Get to know GeoLinks’ General Counsel and VP of Government Affairs and Education Melissa Slawson

Melissa Slawson - GeoLinks

1. Let’s start with the basics, what’s your role at GeoLinks?

My official title is General Counsel and V.P. of Government Affairs and Education. I handle all legal and regulatory matters, which includes tracking policies and legislation that may affect GeoLinks’ business and advocating for GeoLinks’ interests before various regulatory bodies (including the FCC). In short…I’m the lawyer, and I make sure we follow rules and the rules work for us.

2. What’s your favorite part about working for GeoLinks?

I love how fast-paced everything is. There’s never time to get bogged down in the weeds of an issue because a decision usually has to be made quickly. It has made me good at thinking on my feet, researching issues efficiently, and trusting my experience.

Melissa Slawson - GeoLinks - Jerry Brown3. What got you to the position you are in today…what came before GeoLinks?

I’ve been practicing law in the telecommunications regulatory space for over 11 years (wow…that sounds so long when you type it out). I started at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) as a regulator, then entered private practice at a law firm specializing in regulatory work for a variety of telecommunications companies (cable, wireline, wireless, etc.), and then was GC for a small wireless company. The breadth of my legal experience and seeing the telecom world from multiple perspectives really prepared me for my role at GeoLinks. I understand the business side but also understand how regulators and lawmakers see the industry. That’s invaluable when trying to traverse the sometimes rocky legal landscape of providing telecom services.   

4. What government related project are you most passionate about?

I have always tried to make sure that the work I do is also doing good. I started my career as a public servant and while I have moved to the private sector, there is still good to be done. Specifically, I am passionate about connectivity for all. All people, rich or poor, urban or rural, etc. etc. etc. should have access to telecommunications services. This is an issue that I have worked on in some capacity throughout my entire career, and I am so happy to be working for a company with a founding mission to close the digital divide.  

5. Outside of work…what is your favorite pastime or hobby?

Melissa Slawson - geolinks

I started taking Improv classes last May and have started performing fairly regularly. Otherwise, I spend my non-work time doing crossfit, spending time with friends and my dog, Logan, cooking…and watching TV. I love TV.  

6. What’s something most of your coworkers don’t know about you?

I’ve never had a cavity. Thanks, Mom!

7. Alright pressure is on….give us your best or favorite motivational quote?

“Wherever you go, there you are.”  It’s a simple statement and really, quite painfully obvious, but I take its meaning to be pretty deep. Wherever you go in this world, no matter who you meet, what job you are doing, etc., you are still you. It is a constant. It is a center. And if things get hard or weird, you can fall back on knowing who you are and move forward from there. And by the same token, it means to be true to yourself, your beliefs, and your values no matter how the world around you changes. I strive to be me all the time.

8. You are allowed to do anything you want, anywhere in the world, for one whole day…what do you do and where do you go?

Be a rockstar.  I want a full sleeve of tattoos, crazy hair, and to sing in front of a stadium full of screaming fans. Sounds amazing!!!

9. Congratulations on recently being elected onto the Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband Coalition’s (SHLB) Board of Expert Advisors. So, what exactly is SHLB and how do you contribute?

I’m excited about being part of the SHLB Board. SHLB is doing some amazing work to close the digital divide by connecting anchor institutions (schools, libraries, hospitals, etc.) which are cornerstones of so many communities. It’s just another piece of the puzzle that is getting connectivity to all Americans. Being part of the board means helping shape the path that SHLB will forge in its efforts over the next few years. It also means having direct input into how companies can help (and be incentivized to help) SHLB’s mission.

Melissa Slawson - GeoLinks - SHLB

10. What’s next…what are you most excited for when you think of your future with GeoLinks?

With our recent Connect America Fund award, all of the work we’re doing to connect anchor institutions, and other opportunities we’re engaged in to help connectivity in California, I am so excited to see how GeoLinks can help change the digital landscape in California and beyond. In just a few short years, GeoLinks will be providing high speed broadband services to areas that may have otherwise never had more than dial-up speeds. (If that!) We are doing good while being successful in business. THAT is my American dream.