We’re thrilled to share the story of Ariana Goodell, Branch’s Legal Director of Commercial. She leads the commercial legal function, providing strategic and tactical advice to our sales executives and commercial counsel while scaling and streamlining contract review processes. If you’d like to work with amazing people like Ariana, check out our open roles.
What do you love about your job?
Two main things come to mind here: I highly value the opportunity to support and guide the professional development of my exceptional team members while seeing them blossom in the organization. Their success at Branch is my success. I also value the ability to work cross-functionally with some very talented people in various departments to close deals each quarter and see the quantifiable results of our dedication. It is exhilarating work with a great deal of camaraderie and teamwork.
What has your career path looked like?
My trajectory at Branch did not pan out as I thought it would when I joined–and I am so happy it happened the way it did. Upon joining, I was responsible for product counseling in addition to negotiating all of our commercial contracts. I thought I would focus my career at Branch in the ever-evolving landscape of data privacy law and product. When it came time to hire a Legal Director of Commercial, I realized I did not want to give up working with the sales team. It was, in fact, a great source of joy and motivation for me at work. I received encouragement from two very tenured employees at Branch (Navid and Tim) to throw my hat in the ring for the job. Their support was crucial in providing me with the confidence and determination to go for it. I recall Navid telling me to “shoot my shot.” And that’s exactly what I did. I came up with a business proposal that highlighted my plans for my first 30 and 90 days and after some interviewing, I learned I got the role. I am eternally grateful to my supervisor, Cathleen, for seeing my potential, trusting in my capabilities, and teaching me to set my sights high.
How have you grown at Branch?
Working at Branch has significantly contributed to my growth in a few areas. Cathleen is an exceptional in-house attorney and I have learned a great deal from working under her wing (e.g. the importance of ownership and accountability, how to effectively communicate with and influence stakeholders, not getting stuck in a fixed mindset when solving complex issues, why being influential outside of your domain is important…the list goes on). At Branch I have realized what’s critically important at your job to ensure success and happiness – thoughtful leadership that prioritizes the right cultural values, a manager that recognizes your potential and your contributions, an interesting and compelling company mission, and a supportive team.
What made you choose to work at Branch?
I truly had no idea how lucky I was to land a job at Branch. At the time I joined, I was eager to escape law firm life in pursuit of more cohesive and interesting work where I could make an impact. Branch was my first in-house gig and I didn’t scrutinize the opportunity as much as I would now that I have realized how rare Branch’s virtues are.
What do you value most about your coworkers?
The support they provide when I need it, the openness to be vulnerable about mistakes and learnings, and the sheer intelligence. We work with some truly talented people that I have learned so much from. I don’t take it for granted. So many companies veer right into complacency as they grow. Branch just sets the bar higher.
Tell us a memorable story about your time at Branch.
Within my first year of joining Branch, my father passed away unexpectedly. Life doesn’t check with you first to see if its reality checks are convenient. I was the only attorney supporting the commercial function at the time and it was overwhelming when everything came to a screeching halt to bury and mourn the loss of my father. However, I reflect on how supportive my team was when they heard the news. Cathleen told me to sign off, took over my calendar and my deals, and re-set expectations internally. The sales team and the legal team sent me flowers. Our COO Mike even took the time to send me an incredibly thoughtful note to share some personal reflections and his condolences about my loss. This experience made me realize that Branch is not just a job – it is a group of folks that feel like family.
What motivates you?
My team of commercial attorneys that I work with – Sam and Marissa. They inspire me to be the best version of myself at work so that I can inspire them to do the same.
How does Branch cultivate a sense of belonging for you?
Branch has cultivated an exceptional caliber of employees by emphasizing the right cultural values. Ultimately, I am here, and feel as though I belong, because of the great people I work with and the values we share.
What are you passionate about?
I didn’t get to travel a lot as a child so I have always prioritized international travel to explore the world and learn about different cultures (recently complicated by my new passion – my baby girl Vera). Iceland, St. Petersburg, and Cuba were very memorable trips. I have also come to love gardening! Since moving to Texas and buying my first home, I have been learning how to grow English roses and naturalize my lawn, which is just a fancy term for letting nature do its thing. I also enjoy cooking at home, trying different wines, and going to art museums. Some of my favorite artists are Magritte, Klimt, and Monet’s early works.
What do you wish people knew about being a woman in tech or law?
If you’re at the right company and working with the right people, being a woman in tech (or law) will not hold you back.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received in your career?
Never – ever – sell yourself short.