We’re excited to introduce you to Christine Uri, Chief Sustainability and Legal Officer at ENGIE Impact. In addition to leading the global legal, ethics, and privacy functions at her company, Christine has a well-known personal brand and significant following on LinkedIn – which is why we wanted to learn more from her about how she’s been able to leverage social media to have a big impact.
Thanks for joining us, Christine! Tell us about yourself and how you ended up where you are.
My legal career started on a very standard track for lawyers – law school, clerkship, law firm associate. Then after 8 years in private practice, I realized it was not the path for me. I left looking for something more meaningful to me, and I found my way into a company dedicated to sustainability.
From the beginning, I loved being part a business – working with people from multiple disciplines to achieve common goals, moving at a fast pace, and collectively having an impact. Over the last nine years, I’ve grown with the organization – starting as corporate counsel, becoming general counsel in the US, and then expanding to an executive role.
I can definitely relate to your path. When in your career journey did you start getting active on LinkedIn?
I’ve had a profile on the platform for more than a decade; I thought of it as a basic professional requirement. I’d occasionally scroll through my feed or support a company post, but that was it. Then in January 2020, I made a commitment to start posting regularly. I have been actively engaged ever since then.
What goals were you trying to achieve with your content?
Originally, I wanted to share the knowledge I’ve built on sustainability with the in-house legal community and inspire others to get involved. But my goals have expanded as I have gotten deeper into the platform. Right now, my focus areas are:
- Building a network of professionals outside of my organization
- Sharing knowledge on how to improve a company’s environmental performance
- Providing thoughts and advice around in-house legal practice
- Offering colleagues another way to get to know me
- Communicating on key topics with others in my organization
How did you grow your following to where it is today?
Great question. Social media engagement helps me be successful in my role as Chief Sustainability and Legal Officer – but it’s not a core responsibility. Building a following can be difficult because I don’t have a ton of time or resources to invest.
The biggest boost has come from building relationships with others who are ahead of me on the journey. People on LinkedIn are very generous with their time and enjoy helping others. Mentors can provide advice to help accelerate your growth, bring visibility by engaging with your content, and make valuable introductions.
I have to give a lot of credit to Lisa Lang – one of the first general counsels to really build a LinkedIn following. I heard her on a podcast when I was first getting started. I was thrilled to hear another GC talk about engaging on social media. I immediately reached to Lisa, and she’s been kind enough to coach and mentor me from the beginning.
What do most people get wrong about being active on LinkedIn?
There are two big misconceptions.
- LinkedIn is not only for people looking for a job or trying to make a sale
- LinkedIn is not only for communications to your external network
LinkedIn is a communications platform you can use to engage directly with people outside and inside your organization. This makes it a super-powerful tool for any business leader.
You can share who you are at a personal level with a broad cross-section of people. You can help others learn by sharing your knowledge. You can influence. You can build relationships by reaching out directly to people who interest you. There’s no better place for business professionals to accomplish all of this.
I agree. Many professionals get this, I think, but aren’t super active on the platform. Do you have any advice for others who are looking to build their presence on LinkedIn?
Yes! There are a few things I’ve found that are critical for success on the platform.
1) Know your “Why”
Building a network on LinkedIn is a long game. You can’t do it in a few posts or a few weeks. The people you see who have +20K followers? They have been posting for years.
You will only continue to invest time if you are very clear on your why. Write it down. Revise it as your reasons evolve. Read it when your motivation inevitably dips.
2) Start with Commenting
If you haven’t engaged much on LinkedIn, the comment streams may look nonsensical. Comments are actually the secret sauce of the platform. Here’s the success formula for building a network on LinkedIn: Comments = Contacts = Direct Messaging = Virtual Coffees = Relationships. I’ve seen this happen over and over. As an extra bonus, commenting will help you find good content. Reading good content helps you improve your own.
3) Accept Imperfection
Everyone has a learning curve when it comes to posting. It takes a while to develop your own style and to learn which subjects will resonate with your audience. Your first posts may not be great. They may not get many of views or likes. The only way to get better is by continuing to post.
Going through this process publicly can feel a bit painful — but remind yourself that you’re focusing on your posts much more than anyone else. We all scroll past content we don’t want to read.
4) Find Mentors
Wherever you are in your journey, there will be people who are a little ahead of you. You don’t need a superstar mentor when you are starting out. Content creators who are just a little more advanced than you can be a huge help. They will be able to provide advice, resources, and encouragement to help you build your following faster. Start commenting on their posts, reach out to connect, ask questions. Once you build a relationship, ask for a coffee. People on LinkedIn are incredibly generous with their time. Most likely your potential mentors will enjoy sharing what they have learned and watching you apply it.
Learn more about building your personal brand on LinkedIn
If you’d like to learn more about building a personal brand on LinkedIn, be sure to connect with us at CLOC, where Alex Su will be presenting on this topic. If you’d like to learn more about digital contracting, gain access to jobs in the legal field, and meet amazing people through exclusive member events, join the Ironclad Community. We look forward to connecting with you soon!
Ironclad is the #1 contract lifecycle management platform for innovative companies. L’Oréal, Staples, Mastercard, and other leading innovators use Ironclad to collaborate and negotiate on contracts, accelerate contracting while maintaining compliance, and turn contracts into critical carriers of operational business intelligence. It’s the only platform flexible enough to handle every type of contract workflow, whether a sales agreement, an HR agreement or a complex NDA. The company was named one of the 20 Rising Stars on the Forbes 2019 Cloud 100 list, and is backed by leading investors like Accel, Y Combinator, Sequoia, and BOND. For more information, visit www.ironcladapp.com or follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.
More stories from our team.