TheBridge profile: Megan Brown
Name: Megan Brown
Current city: Washington, DC
Current job: Partner, Wiley Rein LLP
Past job: Counsel to the United States Attorney General
Q. Favorite spot for a coffee meeting: My kitchen or the Mayflower
Q. Describe how a skill you learned in a previous job helped you in your current job. While working for two Attorneys General, I honed the skill of identifying the key issues and decision points. The “why do I care?” element of a proposal, decision, or piece of legislation. Also, writing really good bullet points and running a tight meeting.
Q. Job advice in three words? Grind it out.
Q. How are you (or your company, org, nonprofit) currently bridging the gap between politics and tech / innovation and regulation? My firm advises companies daily on the interplay of politics, tech, and regulation. We bring tech to DC to help it thrive. We help move policy but we also walk the walk by giving our team the freedom to pursue new ideas and innovations—on drones, AI, health tech and more—what interests them. I serve on the Board of the Women’s High Tech Coalition, with firm support. We push junior lawyers to get out of their comfort zones to write on novel topics. They are encouraged to do our podcasts and get out there!
Q. What can Silicon Valley (innovators) teach DC (regulators)? Innovators need to show up more and explain to regulators that government doesn’t have the solutions. If there’s a problem, chances are that enough smart folks will see it and come up with a fix. Whether it’s cyber in IoT or novel privacy protections, regulation should be the last choice because disruptors can experiment and come up with options. They may not all work but better to try different things than pick one thing to codify in rigid regulations.
Q. What can DC (regulators) teach Silicon Valley (innovators)? The government has the ability to convene experts and companies to respond to an issue. It can shape incentives and expectations that affect private behavior. Innovators need to partner with government to identify what’s not working and suggest solutions. Now more than ever there’s a chance to streamline regulation and coalesce around solutions, but you only get what you ask for. So, show up and get in the game.
Q. What advice would you give yourself early in your career? Be patient. Hang in there through the challenges and don’t think you have to get it all right away. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
Q. Who is a living person you admire? My 13 year old daughter for her kindness and independence.
Q. What is an underrated virtue in an employee? Showing kindness to their peers and no sharp elbows.
Q. How often do you work from home? I work from home 1 day a week, give or take.
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