Diversity in Practice
By: Sejal Shah, Senior Corporate Counsel
I never imagined that one day I would be moving to Florida, let alone be working for a global manufacturing company like Jabil. Having spent the last 14+ years of my legal career in Washington, D.C., my career path had been focused on a common anticipated goal for many D.C. attorneys – that is, the goal to make partner at one of the city’s many prestigious law firms. However, that changed when family commitments required us to transition to Florida. Out of my comfort zone, I wasn’t sure what the future held for me professionally. My resume had been carefully curated over many years to read a certain way. For the first time in a long time, I was forced to look beyond what the lines of my resume said I should be, and instead think about what I wanted next for myself. Through this process, I was fortunate that the right opportunity presented itself, and now here I am – a proud member of the Jabil Legal department’s Global Ethics and Compliance Team.
My journey began as an undergraduate student at New York University, where I was a pre-med major before taking a completely different direction and applying to law school. I accepted admission in the dual degree Law and MBA program at American University Washington College of Law, and soon thereafter began my career as an associate attorney in the energy litigation practice of a large law firm. After developing my advocacy skills over six years, I decided to explore other opportunities for professional growth and transitioned into my first in-house legal role at a Fortune 100 energy company. This is where I was introduced to the world of legal compliance, finding it to be a natural fit. I enjoyed learning the inner workings of the business and collaborating with colleagues across the enterprise to problem solve and build regulatory compliance programs, while also furthering our business objectives. Of the areas of compliance that I oversaw, cybersecurity regulation became a particular focus of mine. These interests and experiences followed me back into law firm life, which is where I spent my last six years before joining Jabil.
… an opportunity to use the unique skills practicing law and compliance in technology-driven industries
When I started the job search in anticipation of our move to Florida about a year ago, I knew I wanted to find a position that would give me an opportunity to use the unique skills I had gained practicing law and compliance in technology-driven industries. Given my background, the manufacturing industry had not been an obvious direction to me. However, I was fortunate that my resume came across the desk of our Vice President, Deputy General Counsel and Global Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer, Sherry Williams, who took an interest in my unique background and saw the natural synergies that my skills could bring to the work we do at Jabil. Sherry opened the door to a new professional opportunity in an exciting industry that I had not previously considered.
I also didn’t anticipate encountering the breadth of
diversity that the Jabil Legal department represents.
In addition to finding the right role at Jabil, I also didn’t anticipate encountering the breadth of diversity that the Jabil Legal department represents. In a profession known to struggle with a diversity imbalance, I had grown accustomed to being (in most cases) the only diverse attorney in the room. Upon joining the Global Ethics and Compliance Team, I was thrilled to meet a distinguished group attorneys and compliance professionals from a variety of different backgrounds and experiences, ranging in age, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation and cultural values to name a few. While individually unique, collectively these views and skill sets perfectly complement one another, further strengthening our team’s performance as a whole. Moreover, it’s our differences that lend to a fun, collaborative work environment, where we all continuously learn from one another.
No, I never imagined that one day I would be working for Jabil. That said, I feel fortunate to have found my way here and to be working in a Legal department that is defying the “norm” with Sherry Williams, Kristine Oureilidis, Elissa Boisvert, Susan Wagner-Fleming and other diverse attorneys in positions of senior leadership. Diversity is not just our strength, it’s how we practice law at Jabil.