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Spotlight Series: Emma Wright, Partner at Harbottle & Lewis

Emma Wright, Partner at Harbottle & Lewis

ARTICLE SUMMARY

We sat down with Emma to take a look at how she got into the industry, her career highlights and her advice to other women thinking about a career in tech.

EMMA WRIGHT IS A SENIOR COMMERCIAL AND REGULATORY LAWYER FOCUSSED ON TECHNOLOGY.

She leads the highly rated Technology, Data and Digital team at Harbottle & Lewis (which she established on her move from Deloitte), where she acts for all manner of small and large suppliers and customers in a variety of tech verticals on their commercial partnerships with both the private and public sectors and business arrangements including the handling of data and wider regulatory compliance. 

She is recognised as a ‘Leading Individual’ by legal directories in her fields of expertise. She is also Director and Counsel of the Interparliamentary Forum on Emerging Technologies, a not for profit which she co-founded with British MP Darren Jones, and has now built a global network of legislators focussed on sharing and collaborating on the regulation of emerging technology.

She sits on the Global Forum of Women 4 Ethical AI – a network of 17 global experts focussed on the global adoption of ethical AI and is working with Unesco and legislators in countries from across the world on the implementation of the Unesco Recommendation on the ethics of artificial intelligence at country level.  Emma has been listed by Computer Weekly as one of the UK’s Top 20 most influential women in tech in 2022 and she sits as a Non Executive Director at tech scale-up Playfinder.

HOW DID YOU LAND YOUR CURRENT ROLE? WAS IT PLANNED? 

I was offered an opportunity to put the fun back in to my main role with the flexibility to pursue my other passions– I seized it with both hands and didn’t look back.

WHAT ARE THE KEY ROLES IN YOUR FIELD OF WORK, AND WHY DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR CURRENT EXPERTISE? 

Leader, strategist, sales, and ability to explain both complex legal and technology matters in easily digestible form. It’s the latter I enjoy the most!

DID YOU (OR DO YOU) HAVE A ROLE MODEL IN TECH OR BUSINESS IN GENERAL?

I believe you need several role models and identify the strengths they have which you most admire – I think it is too much to ask of anyone to be the role model for everything.  Looking back, I also placed more emphasis on different traits that my role models had depending on where I was in my own personal career journey.

WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF IN YOUR CAREER, SO FAR? 

I had a setback after my second maternity leave that decimated my confidence and made me question most of the things I had taken for granted until that point, but I dug deep and got myself back out there.  It wasn’t easy.

HAVE YOU EVER FACED INSECURITIES AND ANXIETIES DURING YOUR CAREER, AND HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM?

All of the time and I still do. 

However, I believe in seeing every challenge as an opportunity as it allows you to learn something from it.

On a practical level, having people you respect, that you can call on to talk things through with, is often how I have managed to overcome my fears – a trusted ally will not hesitate in reassuring you that your fears are baseless. 

ENTERING THE WORLD OF WORK CAN BE DAUNTING. DO YOU HAVE ANY WORDS OF ADVICE FOR ANYONE FEELING OVERWHELMED? 

Do not close yourself off to opportunities by thinking too narrowly and in the here and now. Set a 3–5-year personal goal that you review and update and work towards that so you always feel like you have a sense of purpose and direction. In the day to day – I am big believer that if you react in haste, you repent at leisure – so take your time in responding to important correspondence, allowing time for reflection.

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