On the Importance of Allies, Values, and her Grandmother’s Belief That “Winter Always Turns to Spring”
To celebrate Women’s History Month in March, Inspirage, Part of Accenture is highlighting women in the technology industry in general and at Inspirage in particular.
As part of our series profiling the women of Inspirage, Part of Accenture, we recently spoke with Jennifer Lasby, Corporate Counsel, about her path to the technology industry from law school, the power of civility, and how her grandmother’s incredible story of survival and optimism shapes her life. Here’s what she had to say…
What drew you to the technology industry?
Jennifer Lasby (JL): After the first year of law school, students can specialize in their legal focus. I was drawn to intellectual property and business transactions because the landscape for these two areas is constantly evolving. As a child of the 1980s, I grew up with technology and witnessed how technological inventions and advancements improved daily life. As a child and young adult, I went from having a Walkman to a CD player, an iPod, a flip phone, a digital camera, and an iPhone that could do all three of these functions. Watching these advancements and learning how the legal system can protect technology has been exciting.
When you are faced with a tough professional challenge, where do you look for guidance?
JL: Whenever I have had an issue or experienced a difficult situation, I feel confident reaching out to my team members and colleagues for guidance and advice. Past and present, I have worked with a great legal team during my seven years at Inspirage.
What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?
JL: I would tell my 18-year-old self that you belong and that allies are waiting to support you and help you succeed. If you are in a place in your career where you feel your values are in conflict or your voice is ignored, don’t feel the need to settle. There are plenty of wonderful places to work where you can be seen and heard and where allies and like-minded individuals are waiting for you.
Who are your favorite women in history or women who inspire you?
JL: For me, much of my inspiration comes from my grandmother. I am a third-generation Japanese American. My grandmother was from Hiroshima and was nine years old when the United States dropped the atomic bomb. She survived this atrocity, lost most of her family due to the radiation exposure, and then came to the United States only to face racism, but she forged an undaunted spirit that I draw strength. She lived by the motto, “winter always turns to spring.” No matter what adversity or hardship she faced, she always found hope. Hope is powerful, and it is something that should be cherished. I aspire to live my life with the kind of hope and tenacity that she had.
What is the most important professional lesson you have learned since you began your career?
JL: Manners always matter; when in doubt always treat others as you would like to be treated. People may not remember what you say, but they will remember how you made them feel. The lack of civility in the legal profession is a familiar thing. Many lawyers confuse rudeness with zealous advocacy. However, if I am in a negotiation and opposing counsel acts cantankerous, I have found being civil is the greatest way to de-escalate the conflict. Civility may be politeness and friendliness, but it can also be courage. To be civil is to have the courage that your actions will positively influence others and make the outcome successful.
Do you have any hobbies or passions outside of working in the tech world?
JL: I have a one-year-old and a five-year-old who keep me busy. On the rare chance I get some time to myself, I love gardening, hiking, and renovating our 100-year-old house.
As the head of Inspirage’s legal department, Jennifer is one of the noteworthy women who contribute to our shared success daily. She advises the executive leadership team on all legal matters, works closely with business development to draft and negotiate Inspirage’s commercial transactions, protects Inspirage’s intellectual property, and works closely with the security team to coordinate Inspirage’s legal compliance efforts.
The Inspirage team hopes our readers have enjoyed learning about some of the noteworthy women of Inspirage, Part of Accenture during our celebration of Women’s History Month. We plan to highlight more women making a difference in the tech world throughout the year. Stay tuned to this space for more from our fabulous team of amazing women.