Tuesdays with T4A: Allyson Willoughby (10/15/13)

This week, we interview T4A.org Convening Board member Allyson Willoughby. Allyson has been one of our most active members: she has attended eight TechTables, she hosted Senator Richard Blumenthal, and she joined us for T4A Goes to Washington!

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[column size=”1-3″ style=”0″ last=”0″][staff name=”Allyson Willoughby” position=”General Counsel and SVP of People | Glassdoor” img=”https://www.t4a.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/allyson-willoughby.jpg”]Allyson serves as General Counsel and SVP of People at Glassdoor, an online jobs and career community. Previously, Allyson started at RockYou in 2010 as the company’s first General Counsel. Prior to joining RockYou, Allyson was the “Chief Justice” (aka General Counsel) of Method Products, a multi-national company that is a leading manufacturer of environmentally friendly, design-oriented household products. Before that, Allyson was an early member of eBay’s Legal Team. In her eight years at eBay, the company grew from $400 million revenue and 500 employees to $8 billion revenue and 16,000 employees. In her last year with the company, Allyson was the Director of Legal Affairs for eBay subsidiary StubHub, the leading online ticket marketplace. Prior to going in-house, Allyson was a litigator specializing in securities and commercial litigation.


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[spoiler title=”Where did you grow up?” open=”1″ style=”1″ color=”#b6e400″]I am a Tahoe native – born and raised in Incline Village, Nevada.[/spoiler]

[spoiler title=”What was your first job?” open=”0″ style=”1″ color=”#daee00″]My first job was working as a busgirl at the local café when I was 13 (at a whopping $2.90/hour min wage!)[/spoiler]

[spoiler title=”What is your first political memory?” open=”0″ style=”1″ color=”#fff000″]Voting in my first presidential election for Ronald Reagan (believe it or not).[/spoiler]

[spoiler title=”What is your favorite book?” open=”0″ style=”1″ color=”#ffc600″]I don’t really have a favorite – I enjoy lots of different types of books. Recent reads:  And the Mountains Echoed, Quiet, Watership Down, Unbroken, Lean In, The Great Gastby.[/spoiler]

[spoiler title=”You have an interesting title at Glassdoor, ‘SVP of People.’ It sounds like something I would like! What do you enjoy most about your job?” open=”0″ style=”1″ color=”#fff000″]

I’m really passionate about culture and how you build a great one.  My background is in legal (I’m the GC here too) but I was lucky to experience a really amazing culture at a prior company and to have the opportunity at Glassdoor to try my hand at building something great.


[spoiler title=”You worked at eBay from 2000 to 2008, during which time it grew from $400 million in revenue and 500 employees to $8 billion in revenue and 16,000 employees. What was it like to work at a company during such rapid growth?” open=”0″ style=”1″ color=”#fff000″]It was an amazing rocket ship ride! The company was moving fast and disrupting a lot of traditional businesses and the legal issues were extremely cutting edge – the Internet fast outpaced the brick and mortar law and we faced many legal issues that could have broken the company’s business model if they had gone the wrong way. We had many crazy experiences – an anthrax scare after 9/11, suicidal users on the campus (really), an exec being arrested in India for something listed on the site, a bombing on campus – definitely not your typical workplace! It was a once in a lifetime opportunity.[/spoiler]

[spoiler title=”Who are your role models and why?” open=”0″ style=”1″ color=”#fff000″]My father. He was born at home in a small North Carolina tobacco town and grew up in the Great Depression, leaving 11th grade to join the Navy in WWII. He was a pilot during the war, then a commercial airline pilot and then (after mandatory FAA retirement) a successful real estate broker. He was smart, charming, ethical and courageous – a true example of The Greatest Generation.[/spoiler]

[spoiler title=”As you look at your community, city/state/country, how do you view your role/responsibility as a citizen? Within that context, how do you view your role as citizen in relation to our Government and Democracy?” open=”0″ style=”1″ color=”#fff000″]Increasingly I view my responsibility as a citizen as one of participation – whether it is voting, volunteering, being an activist or running for office. As time goes by I see myself moving up that spectrum and increasing my political activity to try to make a difference for the things I believe in.[/spoiler]

[spoiler title=”Just about everyone (regardless of political affiliation) sees a large gap between our politics (Washington, DC as well as state capitals) and the reality on the issues we face as a Country. Why do you think that is? I know it’s a tough question, but what do you think can be done to close that gap?” open=”0″ style=”1″ color=”#fff000″]

The debt ceiling issue is a prime example of this – a huge disconnect between the politics in Washington and the every day person. I wish I had an answer to how you fix that disconnect – voting in and of itself doesn’t seem effective. I’d like to think that the conversations we have at T4A.org are steps in the right direction.


[spoiler title=”Are political parties becoming less relevant today, particularly for young adults? Whatever your answer, why do you think that is?” open=”0″ style=”1″ color=”#fff000″]I hope so, but it doesn’t feel that way to me. Most people seem very entrenched in their parties, to an extreme point – on both the right and the left.[/spoiler]

[spoiler title=”Do you think the shutdown and impending default of the United States Federal Government will serve as a wakeup call to Congress that they need to figure out a way to work together?” open=”0″ style=”1″ color=”#fff000″]Again, I wish – but I doubt it.  [/spoiler]

[spoiler title=”What is your favorite journey?” open=”0″ style=”1″ color=”#fff000″]Going home to Tahoe in the summer.[/spoiler]

[spoiler title=”Sam (’10) is so glad we are finally interviewing a fellow Stanford alum. What do you miss most about life on the Farm?” open=”0″ style=”1″ color=”#fff000″]Everything?!  In all seriousness, I miss the intellectual curiosity that permeates everything at Stanford. Plus fro yo & the old coffee house (sorry Sam – before your time!) [/spoiler]

[spoiler title=”If you could be anyone else for a day, who would you be?” open=”0″ style=”1″ color=”#fff000″]Bill Clinton – I’d like to know what it is like to be in his brain for a day.[/spoiler]

[spoiler title=”What is your proudest moment?” open=”0″ style=”1″ color=”#fff000″]Graduating from college – the first person on either side of my family.[/spoiler]


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  1. […] Read the full interview here. […]