To some, maintaining work/life balance might mean leaving early on a Friday or catching up on some work over the weekend. That balance, however, has always meant something a little different for Laurel Faciane. “My husband surprised me with an anniversary trip to Hawaii and I was answering work texts while we were driving to the Dole pineapple farm,” Faciane admits. “I was working on agreements in our hotel room.”
The senior associate general counsel at Galderma Laboratories tells those she works with to contact her day or night, weekend or holiday. “I’d rather we work through issues even if I’m on vacation rather than waiting until I’m back and have something blow up in the meantime,” Faciane says. The associate GC’s commitment is strong, and in nine years at Galderma, Faciane has helped mitigate huge risk potential and saved money by standing legal ground.
Faciane has spent her entire legal career in healthcare and, prior to law school, worked an additional eight years in the field. The business knowledge has been especially handy for the lawyer, allowing her to be more business-oriented than her legal role might imply. “When someone comes to ask me for my opinion on moving ahead, they typically don’t come thinking the answer is going to be ‘move forward,’” Faciane says. “I realize that, and if the answer is going to be no, I try and find other options that may help solve the problem.”
Partnering both with the business and other departments starts with Faciane’s open-door policy. “I don’t want anyone here to feel like they can’t come to me and talk through an issue,” Faciane says. “They all have my cell phone number and I’ve told them to call or text me nights, weekends, whatever they need.” The lawyer’s willingness to be available is second nature to both her and her family. “My husband is a lawyer with his own firm, and our daughter is extremely busy as a student athlete,” Faciane says. “We’re always there for each other and for our daughter and it just seems to work out.”
Faciane hasn’t just been available to manage legal issues; she’s proactively helped to reduce risks that have greatly impacted Galderma’s bottom line. “I think when I came here, there was a bit of a different mindset on trying to settle employment claims,” Faciane says. Oddly enough, as word got out that Galderma wouldn’t be entertaining unsubstantiated employment claims, those claims started drying up. In fact, Faciane helped reduce EEOC complaints by a staggering 90 percent. “I felt really proud about that,” Faciane admits.
“I don’t want anyone here to feel like they can’t come to me and talk through an issue.”
While she had no fleet management experience, Faciane proactively petitioned the leadership team at Galderma to oversee operations after noticing a pattern that those actually managing the fleet had failed to identify. “I realized we didn’t have a safe driving program and after instituting it, it drastically reduced the number of fleet-related litigation claims,” Faciane says.
In September of 2018, Faciane found herself facing one of the toughest challenges she’s faced thus far in her legal career. Galderma’s parent company, Nestle, announced that Galderma was being put under strategic review, effectively putting the company up for sale. “As part of the legal team, we work on due diligence questions from potential buyers,” Faciane says. “I’m potentially working myself out of a job.” In her usual style, Faciane plowed ahead without taking time to process the complexity of the position she found herself in. Whether Faciane’s department is shaken up or left intact, the lawyer will have helped weather a company through difficult legal waters that few have experienced, and that’s a victory in itself.
Faciane is currently working on getting her master’s degree in liberal arts from Texas Christian University. “I love to learn and have been wanting to go back to school for some time now. When I found out TCU had an online degree program, I immediately applied. Juggling work, school, and my family is challenging, but I am loving every minute.”
Both First Chairs
The First Chair Award is awarded to “in-house counsel who have, through their hard work and innovation, made significant contributions to the legal community,” and Faciane has received it on two separate occasions. What’s best, she doesn’t know from whom, as the nominating attorneys haven’t revealed themselves. “It was probably an outside counsel that I worked with, and that made me feel really good because all of our outside counsel have been practicing for a long time, and if they think I was good enough to even be nominated for the award, that really means something to me,” Faciane says.