(From left to right:) Rae Ann Dankovic, senior vice president, Nationwide Financial Legal; Sandra L. Neely, senior vice president and deputy general counsel; Patricia R. Hatler, executive vice president, chief legal and governance officer; Sandra L. Rich, senior vice president and chief compliance officer; and Linda Lu, vice president and chief litigation officer
Last year InsideCounsel introduced its first R3-100 roundup—a list of 100 women who will likely be ready in three years to become general counsel in the Fortune 500. The R3-100 program evolved from InsideCounsel's Women, Influence and Power in Law (WIPL) network, which encompasses a series of women-focused initiatives, including the Transformative Leadership Awards, which honor those committed to advancing women and minorities in the legal profession; Project 5/165, which aims to promote placement of women as Fortune 500 GCs, with the goal of raising the percentage of women in the GC role to 30 percent within five years; and, of course, the WIPL conference itself, which will be held in September in Washington, D.C.
With the help of executive recruitment firms BarkerGilmore; Major, Lindsey & Africa; Heidrick & Struggles and Evers Legal, we compiled this year's list of 100 women poised to assume the position of GC in the next three years. These women are “humble geniuses,” according to Sara Sullivan, senior director of recruiting at BarkerGilmore, meaning they possess the qualities needed to be a successful GC candidate but are often so involved in their current roles that they are not actively looking to advance themselves.
Paving the way for development
After noting that at least two women on this year's R3-100 list were from the same company—and given that five of its top in-house legal leaders are women—we went straight to the source to see what Nationwide Mutual Insurance is doing to be on the cutting edge of professional development for women in law.
Rae Ann Dankovic, senior vice president, Nationwide Financial Legal, and a member of this year's R3-100 list, says that she has taken a holistic approach to advancing her career, from participating in formal training programs to accepting lateral career moves when she saw a long-term benefit.
Drive for the job
Besides having the talent, experience and legal skills to become a general counsel, aspring GCs also need to have a drive for the job, explains Sandra L. Neely, senior vice president and deputy general counsel of Nationwide.