2023 ACC Top 10 30-Somethings: Sona Bedrossian

The ACC Top 10 30-Somethings awards recognize in-house counsel between the ages of 30 and 39 for their innovation, approach to challenges, well-rounded perspectives, contributions to the in-house community, and pro bono and volunteer work.  

Sona Bedrossian, general counsel and compliance officer at FlightHub, has built an impressive profile as a contemporary legal professional in the dynamic and fast-paced online travel sector. At age 31, she was named general counsel, demonstrating her comprehensive legal expertise and dedication to the legal department.  

In her dual role as general counsel and compliance officer, Sona continually addresses the challenges of handling diverse demands with constrained resources. Simultaneously, she is evaluating options to comply with rapidly evolving international privacy regulations such as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, the California Privacy Rights Act, and Canada’s Bill C-27, another consumer privacy safeguard.

"I stand by the Three T's: Time, Trust, and Team. You must manage your time efficiently, cultivate trust within an organization, and build a strong team."

Sona bedrossian

Sona's most notable accomplishment include steering the company through a restructuring process and spearheading a comprehensive compliance program for FlightHub. As the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, the entire travel industry came to a halt, which caused serious issues for FlightHub's operations and its overall viability. As a result, FlightHub entered a Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) process in Canada and filed for Chapter 15 proceedings in the United States to ensure business continuity. With resilience and strategic foresight, Sona had to quickly learn insolvency and restructuring law, while also working with various regulators across North America to resolve ongoing inquires and build out an industry-leading compliance program, including developing a mitigation and audit plan for each business unit. “I felt like a 10-year practicing attorney going on 30, due to the intense experiences,” Sona reflects with a smile. 

Sona Bedrossian receives her 2023 ACC Top 10-30 Somethings award.

Sona underscores the necessity of a harmonious blend of hard and soft skills for excelling as a modern general counsel. While hard skills and business acumen are essential, the importance of soft skills cannot be understated. Emphasizing emotional intelligence, effective communication, active listening, and relationship building, Sona has cultivated a leadership style rooted in trust and inclusivity. “Diplomacy is a vital trait for a GC to bridge ideas between different departments,” Sona shares. “I stand by the Three T’s: Time, Trust, and Team. You must manage your time efficiently, cultivate trust within an organization, and build a strong team,” she illustrates. Her approach empowers her team to be “humble, hungry, and honest” and fosters productive collaborations with stakeholders across the organization.

When Sona started her legal career, she focused on real estate litigation and co-ownership law. However, a strong desire to embrace significant challenges spurred her to the online travel industry. As the personal lawyer to the primary founder of FlightHub, a burgeoning startup, she ventured into the unknown, establishing a legal team from the ground up and broadening her legal knowledge across various domains. “When I joined FlightHub six years ago, during its startup phase, the company was still establishing its legal department. I was walking into the lion’s den. This presented me with a unique challenge and required me to navigate through uncharted territory,” Sona recalls.

Sona's dedication to societal contribution extends beyond her professional endeavors. She served as a mentor for the Canadian Armenian Business Council from 2013-2018, providing young law students guidance on expanding their professional legal network. Additionally, she has made significant impacts as a philanthropist. In 2020, Sona served as co-president for the Women’s Center of Montreal fundraiser, raising C$180,000, becoming one of the largest contributors to the cause. Sona is a firm believer in leveraging her professional standing and privileges to effect positive societal changes, embodying the far-reaching impact of seemingly small actions. 

"When I joined FlightHub six years ago, during its startup phase, the company was still establishing its legal department. I was walking into the lion's den."

Sona bedrossian

Sona's experience as a general counsel and compliance officer at FlightHub serves as a testament to the dedication, resilience, and adaptability demanded by roles in swiftly changing industries. Her readiness to embrace challenges, commitment to promoting compliance, and passion for contributing to her community have led to a significant impact on both her organization and those she serves. As a leader, Sona continues to inspire others, exemplifying the influence of a modern general counsel who blends expertise, empathy, and a drive for positive change. 

Sona Bedrossian's acceptance speech for ACC's 2023 Top 10 30-Somethings.