Karyn Smith

Karyn Smith

Class of 2019

Karyn Smith is a seasoned public company executive with more than 30 years of experience working with and for high-growth companies, having spent the last several years helping to scale 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 boardroom for over 25 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 has engaged extensively with domestic and international regulators and policy makers across a range of issues, including privacy, telecommunications and cybersecurity. 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.

From 2014 to 2022, Karyn was General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer for Twilio (NYSE:TWLO), where she built the legal team from one person when she joined to more than 140 attorneys and legal professionals, supporting Twilio’s growth to a publicly traded global organization with nearly $3B in revenue and 7,500 employees. Karyn also led Twilio’s Trust and Security team for several years, served as interim Chief People Officer during Twilio’s first year as a public company, and established Twilio’s ethical use team and policies.

Prior to Twilio, Karyn was Vice President and Deputy General Counsel at Zynga, an online game company, where she oversaw all corporate and commercial 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 currently sits on the boards of Icertis, a leading contract lifecycle management company, and Halcyon, a non-profit incubator whose mission is to accelerate the impact-driven future of business. She is also a member of The Economic Club of Washington, D.C., and a founding member and board member of The House at 1229, and previously sat on the boards of the Business Software Alliance and USTelecom.

Karyn earned her Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri, Columbia, and her JD cum laude from Santa Clara University School of Law.

Karyn is mother to two grown daughters and lives in Washington, D.C.