongside the CEO and CFO my role was, typical of a startup, a mishmash of operations including board operations, capital raising, commercial negotiations, IP protection and much, much more.
In 2016 the business went into administration. Ultimately, we were too late to contain our cash burn rate. The failure was the most formative experience of my career and drove me to ensure that some good would come from this devastating collapse. I've been applying lessons learned in my consulting work ever since.
If you meet me, your first impressions may be that I'm quiet. It's because I believe we should actively listen more than we speak. Try it with your customers and you’ll be amazed at what you learn.