Today, Budzynski oversees Ohmium’s all-woman legal team in a sector where they are hard to come by. The attorneys provide legal services to the global company as it produces proton exchange membrane electrolyzers to make green hydrogen, sitting on the cutting edge of the green energy movement. Despite their legal prowess, they view themselves as strategic business partners first.
“I believe that above all else in an in-house team, you need to be smart, solution-oriented, and business partners who also have legal skills in your toolkit,” she says. “You have to be openminded and willing to learn about areas you’re not that familiar with. Just say yes to opportunities that come your way, and over time you’re going to build this wealth of knowledge that will create a foundation for your success.”
That mindset has not only helped her team of five navigate the green energy space but also been a north star for Budzynski’s professional and personal development. Maybe it was born out of her international upbringing. She bounced between the US and Europe fifteen times within the first thirty years of her life—an experience that exposed her to different cultures, locations, and the reality that “only change is constant.”
It also made her adaptable and openminded, traits that she relied on as she made her way through law school and through her legal career. Along the way, she raised her hand to take on work in energy finance, capital markets, marketing, intellectual property, corporate governance, fundraising, product development, and more. She rounded out her experiences in those areas with an executive MBA from Auburn University.
Some are taught that the best or more successful career path is linear. Budzynski is a shining example of how false that notion is. “I have a unique mix of experiences that helped me build the skill set I have today,” she says. “It’s important to use all your past experiences and lean into opportunities saying, ‘This is interesting. I haven’t thought of this before. Let me learn more about that.’ It opens up different areas of the law.”
Her diverse background is what makes her team so strong today. Each member has expertise in different areas and industries. They’ve come together to help empower the business in several ways, including through a self-service resource that’s helped colleagues answer policy and guidelines questions without coming to legal and by developing industry-leading contracts for the sale and maintenance of equipment.
Budzynski and her team have also helped the company complete a $250 million Series C financing round, the second largest Series C financing worldwide in 2023. It’s an achievement that the leader is especially proud of.
“It came at a time when there was very little venture capital funding globally, but because of the industry we’re in and the company we built, investors saw a lot of potential in us,” she reflects. “My venture financing and capital markets background was critical for getting it done because there are always last-minute things that come up, but I could say, ‘I’ve seen this before—I have a solution.’”
That’s why Budzynski advises young attorneys to get comfortable being uncomfortable.
“Raise your hands, volunteer, and take on new areas of the law; you never know when you’ll need it and what doors it will open for you,” she says. “A lot of in-house legal departments are leanly staffed, so if there’s no dedicated specialist, offer to become that person. It will help you build your skill set, grow professionally and be seen as a team player who can be counted on. Don’t let linear paths get in the way of your success. My career is a great example of that.”