The Bold Faced Blog™

April 16, 2015

On the Lookout | A Bold Faced Blog Series ... Meet Bill Harris

Posted 3 years 310 days ago by Gretchen Hirsch

Ashton212 is blessed with a group of advisers who are at the top of their fields. This month, we’re happy to introduce Bill Harris, who is Senior Corporate Counsel at Albertsons-Safeway and a member of our Lookout Team. Ashton212 is delighted that Bill is part of our team, enthusiastically sharing his experience and expertise with us.


How did you become involved in the Lookout Team, and what is your role?

I’ve known Sheila for years. A mutual friend introduced us and in doing what lawyers do, I had informal contact with her around legal issues when she was heading up Flyin’ West. When she founded Ashton212, I came along with her as part of this team. My role is helping the company navigate the legal framework that’s part of every business operation. The team began somewhat informally as people from various backgrounds came together, but we’re formalizing as we go. Recently, the whole team was together on a conference call and it really helped to have everyone’s input at once.


If you were starting a business today, what do you think would be the biggest challenge?

Entrepreneurs have to have certain basic business skills, of course, but maybe the most important traits are tenacity and strength of will. They must be creative and have the agility to innovate—to try new and different ways to do business. They have to have the will to follow their passions and visions. Of course, knowledge of the regulations and legalities must also be part of the entrepreneur’s toolkit.


What do you think are the biggest ethical and legal issues facing American business?

Many of the issues are not new. They’ve been around in business for decades, but I would say maybe the toughest one is having the integrity to make the business work within the rigid confines of the legal parameters. It’s doing business ethically: holding the line against making possibly questionable decisions. The law really doesn’t help business do business. Pushing the envelope to stay ahead and be competitive without overstepping the ethical and moral lines is the great yin and yang of business. 


Obviously, in your career you’ve been involved with businesses. What made you choose law school rather than business school?

I like the technical structure of the law and I felt I could pursue it more diligently than business. I’ve also always had a strong desire to pursue justice and having everyone play on a level playing field.  I was a somewhat reluctant businessperson, but I love the challenge of helping businesses successfully navigate the legal constraints inherent in of their operations.  


I understand you’re a golfer. Do you shoot par?

Right now, I’m working hard at someday shooting my age.


Do you have a favorite Bay Area course?

We are very lucky here in Northern California with beautiful, serene, yet challenging public courses. My favorites at the moment are Metropolitan Golf Links in Oakland and Harding Park in San Francisco.


Have you played golf outside of the U.S.?

I’ve played golf in quite a few places in Mexico and in Jamaica. Playing a few rounds In Scotland, the birthplace of golf, is certainly on my bucket list!

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