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2018 Top 10 30-Somethings: Sheila Bangalore

Top Ten 30 Somethings
What started as a casual conversation with her managing director during Aristocrat's holiday party in Sydney, Australia, led Sheila Bangalore to later convene a lunch between a regional president at Caesars, her managing director, and a few other Aristocrat leaders. They were brainstorming ways that Aristocrat Technologies, a rapidly expanding gaming company with close to 5,000 employees around the world, could create leadership circles.

The circles, comprised of 10 participants, would empower employees to debate business, develop leadership skills, and discuss other topics. Caesars had recently implemented its own version of Lean In circles, popularized by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, to rave reviews by its female employees, and Aristocrat was anxious to learn from the Caesars model. "The ideas that were flying across the table were pretty amazing," Bangalore shares.

Bangalore and her colleagues decided to put their own twist on the project by making them open to all employees and unifying the circles under the leadership umbrella. Each circle, moderated by a trained employee facilitator, is sponsored by a member of the management team to ensure employees feel empowered to step away from their daily functions for 60 to 90 minutes at regular intervals to actively participate and develop themselves.

The groups, which align employees with their leadership passion, encourage idea flow across different business groups and allow employees to foster relationships and build networks within the organization.

Launched in May 2017 as Leadership Circles, the initiative proved to be very popular. It began with six circle topics and has grown to 12 circles, including one new circle that focuses on Latin American topics. The circles are fluid. A circle for new employees might evolve into a different circle after those employees are more established in the company.

Using the same thought process behind the circles, Bangalore brings collaboration to the day-to-day legal operations. Searching for ways to reduce the US sales order process timing in 2017, she and her talented team assessed the workflow of a cross-functional group, which also included members of the finance, business operations, and sales teams. The solutions involved a mix of management adjustment and technology.

A purchase order process was introduced to streamline operations and recognize customer preferences. A member of the legal team was embedded with the business operations team — moving office floors to do so - to ensure that any questions could be answered directly and facilitate the exchange of ideas. The legal department also consolidated its internal issue management system from three separate systems to a single platform, which increased visibility.

Today, Bangalore is the co-executive sponsor of the Women in Leadership Circle, one of the original six. Earlier this year, an idea emerged from within the circle to have a women's symposium in Las Vegas for Aristocrat employees. Over 100 women attended. The company brought in speakers from local institutions, like the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and as far away as Australia.

"The fact is that this all started with 10 women who got together on their own, and said we'd really like to do something to pay some of our experience forward. And now, more than 100 women are benefiting from all of their hard work, passion, and dedication," Bangalore reflects.

As Aristocrat revolutionizes the gaming industry, Bangalore continues making strides inside the organization. By working with her global legal colleagues to expand signatory authority, and implement e-signature software, the legal team built in more flexibility and sped up the business. As someone who encourages frank conversations and innovation, Bangalore's future is bright. It seems like Aristocrat hit the jackpot with her.

More 2018 Top 10 30-Somethings

Christopher Y. Chan

Steve Gangemi

Mary Gritzmacher

Paul Lanois

Olga V. Mack

Shelly Paioff

Julie Ryan

Diana Toman

Greg Wu

About the Author

Joshua H. Shields is the managing editor of the Association of Corporate Counsel.

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