Leslie Keil is a Partner at Hanson Bridgett LLP in San Francisco, with a practice focused on counseling emerging ventures and established private companies with respect to private equity and debt financing and mergers and acquisitions. Leslie has a special affinity for, and expertise in, assisting social entrepreneurs and investors in forming and funding sustainable businesses, including California and Delaware public benefit corporations. Leslie is also is the Chair of the Economic Opportunity Circle.
Hanson Bridgett LLP has been a continued Full Circle Fund Strategic Partner since 2009, and is hosting a special invite-only event, Portfolio For Good: Bridging the Gap Between Capital & Community on 4/22, featuring guest speakers Wes Selke, Nancy Heinen, and Ruben Orduna.
Partner at Hanson Bridgett LLP
Member Since 2009
FCF: What drew you to Full Circle Fund's work, and what compelled you to become a Member?LK: Originally, the grant partners attracted me to Full Circle Fund. My first project connected me directly to La Cocina and the amazing work they do. I was immediately hooked. After 4 years, that direct connection still keeps me excited and engaged. I discover new organizations and constantly learn all kinds of unexpected things because of the Full Circle Fund network.
FCF: What is the most meaningful aspect of being a Member?
LK: I have a rich community of professional colleagues and personal friends at Full Circle Fund. The most compelling part is the hybrid nature of this group, where we can discuss our work and learn from each other’s professional expertise, but also develop personal relationships based on shared values.
FCF: In three words, how would you describe Full Circle Fund?
LK: Dynamic. Passionate. Smart.
FCF: How do Hanson Bridgett's values align with those of Full Circle Fund?
LK: Hanson Bridgett is driven by a commitment to diversity, charitable giving, pro-bono legal work and hands-on service. FCF’s focus on Bay Area grantees aligns with the firm’s regional emphasis and clients, and also complements our pro bono work with local partners like Legal Services for Children and Legal Aid of Marin. We don’t just provide pro bono legal services; Hanson Bridgett attorneys and staff are socially responsible and engaged members of our communities. The firm is a founding certified B Corporation. Attorneys serve on the Board of Directors of a variety of organizations, and recently one partner even founded her own nonprofit, the International Action Network for Gender Equity and Law. We participate in activities at organizations like the San Francisco Food Bank and Rebuilding Together. Hanson Bridgett’s strategic partnership with Full Circle Fund helps connect us to dedicated community leaders looking to drive social change in innovative, unique ways just like us.
FCF: What has been your highlight with Full Circle Fund thus far?
LK: Demo Day. It is so exciting to see the whole portfolio presented together, and to find out what issues are important to the other Circles. On that night, I am humbled by the brilliant leaders seeking to effect change in so many different impact areas, and infinitely optimistic about our ability to help them achieve their goals. It is an exhilarating feeling!
FCF: What inspired to join your Circle and team?
LK: I joined the Economic Opportunity Circle because I believe strongly in the power of small business and entrepreneurship to better not just a person’s financial circumstances but also a person’s access to a wide variety of social goods such as adequate healthcare, educational opportunities, a sustainable environment, and representation in the legal system. As grantee, Family Independence Initiative so clearly demonstrates, if you invest in making economic opportunities available to people, they can take the initiative to seize those opportunities for themselves and make their own success. My father ran his own business for 25 years, and now I see this every day in my practice serving tech entrepreneurs who are starting businesses often with nothing but a degree and their passion for solving a problem. Through the Economic Opportunity Circle, I get to support economic and social mobility for people that need it the most.
FCF: In your opinion, what are qualities that make one a great leader?
LK: In my opinion, a great leader must have equal parts arrogance and humility. Arrogance, because a leader needs to believe so strongly in his or her vision and own ability to succeed that he or she can survive the worst of criticisms and setbacks. Mere confidence is not enough; only a generous helping of arrogance will keep a leader going in moments of utter defeat. Humility, because a leader needs to rely on the expertise and input of a great number of people to be effective, and must be able to accept advice and even take a new direction if the situation requires it. It shows strength, and not weakness, when a leader can delegate responsibility and ask for help.
FCF: Who is the one person you're most interested in meeting and why?
LK: Gloria Steinem is definitely on my list because of her long and very public history in the women’s rights movement. She turned 80 on March 25. In many ways, I feel like my success as a working professional has been built on the activism of feminist leaders like Ms. Steinem, as well as the ordinary women who, like my mother and some of the women partners at Hanson Bridgett, were the first female professionals in leadership roles before the phrase “work-life balance” even existed. On the other hand, I feel as though we are entering a new phase of the conversation about gender equity and rights, and both men and women are seeking inspiring leaders and new social models. I would like to hear Ms. Steinem’s opinion about the state of gender equity in this country today, and what she thinks are the most important challenges to address in the coming years. I’m sure her perspective would be fascinating. Others on my list include Michelle Obama, Hilary Clinton, Melinda Gates, Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Alice Waters, (suspension of reality) Margaret Thatcher, Julia Child and my maternal and paternal great-grandmothers. We'd like to thank Leslie for her commitment to our network and Grant Partners and Hanson Bridgett LLP for its unwavering support of our organization over the years.