The Transformative Leadership Awards Dinner, held Monday night in Chicago, honored about a dozen female attorneys who have helped other women gain leadership roles in the legal world. The awards not only celebrated the in-house and law firm attorneys' own immense accomplishments, but also the work they have done to mentor and economically empower other women in law.
"[Thanks] for focusing on not only the 'what' but the 'who' and the 'how,'" said Rose Ann Scanlon, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals' executive director for commercial operations. Scanlon won the Pamela L. Carter Award for her commitment to success through excellent business results, her pioneering spirit and her love for family and friends.
Law firms were also recognized for their commitment to gender equality. Faegre & Benson was recognized for electing three women lawyers to the firm's management committee, among other examples of dedication to diversity.
Mary Ellen Powers, the partner-in-charge of Jones Day's 400-lawyer Washington, D.C., office, was honored for overseeing her office's expansion and playing a key role in ensuring that talented women at Jones Day can develop into leaders.
Beth Kaufman, a partner at Schoeman, Updike & Kaufman, was recognized for her role in one of the country's leading women-owned firms. Kaufman said she was awed by the accomplishments of all the awardees. But, like most of the recipients, Kaufman wanted to make clear that "this has all been accomplished in what is still an inhospitable environment for women."
As much as the ceremony brought to light concerns about gender equality in the legal profession, the gala also celebrated of how far things have come and allowed the attendees to publicly acknowledge women who help each other out.
Sheila Kearney Davidson, who won the Anastasia D. Kelly Award for her mentoring efforts, quoted her son's response to her recognition: "There's an award for that? Girls always help girls. Girls always stick up for girls," the EVP and general counsel of the New York Life Insurance Co. recalled. "That's what we're here for tonight."
Michele Coleman Mayes, senior vice president, general counsel and chief legal officer of Allstate Insurance, emceed the gala dinner and award ceremony at the Fairmont Hotel in Chicago.
The Transformative Leadership Awards were hosted by InsideCounsel and served as a precursor of sorts for the magazine's 10th annual SuperConference, which officially launches today.
Here's the full list of awards and recipients.