This week we’re highlighting Olga Mack’s recent transition to VP of Strategy from her former role as a GC, and discussing the transformation of the GC role—to be strategic leaders both in and out of the legal industry.
After working in-house for organizations ranging from startups to Fortune 500 companies, Olga Mack was in the middle of taking some time off when she discovered a position she couldn’t turn down: the role of VP of Strategy for Quantstamp. While the new role is not legal-specific, Mack will no doubt put her legal background to use, and the career arch as a whole positions the role of GC in an interesting way.
Mack’s story is a familiar one amongst attorneys, especially those in-house, initially going to law school to do something much different than they are now. Re-evaluating and refocusing that goal to encourage career learning and growth is something Mack says lawyers should be doing. Her roles at companies such as ClearSlide and Zoosk went beyond just legal tasks—something GCs are experiencing more often. In past roles, Mack noted that she was often given the opportunity to work on business focus and strategic projects that expanded her knowledge beyond the legal realm and prepared her for her current position.
Combining legal and technology, something Mack was passionate about when she first went to law school, allows GCs to be at the forefront of strategy. Business initiatives that help legal departments serve not only as a resource to the rest of the company, but a leader in efficiency and increasing revenue are further helping reshape the GC role. Streamlining processes to help not only eliminate administrative tasks within the legal department but across an entire organization gets the attention of the C-suite and improves companies from a high level. Tools and features are nice, but process change is what really makes a difference.
As with many other GCs that volunteer their time to other legal projects, Mack is no stranger to unique business roles that helped steer her towards this strategic move. She was appointed to the California Law Revision Commission to provide recommendations on laws to the state. She has also worked for nonprofits and co-founded organizations that encourage women in leadership. With such a wide variety of projects in her repertoire, other GCs can consider the benefits of expanding their reach. Getting involved in relevant volunteer projects, commissions, and passion projects are all ways to position the legal team as leaders inside and outside of their industry.
With the way business is done constantly changing, GCs are no longer limited solely to law, but including strategy as a large part of their roles. Legal teams should follow Mack’s example of expanding their range of work to be business-focused and strategic.