Lesley Hamlin – Wrike
- Written by: Fatima Taha
- Produced by: Matthew Warner & Andrew Melson
- Est. reading time: 5 mins
While the COVID-19 pandemic increased the need for collaborative work management tools, Wrike had already been in the market since 2006—a highly competitive market, as Lesley Hamlin knows.
As Wrike’s vice president and general counsel since 2021, her job is to ensure that the company and its products stand out amongst competitors. To do this, she and her legal team work closely with the company’s marketing department.
That starts with simple matters like protecting the company’s logo: a green, two-piece checkmark. She and her team ensure no one is using the same or similar style—or even that shade of green.
“We take a very nuanced approach to marketing even for seemingly simple or minute matters,” she says, adding that she continually conducts trainings to make sure everyone is on the same page.
The legal and marketing teams also work together on newly released products, like Wrike Lightspeed, which was rolled out in October 2022. The newly designed platform allows users to manage workflows across the company. In addition to having a streamlined user experience and artificial intelligence capabilities, it has an average performance increase of up to 45 percent, an industry-first, according to her.
For Hamlin, one of the most important parts of branding and marketing this new product was communicating value to customers, specifically Wrike’s ability to scale. For example, a private startup can use Lightspeed when it has just a couple employees in one city—and continue using it as it becomes a multi-billion dollar publicly-traded company with thousands of employees across the nation or world.
“Our products, like Lightspeed, are ever evolving to meet customers’ needs and to differentiate Wrike in the market, so we ensure that the marketing highlights all the various, unique features our products have to offer,” Hamlin says.
Streamlining and security
Marketing, however, is only one step—albeit an important one—in the process.
Hamlin and her team must also ensure that Wrike complies with all rules and regulations, especially with new laws releasing across the U.S. and the U.K. She and her team are constantly reviewing laws like the Jan. 1, 2023, update to the California Consumer Privacy Act that gives people the right to limit the use and disclosure of sensitive personal information and the U.K.’s General Data Protection Regulation, which also covers the collection of personal data.
She and her team recently reviewed Wrike’s contracts and streamlined the company’s online terms to ensure compliance and make it easier for customers to understand how these data regulations apply to them.
“My personal goal is always to make it as easy as possible for clients to do business with us and use our products to keep their businesses growing and achieving success,” Hamlin says.
For example, she and her team once helped create and finalize a contract with a customer in a highly regulated industry, addressing their specific need for securing sensitive data with an addendum.
Although she is primarily a team leader, she does handle negotiations with larger-scale customers who often have more sophisticated needs. She doesn’t just help to streamline the contract terms; she also sets the risk tolerance level for both sides to reach an agreement where both parties are satisfied with the outcome.
“I have a fantastic team, so I’m honored to lead them and to be the last line—there to help if something unusual, out-of-the-norm or particularly nuanced and complex arises,” Hamlin says.
Sharing knowledge on a global scale
Hamlin and her team are also focused on corporate governance. Wrike has entities and customers across the world, including in countries like Ireland, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Armenia, Estonia, Costa Rica, Australia and Japan.
This means she and her team must handle a large number of corporate legal entity management matters. This includes everything from employment and human resource issues to real estate. Hamlin often collaborates with local counsel to better understand local regulations and laws.
She adds that this legal focus is particularly important to Wrike, as a global workforce brings in “a wonderfully diverse mix of perspectives.”
“This allows us to develop as a company and ensure that we’re available to all of our customers all of the time,” she says. “It means I have to learn a lot of unique country laws very quickly and thoroughly, but I enjoy the challenge.”
She also enjoys leading and working with people across the globe. This comes with her decades of experience mentoring, training and developing employees at every place where she’s worked, including Wrike.
Engineering career and mentorship success
Hamlin started her career as a product engineer with Westinghouse Electric Company before becoming an intellectual property attorney at a law firm. Given her unique path, she loves sharing her experience and knowledge, especially with students at all levels, and conducting workshops with younger students.
Her speaking engagements have included a recent Boston Women’s Leadership Summit and Association of Corporate Counsel’s Annual Meeting of Advisory Board Members.
“There’s not a lot of female engineers—or female patent attorneys, for that matter,” Hamlin says. “I like being a trailblazer and helping others become one too.”
That’s one of the reasons she took the opportunity to become the senior director of intellectual property at a company in the male-dominated field of technology and engineering. In 2011, she was hired to Citrix and worked her way up to the position of vice president and general counsel of operations and emerging businesses. She retained this title when the cloud software company acquired Wrike in 2021; a year later, Wrike separated from Citrix.
“With my technical, engineering background alongside my IP and legal experience, I’ve found my perfect match at Wrike,” Hamlin says. “I don’t just get to lead and mentor teams across the world but see how customers will use a product, making me a better business partner and helping Wrike manage risks in the market—all while guiding our clients to success.”
View this feature in the Vanguard Spring III 2023 Edition here.
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