You’ve been handling international ediscovery projects for a while now.
That’s right. Before I started working with CDS several years ago, I had been working internationally as an eDiscovery Project Manager. Jumping into the fire, so to speak, and getting into the weeds. That was my specialty – traveling, working abroad, starting assignments, those kinds of things – whether it was in Germany or Japan or China. So, it was something I was used to.
What’s your favorite thing about living in Switzerland?
For me, it’s the people and the mood. It really fits my style. It’s just chill overall. Everyone’s very friendly here. It’s just the culture in that they’re very outdoorsy, which I love. Work is important, especially here in Zurich, but it’s just one part of life. All of that put together. It’s a vibe that I get from being here. It’s very familiar to Hawaii where I lived for a good long time. Even though there’s no ocean.
And, for recreation, I cycle. Cycling here is a dream to me. All the riding here and in the Alps. Whether it’s Switzerland, Austria . . . Italy is just down the road, as is France. So, for me, being in Europe is ideal. The only thing I miss is the beach. But that’s not far away either.
Keeping it high-level, tell us a bit about the project that brought you to Zurich.
In the beginning, I was alone there. There was no one else on the ground except for the Swiss attorneys and the Swiss reviewers initially. eDiscovery was completely new to them – not only the client, but their Swiss attorneys. It was a learning process. We’d spend days going over why things are done a certain way, what we would recommend. So, our relationship grew out of that organically. We built our reputation through our hard work and the things that we could do to help them over time, and it’s proved valuable, even to this day.
In these international, multi-stakeholder situations, you’re addressing cultural hurdles while balancing both leadership and supporting roles. It sounds like you enjoy that part of the challenge.
Yeah, you hit the nail on the head. That is something I do enjoy. I always refer to it as parachuting in. I’ve learned in these situations – working in Japan really taught me this – you have to adapt to the culture of that country or that environment.
I knew right away once I started working more in Switzerland that they have their own business culture, the way they do things, what they expect. So that was a big challenge. I knew I had to learn that and not impose, “Oh, you need to do it this way.” That would not go over well. Whether it was here, Germany or anywhere outside of the U.S., especially with teams that weren’t familiar with eDiscovery. They didn’t necessarily want to hear that. Not from me, anyways.
So, it was about being cognizant of the different cultures, the way people work, and how to work with them. When the U.S. firms came in, it really became a teaching concept at one point with the client, with the Swiss attorneys, with the U.S. attorneys, and saying, “Hey, we can’t do that here. They’re not going to stay until 1:00 in the morning.”
Knowing that people aren’t familiar with the process, we always walk everyone step-by-step through what we’re doing, anticipate that they’re not going to know, anticipate that there could be a better way to do things. “Let’s all sit down and talk through this” is always a good strategy. But even more so here.