January 01, 2019
An Interview with Dayna Frank, General Counsel
Dayna Frank is General Counsel for Active International and provides legal counsel and support to Active’s global offices, including contract negotiation, litigation, subsidiary creation, new product launches, and policies and procedures. She also serves as Secretary to Active. She joined the company in 1996. Frank earned her L.L.M. in International Business Law, with merit, from the London School of Economics and Political Science. She received her law degree from New York Law School and a B.A. from the University of Buffalo. Frank is licensed in NY and NJ and is a member of the American Bar Association and the New York Bar Association.
With 35 years of experience, Active International (activeinternational.com) is a global financial solutions company that drives performance and improves business outcomes for leading brands. A data-driven company, with media as a core competency, Active operates a full-service omnichannel media agency. In addition to media, Active brings to bear a broad portfolio of competencies such as Asset Disposition/Merchandise Sales, Real Estate, Retail Marketing, Travel and Hospitality, Freight & Logistics, and Lighting. Through the application of its core business model, Active is able to create financial benefits to serve its clients. Active International is based in New York and has offices in 15 countries.
How do you define the role of General Counsel at Active?
It’s very broad – the legal department pervades the entire company, from any of its new ventures to its branding and its global outreach. We do an analysis of the legal business risks when we’re looking at moving into a new area. If we’re looking at acquiring a company, we will evaluate how it fits into our overall company and do an analysis of the structure of the company to determine whether it will fit into the business as a subsidiary or an affiliate. We also help structure how we acquire new businesses.
Intellectual property is also under the purview of the general counsel, so we protect the Active brand on a global basis through trademarks and registrations as well as patents and copyrights.
Has the general counsel role become more complex as Active has expanded?
I don’t know that it has become more complex, but I tell my colleagues that being an attorney working at Active is fascinating. I work with brilliant, creative people who find solutions to problems and I have to provide the legal drafts around their work to ensure that we are protected.
How do you define Active’s business as the company has evolved?
I’ve always defined Active as a financial solutions company – we had Active Capital and we were doing structured finance from early on.
It’s just that when we do our initial pitch and try to explain what Active does, barter comes up. People could see that as a bad word, but it’s the oldest way of doing business and it’s easy for someone to fundamentally understand that.
Our structures are all around financial solutions. Corporate trade and barter are financial solutions – it’s how we package it that makes it a more sophisticated package. At day’s end, though, it’s corporate trade and a financial solution.
Active was built with an entrepreneurial spirit. Will you discuss the entrepreneurial culture at Active and is that harder to maintain at the size and scale of the company today?
It’s harder to manage from the general counsel’s office. It has always been the hardest issue for legal to manage. It’s an administrative nightmare trying to manage the facts, the inventory and the solutions.
However, the entrepreneurial spirit is what makes it fun and client-centric and what drives us to be the leader in the industry.
All the questions that come up make my job harder but more fun. In the end, it’s all about what the client needs and what the company needs to grow.