Guest Speaker: #Slack[ing Off] with Mark Pike

One of my favorite things about attending law school at William and Mary is the alumni involvement. Alumni frequently come back and speak to current students, share their experiences while in law school and provide valuable advice to us about reaching our career goals. It’s no surprise that the Student Intellectual Property Society (SIPS) regularly has alumni come in to speak to the students or in this case, Skype in to share his experience and his journey from Williamsburg to Silicon Valley.

Mark Pike is currently a Senior Product Counsel at Slack and graduated from William and Mary Law School in 2009. While in law school, he developed his interest in technology and privacy issues through his coursework and with his summer jobs. During his presentation, Mark shared insight on how his work experiences at a firm during his 1L summer, and his role at Facebook as a Privacy Manager shaped his decisions and ultimately led him to his current role at Slack.

In his current role, he works on everything from brand protection, to coaching the product team on meeting General Data Protection Regulation requirements, to thinking through potential issues that arise from Slack’s implementation of new features. Additionally, he works closely with outside counsel and private firms on patent law prosecutions, and whenever he is in need of subject matter experts in certain areas of the law.

His advice to students on getting from Williamsburg to Silicon Valley or into similar tech-oriented fields is to consider and discover your skills and passions and use that to guide your career path. He said, “It’s hard to do a job if you’re not passionate about it”, finding your passion will allow you to create the genuine narrative you need to connect the dots when building skills. He further emphasized the importance of developing your skills even if the role you are searching for does not exist yet; if you continue to develop those skills now, once that opportunity arises, you will be qualified for the position.

By Tolu Olaniyan

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