And Ziniti, who was recently appointed General Counsel (GC) at Lambda, knows a thing or two about potential – she’s spent her career representing innovative products, including Amazon’s “Alexa.”
“I could immediately sense that Lambda School was a really big deal, that it had the potential to be very transformative. I got that sense fairly early at Amazon while working with Alexa. People loved it so much, it was clear it would get big. It’s the same at Lambda – even the early adopters love it, and it seems like it’s going to knock it out of the park.”
Like Lambda CTO Namrata Ganatra, Ziniti first learned about Lambda via CEO Austen Allred’s Twitter account. And, like Ganatra, she reached out.
“I said, ‘You’ve raised money, you probably need a General Counsel. If it’s not me, it’s probably someone I know.’”
The GC role wasn’t open at the time, but when it was posted a few months later, Ziniti jumped at the opportunity, though she loved the work she was doing at Cruise, a self-driving car network valued at $19 billion.
Ziniti explored the GC role and met with Lambda leadership team, as well as each of the board members. In addition to getting a sense for Lambda's strong product market fit, she was struck by how strongly aligned everyone was on Lambda’s mission.
“Everyone is so student-obsessed; it’s clear from the outside,” she said. “When I learned that Lambda listens to every piece of feedback and that they try to do the right thing, that gave me great confidence that they were going to be a good company to work for.”
Ziniti joined the team full-time in August 2019 and has since written that her decision to join Lambda School was two-fold: first, that Lambda’s model addresses a growing market need – a steady stream of highly trained software engineers to fill a growing number of roles, and second, that Lambda School is incredibly mission-driven.
“Underlying Lambda School’s business are two concepts I believe deeply - one - that fulfilling your full potential is, well, fulfilling, and two - that almost anything is possible with hard work,” she writes. “Lambda School’s wider goal is to end underemployment and allow everyone to unlock their potential, regardless of circumstance.”
Ziniti said that she’s aware of how lucky she is to experience the career path she is on. After working as a paralegal at Yahoo!, she knew she wanted to work in tech law. She graduated from UC Berkeley School of Law and has since represented a variety of cutting-edge tech companies including Apple, Amazon, Anki, and Cruise.
Though she’s had great success, she makes it a point to only represent products that she really believes in, and to work to make the tech world a more accessible place. Outside of work, Ziniti is raising three daughters and is an investing member of Portfolia’s FemTech Fund, where she backs companies that are innovating in women’s health.
In her day-to-day, Ziniti said she is happy to be counseling a company that is also striving for greater justice and access in the tech world.
“In terms of mission, I’m somebody who loves learning and can be happy in a lot of jobs,” she said. “But to be able to work on something that has a real impact on students’ lives? That was the real difference-maker for me.”
The Lambda School team is elated to have Cecilia Ziniti as our General Counsel, and we look forward to working together to make a high-paying career in technology available to anyone.