- Where did you grow up? What was it like in NH?
I grew up in Manchester, NH which the largest “city” in Southern New Hampshire with 100,000 residents. We are effectively a bedroom community of Boston, which informs my fervent support of all things Boston: baked beans and Red Sox included as well as all things New England: clam chowda and Patriots!
In high school, I decided I wanted to see free movies and get free records (now I am dating myself). Thus I became the newspaper’s resident movie and music critic.
- Where did you go to college, what did you study and why did you leave the family business?
I had had enough frozen mornings in New Hampshire, so I thought I would make my way south to The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in Philly. There something happened along the way…. My roommate John Chadwick saw a flyer for UTV (University Television), the on-campus student TV station. He dialed up the number and shoved the phone in front of me – I stumbled and mumbled and said, “I would like to work at the station…”
- What took you to LA? Describe your job progression.
After rising from production assistant (“PA”) to Station Manager three years later, I decided this entertainment thing was pretty cool. This led to Hollywood where I got my start working in the mail room at Triad Artists. In less than 6 months, I was being promoted to be an assistant on a Literary Agent’s desk. Literary agents represent .writers and directors, while talent agents represent actors. Right before my promotion, I received a call one morning at 6:00 AM. My new boss had accepted a job at a competing agency and asked if I wanted to join him.
First ethical lesson. I called my Dad and asked him whether I should go. He said that Triad had invested time and resources in me and suggested I stay. Then I called my Uncle Charles, who worked for Ogilvy & Mather. Charles said, “Pack your bags.” So I went to work that day waiting for my new boss to submit his resignation. Only problem was there was no one for him to quit to. Before I knew it, it was 2PM and still no call. Finally he calls. In less than four hours, I train my replacement, pack a banker’s box with my belongings and am escorted out of the office by a security officer. Welcome to the corporate world!
I continued on with the new agency and found my way to 20th Century Fox where I had a wonderful mentor, Kimberly Cooper, who knew that I ultimately wanted to produce and write screenplays. This led to my brief career as a screenwriter where my writing partner and I got paid to write, rewrite and then paid not to write at all. During our creative partnership we wrote 10 screenplays, but unfortunately we were never able to get our projects on the big screen. My last fling with Hollywood was working as the assistant to the executive producer on “The Perfect Storm,” the film based on the novel by Sebastian Junger, directed by Wolfgang Peterson and starring George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg (Yes Rebecca, I purposely name-checked all these peeps just for you).
So I joined a middle market investment bank in Los Angeles which was started by former Houlihan Lokey and Merrill Lynch investment bankers. As this was a startup, in addition to my business development duties, I also received a crash course on investment banking. I helped the firm close transactions in the Consulting, Healthcare, Health Clubs, Restaurants and Recreation and eDiscovery sectors. All was going well until the fall of 2008. With the market crashing, and 8 month old twin daughters, now was not a good time to get downsized…. or was it?
- How did these jobs lead you to translation services?
Life has a funny way of teaching you the skills and preparing you for the next steps in your career. Even though you may have little to no awareness that this is happening at the moment. As I needed to find my next gig, I reached out to my virtual network on LinkedIn. One of my vendors at the investment bank saw that I had an entertainment background. He and his firm wanted to use a virtual data room (VDR) as a green technology solution to securely share screenplay assets in a studio environment. When I started at the office, I learned that this company made the bulk of their revenue from selling translations. I soon began to absorb the legal translation sale process from my office mate. I next became involved with an end-to-end foreign language eDiscovery solutions called PEARL. One of the partners said that PEARL should be used for every FCPA matter. I rushed home. Googled “FCPA” and decided that the Fairfax County (home of my wonderful in-laws) Park Association was not the FCPA I was looking for… and then, two entries down the angels sang and I was bathed in the most incredible golden light. I had discovered the four most beautiful letters in the alphabet FCPA, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
- How has your view of translation services evolved from a reactive product to a preventative tool?
For me, it was quite intuitive. I posited that most FCPA matters, whether they were investigations, monitorships or preventative mandates would require some form of translations as these matters are global in nature. While Merrill has had the fortune to work on some major “above the fold” multinational FCPA investigations, transnational litigation and global IP litigation matters, I felt that there must be more we can do from a proactive perspective. Our clients began to ask us whether or not we could assist them with localizing their Code of Conduct as well as other global companywide communications.
I began to focus on a second front of not only helping our clients increase efficiency and save costs on their investigations, but I also began collaborating with my Merrill colleagues to reach out to our clients and educate them on the benefits or proactively using translations as an insurance policy to inoculate and insulate the Company’s anti-bribery and anti-corruption exposure with qualified, outsourced, independent translation solutions. Although many companies try to leverage existing internal translation solutions – such as foreign language fluent assistants, overseas associates or other on-the-ground personnel (forensic analysts and document reviewers), they fail to understand the risk they incur by using non-trained, translations resources who are not able to attest to and certify the accuracy of their translation work product. Beside incurring any internal and opportunity costs by avoiding professional translation resources, they potentially expose themselves to a greater risk.
- You have written many ethics lessons you have learned from your daughters? Can you describe their similarities and differences AND what parts of you or Rebecca are in each.
Michaela and Millie were born 10 weeks premature on Sunday, February 3, 2008. The date of the Patriots first Super Bowl loss to the New York (Football) Giants. Michaela came out first and then it seemed like an eternity (4 minutes) until Millie was untangled from both umbilical cords and finally emerged. They went through a 41-day stay in the NICU and miraculously were discharged on the same day! Michaela, being the oldest, quite often takes the lead and asks for and usually gets whatever she wants. She is the plotter of the crimes and Millie executes. Millie is definitely a people pleaser and wants to make sure that not only her older sister, but her mom and dad are happy and content.
Millie is often concerned with fairness and this is something that she definitely gets from Rebecca. Michaela is more of the comedienne and quite often acts goofy, which is a reflection of me. Depending on who you ask and what day it is, people say Millie has my pudgy Rosen cheeks and Michaela has Rebecca’s fair complexion and straight hair. All I know is that Rebecca and I are so fortunate that we had the help of our doctors to conceive and bring these two wonderful girls into the world.
Jay Rosen can be reached at email@example.com.
The other day we were walking in our second home, the Happiest Place on Earth, Disneyland and Millie was casually strolling with her arm loosely draped over her sister’s back. I looked a Rebecca and she said, “Either we are doing something right or those two girls just love each other”. We both look forward to learning more lessons from them as the days and years go by.
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© Thomas R. Fox, 2015