Hilary has been with the company for more than two decades. She is currently responsible for overseeing WEX’s global legal, regulatory compliance, government affairs, and corporate philanthropy functions. She manages local counsel in Europe, Asia-Pacific and South America, in addition to the in-house counsel at the company’s Maine headquarters.
During her time at WEX, Hilary was named the company’s first general counsel; she helped create WEX Bank; and led the legal team in launching the company’s initial public offering.
Hilary is a member of the Association of Corporate Counsel, the National Association of Corporate Directors, the Society of Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals, and the Society for Human Resource Management. She began her career at Bennett & Associates and graduated from Bowdoin College and the University of Maine’s School of Law.
What brought you to WEX?
I’ve been here for about 21 years, so it’s a long story—I went to law school and was working as a lawyer in Portland, and came to WEX because I decided that I was looking for something more relationship-oriented. WEX ended up hiring me as its first lawyer on staff in 1996, and I developed the legal function and recently added corporate philanthropy to my responsibilities, which I’m extremely passionate about. During my tenure at the company, I’ve had the opportunity to develop my skill set through a variety of roles and functions, which has kept me happy, challenged, and engaged.
It’s been great to lead WEX’s corporate philanthropy and social responsibility initiatives. We are so embedded in the local Maine community and neighboring areas, so we live and breathe the impact of this work.
Every year the company donates hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund education, the arts, and wellness initiatives. I’m now working to globalize these initiatives and make even more meaningful connections throughout the community. I’m also focused on getting more employees engaged in these efforts: Last year we announced two paid days off to support volunteer work and that we will match philanthropic gifts made by employees at the total amount of $100 per employee, per year.
What are some professional accomplishments and highlights of your career thus far?
Hands down the IPO. I was eight months pregnant at the time, and it was intense to gear up for such a major event—it was a real all-hands-on-deck effort, as you can imagine. My boss, Melissa Smith, had total faith in me, and it helped push me to the finish line; we worked as a team and powered through. When we rang the bell at the NYSE that morning, it was such a proud moment. I still get emotional thinking about it.
How do you stay on top of news and trends?
I’m a lawyer, so I read a lot. But my secret weapon is my assistant Faith; she organizes articles on my iPad for me to read when I’m traveling.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
I’ve had an amazing career here, and my growth at the company has been coincident with my personal growth: I got married here, bought my house here and had my babies here. What I would tell my younger self is to slow down a bit and appreciate the journey more. I move at a fast pace, and what I tell a lot of women is to forgive yourself, don’t try to be perfect.