How did you end up at Epoch Payment Solutions?
I was looking to go in-house after working for a small law firm that I joined right out of law school. I really wanted to work for a company that matched my international background and lifestyle.
You have been there over a decade. What is the best thing about your job at Epoch Payment Solutions?
I think the best thing about my job is that it sits right at the intersection of financial services and technology (FinTech). FinTech is a cool buzzword that a lot of people love to throw around these days but for those of us that have been in it for many years, we know that while it’s exciting, it is also quite challenging to be working in an area for which there may not be much of a caselaw and which may not be neatly covered by any existing regulations.
What do you love most about being an in-house attorney in general?
I love that I really get to practice law – reviewing documents, writing briefs, etc. The necessary business development aspect of being outside counsel was much less interesting to me.
Why did you join ACC?
I joined ACC almost as soon as I moved in-house over a decade ago. There were a variety of issues that came across my desk as a brand new in-house attorney that I did not have any experience in so I felt that I needed to bring myself up to speed in some of the unfamiliar areas of the law and ACC turned out to be the perfect place for it – from templates, webinars, live conferences to a readily available network of trusteed peers, it offers everything an in-house attorney may need on a daily basis.
What do you like most about being an ACC Board member?
I enjoy being part of an energetic and smart group of people who are all engaged and want to make a difference by offering the absolute best to our members.
What is one thing your fellow ACC members do not know about you that you are willing to share?
I come from a country that no longer exists (Former Yugoslavia) and I do a lot of extreme adventures – Ironman triathlons, marathons, ultramarathons, mountaineering, long distance trekking etc. Through these adventures, I have climbed to the top of Kilimanjaro, watched sunrise light Machu Picchu, suffered terribly with blisters in Sahara, froze to death on top of Aconcagua, marveled over the ingenuity of the Great Wall of China and the incredible beauty of the Himalayas, felt incredibly small trekking through the infinite vastness of remote Patagonia, slipped and slid my way through Sơn Đoòng (cave in Vietnam) etc. and loved every minute of it.
Best piece of advice you have for young attorneys – outside and in-house?
I would advise every young attorney to find a “sponsor” - meaning someone who is willing to back you up and champion you either at a law firm or at a company. Our CFO has been an invaluable asset in my own career progression. We all need someone to help push us and to advance our cause.
Do you have a particular cause or philanthropic organization you support – time, money?
I donate my time and expertise to Public Counsel which is the largest “pro bono law firm” in the nation that provides pro bono legal services. They provide legal assistance in all areas of the law. I typically help non-profits with incorporation, corporate governance issues and with obtaining federal and California tax exemptions and have helped over 10 different nonprofits as a volunteer. I also make donations to National Geographic, UNICEF, UN’s World Food Programme etc.
If you weren’t a lawyer, what career would you have?
I would love to be doing pretty much anything at, for or with National Geographic.
When you are not practicing law, what is the one thing you would like to be doing?
I love running and hiking and Southern California with its incredible weather and natural beauty is the perfect spot for it. I also played tennis competitively in my childhood and college (I got to the States on a full athletic scholarship).
One bucket list item you are willing to share with us?
I would like to walk the entire Bibbulman Track which is a 1,000km trek from western to southern Australia. I would also love to dive in the Great Barrier Reef and Blue Hole in Belize. Honestly, the list is endless!
If you could have dinner with one person (living or no longer living), who would it be?
I would love to meet the phenomenal inventor and futurist - Nikola Tesla. He is from my homeland. I am consistently amazed with things he predicted and invented so many decades ago. He was so ahead of his time.