Today is International Women's Day. So we thought we’d take this opportunity to introduce you to one of our fearless leaders here at ShoreTel: Ava Hahn, ShoreTel’s vice president, general counsel and secretary.
What made you want to become a lawyer?
For as far back as I can remember, I wanted to be a lawyer. Even when I was only 3. My grandfather was a lawyer and he seemed really cool. He wore bolo ties and cowboy boots with his suits. He was one of the first international lawyers in Korea, and right after the Korean War when Korea started to open up, he represented American companies like Motorola.
I completed my undergrad work at UC Berkeley. Then, because I’ve always been enamored with New York, I headed east to Columbia for my J.D. (I still feel like a partial New Yorker.)
Did you always want to work in-house?
Columbia Law School has the reputation of a Wall Street feeder firm. So I always thought I’d end up working on Wall Street. But right as I was entering the work world, Silicon Valley was blowing up; the Internet was the place to be. I joined Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Silicon Valley’s leading law firm, to begin my law practice and was fortunate to receive training from some of the best lawyers out there representing tech companies.
After a few years, there came a point where I noticed my clients were having a lot more fun than I was. I enjoyed my work, but there was a certain level of disconnect with the actual business behind any particular legal project. So I decided to move in-house.
I joined a technology start-up as Director of Legal Affairs, before moving to Genesis Microchip as their general counsel and secretary. That was my first public company general counsel role, and where I first met Mike Healy, ShoreTel’s CFO. Ultimately, I came to ShoreTel because I wanted to continue to work with Mike and his finance team.
What has your experience as a woman at ShoreTel been like?
ShoreTel has been very good to me. It is most meritocratic place I have worked. It’s a place where you are rewarded for your results and given opportunities to learn and grow.
One of the things that keeps me here is the honest dedication to being a family friendly company. We permit flexibility as long as you establish that you can get the job done. That is good for both women and men, builds loyalty and increases morale.
I’ve never felt I needed a certain amount of face time. We embody the belief that work is no longer a location – it is an activity. I coach soccer and baseball – and I’ve done a lot of calls from the soccer field.
I love my ShoreTel Mobility. It really is about efficiency and the quality of what you do. And our solution allows me to work around my schedule for the product I represent.