Features

Alyssa Flores – Ziff Davis

She’s a great connector in Ziff Davis’ Connectivity division

There’s nothing like total immersion to get one acclimated to a new role. So says Alyssa (Kaplun) Flores about her first day as a member of the Ziff Davis legal department in July 2018.

“I opened my inbox to find due diligence materials for the acquisitions of Ekahau and Downdetector,” she recalls. “Since then, I have advised on many more acquisitions and post-acquisition integrations.”

And there’ll likely be more for the company’s Connectivity division that Flores oversees from a legal and compliance perspective. Ekahau, which offers products and services for Wi-Fi planning, analyzing and troubleshooting, has been duly integrated. Same for Downdetector, which offers an online service outage platform. These companies are joined in the Connectivity division by Ookla and two of its brands: RootMetrics and Speedtest.

Alyssa Flores | Assistant General Counsel | Ziff Davis

Alyssa Flores | Assistant General Counsel | Ziff Davis

Then last summer Ookla, a leader in global connectivity intelligence, acquired the Swedish company CellRebel, which offers analytics solutions for operators. This acquisition had Flores collaborating with outside counsel in Sweden to seal the deal. Though the acquisition of foreign companies is complex, Flores says everything fell into place and how CellRebel complements the strengths of Ookla’s other products and services, as well as those of Ziff Davis.

She has since drafted new contract templates, updated policies and furthered the many other aspects of integrating a newcomer. Her questions are many: What are the acquiree’s long-term goals? How do its products or services synergize with Connectivity’s other products and services? What are areas of improvement on the legal and compliance front?

It’s all part of Flores’ expanding role that in the past five years has seen her ascend to associate general counsel of the New York-based internet publishing giant Ziff Davis. Her responsibilities run the gamut from negotiating and drafting contracts to employment matters to intellectual property management and enforcement to privacy matters and post-acquisition integration.

That said, there are times she seems surprised at how her career has progressed.

“I never saw myself as an attorney specializing in technology,” the 33-year-old Flores tells Vanguard in April from the Brooklyn home where she’s worked remotely since COVID-19 started. “I initially envisioned being an entertainment lawyer. Me being here is proof that one should always remain open to unexpected opportunities.”

Fast learner

It’s broad enough to sustain Flores’ interests, and she’s finding this role more fulfilling than the year stint at the general practice firm of Kudman Trachten Aloe following her 2017 graduation from Cardozo School of Law in New York City. Still, the short time at the firm was most meaningful. Flores learned how to manage U.S. and foreign trademark and copyright portfolios, oversee intellectual property enforcement efforts and liaise with lawyers overseas—skills in much demand at Ziff Davis.

However, there was still a steep learning curve upon going in-house. Flores had to quickly familiarize herself with Ziff Davis’ array of complex products and services. A personable sort, she’d introduce herself to colleagues in product, engineering, infosec, marketing and sales, asking in-depth questions about what the company had to offer and how she could aid their cause.

Alyssa Flores | Assistant General Counsel | Ziff Davis

Only Flores wasn’t that much of a neophyte when it came to the wired world. As she discovered, she already interacted with some of the Ziff Davis brands, and it wasn’t long before she was speaking in the same tongue as so many of her new colleagues.

“I found it very exciting to be working for a company whose brands I was familiar with,” she says. “I still had a lot to learn though as my role became more technology-focused, with expansion of the Connectivity brands. Initially I expected to work on traditional media matters.”

It’s all new media

Of course, the term “traditional media” is fast becoming an anachronism, and Ziff Davis might be as responsible as any entity for the fast-paced evolution in digital communications. For Flores as well as her colleagues in legal and elsewhere, Ziff Davis necessitates much on-the-job learning.

“The company is quite different from when I started,” she says. “I’ve been excited to see how Ziff Davis has grown throughout my time at the company. Any future acquisition has the potential to change major aspects of the business. It will be interesting to see how the company continues to adapt and change in the future.”

It seems to be adapting well, Flores goes on to say, and the company is constantly looking for new acquisitions. And the more her role grows, the more eager she is to lead other young people up the company ladder.

Through participation in the company’s mentorship program, Flores looks forward to both guiding others and learning from them. She also strives to lead through informal mentorship efforts for anyone in need of career guidance, from law students to colleagues in other departments. Flores stands to be a role model for women in corporate legal departments and the technology industry.

And she’s taken well to the big city and sharing life with her photographer husband. Originally from upstate Rochester, Flores came to the Big Apple as a New York University undergrad, majoring in political science, minoring in media studies and spending her senior year in Madrid. A successful legal career was always a goal for Flores and she’s found her niche at Ziff Davis.

“I have found in-house work very rewarding,” she says. “I have formed strong relationships with colleagues in many different departments and serve as a partner to the business to help further their objectives. Ziff Davis has given me incredible opportunities to learn and develop as a professional and as an attorney.”

View this feature in the Vanguard Summer II 2023 Edition here.

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