Intersection Connections - Sarah Dodds-Brown

3 min readNov 15, 2021
Sarah Dodds-Brown

I have learned how critical it is to create meaningful intersections between all departments in a company. The best way to create sustainable change, anticipate challenges and promote efficiency is through these collaborations. Personally, I leverage my leadership and legal background to effectively implement strategies with touch points across our business and best avoid risks. In my alumni spotlight feature for Paul Weiss, I discussed how a legal function can help create this intersectionality to promote efficiency and success.

“I strive to integrate the legal function fully within the culture of the business to best position us to capture opportunities and avoid risks. In order to engage deeply with the company strategy, I will often hold in-depth project sessions to discuss ongoing initiatives or new developments and these are often cross-functional across business, operations, compliance and other teams. I spend time regularly with my direct reports — each of whom lead a practice group supporting a line of business — to discuss the status of ongoing work streams and project updates, as well as career development opportunities. I coach and advise team members on how to approach a particular issue and provide counsel to a business partner; how to refine a risk analysis; and when and how to escalate issues for direction or decision.

“A key aspect of my job is making connections across projects and lines of business so that we share information, remain efficient in our work, and stay consistent and informed on the advice that we provide our partners. I also participate in the company’s Enterprise Risk Management Committee, which gives me another lens into how we are managing the overall risk profile of key initiatives and relationships.

“The most challenging aspect of my job is also one of the most exciting: it’s constantly changing. The payments industry is very dynamic with innovation being driven by both existing players and newer entrants, including emerging startups and companies from other industries that are expanding their offerings to provide payment products and solutions. As a result, the kinds of services and who provides them are changing, the technology is ever-evolving, and customers’ expectations about the experiences they are seeking from payments providers are shifting.

“We are also an integrated payments player, which means that we participate across many aspects of the payments chain. Unlike other companies who may focus on only one or two dimensions, we are a card issuer and a bank, a merchant acquirer and a payments network, and we also provide other types of products and services to consumers and businesses.

“The multidimensional nature of our business means that we need to manage the intersection of our legal obligations across our different customer touch-points and consider implications across the diversity of our unique model. There are also new laws and regulatory regimes being adopted that impact our business, particularly around privacy and data in the U.S. and in international markets. This is an exciting time to be in this space and it requires us to remain very close to the ever-shifting landscape.”

About Sarah Dodds-Brown: Sarah is a legal strategist who uses her field of expertise to influence business. She strives to thoughtfully challenge status quo thinking and widen the pipeline of professional talent to include more diverse and underrepresented candidates. Currently, she works as the Executive Vice President & Managing Counsel for Global Enterprise Services & U.S. Market at American Express.




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