Udemy is lucky enough to work with not one, but two, of the Bay Area’s “Most Influential Women in Business”: Alexandra Sepulveda, deputy general counsel, and Claire Hough, senior vice president of engineering. These two role models inspire us with their leadership, intelligence, and compassion day in and day out.
We took this special opportunity to sit down with Alexandra to find out a bit more about her career and what it means to be an
influential woman. Here’s what we learned:
When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I grew up in Chile. My family had a farm full of horses, barn cats, and chickens. I was what some would call a “child Dr. Doolittle,” always playing with the animals and attempting to care for the wounded chickens with way too many bandages. I wanted to become a veterinarian. That is, until high school, when I realized how much math was required. I still thought I would get there, but the SATs sealed the deal. I saw the differences in my math and verbal scores and decided to pursue my strengths instead.
What’s the most difficult professional lesson you’ve learned?
Be very careful whom you hitch your star to. It’s natural to idolize the person with the most impressive experience, but it’s important to listen to your gut, choose the right person and the right connection. Pick someone just a few steps ahead of you career-wise and not just someone with a fancy title. Many times, an experience that is closer to yours is more helpful when you’re starting out in your career.
What inspired you to join Udemy?
My mom’s experience as a teacher in Chile. I got to experience firsthand what education can do for people’s lives, and it made a huge impact on me. Udemy offered me an opportunity to be a part of this kind of impactful work and also to work with an amazing leader in our VP of people and general counsel, Lisa Haugh.
What’s your favorite part about your job?
I get to work with people who allow me to step out of the “lawyer box.” I have a lot of experience seeing how different strategies have gone right and gone very wrong. At Udemy, my opinion on important decisions and experiences outside of my legal duties are valued and encouraged.
What does being an “influential woman in business” mean to you?
I want to use it as an opportunity to put forward a different vision of what it means to be a lawyer. I use every part of myself in providing legal advice, from bad jokes to role-playing to train others on business negotiations. If I have a platform to change people’s perceptions of what a lawyer is, how a lawyer talks, and what a lawyer teaches, I’ll take it with honor.