If you ask Anna-Lisa Corrales about why she’s excited to come to work every day, the answer is simple: there’s passion.
“We spend so much time at work and with our colleagues. So if we don’t tap into our passions and feel inspired while we’re there, then I don’t think we can truly be happy at work,” she says. “For me, I’m passionate about helping people and using my talents in the best way I can to contribute.”
Appropriately, the general counsel’s interest in cars helps inspire her work with Jaguar Land Rover’s products. “I was attracted to working here because of that passion people have for these brands and these beautiful cars,” Corrales says. “I work with people who are talented, who work together toward a common goal. And we all use these talents to help the company do better and help our customers be happier.”
Another driving force for Corrales is supporting other women and minorities and encouraging respect for diverse perspectives. She hopes to inspire confidence in women to rise to executive positions both inside and outside Jaguar Land Rover, continually providing a voice for mothers balancing their lives and work and speaking at women’s conferences as an industry leader.
Her goal, she says, is to support all of her colleagues in being “successful in whatever it is that they do.” At Jaguar Land Rover, this support takes shape in myriad ways—flexibility, open communication, and embracing diversity. Since Corrales started building her team when she took her position in 2008, she has embraced these guiding principles wholeheartedly.
What is the best advice you’ve been given?
To be a good listener, especially when dealing with a new area or issue, and to put myself in the shoes of my management to better understand the challenges they face.
When Corrales first arrived, she was a team of one. What’s more, she was Jaguar Land Rover’s only staffed lawyer in North America. While taking this position may seem like an intense feat, Corrales embraced the challenge with a strong drive to develop the legal function into an effective and efficient team. Eleven years later, she doesn’t regret her decision.
As she navigated the initial challenges of her position, Corrales quickly realized that she had to expand her department to keep up with the growth and complexity of the business. She has since learned that it pays off to take time to find the right fit with candidates, and she has chosen people who hold the kind of passion she had.
“I wanted people to be doing what they love to do and are good at doing while still covering the needs of the company,” Corrales explains. As new members joined, she ensured their duties matched their interests and talents. In doing so, she says that she found a way to retain and hire people who want to contribute to the company on a long-term basis.
“Getting the right fit of people on my team pays off for the long term,” Corrales says. “During the hiring process, it’s important to make sure the candidate really clicks with the position. Each person I hired brings so much to the table, and there’s so much I can learn from them.”
Now, Corrales quickly recognizes her team as her greatest asset and building her team’s expertise and processes as one of her greatest accomplishments. This experience has influenced Corrales’s leadership style immensely because it has taught her to harbor the talents of each team member and bolster them however she can.
“My leadership style has definitely evolved to be more in touch with communicating priorities and goals regularly without stifling someone’s problem-solving process,” Corrales explains. “I’m focused on making sure we have regular check-ins and being transparent so we can agree on goals and learn from each other.”
This transparency, Corrales says, also lies at the epicenter of her approach toward her fellow female and diverse colleagues. To her, open communication is key to allowing women to maintain the balance they need when juggling work, life, a family, and more. When looking back on her own career, Corrales reflects on the levels of flexibility she required in different phases of her children’s lives and is keen to understand the type of flexibility that will work best to keep her team happy and thriving.
“If you support the people that you trust, who are hard workers and who appreciate the flexibility and autonomy given to them, they will not let you down.”
“One of the most important things is to know how to model and be transparent about the kind of agility and flexibility that you need in order to make things work,” Corrales describes. “We each have a different set of circumstances that we need to balance with our work life, and it is important to recognize that there’s no one arrangement that works for every person.”
Through her approach, Corrales has noticed that the team she worked hard to build works hard for her in return. “If you support the people that you trust, who are hard workers and who appreciate the flexibility and autonomy given to them, they will not let you down,” she says.
Corrales has fostered relationships with her female colleagues at the company to encourage them to take a seat at the table and voice their opinions. She has encouraged women throughout Jaguar Land Rover—both in and outside of leadership positions—to continuously contribute to the culture, to have their perspectives represented, and to take action. Corrales has taken part in Jaguar Land Rover’s diversity and inclusion committee, promoting education about different aspects of diversity. She also meets ad hoc with different groups to obtain a holistic picture of the organization’s culture at all levels and jointly innovate improvements to employee engagement.
As Corrales and her team move toward accomplishing their upcoming goals—particularly using new technologies and metrics to improve the legal department’s efficacy even more—she says she is proud to see that her team continues to adapt and support the company from a legal and regulatory perspective as the auto industry evolves.
“Everybody in this team is adding value to the company in many ways,” she says. “The feedback I’ve received from other departments is that the people on my team are really approachable, very knowledgeable, diligent, and responsive, and they’ve partnered with others to find solutions to mitigate legal risk. To me, that is the highest compliment.”