Without women role models, Hilton Worldwide's GC blazed her own trail to the top

In-house veteran Kristin Campbell believes lawyers provide an advantage to businesses

Kristin Campbell can’t remember exactly what triggered her interest in law. It was probably a tv show. “Sadly, I watched a lot of TV as a child,” she admits. Even so, the good-versus-evil, right-versus-wrong plots of law dramas weren’t what she found compelling. “I was always attracted to the intellectual, academic side of the law,” she says. “There are always two sides to stories, and trying to use a legal backdrop to resolve those differences was interesting to me, from an academic standpoint.”  

But growing up in the ’60s, every lawyer Campbell could look up to, both in real life and in the media, was a man. That included her father, a trial lawyer. She mentioned to him one day that she was interested in his profession, and that she might want to be a legal secretary or a paralegal when she grew up. He just looked at her and asked, “Well, why wouldn’t you want to be a lawyer?”

Q: What kind of work does your legal team do?

A: I inherited a great team, and we’re going to be even stronger in the future. There are roughly 50-plus lawyers. We are in five offices around the world. Hilton is in [88] countries, so we’ve set up the legal departments so that we have broad, global coverage. I have lawyers in Virginia, which is the headquarters, but also in Florida and Memphis, Tenn.; and in London, Shanghai, Singapore, Dubai and Mumbai.

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