Feb 25, 2019
Welcome to Heels of Justice; these are the stories of women lawyers who are trailblazers in their field and paved the way for the rest of us.
Today, the Heels of Justice interview Anirma Gupta, General Counsel at Tanium Inc., previously V.P. and Deputy General Counsel at Intuit and Attorney at Sun Microsystems. She worked at Sughrue Mion out of Georgetown Law School after obtaining her J.D. She also holds a Bachelor’s in electrical engineering from the University of Maryland.
You can find more information, as well as an extensive list of her awards in the “More About Anirma Gupta” section of these notes.
[:41] Sarita welcomes Anirma Gupta, one of the few female General Counsels in the country, to the Heels of Justice podcast.
[1:35] Where was Anirma born and where did she grow up? How was her experience growing up an immigrant?
[3:58] Anirma explains what she wanted to be when she grew up, and how it fit into what was expected!
[5:31] Sarita asks what led Anirma from electrical engineering to law.
[7:22] Did law school have a higher percentage of women than engineering? Anirma touches on how she tackled differences in the two fields.
[9:11] Sarita asks what drove Anirma’s career path, from Sughrue to Tanium.
[12:15] Anirma talks a bit about how mentors and advisors helped shape her career path and paints a picture of the time she made a very opportune choice at an inopportune time.
[16:48] What was Intuit like? What kept her there for 11 years?
[18:36] How did Anirma go about doing informational interviews with GCs and what advice did it provide her with.
[20:52] Anirma talks about the importance of shifting your network, explains what it means, and how to do it.
[22:20] Sarita asks how Anirma landed the GC job, the offers, the interviews, and how expected and unexpected it’s been since then.
[24:44] What is Tanium? And what are some of the key things Anirma had to learn working for a privately held company.
[26:34] Building a legal team, the growth mindset, and being comfortable with being uncomfortable.
[28:39] Tips for people aiming to follow the same kind of path Anirma has.
[28:56] Sarita steers the conversation towards the non-profit work that Anirma does with ChIPs.
[32:28] Sarita asks if Anirma would have any advice for her younger self.
[33:44] Does Anirma remember a time when she advocated for herself?
[34:25] Sarita asks Anirma Gupta if she has a personal mantra and thanks her for participating on the Heels of Justice podcast, and she signs off until next time.
That’s it for this episode of Heels of Justice, if you like the stories we’re telling, please visit our website. You can join our mailing list, learn more about our guests and see what we have planned for the future.
Disclaimer: The opinions you have heard are ours or our guest’s alone. They’re not the opinions of our employers, or our clients, or our bosses, and not our husbands, kids or pets or anyone else’s.
Mentioned in this episode (chronological order)
More about the Heels of Justice, Sarita Venkat and Katherine Minarik
Sarita Venkat on LinkedIn
Katherine Minarik on LinkedIn
Katherine Minarik on Twitter
Katherine Minarik at cleverbridge
Anirma Gupta’s personal stories (edited)
“I remember asking my parents lots of questions, and my mom, in particular, was very patient with them and she just explained there are different people in the world, and it’s okay to learn about other cultures, and diversity is a good thing but here’s what we believe in, and here’s the way we are going to live our lives.”
“Being in Silicon Valley was a different experience. I got a call one day from a recruiter saying ‘we’re looking to hire.’ I paused and looked at my situation and realized that I was in an environment where there were no female partners — in the electromechanical side of the house — and I was a litigator, living the litigator life: is this really what I want to do with the rest of my career? The call from the recruiter came at an opportune time and got me thinking about the different paths to take my career on. The idea of working with a single client, being embedded in the business, helping solve those business problems really intrigued me, so I decided to give it a chance.”
“It was one of those times where I almost didn’t take the job because I was pregnant at the time, and my husband had left his big company job to join his first startup, and we were remodeling our house — a complete teardown; we were building it from the ground up. So I got the call from Intuit and I thought, should I really be taking yet another thing on right now? Is this the time to take on a major challenge as the company's first Chief IP Counsel? The lesson that I learned then and have learned continuously over my life is that opportunities don’t always arrive in your life at the best times, and in my life, it seems that the best opportunities have come at the most inopportune times!”
“When I was interviewing… I actually made the decision to tell her when she was making the oral offer… I told her ‘I think I’m pregnant, is that okay?’ It turns out I found out I was pregnant that day. And she gave me the most amazing answer which was: “Thanks for telling me, the job’s still gonna be here.’”
“I was a summer associate at a law firm where I worked on a project with a female partner and she was — let’s just say I got a lot of feedback on the project. At the end of that meeting, she said to me: ‘Look, I didn’t have it easy making it to partner, and I’m not going to make it easy for you either.’ I was so taken aback, and that has stuck with me and drives me to do whatever I can to help people.”
More about Anirma Gupta
ChIPs Board Director Emeritus and co-founder
National Diversity Council
2018: 50 Most Powerful Women in Technology
The Recorder 2015: Women Leaders in Tech Law
Inside Counsel Magazine ‘R3-100 Roundup’ 2014 and 2015: a list of 100 women most likely to become general counsel in the Fortune 500
The Recorder 2014: Women Leaders in Tech Law
South Asian Bar Association of Northern California 2014: Mentorship Award for mentoring efforts in the Bay Area legal community
Intuit CEO’s Excellence in Leadership: Received in recognition of results achieved on building Intuit’s patent portfolio
Best Bay Area Corporate Counsel Awards 2010: Best IP Counsel