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Learning leadership and lovin’ it

McDonald’s general counsel Gloria Santona explains the leadership development programs available to the members of her legal team

Gloria Santona, executive vice president, general counsel and secretary, McDonald's

One of the perks of working for a fast food giant, is the opportunity to super size your leadership skills.  And, if you are a member of the legal team headed up by Gloria Santona, executive vice president, general counsel and secretary at McDonald’s, you have several leadership opportunities on the menu. 

First, is the company-wide leadership program, which is open to one participant from each department annually. “Each year, we go through all of our attorney staff and decide what kind of development opportunity will benefit them individually, then select one who is ready for the experience,” explains Santona.

While one member of the legal team might find an invitation to this program as the prize in his or her Happy Meal, Santona recognizes that leadership skills and training are important for her team as a whole. To this end, the legal department at McDonald’s has tapped different vendors to create a personalized program that is relevant to different levels, depending on where participants are on their career trajectory, from paralegals on up.

“It’s about owning your own career,” she explains, “understanding the enablers and detractors to your career.” It focused on interpersonal relationships and on how team members can lead themselves to the next level. These leadership programs focus on strengths and weaknesses of each team member, providing exercises to help them become more successful. “Lawyers can be technicians, but we want to develop them to be business counselors,” Santona says. “Lawyers want to and can play a broader role and think in a broader sense.”

Senior Editor and Community Manager

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Rich Steeves

Richard P. Steeves is Senior Editor and Community Manager of InsideCounsel magazine, where he covers the intellectual property and compliance beats. Rich earned a B.A....

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