Often, when people think of Hard Rock International, they think of the brand’s cafes, hotels, casinos, and, most prominently, its vast collection of rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia—guitars especially—signed by the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Slash. But to Candice Pinares-Baez, Hard Rock’s director of business affairs for employment and litigation, the company is all of that and more: it’s a global and inclusive team, a dynamic brand, and a place to both learn and thrive.
Hispanic Executive spoke with Pinares-Baez to earn more about what the company has meant to her.
What do you think has gotten you to where you are today? Are there any particular experiences that have informed your current position at Hard Rock International?
Being a first-generation American, I do not take the opportunities afforded to those in this country for granted. Growing up in Miami with two immigrant parents, I learned quickly that diversity and inclusion are a must to succeed in any endeavor, particularly in growing a global economy and community. Since I was a young girl, my parents encouraged me to follow my dreams, and never take no for an answer. My father encouraged me to be the first in my family to graduate from college and to study to become a lawyer.
I graduated from Miami Sunset Senior High School in Miami, received my bachelor’s from Florida State University with honors, and earned my juris doctorate from the University of Miami with honors as well. In 2009, I began working at a national labor and employment law firm, Fisher Phillips, where I eventually became partner.
While I thoroughly enjoyed servicing clients and handling litigation, I began taking a keen interest in the actual business dealings of my clients and sought to learn more, so that proactive rather than reactive measures could be taken to minimize legal exposure. It was at that time that I realized that I may be more satisfied servicing one client that I could really delve into.
What exactly appealed to you about the in-house position at Hard Rock when you decided to join the company? Since then, what are the aspects of in-house work that you have enjoyed the most?
Hard Rock International is one of the world’s most iconic brands. It has a global presence, unmatched executive leadership, and resilient values. The thought of working for a global organization that is expanding its worldwide footprint at incredible speed was an exciting prospect to me. Couple that with the fact that it is the first major international company owned by a Native American tribe with amazing values, and I was sold.
One of the things I have enjoyed most about working at Hard Rock is the exposure to team members and cultures all over the world. It has helped me understand that our similarities are much more important than our differences and that Hard Rock’s motto, “All Is One,” can truly be harmonized if everyone is on the same team. I also find it extremely exciting to work with a company that is growing so quickly all over the world.
“[Working at Hard Rock] has helped me understand that our similarities are much more important than our differences.”
The company’s global expansion efforts sound intriguing—how do you work to support, strategize, and manage the company’s litigation on a global level?
Hard Rock is aggressively expanding its portfolio with hotels, cafes, and casinos around the world. With venues in 76 countries spanning 262 locations that include owned/licensed or managed hotels, casinos, Rock shops, and cafes, managing its litigation is no easy feat.
That being said, in the year that I have been with the company, I have sought to streamline litigation processes, accentuate training to proactively limit litigation, and to forge relationships with global partners who can assist and support us in the varying jurisdictions in which we operate.
What are some of the main challenges you have faced during this global expansion, and what is something you are proud of having accomplished despite those challenges?
As the company’s labor and employment counsel, one of the main challenges associated with expansion is ensuring that all proper policies and protocols are put in place at the inception of an acquisition or mass hire.
What are some of the key initiatives the company is taking due to this global expansion, and how do you work to execute those initiatives?
Hard Rock is expanding in the hotel and gaming sectors, globally, and team members are the bedrock of any expansion. In 2018, Hard Rock International was recognized as a Forbes magazine Top Employer for Women. In 2019, Hard Rock International was honored by Forbes magazine as one of America’s Best Large Employers and again as a Forbes magazine Top Employer for Women.
Working to ensure that the organization is doing all it can to continue to make this a corporation where talented individuals choose to work and grow their careers is paramount. Further, ensuring that the company is minimizing its legal risks is absolutely necessary for any company, and more so for an expanding organization.
Fisher Phillips is proud of our tradition of diversity and inclusion. We are committed to developing and expanding our diverse and talented team of professionals and believe that inclusivity strengthens our ability to serve our clients. We congratulate Candice on this well-earned recognition in Hispanic Executive. fisherphillips.com