27 July 2023
In this mini-series, we share inspiring stories of women working at the intersection of innovation, law and technology.
In this episode, Ashurst Digital Economy Junior Associate Emily Jones is joined by Sarah Woodland, Managing Director, and Sophie Last, Vice President of the Consumer and Digital Finance Legal Division at Goldman Sachs.
In their discussion, Sarah and Sophie reflect upon their careers to date, the things that led them to a career in FinTech and Finance, and they share the advice they'd give to young women in law interested in pursuing a career in FinTech.
Don't miss out on episode 1, Ashurst Digital Economy Partner Rhiannon Webster is joined by Sue Khan, Vice President of Privacy and Data Protection Officer at Flo Health. Listen here.
This is not intended to be a comprehensive review of all developments in the law and practice, or to cover all aspects of those referred to. Listeners should take legal advice before applying it to specific issues or transactions.
Hello and welcome to Ashurst's Women in Tech podcast series. We're very excited to be back for a second season. In this series, we share the stories of inspiring women working at the intersection of innovation, law and technology. If you haven't listened to our first season, you can find us under Ashurst's Legal Outlook podcast on Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.
My name is Emily and I'm a Junior Associate in Ashurst's Digital Economy Team. The Ashurst Digital Economy Team supports clients' digital strategies and identifies how they can leverage new technologies from a legal perspective, and I'm super excited to share some examples of that with you today while chatting to our guests.
In today's episode, we have a conversation with Sarah Woodland, Managing Director, and Sophie Last, Vice President of Goldman Sachs' Consumer and Digital Finance Legal Division. In our discussion, Sarah and Sophie will reflect upon their careers and the things that led them to a career in finance and technology, while also offering advice to young female lawyers interested in pursuing a career in the field. Here's our conversation.
Hi, Sarah and Sophie. Thanks so much for coming on the Ashurst Women in Tech podcast series. We're so happy you could join us.
Thanks, Emily. Hi, everyone. Thrilled to be here.
Hi, Emily. Really looking forward to speaking today.
Let's dig in. Can you describe your journeys to Goldman Sachs? Did you always know that you wanted to work in Finance?
Thanks, Emily. Maybe I'll begin. No, I didn't always know I was going to work in Finance. I'm not sure that anyone does. I started by studying law at university. It was a lot of work and long hours. So after that, and several warnings by well-meaning family, friends about the long hours involved in a career in law, I have to admit that I wasn't sure I wanted to be a lawyer. I was thinking about other options when I came across GS' Analyst Scheme, which is a two-year paralegal programme. This sounded like it could be a good gateway into other areas of Finance. So I decided to apply and was, to my surprise, after many rounds of interviews, successful.
I spent two years at GS and really, really enjoyed working in-house. I decided becoming a lawyer maybe wasn't that bad after all. However, back then, GS didn't have the option to qualify in-house, although this has all changed now because of the SQE. So I applied for training contracts at several law firms. I ended up at Ashurst, who I already knew to be a friendly firm from working with them at GS, and qualified into The Financial Regulation Team. I had some great training and experience at Ashurst, but really missed working closely with the business. So I eventually came back to GS permanently in 2021.
I agree, Sophie, I'm always surprised when anyone says that they always knew that they wanted to work in Finance. I think that's incredible if that's the case, it certainly wasn't true for me. I didn't even read law at university, so I read a multidisciplinary subject at university and then decided to convert to law after that. I qualified at Clifford Chance, and I was there for a few years. And whilst I was at Clifford Chance, I had the opportunity to do a client secondment to Morgan Stanley. And my secondment, I was very junior, I was less than a year qualified, and my secondment started the day after Lehman entered into insolvency and I was working on a credit derivative trading desk as a lawyer on the desk. So it was an extraordinary baptism of fire, but I've never had such a steep learning curve. It was absolutely fantastic from a personal learning perspective, although obviously the broader circumstances were very difficult.
And when I went back to Clifford Chance, I missed that in-house life, that being part of the team, the being close to the trading and sales functions, the structures, and I really knew that that was where I wanted to go. So when I was three years qualified back in 2011, I moved across to GS permanently, and I have been here ever since. I actually started off in our Global Markets, our Securities Trading legal team, and was there for many years, in and out over the course of three maternity leaves. And then I came back from my third maternity leave, decided that I didn't want to have any more children. I thought three was quite enough, too many I think some might say. And I decided to take advantage of an opportunity to move internally to run the Consumer and Digital Finance legal team. So it was a complete career pivot, but it was an absolutely fantastic opportunity to work on fintech businesses that we have here at GS, and I've been here ever since.
Nice. It sounds like a really big jump that you had to make, but a really exciting one too.
Yeah, I'm a huge proponent of mobility and taking advantage of opportunities. So we might touch on some of that a little bit later in some of the other topics we're going to talk about.
Yeah, sounds great. Thank you. So I'm fortunate enough to know a little bit about your day-to-day roles from working with you during my secondment, but I'm sure the audience would also love to learn more about your careers at Goldman Sachs. What areas of the business are you involved in and what does a typical day look like for you? I can imagine it might vary quite a bit.
It does, but we can give you a few highlights. So if I start and run through what the team covers, and then Sophie can give you an idea about a typical day, more or less. So I mentioned we cover the fintech businesses here at GS. So specifically, we are the legal team, which supports our consumer business, so the Marcus UK retail bank, and also transaction banking in EMEA.
So transaction banking is corporate and payment services and other solutions around those general services to corporate and fintech clients. We also advise a few other areas of the firm as well. So we are working with our digital assets on some of the solutions that they're coming up with on the digital deposit side. And we also cover the institutional deposits that we have coming into our UK bank, Goldman Sachs International Bank. So it's a really wide range of businesses across the firm and across the divisions, and it certainly keeps us on our toes. So Sophie, why don't you give a few examples of the ways in which it does that?
Thanks, Sarah. So my day-to-day, as Sarah mentioned, is generally focused on the consumer side, so Marcus, although I've recently become a lot more involved in the other projects which Sarah mentioned, including the digital assets ones. The best bit, I think, about being in-house is the breadth of work and also the fast pace. No one day is the same. You can move from having to approve a timesensitive transaction, like a deposit, usually the business would like you to approve that within the same day, to also thinking about larger scale projects such as launching a new product within Marcus, or one of the things we're very focused on at the moment is implementing a regulatory initiative called Consumer Duty, which is due to be introduced by the FCA in the summer. And there's a lot of emails, everyone copies everyone into emails and a lot of meetings because we like to make decisions by consensus. So organisation is really key.
One other thing I just want to quickly mention is when I was an Analyst, I was part of a slightly different team called the Treasury Legal team, who we do actually work quite closely with. And so when I was in that team, I was involved in slightly different work. So this involved reviewing transactions and agreements geared towards raising funding for the firm rather than having a consumer focus. So things we were involved in were bond and structured product issuances, certificates of deposits, secured loans and some intercompany agreements. And I found that really interesting as well. And so it's been quite helpful to have that background when going into consumer because it helped me understand how to navigate the firm.
And I guess I would add there, I think that a lot of what we do day-to-day when we're on those endless emails and we're joining those endless calls is just about helping to frame risk management decisions. So, we're trying to launch a new product, or we're trying to move a business into a new market. How are we going to do that? What are the risks? What are the obligations that we have to think about when we're growing those businesses? And the legal perspective on that obviously is critical just from a compliance and regulatory perspective, but actually these things are never black and white.
There is always a lot of grey and a lot of figuring out exactly what are we trying to do? What are the high level principles? Where do we see areas of risk? How do we really try and bring that risk to life and help other people in the firm, all of our stakeholders from senior leadership down to all of the other teams that we work with day in, day out, understand how to position those risks with the other risks that they're thinking about? So whether it's capital considerations, whether it's commercial considerations and so on.
So I think the role of our team as risk management managers is probably, there's a huge amount of diverse stuff that we do, but that's probably the common thread that runs through everything, and trying to help other people across the firm and also ourselves calibrate what that risk actually means.
With the breadth of work that you're involved in and the fast-paced nature of some of the technological developments, it sounds like a really exciting areas of business to be involved in, but also one that can be quite challenging to work in, as you mentioned. I can imagine you need to be quite flexible and adapt to changes very quickly, navigate the grey areas that you mentioned, the risks involved in those, and many of these risks could be unknown or unclear at the point that the business actually needs to make a commercial decision. I'd love to know from your perspective, could you talk a little bit more about the challenges of a career in FinTech and what some of the benefits are as well?
Yeah, well I can certainly speak to some of the benefits and challenges of working in a FinTech within a large organisation like GS. So the good part is that there's a smaller group of people compared to our large and established businesses like investment banking, global markets. You get to know your clients really well and have good personal relationships with them. And a lot of them come from other organisations, including startups, so there's always lots of new ideas and proposals floating around, which is great to engage in.
Some of the bad, well, first of all, Marcus and other FinTechs within GS can be constrained by the red tape of being part of a bigger organisation. GS has a lot of committees and approvals before projects launch, and Marcus, like all the other businesses have to go through this. And then second of all, something you touched upon, Emily, was change. So change is the only constant, certainly at GS, and you have to be very adaptable and have quite strong resilience to that, which takes some getting used to.
I would add to that, when I think about the benefits, which I suppose, and challenges are probably two sides of the same coin when thinking about the FinTech businesses, I think that we have to innovate and come up with creative solutions to problems, but also to new businesses in a way that other bits of the firm don't do. So other bits of the firm, they're more established, they've been doing what they've been doing for much, much longer. So there's a much more well-trodden path that they can follow as they go through new iterations of that. But it's incremental, whereas what we're trying to do is usually very, very different compared to what we've already done. And the law isn't clear, and it's unclear exactly how we want to do things necessarily as a strategy.
And so trying to shape all of that at the same time and juggle all of those different sorts of considerations, it's certainly challenging and it's challenging particularly for the reasons that Sophie mentioned, trying to be an innovative business line within a much broader global investment bank. But it does require creative thoughts and the ability to think on your toes, and really come up with solutions towards the different problems that we encounter as we're trying to build and scale these businesses. So I think that creativity and innovation is something which we all get the chance to do and is one of the best things, I think, about being a lawyer in this space.
Definitely, it sounds like a really great space to work in, where you can constantly learn and adapt to different changes, and you're never doing the same thing in a given day. With the increasing digitalization of finance, how has the type of work that you do evolved over your career? How do you stay on top of all the new developments and adapt to these changes? I appreciate you spoke to these a little bit earlier, but if you could elaborate a little bit more, that would be great.
So in Marcus, to stay on top of all of the new developments and changes, we tend to try and leverage digital tools where we can so that there are fewer emails and fewer meetings. So one of those are online spreadsheets, which track project deliverables. We also leverage agile management software to create tickets that instruct our engineering teams on how to build our platforms. We also have working groups which sit underneath our formal committees to discuss the progression of projects and any issues that have arisen. And also within legal itself, we have regulatory working groups, which I'm a member of, that communicate legal and regulatory developments to the department each week.
But I'm not going to lie, it's a struggle sometimes. And the Regulator is extremely active at the moment, releasing new things almost on a daily basis, so we also rely on our relationship law firms to come in, and train us, and keep us updated on developments.
I think the other thing that I would say about the work that the legal work, that our team does, as compared to private practice, is that in private practice, you have a problem statement, you come up with the answer, very often, the way that you'll present that will be a really long memo, or a long email explaining what the law is, and how it applies to the problem, and therefore what the conclusions are. That medium of communication and that way of delivering legal advice is entirely unsuccessful internally. We cannot deliver legal advice in that way.
And so a lot of what we will do is digest all of that, figure out which bits from a GS perspective do we really care about, which bits do we think are maybe not so relevant, and really try and distil that into the, I'm sure my team hate me by this point, never-ending request for one-pagers, and being able to get the iconic one-pagers, and being able to get everything down so that we can present it in a way that people really understand, what are the risks, what are the benefits, what do we need to work through? And so that translation exercise, and the crystallisation, really thinking about how to deliver impactful legal advice is something which I want the team to think about day in, day out, because it's absolutely critical.
Yeah, the iconic one-pager.
Definitely. I know I definitely experienced the joys of the one-pagers, which I quite enjoyed. I think they were very useful way to summarise and wrap your head around a complex legal issue and be able to translate it really effectively to the business, because in order to do that, you have to have a really strong understanding of the legal concepts which underpin the advice in order to narrow down the key points and what's really relevant for the commercial team to pick up on and to keep in mind when they're developing products or making an important business decision.
According to a report by Deloitte, women make up just 7% of FinTech founders globally. Another study quoted by Deloitte revealed that just 30% of the FinTech workforce is female. How do you think we can better support the representation of young women in FinTech? Would love to hear your views on this.
I have very strong views on this. A lot of my time, as you know, focused on diversity generally within GS, but also in particular gender diversity. And I've been involved in running our Women's Network for many years. So look, those figures are clearly dreadful and there is a huge amount of work to be done, but there are things which can and are being done and I can give some of the examples of those internally.
So the first one is that I think that young women really need to see role models. They need to be able to, when they're in school, when they're in university, when they're in training, at all the different stages early on in their career, when they're thinking about what path they want to follow, they need to be able to look ahead and they need to be able to see women who are much further down the path, but who they think, "Do you know what? One day I would like to do that, I would like her job. I think I could do that. That would be a good use of my skillset." And I think that importance of having role models as you look forward is absolutely critical.
So one of the things that we do as part of the Women's Network is really try and shine a spotlight on the female senior leaders that we have across the firm and give women at the firm, and men, but particularly women, junior women, the opportunity to hear from those women, what is it that they do? How did they get there? What were some of the considerations that they had along their career path through the way? And just hear some of those stories and try and inorganically bring those role models to the force so that people can then follow up on that.
Speaking of that, the next stage of that, once you've figured out who is out there that you think you want to model, mentoring and sponsorship is absolutely critical. And I think people should have many, many mentors. One isn't enough. You will have different mentors for different things. And we also have here formal sponsorship programmes as well. So when we're looking at our high-performing talent coming up through the ranks, making sure that people have senior leaders who are banging the table for those people, who are putting their reputation on the line when it comes to the progress and the success of those junior peoples' careers. It's absolutely critical, I think, particularly for diverse populations who don't necessarily have that in a natural way. They're maybe not talking about the football, or they're not going to the pub for the drink because they're not part of that group. We need to create those relationships and make sure that they have the support which other people who are part of the majority population might just naturally have. So I think mentoring and sponsorship are really critical.
And then the other thing which we spend a huge amount of time on at GS is our affinity networks. So we have affinity networks that are focused on all sorts of different aspects of diversity. I've mentioned gender, but we have the full array. And I think those groups are critical to bind our diverse populations to the firm so that they can meet people who are like them, who are going through some of the same experiences they are, who might be experiencing a challenge at work which is very similar to what they're going through, having that peer mentoring. So that network piece is absolutely critical as well.
So lots of different angles, and it's something which GS is extremely focused on from the very top of the firm all the way down. But lots more work to be done.
Yeah. And just quickly to add to that, Sarah, I can attest to the value of mentorship and sponsorship at GS. I directly experienced that, and I think that GS and perhaps some of the other banks have really worked out how best to deliver those types of programmes both in a structured way and organically as well. And one of the things I did miss when I was at Ashurst, and that's not to say that Ashurst is particularly bad at this compared to other law firms, is the mentorship and the sponsorship that you have in place at GS.
Ashurst also has a few different mentoring programmes in place, including senior to junior mentoring, which is what most people traditionally think of when they hear the word 'mentoring'. A senior team member mentors a colleague in a more junior role. Ashurst has also recently started offering reverse mentoring where senior leaders can get support from more junior team members. I think that reverse mentoring can also be a great way to help address unconscious biases and change perspectives to make the workplace a more inclusive environment.
Thinking about the law firm angle, the other thing that we can do as an in-house legal team is really hold our relationship law firms accountable when it comes to diversity. We have a quite long list of relationship law firms and it's already part of the agenda for the various annual meetings that we have with those law firms. But we, a couple of years ago, rolled out a diversity and inclusion questionnaire where we really tried to drill into detail and the hard numbers around diversity. We're going to refresh that over the course of this year and see how far those law firms have come. I do think it will be significant. Clearly there's a huge amount of work still to be done, but I do think that the needle is working and there are some fantastic programmes in place. But the point of doing that is not only so that we can share best practices and highlight blind spots, but also so that when we are making decisions about appointing external counsel, we will bring that into play.
So there are great lawyers at many different firms. If we know for a fact that there is a firm that is super focused on inclusion and diversity, a firm which is going to present to us a deal team which is diverse, we are going to look more favourably on that law firm than one that shows up with a bunch of white men, frankly.
And so we're trying to get some of that data into a more thematic summary through these questionnaires, and really talk to our relationship law firms about how important we think this is, and where we think law firms are doing well and some of the best practices, and where we think they should be spending more time.
Thank you. As someone else who's also been involved in a lot of women's professional development networks throughout just the early stages of my career, I really admire all of the work you've done for the Women's Network at Goldman Sachs. As a junior lawyer at a large law firm, I also really appreciate the work that you're doing with law firms to support the representation of women in the field. I agree that mentoring and sponsorship, both also critical, and it's great to hear about the formal sponsorship and other programmes you have in place at Goldmans to inspire and support women throughout their career journeys.
I'd love to know, aside from being involved in all the great diversity networks you've mentioned, what has been your biggest career highlight?
I think I'm still junior enough to say that qualification has been the main highlight to date. It was a slightly longer journey for me, by no means regret it at all, but having completed the analyst programme and then going through a training contract, it was a relief when I finally crossed that line. Another career highlight was probably seeing Marcus launch. I didn't mention this earlier, but when I was back at Ashurst, I was re-seconded back to GS to work on Marcus when it launched. And so when that finally crystallised and I could see the product live on the website, that was really, really exciting for me.
For me, it was my promotion to Managing Director at the end of 2021. At that point, I'd been at the firm for just over a decade, sad as this might sound, you go through a lot when you've been at a firm for that long and the relationships that you have are really, really important. As I mentioned, I'd had maternity leaves, I'd had children here, I'd grown up at the firm in many ways, formative years were spent here. And through that promotion process, it was obviously incredibly hard work and deeply stressful, so, I don't want to sort of sugarcoat it in any way, but the strength of the relationships, and the support, and the sponsorship, and everything that Sophie was talking about, that I realised that I had through that was just extraordinary, and I felt incredibly lucky to have that support.
So the fact that I was promoted, for me, was obviously wonderful, but it was the reflection of all of that support and people believing in me that was just really overwhelming and certainly a career highlight for me.
Those are both really inspiring and really great answers. And with the amazing things that you've achieved both with qualification and then, Sarah, yourself with promotion to Managing Director, I can imagine that you've learned quite a few things along the way that could be helpful to some of our listeners who also aspire to achieve similar things throughout their career. I'd love to know if you have any advice for your younger self.
Absolutely. So when I was at school and university, I think I was very much under the impression, and I'm sure I was probably also told this, that the way to succeed was hard work. Get your head down, do your work, get the grades, people will notice, that's what it's all about. That's not right. Maybe it's right at school, it's probably right at university, it's certainly not right in your career. So you need to figure out a way of making sure that people understand what you are working on, who are your key stakeholders, apart from your manager or the partners if you're in a law firm, that you work with. Who are the people that really need to understand what you're doing and what your achievements are? So figure that out.
And then, this will be personal to everyone, but figure out a way of talking about and celebrating your successes. I think this is something which a lot of people feel very uncomfortable with, but I think in particular, women suffer from this. They don't want to come across as being arrogant, they don't want to come across as presumptuous, that they should go and tell a senior person that they've done something, and that they're blowing their own trumpet. There's all sorts of imposter syndromes, anxieties that kick in. But it's absolutely critical if you want to move your career forward.
Senior people will be aware that you're doing a great job, but they've got enough going on in their day-to-day lives. Do not assume that they know what you've done. The fact that you've done a fantastic job on a project, the fact that one of your clients has given you phenomenal feedback, never, never assume that other people know about that.
And so you've got to come to terms with being your own advocate, and fighting for your own career, and making sure that people know what you're doing. So it's something which, for me, I found unbelievably difficult, and it made my skin crawl, the idea that I was going and knocking on a senior person's door and telling them how great I was. And so I would never do it like that. I'm sure some people do, and credit to them, but that was never how I was going to do it. But just forwarding an email, for example, you get an email with great feedback, you forward it to people, you make sure that they know, or in a regular catch -up, you mention that you had some really great feedback, or that you closed a really great deal. Whatever it is, figure out a way of getting that message across, and don't worry about coming across, whether it's as arrogant, whatever it is that you're worried about. People want to know.
When my team come and tell me that they have done stuff which is fantastic, it makes my day, this is what I want to know, you're on my team, you're doing a fantastic job. I'm then going to go and tell other people. And so it's a virtuous cycle, and I think that that is something that people really, really need to know. You obviously have to have the substance, you have to have the technical ability, you need to be executing and delivering, but that is not enough. You need to then figure out how you're going to go and talk to people about all of that.
I think that's really great advice, Sarah, and I'm still working on that one.
I think British people are also terrible at it as well.
So the other two points that I was going to quickly talk about was making mistakes. So don't be afraid to do that, especially as a junior person. It happens to everyone, even senior people. Let the right people know when you've made one, don't hide it. I make mistakes all the time and I'm like, "Oh Sarah, I've made a mistake. What shall I do?" But just learn from it next time. And then, connected to that, I think another one which lawyers in particular I think struggle with is not dwelling on it after it's happened, not analysing it a thousand times and going over it in your head as a perfectionist. You have to move on. There will be other opportunities to make up for it.
And then finally, I think another key thing is asking lots of questions. I remember when I first started as an Analyst at GS, my manager said, "Ask lots and lots and lots of questions. Call up the law firms, ask them, find whatever resource you need to, to learn." If someone isn't willing to answer those questions, then they're really not the right person to learn from, and just go and find someone else.
Great. I love the idea of, Sarah, talking about and celebrating your successes. I think that's so important. And I know I myself am adapting to the idea that you can't just have your head in the books, so to speak, and you have to be able to share great feedback that you receive about yourself, whether it's something that you've worked on, or you've been involved with, or you're interested in. And this can oftentimes feel a little bit unnatural to me. And I can imagine for a lot of other listeners too, this isn't something that they naturally gravitate towards. It's not their natural tendency. So thank you for that reminder and for sharing that with us.
Sophie as well, I agree, it's important to ask lots of questions. I think that's a really great tip for anyone just starting out in their career and to just learn from the people that they get to work with around them because they're all so talented, and there's so much that they can absorb from them just by working with them.
I want to delve a little bit more into advice that you might have for young women interested in pursuing a career in the field. I'd love to know what skills you think are needed in order to have a successful career in FinTech, and what are some of the practical things a young female lawyer interested in pursuing a career in FinTech, or Finance generally, can do in order to develop these skills?
So at the top of my list, and this is very much connected to what Sarah just spoke about, is communication and presentation skills. As Sarah also mentioned, women tend to be less confident than men, but the key is to start early. So you can build up these skills in lots of ways depending on what you are doing, so you can participate in group activities at university, debating, or chatting to regulars if you are doing a waitressing job on the side in a local pub or cafe. I did this during my gap year, and actually I think I learned more about that than I did from some of my first weeks in my new job after that. So the key point is to watch how people work in that environment, especially those who are successful and good at their jobs. And also just to get to know as many people as possible. People never forget a friendly face.
And another point that's really linked to communication is branding. So again, Sarah mentioned this earlier, but one of the things I've noticed about my first manager was how well he was able to promote himself and tell his story. I think storytelling is really important, so learn what you are good at and tell people about it. And then you'll often find that they come back to you and say, "Oh yes, you are really good at organising." So you can start this on a work placement, you might spot something like a process that could be better, and you could say to your manager, "I think this could be better. Would you like me to help? I can create this flow diagram. I can have a call with the stakeholders to make this process run better."
And then finally, I just wanted to touch on resilience and balance, and in particular in FinTech and Finance, I think this is incredibly important. Learn early on where to draw your boundaries and how best to switch-off, and that's personal to each person. So it's whether you lying on a couch at the weekend with your cat, guilty as charged, or playing sports with friends. Spending lots and lots of hours solidly on the same thing is not good for anyone. It also doesn't mean you'll produce your best work. I have to say I'm probably still working on this final one.
It's such a good point, Sophie. I know this is a bit of a cliché, but it really is a marathon and not a sprint. And not burning out and making sure that you are conserving energy and recharging. There's a huge amount of stress that we can all be faced with when, let's face it, it's not exactly the easiest climate at the moment, and it's just really, really important that people look after themselves.
Sophie, I thought generally your list was a fabulous one. So everyone who's thinking about a career in FinTech should listen to Sophie's list, and write it out, and figure out how to implement that for themselves.
I would also go back to what I mentioned before about find a role model, find a network, find mentors. They don't have to come from up on high. Maybe there's a teacher or a professor at school or university who you relate to on a personal level, or you think that they've got a piece of advice that they can give to you when you're thinking about your career path, someone at law school maybe. Really look everywhere and think about getting advice from as wide a range of people as you possibly can.
And play to your strengths. We have a real tendency, I think, certainly when I look at the high performers on my team, to focus on the negative. So if you have a performance review, people don't want to talk about what they've done well, they want to talk about what they need to change, what they need to do better. And obviously, that's important, and we all need to do that. But actually, your strengths are what is going to carry you into a successful career. So what are those strengths? Really have that self-awareness of what you do well, and then figure out any opportunity to practice them and keep building them up. Whether it's communication, whether it's presentation, whether it's technical ability, whatever it is, just make sure that you are looking for opportunities to really develop those strengths further and further as you move forward with your career decisions.
Thank you. That's really practical, helpful advice that I think a lot of our listeners, including myself, can learn from. So that takes us to the end of our questions. Once again, thank you so much to you both for joining us. It's been wonderful to speak with you and learn more about your impressive career journeys.
Just from a personal perspective, I just want to say you both have inspired me, and I'm sure you've also inspired our listeners, and it was really great working with you both on my secondment, and I'm really happy we had this opportunity to delve a little bit deeper into your career journeys and advice for aspiring young lawyers like myself. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us.
Thank you for listening to season two of Ashurst's Women in Tech podcast series. If you enjoyed this episode and want to listen to the rest of the season, or catch up on season one of our podcast, please subscribe to Ashurst Legal Outlook wherever you get your podcasts. While you're there, feel free to leave us a rating or review.
If you'd like to find out more about Ashurst's Digital Economy team, please visit www.ashurst.com. In the meantime, thanks very much for listening and goodbye for now.