What led you to a career in the deal-making industry?
I started my career as a contract negotiator at Texas Instruments, negotiating advanced development military contracts with the Army, Navy, AF and primes (MDAC, Boeing, Raytheon, etc.). I loved it and thrived. So, I went back to law school at 30 with a 3-year and a 5 year-old and never looked back.
How does diversity add value in the deal-making process?
Diversity of background, education, experience, ethnicity, religion, etc., brings additional resources to bear on problem solving – and that is what lawyers are – problem solvers. Additionally, our clients are diverse and find it easier to know, like and trust outsider counsel who share in their diversity.
The most memorable deal I worked on....
The ETC transaction. We went to market and closed during Covid. There was no alignment among the parties, and I represented ETC, negotiating with counsel on the selling shareholder, the buyer, and management.
Tell us about your experience during Covid-19, any lessons?
I learnt that relationships and the ability to build and maintain trust is even more important – and that communication is key. Pick up the phone and not just rely on emails.
Advice for achieving success in the industry....
Always look to add value for others and help them succeed. A good reminder is what goes around, come around!
Gemma is the mergers and acquisitions lawyer of choice for buyers and sellers in today’s most active global industries: technology, private equity, media, transportation, and health care. She is known for both her vision and diligence in shaping a deal, always keeping the desired and most advantageous result in mind. Gemma is also a passionate advocate and board volunteer for various non-profit organizations, including the past President of the DFW Association for Corporate Growth (DFW ACG) and the University of Texas Center for Women in Law.
Education: J.D., Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law, 1998, magna cum laude, Order of the Coif; and B.A., Grove City College.
Location: Shepard Mullin, Dallas, Texas.