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The I in IRIS - Tanisha

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Published byIRIS Team

Meet Tanisha, Legal Counsel at IRIS. Full of fun facts and admirable traits, she may just be the coolest Legal Counsel you’ve ever met.

What is your role at IRIS?

I joined IRIS nearly four months ago as Legal Counsel. Each day is different from the last and I’ve been working on a wide range of things, from preparing and negotiating commercial agreements with clients and partners, to building out our enterprise risk framework, including some internal documents like our core policies, and reviewing and providing legal input on customer journeys. I’ve also been doing quite a bit of planning in terms of the implementation of legal processes to make us as efficient as possible. A lot of the journey so far has been figuring out how best Legal can support the team at IRIS, and adapting to that. 

What’s it like bringing legal structure to a startup?

Bringing legal structure to a start-up has been really enjoyable. There has been a lot to get my head around, but I’ve welcomed the challenge as it has meant interacting with and getting to know people across the business to work out how everything works and what legal processes and structures would optimise what we already have in place. One of the biggest differences between the work I’ve done in private practice and the work I’ve been doing for IRIS is adjusting my perspective and being able to have a lot more context and insight of the business, and a fuller understanding of how the work I’m doing fits into the wider strategy or business plan.  

We often catch you having deep conversations with the team in the kitchen about machine learning or political labels. What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned or talked about recently?

I have had some nice conversations in the kitchen, including asking various members of the tech team to explain the theory of relativity to help me get my head around what actually happened in Interstellar. But the most shocking thing I’ve learnt recently, courtesy of Scott and Pooks, has to be that there is a type of spider that sometimes lives in bananas - the deadly false widow - which has changed my view of bananas forever. 

I also just had a nice conversation with James (Product Manager) and Jake (Machine Learning Engineer) about the two personality types when it comes to listening to music: (i) people who hear the lyrics first; and (ii) people who hear the melody and non-lyrical elements first. Apparently, people in the first group see the world in a more logical way, and those in the second group experience the world intuitively, through sensations. 

Some quickfire questions:

1. App you couldn’t live without:

Water Llama - I like to gamify my goals and this has helped me stay hydrated. I’m currently on a 66 day streak (working my way, day by day, to beat my PB of a 260 day streak).

2. You're currently in the lead in the IRIS Fantasy Football league, how do you plan to continue trouncing the opposition:

I’m nervous about this as we’re still only halfway through the season. I’m not particularly sure of how I got to the top of the league but I believe in Saka as the lucky charm of the team, so I’ll keep him in until the very end!

3. Least favourite noise:

Hearing any sound or song that has, at any point in my life, been set as my alarm. 

4. Something your colleagues don’t know about you:

I’m a founding trustee of a charity called Black Heritage Fund, where we partner with charitable organisations each year that do work to tackle issues facing the Black community. We fundraise on their behalf and also organise non-financial support for them where useful. Last year, we raised over £10,000 on behalf of a Manchester-based organisation that does some impactful community work with young people there.

5. What are you most looking forward/ or not looking forward to about the holiday season: I’m looking forward to: spending time with loved ones; eating a little too much; playing as much Bananagrams as possible; and seeing the Hackney Empire panto.