Focusing on the next step: Jamey Seely defines courage, diversity, authenticity, and success



Throughout her career, Jamey Seely has consistently been a trailblazer. Whether its joining executive leadership teams, managing and negotiating challenging high-profile projects or mentoring the next generation of leaders, she is always focusing on the next step – and oftentimes becoming the first woman to take that next step. Jamey’s extensive background in securities and finance, mergers, board governance, high-risk litigation management, and project development have prepared her for her current role as the Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary at Gates, a global manufacturer of innovative, highly engineered power transmission and fluid power solutions. While leading large scale Initial Public Offerings (IPO), corporate restructuring efforts, creating diverse legal teams, and becoming a champion for the LGBTQ community, Jamey defines how courage, diversity and authenticity blend to create success for her and her team.

“Today’s entrepreneurs possess an inspiring level of creativity, tenacity and the courage to see things differently. Throughout our history, the ones who innovate and invent have moved this country and the global economy forward by reimagining the possibilities.”

Leading the change

Throughout her career, Jamey has never been afraid to be the first one to break down barriers and embrace every opportunity to pave the way for someone else. She believes that it is imperative for leaders to take that extra step, look beyond the current boundaries, and create opportunities for everyone to succeed in order to make their own mark on the world. Jamey is continually encouraged by the dedication and hard work of her team. She says, “Challenges are inevitable in business, but it is having the courage to face your challenges and work through them that creates long-lasting change in an organization. I am inspired by each member of my team and their willingness to push through their fears, solve problems and create lasting change within our organization and the broader community.” In addition to her duties as the EVP and General Counsel, Jamey is also the Executive Chair for the Gates Diversity and Inclusion initiative where she spearheads programs and events to foster increased awareness about diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Jamey leads the company’s internal newsletters, sponsorships, and employee engagement activities. She is active in the LGBTQ community and, in 2018 she was presented with the “Out and Proud” Corporate Counsel Award by her peers at the National LGBTQ Bar Association, a voluntary professional organization that advocates for equal, civil, legal and human rights. This year, Jamey won the Denver Business Journal’s “Outstanding Women in Business Award”, and under her leadership, Gates sponsored the Denver Pride 5K run, resulting in the company being named the top corporate fundraiser among the local Denver business community. She says, “Throughout my career, and especially with Gates, I have always felt that it is important for me, and the companies that I work for, to authentically live their core values. I am proud of the team I have built, I am proud that Gates is a model for diversity and inclusion, not only here in Colorado, but the world. I am constantly amazed that a 108-year old company continues to push boundaries and set new standards to promote equality.”

Jamey Seely, Executive Vice President, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary, Gates

Setting the stage for success

When she first joined Gates, Jamey’s first business challenge was to lead the company through its first Initial Public Offering. Her deadline? Five months. Jamey jumped right in and not only helped the company raise $799.2 million and create a market capitalization of $5 billion, but she also built a global legal team to guide the company forward after the IPO. This feat would not have been possible if it weren’t for Jamey’s leadership style. She is adamant that rewards lie in showing up and doing your very best work every day and listening to the needs of your team. She says, “My leadership style and the key to my success has always been a combination of my deeds matching my words, active listening, and perhaps most important, allowing others the opportunity to reach their goals, rise above their fears and overcome their challenges. I am continually encouraged by the dedication and hard work of my team, and when one person excels, we all are successful.”

Jamey draws inspiration from the innovators and inventors of the past, as well as modern-day changemakers such as Airbnb founders Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia, and Nathan Blecharczyk, and Uber’s Travis Kalanick and Garret Camp. She shares, “Today’s entrepreneurs possess an inspiring level of creativity, tenacity and the courage to see things differently. Throughout our history, the ones who innovate and invent have moved this country and the global economy forward by reimagining the possibilities. It is exciting to think about what new challenges we overcome, what new technologies will be developed, and how our world will change as the innovators and inventors change the business and economic landscape of the future.”

However, it’s not only the innovators and inventors that Jamey looks up to for inspiration. Asked if there were one person with whom she would love to sit down with, Jamey names Ruth Bader Ginsberg as her top choice. She says, “Her passion, intelligence and relentless pursuit for breaking down barriers are evident in her activism and support for both women and men. I admire her tenacity and selflessness in upholding the law and doing what she believes is right for those who cannot stand up for themselves.”

Making time for leisure interests

When not at the office, Jamey’s enthusiasm for life in Colorado is filled with adventure. She enjoys many of the outdoor activities and exercise options that her home state offers a competitive ultra-marathon runner and cyclist. When she is not training and competing in races along the Great Wall of China or through a wild game preserve in South Africa, she is taking flying lessons and slowly reigniting her love of car-racing. Even at home, she is unstoppable. It is her mission to find the perfect cocktail. She mentions, “As part of this quest, I am making (and tasting) my way through Death & Company’s cocktail recipe book – until someone recommends a good cocktail making class that I can attend instead.” Jamey says that her favorite way to quiet her mind is a little more subdued than her other adrenalin-inducing hobbies. “I’m falling back in love with painting – it is one of my favorite ways to relax and unwind after a long day at the office.”

Find your authentic voice

To Jamey, rising to a leadership role is not bound by gender-specific advice. She says, “I believe that success should be gender-neutral and equally applicable to men or women. So regardless if you are male or female, I think the most important thing to do is to find your own unique, authentic voice. Mentors create wonderful learning and growth opportunities. However, it is your responsibility to learn from your mentors and utilize those learning experiences to create that special voice all your own. Finding your voice will help you rise to a leadership position because you are focused on your passions, your values, and your goals.”

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