Hearsay Social vice president of legal and compliance Yasmin Zarabi ()
Hearsay Social Inc. helps financial services teams, including insurance agents and investment advisers, use social media to connect with customers and prospects. Its clients include Raymond James Financial Inc., Mutual of Omaha Insurance Co. and Allianz Globe Investors. The “software as a service” company ensures clients comply with regulations in their industries.
Hearsay has raised about $51 million raised from investors. Roughly 70 of the company’s 110 employees work at its San Francisco headquarters. Other offices are in New York, Chicago and Texas, with expansion planned into Asia and Brazil.
Yasmin Zarabi is Heasay Social’s first in-house lawyer and to date its only one — but not for long. Founded in 2009, the company expects to nearly double in size by the end of this year. Zarabi will add a full-time attorney within the next few months, ideally someone with transactional experience, she said.
She oversees a contract manager who handles business negotiations. She reports to Caitlin Haberberger, vice president for finance. “I’m passionate about technology and innovation, transactions and business, and growing a company,” she said.
Hearsay Social’s main outside firm is Latham & Watkins; a partner there is secretary to the board and was involved with the company’s formation. Zarabi turns to Cornerstone Law Group of San Francisco and New York-based Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy for immigration work. London-based Osborne Clarke takes on international matters, and Van Pelt, Yi & James in Cupertino, Calif., does the patent work.
“My primary focus is to work on transactions and closing deals,” Zarabi said. She also ensures the company’s products and practices are in line with regulatory guidelines. That means she must stay current on regulations and guide Hearsay Social’s engineering and product teams to ensure their compliance as well.
“There’s a lot of education and translation and being that vessel that is constantly learning and being able to transmit that learning to others,” she said. The company’s human resources staff handles employment matters unless unusual circumstances require Zarabi’s counsel.
ROUTE TO THE TOP
Zarabi joined Hearsay Social in 2012 from TIBCO Software Inc., a public company that maintained a large legal department. She was initially hesitant about joining a startup, but decided during the interview that the move would be a good one.
“It was an automatic [feeling of] just knowing you belong there,” she said. Moreover, she found the opportunity to focus on business and transactional law appealing.
Before joining TIBCO, Zarabi worked as in-house counsel for two smaller companies — Gracenote Inc. and Versata Inc.
Zarabi and her husband, Ali Razi, are the parents of two boys, ages 6 and 9. They have a golden retriever named Shasta. They love traveling and have visited Costa Rica, Hawaii and many parts of the United States. Spain is their next destination.
“Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time” by Starbucks chief executive officer Howard Schultz, and “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg; Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine.”