Back to articles

Mar 6. 2023

Screenshot 2023-03-06 at 1.24.27 PM

At Trailstone we’re different, and we like it that way! We bring together team members with diverse perspectives to keep us moving forward in our shared mission of making sustainable energy sustainable. For our Employee Spotlight series we’re interviewing members of the team from throughout the organization about their current work and career path to take an inside look at the role everyone plays.

For our first installment in this series, we’re highlighting Trailstone’s Chief Legal Officer Carolynn Mayhew, whose vow at a young age to break the poverty cycle has driven her to create a successful legal career. Now she’s using her experience in the wider energy industry to support the growth of renewable energy in her role at Trailstone.

Q: What is your title?

A: Chief Legal Officer

Q: What do you do at Trailstone?

A: I am the head of the Global Legal team and am responsible for managing the team, as well as managing all legal matters of the business across the globe which includes transactional & commercial matters, labor and employment, M&A, and litigation. I am also the US Lead for Trailstone’s Global DEI Council and head of the Governance Committee for our ESG initiatives.

Q: Which office do you work out of and what do you enjoy about that location?

A: My home office is our Austin office. However, since I manage the global legal team, I do travel to London and Berlin on occasion. I believe the Austin office is a great location to work because it’s very lively, due to all of the activity on the trading floor, and also because there are so many things to do in and around Austin outside of work. I am an outdoor enthusiast and Austin allows me the opportunity to get outdoors to do all of the things that I love including climbing, hiking, paddleboarding, etc.

Q: Tell us a bit about your professional journey. How did you get to where you are now?

A: Wow, how much time do I have? In short, hard work and dedication! I grew up poor and when I was in 8th grade, my social studies teacher taught us about the poverty cycle and the statistics associated with individuals being able to “break the poverty cycle.” On that day in class, I told myself that I was going to break that cycle for my family.

I studied hard and was very blessed to have a family (not mine) that took me under their wing and provided the means for me to go to college and law school. After I graduated from the University of Oklahoma College of Law, I immediately moved to Houston, TX — the energy capital of the US.

I started my career as a Contract Administrator and Pricing Analyst at Reliant Energy in the retail power sector where I learned about the power grid and all of the different ISOs and RTOs across the US. From there, I went to work at Occidental Energy Marketing, initially as a Contract Administrator, but was very quickly moved into their first Regulatory Compliance role.

It was at Occidental that my career really started to take off. I learned all about the energy trading world, FERC, CFTC, and other regulators. I was also encouraged by my colleagues to take my bar exam and get my license. I was a full time mom, full time compliance officer and now I needed to study to take the bar. It was a lot, but I did it and once I had my license, BP asked me to come work for their Integrated Supply and Trading organization.

I was at BP when the Deep-Water Horizon incident occurred and I became a Legal Officer supporting the incident management team. Once the well had been capped, the company was required by President Obama to create a new organization that’s sole purpose was to support the cleanup operations and deal with community and public issues. I joined the Gulf Coast Restoration Organization as the Community and Public Relations Attorney and learned a great deal working with our executives and politicians in the impacted states on environmental and tourism issues.

However, I was also traveling 100% of the time and I was missing out on milestones in my son, Sebastian’s life. He was 5 at the time the incident occurred. For this reason, I decided to leave BP and went to work at Deutsche Bank, where I supported several of their different commodities trading teams (metals, gas, power, coffee, cotton, cocoa) across the globe.

From there, I went to work at Hess, as their Global Midstream Attorney. So, between 2002 and 2014, I had worked for some major corporations, supported retail, wholesale, and midstream oil and gas operations, commodities trading, worked on a massive incident, and supported executives providing statements before congress and other state representative bodies — all great experiences!

In 2014, I decided to take all my knowledge and open my own law firm. I wanted to share my knowledge and experience with small business owners and provide lower cost legal services to these small businesses, so they could be successful and mitigate their risks.

I worked as outside counsel for Trailstone for 5 years prior to being asked to join the Legal team on a full-time basis. While it was hard to let go of my other clients and my business, I was very excited about Trailstone’s strategy and business plan and I wanted to be a part of the team that would help the company achieve its goals and vision of being the technology and renewables company of the future and making sustainable energy sustainable.

Q: What about Trailstone's work is important or meaningful to you?

A: Everything, really. Trailstone has an amazing vision and plan, unlike some other firms out there in the energy sector. I mean… how often is a person able to say that they work for a renewable energy trading and technology company?

The scope of legal matters that I am able to work on, the advice and support that I am able to provide to the business as it grows into these new areas, the knowledge that I am gaining, the company’s trust in me as their advisor, being able to manage, mentor, and inspire a team of amazing individuals, being able to lead initiatives for DEI and ESG — all of these things make my work with Trailstone important and meaningful.