The Lawyer's Edge
The Lawyer's Edge
May 17, 2022
Yen Chu | Becoming an Effective General Counsel and Using Your Voice To Drive Social Change
Play • 37 min

Yen Chu is the Chief Legal Officer of Equinox, an integrated fitness, wellness, and hospitality company. In this role, Yen oversees legal, ESG, government affairs, and community relations. She has led Equinox’s growth with the launches of new ventures and businesses, including the first Equinox Hotels, and is the Executive Sponsor for its Equality + Belonging Leadership Council. 

Yen is a graduate of Columbia Law School and a member of the Board of Directors of the Columbia Law School Association and the nonprofit DirectWomen. Prior to joining Equinox, she spent 11 years in leadership roles at the Ralph Lauren Corporation, working closely with the Board of Directors and executive team. Yen began her legal career as a corporate attorney at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, where she spent nearly a decade executing complex corporate transactions for private equity firms, investment banks, and public and private companies.

As an executive leader with 25 years of experience, Yen understands the importance of using your voice to uplift others, taking a stand on ESG issues, and admitting what you don’t know. In addition to these principles, Yen has built her career using a growth mindset, and she’s always looking to expand her knowledge and learn from others.

In this episode…

Over the past two decades, the role of in-house and general counsel lawyers has evolved. These positions are no longer perceived as cushy nine-to-five jobs and are now more focused on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives within a company. This shift has only become more dramatic over the last two years, with social upheaval and a global crisis altering the way organizations operate. So, what makes an effective general counsel today?

According to Yen Chu, in-house attorneys have to be prepared to pivot, give a voice to the underrepresented, and learn from those who are different from them. Most importantly, Yen advises leaders and lawyers alike to execute with kindness and always remember the human aspect of their jobs. The recent global pandemic, social and political upheaval, and economic instability have affected so many lives — it’s imperative that we focus on the humanity of our actions, not just the results.

In this episode of The Lawyer’s Edge Podcast, Elise Holtzman talks with Yen Chu, Chief Legal Officer of Equinox, about succeeding as an in-house lawyer and leader in today’s climate. Yen discusses the importance of creating a diverse and inclusive space, the key to thriving outside of your comfort zone, and how to drive growth and social change through continuous learning.

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