Mina Bhama

Mina Bhama

General Counsel & Company Secretary at wejo

We speak to Mina Bhama about working in-house at the world’s leading connected car data marketplace

Mina, can you please quickly summarise your education and career path to date?

I took the usual route to qualification, starting with GCSEs, then onto A-Levels, before reading Law at university. I completed the Legal Practice Course at Chester Law School completed my Training Contract at a high street firm (seats in Criminal Law, Personal Injury and Conveyancing), whilst also gaining my Higher Rights. I began my first sole in-house counsel role immediately upon qualification at a loss adjusting company. I progressed to senior legal counsel and latterly as General Counsel & Company Secretary roles in listed and private companies and somewhere along the way I qualified as an ICSA Chartered Company Secretary.

What kind of work do you undertake at wejo?

I have a broad role at wejo which includes heading up the Legal & Investor Relations team. My day-to-day activities can include a range of commercial and corporate matters, such as contracts; intellectual property focussing on brand protection, acquisitions and privacy regulation; investor relations with involvement in fundraising to working with wejo’s Data Advisory Council, which has been set up to play an influencing role to shape and lobby privacy legislation in the US.

What’s the most enjoyable thing about your current role?

So many things!

But the top two are the talented and fun people I work with and being a part of an exciting business that is quickly becoming a truly global business. wejo is playing a key role in defining an emerging industry, that will ultimately impact the way we live our lives, for example from making it easier to find a parking space, to making our roads safer, to easing congestion and making our commutes more manageable. Those are impacts that will be felt by people on a day to day basis.

What first attracted you to law?

LA LAW!

You’ve always worked in-house. Did private practice not appeal?

I trained in private practice and a few months before I qualified, I was asked to join a loss adjusting company as their first sole in-house counsel. The offer came at a time when I was considering moving into commercial law, so I made the decision to accept the role and have never looked back.

What advice would you give to anyone thinking of working in-house?

Get some experience in private practice first and if you do decide to make a move in-house early in your legal career, move to an organisation with a legal team that can support you and from which you can learn from - but do make the move. If you find that working in-house is not for you, there is nothing to stop you from moving back.

You took nearly a year off in 2017 and travelled the world. What inspired that decision?

It was a spontaneous decision that my husband and I made via a very short text exchange, as I was considering my next challenge. Once the decision was made, I did not think twice about it and swiftly moved on to plan the itinerary!

What benefits did it bring to you both personally and professionally?

Personally, travelling taught me to be patient, see things from a different perspective and try new things even if they did not appeal at first. Some of my most memorable times on my travels are ones of things that I never dreamt I would do, such as horse-riding in Cuba in what turned out to be the most thunderous weather conditions I have ever experienced, climbing mount Batur in time for sun rise, watching the moon rise in the Atacama Desert whilst in a hot spring with outside temperatures of minus three degrees and so many more.

Professionally not only has it reaffirmed that my chosen career continues to be the right one for me and one that I enjoy, but it has also given me a better understanding of how different cultures play a part in business. If all else fails I could teach yoga having managed to squeeze in a yoga teaching qualification during the final month of my travels!

Do you have a motto that you live by in business?

The only thing guaranteed is change!

Finally, who has been your biggest career inspiration and why?

I have two…my parents. They moved to the UK, leaving behind their family and home, to a country they had never previously visited with no qualifications, starting all over to give them and their children a better education and way of life.

www.wejo.com

Awards

We’re a Sunday Times Best Small Company to Work For: 2016, 2017, 2018