Rackspace tech lawyer speaks of invaluable mentors and risk taking

Technology lawyer Tiffany Lathe, VP & General Counsel International of cloud services provider Rackspace, says she owes her career to her mentors.

Lathe is a seasoned legal advisor and General Counsel with experience in guiding both public and private companies worldwide.Tiffany_APPROVED

Speaking to WeAreTheCity recently she explained how she was unsure of which direction to take after studying History and the History of Art at the University of York, when a mentor opened her eyes to the world of law.

“At the time I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do. When I was working in several sales and marketing roles I had a mentor that was a contract lawyer and he encouraged me to consider a career in law. I later decided to go to the College of Law in Birmingham to take my LPC Distinction,” she said.

After Lathe graduated she joined her first law firm where she met another mentor who inspired her to move into technology: “When I got to the firm I met an amazing partner who blew me away. He was so good at what he did and encouraged me to get involved in more training. He really inspired me in intellectual property and IT.

“The firm law firm I joined was very forward thinking in diversity. I had a six month old daughter then and they took me on and retrained me. I moved into the tech team at this company and never looked back.”

Lathe said having mentors throughout her career has helped her to get to where she is today: “My mentors probably don’t realise how much they’ve done for me and for women in IT in general.

“Careers advice from someone you trust and who knows what you’re good at is invaluable. Ultimately you have to still have the drive yourself.”

Lathe now makes a point of mentoring women inside and outside of Rackspace, because she realises the benefits that this guidance can have.

Lathe said enjoys her job as a tech lawyer because it is so varied: “In tech law you don’t just have to know law such as IP law, but you need to know how to write a good contract.

“If you find a job you love you never have to work another day in your life – this was suddenly true for me and now I feel like I get paid to do my hobby.”

She later made a move to Rackspace and made her way up through the ranks. Lathe was later offered a role as Vice president legal and HR, which she said was a challenge but a risk she is pleased to have taken.

“I took over the HR department which was a real challenge. I took a risk trying HR but I ended up really loving it, so I’m please I stretch myself at that point. I was then asked onto the leadership team. I was the first woman on this team and I felt like things were really moving forward,” she added.

Lathe is now encouraging her own 13 year old to learn skills in technology, such as coding, as she sees the value of understanding IT.