Managing regulatory risk, compliance, and board relationships among top priorities for Clark
As the new executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary at Aurora Cannabis, Nathalie Clark takes responsibilities for many different, yet interconnected matters. She leads the legal department in addition to regulatory affairs, the risk and compliance function, the corporate secretarial office, government relations and quality assurance. Clark, who joined the company on March 18, was drawn to the broad and versatile role and to the rapidly evolving cannabis industry.
“Throughout my career, I had the opportunity to lead many of these functions, so the fact that the role at Aurora Cannabis included almost all of them, made it a fantastic opportunity at this point in my career to really leverage all of what I've learned over the last 28 years to and lead all of these functions that are interconnected,” says Clark. She was also keen to work with Aurora Cannabis CEO Miguel Martin.
Clark has previously held general counsel roles at organizations including Computershare Canada, Capital One and the Canadian Bankers Association, as well as leading a team of HR business partners at TD Bank. She also led the operations of the bank as COO at Capital One, which gave her a unique insight into the entire organization, and she has experience in a regulatory compliance role at Desjardins Financial Security, and in a compliance and risk management role at Canadian Tire. These roles gave her leadership skills and advocacy skills which is now leveraging at Aurora Cannabis, as she manages approximately 20 people in the legal and regulatory affairs departments, as well as many other direct reports in the compliance and quality assurance groups.
Top of mind for Clark is familiarizing herself with the organization and building relationships – within the company, with the board, and with third parties.
“Relationships with the board and governance practices around the board are incredibly important in any publicly traded company,” says Clark. “My goals are really around creating relationships throughout the organization that will allow me to wrap my arms around the legal risk management of the organization as well as the regulatory side.”
In addition to managing contractual risk, compliance with the many requirements of a publicly traded company is a key focus point for Clark.
“Making sure that the company is functioning in compliance with all laws and regulations, and that legal and regulatory risk is appropriately managed are my top priorities,” she says.
Monitoring the exchange of information with the rest of the organization is a key role for any general counsel, Clark says, so she is focused on formally defining the interaction model at Aurora Cannabis, together with understanding the strategy and objectives of the business.
“I make a point of establishing those relationships, and making sure I have access to the information that I need early into the process so that the management of the legal and regulatory risks can be done in a proactive manner as opposed to reactive,” she says.
As she settles into her new role, Clark looks forward to being a valuable part of the executive team at Aurora Cannabis, and helping to establish a strategy for the organization.
“Being a part of the cannabis industry at this point in time is incredibly exciting,” says Clark. “It’s an industry that’s here to stay, so it’s an immense opportunity to be part of a story that is shaping and developing as we speak.”