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What is your elevator pitch when someone asks, “What do you do for a living?”

I am a startup attorney who advises and assists entrepreneurs launch and grow their businesses, with a particular passion for working with female-founded companies.  I handle dispute resolution, employment matters, and a range of other issues encountered by entrepreneurs and early stage companies.

Describe the path that led you to this career.

My typical response when people ask me why I became a lawyer, is a joke: “lack of creativity.”  The truthful answer is that from the time I was little, I was a negotiator, an advocate, and was happiest speaking to a crowd.  I went to law school because it seemed like the right fit for my talents and provided me with a clear professional pathway and skills to help people navigate their legal rights.

I came to the startup community several years into my practice when I joined my current firm, Gesmer Updegrove, which works exclusively with early stage companies.  I love working with entrepreneurs.  They are typically energetic, optimistic, and focused on figuring out creative ways to solve problems – both big and small. 

What are the elements of a successful workplace?

People who take their jobs seriously, but not themselves seriously.  A culture that embraces and encourages diversity.  A place that is flexible and encourages creative problem solving.

What is the one piece of technology you cannot live without?

My iPhone, no question.

What are you reading?

The Shift by Tory Johnson and Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

If you could, what advice would you give your 20-something self?

Take more risks, have more adventures, don’t fear failure, and enjoy sleeping in while you still can.

If you could do anything and know you couldn’t fail, what would you do?

I would launch my own business.  Who knows, it could happen…

At Double Forte’s San Francisco office, the conference rooms are named Rock and Roll, Motown, Hip Hop, Mambo, Jazz and Disco. Which name best describes you and why?

Hip Hop for two reasons: 1) it’s my favorite music to dance to and 2) it is outspoken, irreverent, and challenges the status quo – like me.

What’s in your Netflix queue?

Power Rangers. Seriously, that is what is in my queue, I just checked on my iPhone.  I have kids, don’t judge.

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