It would be inaccurate to describe Cristina Romero de Alba simply as an “emerging leader” of the gaming industry. Despite being only 33, this extraordinary partner of Spain-based Loyra Abogados law firm established her prominent position on the global gaming stage years ago.
If you haven’t crossed paths with Romero yet, don’t despair: This international legal adviser seems to be everywhere these days, so you will have the opportunity to meet her soon.
Romero’s education, résumé and experience rival that of peers decades her senior. She earned dual degrees in law and business management from the Universidad Carlos III (Madrid), engaged in specialization courses in common law at the London School of Economics and Political Science, holds a master’s in Advisory of Listed Companies from the Instituto de Empresa, and participated in the W50 Program at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. She has been a member of the Madrid Bar since 2006.
Romero worked at Credit Suisse in London in 2005-2006 as financial analyst in the Mergers & Acquisitions Department, where she focused on the technology, media and retail sectors. From 2006 to 2011, she worked as senior lawyer in the Finance Department of Clifford Chance, S.L. in Madrid, focusing on capital markets transactions (fixed income, equity, securitization, derivatives, etc.) and regulation of investment and banking services.
Looking back on those experiences, she recalls a key moment that changed the direction of her career. “The tipping point for me was the realization that I would not thrive working in a system of hierarchy and standards,” Romero explains. “I was fortunate to gain experience at two global banking and legal firms, to meet amazing people and to learn the true value of work. At some point, though, I realized that I would bring more value in my own system.
“Sometimes, you can feel like a man on wire leading your own firm, but at least I know it is authentic and that I am in an environment where I can achieve my best self. The uncertainty is worthwhile, and the journey is more enjoyable when you are establishing your own ceiling… and your own rules.”
Romero reflects fondly on the direction she received from key mentors early in her career. “I was lucky enough not to have just one but several mentors along the way, and at every organization,” she says. “Each played a key role in shaping my career and guiding me through difficult environments. Through them, I learned the tricks of the trade, developed ways to alleviate the frustrations associated with new working experiences, and garnered valuable insights about my companies and industries.”
Fluent in five (yes, five) languages—Spanish, English, German, Portuguese and French—Romero leads the international practice area of Loyra and is charged with overseeing the firm’s relationships with funds, listed companies, investor base and banks. Internally, she is committed to helping other young professionals achieve similar levels of success. “I try to be honest, accessible and to have a lot of patience,” Romero says. “I apply my own experiences as much as I can, encourage authentic feedback and share examples of real-life situations with staff and clients from the outset. Ultimately, I always try to inspire others and encourage them to uphold their values, motivation and performance.”
With Romero’s global industry profile—including involvements with such organizations as the International Association of Gaming Attorneys, International Masters of Gaming Law, Global Gaming Women and G2E Advisory Board—and collaborations with many of the industry’s prominent publications, numerous speaking engagements and her educational roles as academic director of the Gaming Masters Program of the Instituto de Empresa and professor at the school’s LLM Program, it is difficult to believe that anything could ever intimidate her.
That may be true now, but she still remembers the nerves she felt speaking at her first gaming conference before she was 30. “I felt so small and unexperienced,” Romero recalls. “But then you go out, you do it, and you get addicted to it!”