Meet Mary-Sara Camerino, COO of Durham’s GrowPath, provider of legal case management software that originated from The Law Offices of James Scott Farrin. Mary-Sara is a proven leader in international product strategy and full lifecycle product management with experience from Booz, Allen and Hamilton, America Online, Greystones Group, Centene Corporation, Nehemiah Security, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise. She joined the new startup’s Board before taking on the COO role.
For years the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin struggled with the technology available for case management, citing outdated systems and unwieldy workarounds. Founder Eric Sanchez assembled a team of engineers to create his vision of a software solution that addressed workflow inefficiencies, compiled necessary data for reporting and eliminated unnecessary and repetitive steps. In one year they generated $2 million in extra profit just by moving cases faster. In 2017, the founders commercialized their solution and GrowPath was born as a fully configurable, stand-alone, scalable SaaS offering. [Editor’s note: See our earlier story about GrowPath here.]
As a member of the corporate executive leadership team, Mary-Sara and other collaborative minds work to ensure GrowPath provides the best product and service for customers. She believes a product works best when in perfect partnership with development. She holds an MS from Johns Hopkins University and has worked for Fortune 50 companies, early-stage startups, civilian government agencies, and the Department of Defense. She led the development of products and concepts resulting in the filing of six patents, for which she is listed as co-inventor. She has extensive experience in the full life cycle of product development from strategic and financial planning, to product prioritization and road mapping, development both on and off-shore, quality assurance, and customer service including call center operations.
From this diversity of experience, she brings a depth of understanding of organizational process and functions to the organization. GrowPath’s customers benefit from her expertise combined with a team of attorneys and paralegals adept at software migration and deployment who also stand committed behind the mission of offering a radically transformative solution that significantly improves law firm operations. In their words they “Built it. Used it. Perfected it. Now we share it.”
Learn more about this tech executive, Virginia Tech Hokies fan, and mother of two in our Q&A.
Q. After a lengthy career in product management, you joined GrowPath last November as COO. Tell us how that role came about.
I was a member of the GrowPath advisory board serving as the product and marketing SME. It really was a matter of perfect timing—my last role had wrapped up and Jim Farrin was looking to bring in someone to round out the deep legal and innovation expertise with startup operations and product experience.
Q. What do you hope to accomplish at GrowPath in the next 12 months?
Gratefully we have a very strong product, which is not always the case for a startup. We are the best legal case management software you’ve never heard of. From a market perspective, brand and name recognition leading to qualified leads and sales are our No. 1 priority.
Q. What do you think the greatest challenges are for NC startups?
Hiring and retaining technical talent.
Q. Coming in on the ground floor of a startup means you have an amazing opportunity to define the culture. What can you share about that?
I came into a highly innovative and high performing culture. It’s one of the reasons why I took the role. I see myself as the caretaker of what was built before me by Eric Sanchez and Jim Farrin, our founders. Because we’ve been growing, our culture is also evolving with that. We are moving into our own space in the next few weeks, and it’s been incredibly fun and rewarding to see our team participate to make the space our own.
Q. If you weren’t doing your role now what might you be doing professionally?
I’d own a cookbook store called Food for Thought(™). (Hence why I’m still in my current role.)
Q. Working in a startup is all-consuming. If you had one more hour in the day, what would you use it for?
I’d work out. I am in awe of my colleagues who wake up at 4:30 a.m. just to eke out some exercise. Waking up early has never been my superpower.
Q. What were you like in high school?
Might I suggest you ask my husband? We’ve known each other since the 6th grade.
Q. If you could spend a dinner with someone/anyone who would it be and why?
Julia Child. Did you know she didn’t learn how to cook until she was in her 40s? I think that’s incredibly brave. I had a chance to attend a dinner with her (and 200 of her closest friends) and passed. I still regret it.
Q. Share something we might not know about you?
I spent my summers on a lake in Pennsylvania where I was a lifeguard.
Q. Where do we see Mary-Sara in 10 years?
Right here in the Triangle. If our exit is successful, I’ll be behind the counter of my cookbook store 🙂 I moved here 11 years ago to be with my husband, and it took me until GrowPath to find the right role here at home. I’m thrilled to finally have everything come together and don’t plan to go anywhere anytime soon.