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How transparency can set you up for success

Following a tough 2023, this GC emphasised that moving through 2024, she’s focusing on rejuvenation and mindset – two things she said will set both her and her team up for success this year.

user iconLauren Croft 12 March 2024 Corporate Counsel
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Teresa Allan is the vice-president, general counsel, and ethics and compliance officer at Capgemini. She is also a multiple-time finalist for a number of Lawyers Weekly awards.

Speaking on a recent episode of The Corporate Counsel Show, she outlined how best to set up a legal team for success in 2024, following a tough year for her in 2023.

These conversations are important to have at the beginning of the year, according to Allan, who said that setting your team – and yourself – up for success is best done as early in the year as possible.


“I got to the end of 2023 and I was quite tired, frankly. And mostly, I love my job [and] I love my team, but I was really tired. And 2023 was quite a tough year for me personally, and I couldn’t have gotten through it without the support of my team, my work and my network,” she said.

“And I just thought it’s quite useful sometimes for us to share some of these, be really open about the fact that we’re going through some personal challenges as well as then how we can translate that into providing support for our team so that we can then build success for all our companies in this environment.”

In January last year, Allan’s husband was severely injured in a cycling accident, for which it took three months to recover. Then, in April, her youngest daughter was bitten by a shark before her Mum passed away in the middle of the year in the UK.

Dealing with these traumatic events put “a lot of things in perspective” for Allan, who said that although it was a “terrible” year, she got through it and still felt lots of “little moments of joy” throughout.

“I feel it’s really important to share that because I think we’re all going through stuff all the time, and I know that, and I will go on to talk about some of kind of the things that are going on for legal teams everywhere and in the economy, but I feel that it’s quite good to sort of centre yourself, and this is what we’ve been through, this is what we’re going through, and then build from there, because what I always think now is goodness,” she added.

“You just need to maintain a sense of perspective because you go through this stuff, feel so much better off than others. And so, when I talk about resilience, I think I’m going to flip it into rejuvenation for 2024 and just say, OK, that’s it, done. How am I going to set the scene for myself personally, within the work context for my team, about how we move forward so we can actually start the year and with the right intent, and then that will set us through.

“I always remember when I was younger, my parents used to say [that] when you come up against hardships, it builds character. And you get to a point [where] you think, I don’t need any more character. I’ve got quite enough, thank you. But I do feel it’s been one of those years. And it kind of adds authenticity and meaning to your interactions in the work environment. And frankly, it helps you in that work environment, too, because people can see, they understand where you’re coming from.”

This kind of openness was vital during the pandemic, but it has somewhat worn off since then, as legal teams get back to the office and “back to normal”. In 2024, Allan said, continuing “that form of reconnection” is vital.

“We lost it. We worked quite hard immediately post-pandemic, and I think it’s about how we keep reconnecting with people in our industry and with our peers. And one of the ways in which I try to do that is by consciously trying to make space in my diary. We all have very busy calendars, and I’m sure easily our day can be full with 10 hours’ worth of Zoom calls, but it’s to try to make that space for that reconnection with peers.

“And so for me, I recently met with a couple of GC friends. And really, it is just about connecting as people. And then also, and incidentally, then we can also have a chat about the industry-wide things that we’re all facing, whether we can talk about the increase in regulation we can see that will affect us, whatever our industry. And it’s also a way to connect and keep the connection going so that reconnection, and then you have to bring it back to your firm as well,” she explained.

“Isn’t it interesting how the environment in which you work can make a real difference to your approach? We’re fortunate enough to have moved into these very nice offices, which are actually a bit more built for collaboration spaces. And there’s just an extra level of energy that’s just around. And it’s been a good reminder for me, actually not to stay in my bubble, which is where you just deal with the people that you’re interacting with on a transactional level, and then you don’t have the broader conversations. And to be honest, that makes your work more enjoyable.”

The transcript of this podcast episode was slightly edited for publishing purposes. To listen to the full conversation with Teresa Allan, click below:

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