Diversity Journal First Quarter Magazine 2022

Page 74



Vice President, Legal

LEADERS Worth Watching



I Keep Going—No Matter What

Education: AB, Harvard University; JD, Georgetown University Law Center Company Name: Zynga Inc. Industry: Technology & Gaming Company CEO: Frank Gibeau Company Headquarters Location: San Francisco, California Number of Employees: Approximately 2,200 Words you live by: “Speak softly and carry a big stick....” - credited to Theodore Roosevelt Who is your personal hero? Abraham Lincoln, Maya Angelou, and my mother What book are you reading? The Midnight Library by Matt Haig; A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman; The 71/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton What was your first job: Cashier and cook at the Angel Island Snack Bar Favorite charity: Parent Services Project, California ChangeLawyers, YouthSpeaks Interests: Cooking, travel, and relearning piano Family: Only child of a fierce Colombian mother, married to a gregarious Texan, mom to three great kids, aged 5, 8, and 10


2022 First Quarter

On occasion, when talking with friends and family, the subject of “superpowers” comes up. “What’s your superpower?” someone asks, and the conversation goes from there. For one of my friends, it’s the ability to wake up at any desired time without an alarm clock; for another, an uncanny ability to recall popular songs. I’ve reflected on this question over the years, and I’ve come to the conclusion that my own superpower is boring, even simple: it’s no more or less than the ability to keep going, to keep moving forward, no matter what. My mom immigrated to the United States from Colombia before I was born, and I was her only child. From the outside looking in, it may have seemed like we didn’t have much. She had a physically demanding job, and she worked harder than anyone I knew to provide me with the educational opportunities she never had. She taught me early on that the only limitations that could hold me back were those I placed on myself. That message gave me the courage to believe that I could make things happen—that by working hard and being determined, I could achieve whatever I set out to accomplish. I learned to set small goals for myself— whether a good grade, a sports win, or a book-reading competition at our local library—and to enjoy the challenge of trying to meet them. Over time, as my goals got bigger—being the first in my family to go to college, graduating law school, clerking and then practicing law—I eventually found that somewhere along the way, I had stopped seeing the limitations that others might see (lack of funding, lack of network, lack of experience). I saw only momentary challenges, and reasons to overcome them. And by pushing forward, overcome them I did. This superpower, this ability to keep going no matter what, is at the heart of any success I’ve had. Of course, I’ve also learned along the way that sometimes, keeping going doesn’t mean that the path you see before you remains straight. Sometimes, it means taking a side road or a different route than the one you originally set out on. And honestly, when I look back, it’s those side roads (an extended federal clerkship, a transition in practice area, a switch to an in-house role) that have given my career the most color and character. But in the end, it’s the ability to keep moving forward that has made me stronger and more resilient, and it pushes me to continually set new goals for myself. And in the process, I continue to grow into what I hope is a better lawyer, and a better leader.



Claudia Sanchez Wilson