Class of 2019
Karyn Smith is a skilled public company executive with more than 25 years of experience working with high growth technology companies, having spent the last decade inside companies focused on innovating and disrupting established industries. Karyn has held a variety of operational roles and has led multiple companies through initial public offerings, helping to build high performing teams and guide companies through the operational and legal challenges associated with growth, scaling and global expansion. She has been a facilitator and participant in the Board room for over 20 years, bringing particular expertise in corporate governance, mergers and acquisitions, and risk management. Karyn also has extensive experience with global expansion, talent management, compensation, regulatory compliance and cybersecurity. Karyn engages regularly with domestic and international regulators and policy makers across a range of issues. She is qualified to serve on the board of directors of domestic and foreign corporations, as well as any of the three board committees mandated for U.S. public companies.
Karyn joined Twilio Inc. (NYSE:TWLO), a cloud communications platform company, in 2014 as its first attorney, and she currently serves as its General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer and Corporate Secretary, leading the legal, government affairs, regulatory compliance and privacy teams. Karyn also led Twilio’s Trust and Security team for 3 ½ years, and she served as interim Chief People Officer from 2016 to 2017, during Twilio’s first year as a public company. Karyn reports directly to the CEO and is a member of the senior leadership team, overseeing a global team of over 60 people.
Prior to Twilio, Karyn was Vice President and Deputy General Counsel at Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA), an online game company, where she oversaw all corporate matters and led Zynga through its $1B IPO in 2011. Prior to Zynga, Karyn was a partner of Cooley LLP, an AmLaw 100 firm, where she represented emerging growth companies at all stages of growth, from formation through liquidity event and beyond, with a particular specialty in IPOs, guiding dozens of companies through public offerings.
Karyn has been recognized numerous times for her leadership, including most recently the National Women in Law’s thought leadership award in 2018. She earned her Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri, Columbia, and her JD cum laude from Santa Clara University School of Law.
Karyn sits on the board of the Business Software Alliance, the leading advocate for the global software industry before governments and in the international marketplace. She is also on the board of USTelecom, the national trade association for technology providers, innovators, suppliers and manufacturers committed to connecting the world through the power of broadband. Karyn also is a member of The Economic Club of Washington, DC.
Karyn splits her time between San Francisco and Washington, DC.