Yosr Hamza is a bilingual, accomplished, and highly regarded tech legal director with expertise in both private practise and in-house settings. The Gartner Legal DEI Council is run by her; it was co-founded. She presently holds positions on the boards of the Women at Gartner ERGs and Mosaic at Gartner. She participates in the Association of Corporate Counsel’s Small Law Department Network, New to In-House Network, International Legal Affairs Network, and Women in the House Network leadership and sits on the advisory board of the In-House Community.
Yosr has worked as a lawyer for more than ten years. Her professional community and peers hold her in high regard. Her experience in executive negotiations, legal risk management, corporate governance and compliance, crisis management, and serving as a trusted business advisor to the C-Suite and top management during her career was greatly influenced by the different jobs she held throughout her career. She moved to Gartner, where she was instrumental in creating and leading the Middle Eastern legal, data protection, ethical, compliance, and ombuds teams.
Below are highlights of the interview conducted between World’s Leaders and Yosr Hamza:
Describe who you are as a person, inside and outside of the workplace.
I enjoy what I do as an in-house counsel. We wear many different hats, and there is no such thing as a “typical day”. In some cases, we are decision-makers, and in other cases, we are business advisors. And that is why being approachable is a crucial trait I pride myself on having. I remind myself every day that my internal clients cannot be afraid to raise legal issues and they must feel comfortable asking questions and communicating bad news. Most of us grew up associating our mistakes with being punished—in our results-focused society, there’s often no room for error—so it’s no wonder that most of us don’t feel exactly proud of them or share this with the lawyer in the room. And it’s no surprise that the common coping mechanisms are shrouded in denial and avoidance, in pretending that we haven’t made a mistake, hiding them and not owning up to our actions. But the thing about pretending that our mistakes don’t exist is that we end up doing those around us—and ourselves—a serious disservice, which ultimately puts the company in jeopardy. We end up creating a world of damage when we don’t allow ourselves to be accountable for our mistakes.
Describe your background and what did you do before you started/joined the company?
I am a first-generation lawyer. Prior to joining Gartner, I worked in big law. I graduated and ranked as one of the top ten students on my class. Upon graduation, I was headhunted to work in one of the top law firms in Egypt. But unlike my peers, I recognized at an early stage of my career that I wanted to move in-house and work for Gartner as (Director, Legal & Compliance – Middle East). While Big Law was an excellent place to launch my career as a law graduate, both private practice and in-house still have their benefits and drawbacks. The trick is to determine where you, your skills, and your lifestyle requirements will fit most comfortably.
What has made you successful? What do you value?
Every journey is different. I don’t feel compelled to do everything or things I don’t really like doing just because I see everyone else—who are on different journeys and paths—doing them. I don’t worry about what they’re doing, I worry more about me. And hence, I am focused on the things I want to do that will make me successful, less stressed, and authentically happy.
The success mantra:
- Authenticity is your greatest asset
- The mindset is everything
- Build bridges instead of burning them
- Sharing is caring
- Pace myself
Which are the major services of the company and how do they the company to get ahead in the competition? What value-added services does the company provide?
Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) provides executives and their teams with actionable, objective insight.Our expert guidance and tools enable faster, smarter decisions and stronger performance on an organization’s most critical priorities. We are a $4.1 billion company and a member of the S&P 500. We are a trusted advisor and an objective resource for more than 14,000 enterprises in more than 100 countries—across all major functions, in every industry and enterprise size. We have been delivering actionable, objective insight to executives and their teams for over 40 years.
What are the most important aspects of a company’s culture? What principles do you believe in and how do you build this culture?
Work culture has never been a priority as it is today. The company’s success is all about its people. A diverse and positive work culture leads to amplified efficiency. Gartner’s inclusive culture encouraged me to bring my authentic self to work, and Gartner’s 10 cultural elements describe the very essence of what makes us special as an organization.
“Win as a Team.” “Embrace Diversity. Be Inclusive.” I don’t think it’s the best way to tackle complex legal issues if you have ten people sitting around the table who think the same. That’s why in our team, we value each other’s unique experiences, backgrounds, values, views, and contributions. We each play a critical role in our collective success. When we work together in teams, we accomplish more than what is possible individually.
What is the significance of innovative ideas in the company?
It is very significant. Our success is fueled by the unique traits of our people. We’re optimistic, flexible, always improving, and we combine curiosity with teamwork to get results.
One of Gartner’s 10 cultural elements is to “embody a no-limits-mindset.” We recognize and contioully adapt to change. A no-limits mindset enables us to see opportunities where others don’t.
Give us your opinion on; do organizations rely heavily on individual heroics or team processes?
Team processes: We each play a critical role in our collective success. When we work together in teams, we accomplish more than what is possible individually.
What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time?
Be confident and authentic. You don’t need to be anyone or anything other than who you are right now to succeed in this profession. Keep an open mind while staying true to yourself, your values, and what you believe in and want to do regardless of what your peers think is the right path.