Last, but certainly not least, we’re excited to feature Krysta Johnson, Senior Legal and Business Operations Manager at Lexion, as our final spotlight for women’s history month.
Krysta was my first hire while I was the General Counsel at PayScale and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. One of my professional highlights is witnessing first-hand Krysta’s growth in her contracting, negotiations, operations, and overall execution skills. As you’ll learn from our interview below, she’s self-motivated and has a remarkable ability to “get it done” despite having a spouse that works at Amazon and three children under the age of 7. Yes, 3 children. 4 if you include her husband. She also shares her experience as an autistic woman on LinkedIn—with hilarious memes and inspiring honesty.
As I shared publicly on this LinkedIn post, Krysta made a career detour at Amazon Web Services for a few years, but she’s now here at Lexion and making a big impact for our customers and our team.
Meet Krysta Johnson
Why did you transition from an in-house legal professional to an in-house legal ops role?
I’ve worked in the legal field for the past 15 years, spending the last 8 years in-house as a paralegal and then a contracts manager. I’ve always worked on lean legal teams (even during my time in big tech), which means I was doing a lot of legal operations work piece-meal without even realizing it. I enjoy building out new legal teams, improving processes, increasing efficiency and demonstrating that legal can be a strategic business partner instead of a blocker, but it was never the core function of my role. As a legal ops professional, I feel like I am able to play a bigger role helping scale the legal function and ultimately help drive the success of the company.
Any advice to your younger self in advancing your career?
1. It’s ok to raise your hand and ask for help.
Most people I’ve had the opportunity to work within the legal field tend to be overachievers. For most, this seems to mean difficulty acknowledging something is outside your scope or that you’re stretched too thin—myself included. If you’re given a task you have no idea how to tackle or have way too many priorities on your plate, reach out to your manager or a teammate to come up with a solution. You don’t have to do everything without any support to be successful.
2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and disagree with others.
Some of the smartest people I’ve had the opportunity to work with ask the most questions. They also never hesitate to raise concerns or disagree with the majority. Own what you know and don’t be afraid to ask questions if you need more information. You’re in the room for a reason.
3. Own your professional development.
Even when you have the best of managers, you’re the best suited to drive your career and development. Find mentors within your company. Dedicate regular blocks of time on your calendar to professional development. Join communities and cultivate relationships with peers. Seek out opportunities to increase your knowledge. Ask for regular feedback. If you don’t do it, no one else is going to do this for you.
4. Know when it’s time to move on.
Not all positions are going to grow with you, and not all companies are going to be able to support what you want to do professionally. Hopefully you have a great manager who is able to support you through a role or company transition—if you don’t, even more of a reason to move on.
You’re open on LinkedIn about the fact you have 3 young kids. What advice do you have for working moms?
1. Don’t feel guilty.
Society expects women to work like they don’t have children, and raise children as if they don’t work. No one asks my husband when he works late where the kids are, but I’ve been asked that more times than I can count. It wasn’t until I started reframing things with “Would someone say that to my husband?” that I was able to let this go. It’s a double standard I’m not willing to carry anymore.
2. Set boundaries for your sanity.
I’m definitely still working on this one, but it’s ok to say no at work. Working moms can’t do it all and we have to prioritize what is important in our lives. That work can likely wait until tomorrow or Monday. You don’t have to go to every event and participate in every activity. You need time as a family and you need time for yourself. You can’t pour from an empty cup.
3. Split chores and outsource what you can.
I’m lucky to have a great spouse and male ally that shares in household responsibilities but it took a lot of conscious work to get to this point. Sit down and create a fair allocation of responsibilities. As the kids get older, they can help too. Even with that, there still aren’t enough hours in a day, and we don’t want to spend all of our non-working time cleaning and folding laundry. Outsourcing whatever you can, from shopping to meal prep to laundry, makes a huge difference and will give you time back.
4. Find your community.
Find other working moms who get what you’re going through. Making mom friends when you’re a working mom is extra tough, but over the years, I’ve been able to make mom friends at various jobs, through my children’s activities and reconnecting with old friends who now have kids. Being a working mom can be super isolating, especially in this remote world, but having someone to vent/laugh/cry with is invaluable, and I don’t know where I’d be without this amazing group of women.
Women in legal ops
See all of the women we’ve spotlighted for Women’s History month—from legal leaders to Lexion superstars. And if you’re interested in joining the ranks of these incredible women, check out our open roles.
- Shima Salimi, Staff Engineer at Lexion
- Jane Fronczak, Senior Customer Success Manager at Lexion
- Lisa Lang, General Counsel at Kentucky State University
- Brie Buchanan, General Counsel (Previously at Relay Payments)
- Staci VanderPol, Corporate Counsel and Solutions Specialist at Lexion