Features

Christina Gabrys – Synchronoss Technologies

Improving culture through legal for tech solutions company

When Christina Gabrys became chief compliance officer for Synchronoss Technologies in 2020, her goal was to make compliance less of a checkbox item and more of a user-friendly experience at the publicly traded company.

“Training fatigue is real and something companies wrestle with constantly. Compliance training is one of the things employees can easily burn out from,” Gabrys says. “So, we came up with interactive training solutions that engage users beyond the typical PowerPoint presentations.”

Since then, she’s been promoted to chief legal officer and her goals have expanded.

Christina Gabrys | Chief Legal Officer | Synchronoss Technologies

Christina Gabrys | Chief Legal Officer | Synchronoss Technologies

“As a newer leader in the business, I wanted to take a crucial look at what we were doing and what we were missing to ensure that I didn’t just continue doing what had always been done because it was easy,” she says.

Based in Bridgewater, New Jersey, Synchronoss Technologies offers Synchronoss Personal Cloud, advanced messaging, e-mail and the NetworkX suite of products, which connect subscribers, systems, networks and content. Gabrys is working to make the internal user experience more enjoyable.

“This is a company founded on innovation,” she says. “That extends to the way in which we navigate every aspect of the business, including the employee and customer experience and the mark we leave on the industry.”

Growing ESG program

When Gabrys became chief legal officer in 2021, she wanted to make the company’s annual report and proxy statement more investor friendly and more reflective of the company’s culture. So, she updated them to include a more personal letter from the CEO, governance features, plain language, a condensed summary of the contents and highlights of the company’s performance. She also changed the layout and design to make the material more engaging.

More recently, she has helped the company develop an environmental, social and governance program, which she says is the right thing to do and something stakeholders are increasingly interested in. Gabrys is helping increase employee engagement with new programs like Sync Socials, events aimed at connecting team members from around the world, and Let’s Talk About ESG, a series of conversations about current events, articles and podcasts.

Christina Gabrys | Chief Legal Officer | Synchronoss Technologies

Under Gabrys’ watch, Synchronoss launched Sync Cares, the company’s volunteer program giving employees paid time to give back to the communities where they live and work. These efforts led to Synchronoss being nominated for a corporate citizenry award by a New Jersey business organization.

“As a software company, there are many things about our business that are inherently more sustainable than a manufacturing business, but it’s important that we have a robust ESG program to ensure that we take the actions necessary to reduce our footprint, as well as to take the necessary strides to promote a diverse, inclusive and engaging workplace,” she says.

According to Gabrys, the company’s CEO, Jeff Miller, actively supports the ESG program, as does the company’s board, which provides oversight and insights from their experiences with other companies. She says the board was particularly enthusiastic about implementing a platform to track and report on the company’s environmental impact, as well as the updated governance and compliance initiatives.

“Our stakeholders, including our employees, customers and investors, want it and care about it, and the board is in alignment on growing this program,” Gabrys says.

Becoming more diverse and inclusive

As part of Synchronoss’ ESG structure, Gabrys integrated the company’s diversity, equity and inclusion strategy and has been working to expand its reach and impact.

Gabrys, who was the only woman on the leadership team when she was promoted to CLO, has pushed to expand the company’s recruiting efforts to attract a broad range of candidates. She’s been ensuring there’s transparency in how to move up in the company, promoting policies to create more equitable opportunity across gender in the workplace and working on initiatives to promote cultural awareness throughout the company’s global offices.

Christina Gabrys | Chief Legal Officer | Synchronoss Technologies

“There is so much evidence that having people from different backgrounds with different perspectives brings a greater return to a company,” she says. “Diversity promotes innovation and Jeff [Miller, CEO] agrees completely.”

The Synchronoss DEI program includes a monthly cultural newsletter and a global committee that examines the company’s DEI program. Also, to promote more inclusive hiring practices, the company partnered with a third-party recruiting firm to reach traditionally underrepresented talent.

The career she always wanted

Gabrys knew she wanted to be a lawyer since first grade. Growing up in Aurora, Illinois, she knew she’d have to work hard and embrace her strengths to achieve her dream.

After earning a degree in history, philosophy and communications from Cornell College in Iowa, Gabrys earned her J.D. from the University of Illinois College of Law. She also has a Master of Laws degree in international commercial law from the University of Nottingham in England.

Christina Gabrys | Chief Legal Officer | Synchronoss Technologies

Gabrys spent her first six years in private practice as a litigator for Blackmar, Principe & Schmelter, but after a while, the gamesmanship and style required to be a successful litigation attorney wore on her.

“Litigation just wasn’t for me,” she says. “I much prefer working in house because of the ability to work on a variety of matters.”

Her first in-house position came with Openwave Messaging—she spent more than three years as legal counsel for the company’s America and Asia-Pacific regions. Gabrys joined Synchronoss in March 2016 as senior counsel and was promoted to assistant general counsel in December 2018. She added chief compliance officer to her title in June 2020 and was promoted to chief legal officer in July 2021.

View this feature in the Vanguard Winter IV 2023 Edition here.

Published on: February 16, 2023

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