Much like the jet she will board in the morning, K. Marshall Dye’s career has enjoyed a fast take-off. As general counsel for Match.com, the Internet’s largest dating Web site, Dye is exactly where she wants to be.
“I think it’s a great company,” she says of Match.com. “It’s well run by good people who want to do the right thing and make our customers happy. It’s fun to be a part of that.”
Part of the fun, the 34-year-old Dye says, is the travel. On this night she is packing to leave Texas the following morning for meetings in New York, and then it’s off to London, the international headquarters for Match.com. The attorney in the London office is on maternity leave—Match.com employs three attorneys including Dye, two paralegals and a support staff—and Dye sees it as her responsibility to be there.
“I think it’s so valuable to actually be somewhere and sit with the folks in the office,” she says. “Especially as a lawyer, if you’re not accessible to [your clients], you’re not doing the best you can for the company.”
It is travel that originally led Dye to Match.com’s headquarters in Dallas. Four years ago she interviewed for a position with Ticketmaster, Match’s sister company. The position called for splitting time between the Los Angeles and Dallas offices, which seemed perfect. Ticketmaster decided not to fill that position, and she accepted a position at Arter & Hadden, an Ohio-based firm with a Dallas office. A few months later, Chris Riley, who interviewed her at Ticketmaster, got in touch.
“[He] called me and said they just made [him] general counsel of Match. ‘Want to come work for me?’” Dye remembers. “And I said no, I really love my job, but when you get into town call me and we’ll go grab a beer.”
A few months later Riley called again, and it wasn’t about the beer. This time, he says, he was serious. Match was experiencing international expansion and he wanted Dye to come in-house. She did, and three-and-a-half years later she was promoted to general counsel.
For the former triathlete, finishing in record time is just part of the game. After completing her undergraduate degree at Emory University in Atlanta, the New Jersey native stayed south for law school at SMU in Dallas. By the age of 24 she had her juris doctor and an offer from Jones Day.
“I was ready to get going, and I loved it,” she says of starting at Jones Day. “I didn’t mind working around the clock.”
Soon after, she left Jones Day for a clerkship with the Honorable John H. McBryde, United States district judge for the Northern District of Texas. She says the clerkship “opened my eyes to what law practice is really about, and how to get to the bottom of what is really important.”
During her yearlong stint with the court, she worked on a patent case she found fascinating. It led her to try her hand in the high-tech sector.
She landed a spot back in Dallas with the telecom startup Airband and spent the next few years teaching herself “a lot about transactional work, drafting of contracts, basically making it up as I went along,” she says.
“What I got out of that is that I like to make a business work, and I really don’t like to fight about it after there’s nothing that can be done,” she says. “It’s not satisfying to me. At that point I made a decision not to go back to litigation.”
While Airband never expanded like she had hoped, Dye left there with an important lesson.
“I never thought I had a head for business—it never occurred to me that I would. Turns out I really do,” she says.
At Match, Dye has her hands full keeping pace with the company’s growth and, notably, fighting against proposed legislation that would require background checks for site users.
“It has been introduced nine times and it’s failed everywhere,” she says of the legislation. “The legislators, when they have an opportunity to hear about it, think it’s a bad idea.”
Security issues will remain at the forefront for the Internet-based company. Dye says they have state-of-the-art protection for data privacy.
“We run a clean ship. One of the things we do well at Match is we value our customers. And when you really value your customers, the decisions you make keep you on a straight and narrow path. It makes it easier for the legal department.”
Now in her 10th year of practicing, Dye has found her own perfect match—her husband, attorney Jay Reddien, of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. They were married November 2005, and love has her slowly trading the desire for fast-paced travel for more down time at home.
“Travel was fun when I was single,” she says, “but now I don’t go anywhere for a month.” A family of two busy lawyers makes for hectic schedules, but there’s a lot of understanding. “I’m really lucky that he understands when I say, ‘Sorry, I’m not going to make it home for dinner,’” she says. “He understands just like I do when he says that to me.”
She admits lately she’s been the one not getting home as soon as she would like, and she’s tired from a “long, hard stretch.” But if working all the time has an upside, it’s the perspective it brings.
“It makes your free time more precious, more valuable.”