In the summer of 2013, InsideCounsel debuted the first R3-100 list, honoring 100 women who have the potential to become general counsel of a Fortune 500 company within three years. That list was an outgrowth of existing initiatives, including the Women, Influence & Power in Law (WIPL) network. The WIPL network comprises an active group of women attorneys who gather at a yearly conference to network and discuss legal and career matters. In addition to the WIPL conference, to be held this year in October in Washington, DC, the network boasts a website, weekly newsletter and active social media conversations about the issues that matter to its members.
This year, several executive recruitment firms including Major, Lindsey & Africa; Heidrick & Struggles; BarkerGilmore; and Evers Legal, helped the InsideCounsel editorial team compile the R3-100 list. All of the women on this year's list possess the qualities necessary to make the leap to the GC chair at a Fortune 500 company within the next three years—the same feat that has already been accomplished by several women who found their names on previous R3-100 lists.
Fulfilling the promise
In fact, no fewer than four R3-100 alumni have already succeeded in fulfilling the list's prediction. Jan Stern Reed was featured on the 2014 R3-100 list and was subsequently promoted to the role of general counsel at The Walgreen Company. Also featured on the 2014 list was Stacey Friedman, who will take over as GC of JPMorgan Chase & Co. in early 2016.
In addition to Friedman and Stern, two other R3-100 honorees have become general counsel at Fortune 500 companies. Suzanne Rich Folsom, now general counsel, chief compliance officer and SVP – Government Affairs at U.S. Steel, and Kelly Mahon Tullier, now executive vice president and general counsel at Visa, were featured on the inaugural R3-100 list in 2013.
Both women agree that one key to their success has been the accumulation of a wide variety of experience, which helped make them appealing candidates for the role of GC at a Fortune 500 company.
Having what it takes
“My advice for those who want to become the GC of a Fortune 500 company is to have as diverse a set of experiences as possible,” says Folsom. “Did you have an international assignment? Not just from your desk in New York or DC. Did you take the risk and go abroad to take that assignment? Did you work in more than one area of law? Did you have government experience? … In the future, a candidate who is more diverse with respect to experience is going to be more marketable to be the candidate that the Fortune 500 is looking for in a GC.”
Mahon Tullier agrees, citing her own broad experience as an example of how one might gather the skills needed to be the general counsel of a major multinational. “I started at an entry-level lawyer at a company, after working for a few years as a judicial clerk and then as an associate at a firm,” she says. “I started as a trademark lawyer, then quickly broadened into other areas both domestically and internationally. I have always been interested in business and how the legal function supports the growth of the business.”
She cites one particular turning point in her career as an example of how she sought out new and diverse experiences, even when those experiences proved to be challenging. She was given the chance to work internationally, taking a role as GC for PepsiCo's Asia, Pacific, Middle East and Africa division. This entailed a move to Dubai and responsibilities managing over 100 people with diverse backgrounds. “There was a huge learning curve for me. I was not perfect across the board when I first started, but I learned a lot about listening,” she explains.
Keys to success
The women on this year's R3-100 list have a broad range of experience in terms of practice areas and business sectors, but they all have certain personal qualities that make them strong candidates to head the legal department at major corporation. Mahon Tullier sees three specific qualities she has that have spurred on her professional success.
“The first is intellectual curiosity and a desire to be the best at what you do. I started as a trademark lawyer, and people asked if I aspired to be the chief IP lawyer, but I thought I might not always be stretched enough with that.” she says. “Passion is also important. People know I love my job, and every day I am energized and focused, loving what I do. Lawyers and compliance professionals—that's hard work. It's not always fun. We often deal with problems, but I love to do that.”
Finally, Mahon Tullier says that her penchant for risk taking has helped her professional growth as well: “Everyone needs to feel nervous some of the time. There's a sweet spot, where you’re not quite comfortable, where you feel like you don't quite have it all together. But you’re not in a panic. We should all be operating in that space at least some of the time.”
Giving back and paying forward
Folsom's journey to the GC chair of US Steel has involved a wide range of challenging roles, working in-house at companies like AIG and ACADEMI, but it was an early experience she had before she even became an attorney that shaped her philosophy of giving back.
“I had an experience as part of a delegation to the World Conference on Women in Nairobi in 1985. It was such a transformative experience, seeing women from all over the world sharing their challenges and successes,” she describes. After that, Folsom knew that she would put a great deal of effort toward helping other people in her own profession—especially women—and, as part of her efforts, became an integral part of the WIPL Network.
“WIPL is a phenomenal event. There was a buzz in the room that was different from other conferences out there. There were female attorneys from across industries, really bright and talented people, and I learned from them and talked to them about the challenges facing them and their companies,” she explains.
Many of the women on this year's R3-100 list attended the WIPL event in 2014, and many more will attend this year's event, scheduled for October 28-30 in Washington, DC.
This year's list includes a mix of new and returning names. Many of the women appearing on this year's list echo the sentiments of Folsom and Mahon Tullier regarding what it takes to become the GC of a Fortune 500 company.
Diankha Linear, director of corporate compliance at Nordstrom, notes that leadership and knowledge are common traits held by the women on this list: “The type of leader I have seen represented on the R3-100 list is one who has a reputation for taking care of her people first, demonstrates that she understands the business, and has mastered the challenge of always keeping things in perspective.”
Anza D’Antonio, assistant general counsel of the A.O. Smith Corporation, agrees that business acumen is essential for in-house legal success: “Right now my focus is on augmenting my skills in a way that advances the company's business goals; for example, weaving compliance best practices and sustainability markers into contract drafting. I am excited to see what the future holds.”
There is little doubt that, when the 2018 edition of the R3-100 debuts, several of the names on this year's list will have achieved what Folsom, Mahon Tullier, Friedman and Reed have, and by then, there will be a new crop of up-and-coming female attorneys who will carry on the legacy and pay it forward.
The R3-100 is divided into five practice areas that have a high presence in today's legal department: compliance, governance and securities, intellectual property, litigation and M&A/transactions/generalist:
Bej, Natalie | Chief Compliance | Officer Vanguard Group
Cubia, Gil | Senior Corporate Counsel |Johnson Controls, Inc.
Dombrowski, Nadia | Senior Vice President & General Counsel | ICR, Inc.
Files, McLaurin | Vice President, Assistant General Counsel, Gaming | Scientific Games Corp.
Henry, Darlene Quashie | Vice President, Associate General Counsel, Corporate & Compliance | Office Depot, Inc.
Hill, Bettye | Vice President, Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer | Oshkosh Corporation
Koenig, Heather | Global Chief Regulatory Counsel, Head of Office of Public Policy & Regulatory Affairs | BNY Mellon
Linear, Diankha | Director, Corporate Compliance | Nordstrom
Loundy, Chris | Associate General Counsel – Supply Chain | Stepan Company
Meuers, Christine | EVP & Head, Ethics Program Office | Wells Fargo
Michael, Bonnie | Vice President, Legal and General Counsel USA | Volvo Financial Services
Pons, Natalie | Senior Vice President, Assistant General Counsel, Health Care Services | CVS Caremark
Rich, Sandra | Senior Vice President and Chief Compliance Office | Nationwide
Schechter, Julie | Chief Compliance Officer | Synchrony
Tsai, Caroline | Chief Legal Officer, U.S. Personal & Commercial Banking | BMO Financial Corp
Vitek, Anna Maria | GC & Chief Compliance Officer, Latin America | Avon Products
Watson, Ashley | SVP, Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer | Merck
Wertjes, Catherine | DGC, VP, Chief Regulatory Counsel | Astellas Pharma US
Yapchai, Kim | Chief Compliance Officer | Whirlpool Corporation
Governance & Securities
Caldwell, Samantha | Senior Counsel | Aon
Cherian, Corinna | Vice President and SEC Counsel | City National Bank
Ferguson, Rhonda | Vice President, Corporate Secretary & Chief Ethics Officer | FirstEnergy Corp.
Geer, Stacey | Executive Vice President, Chief Governance Officer, Deputy General Counsel & Corporate Secretary | Primerica, Inc.
Hilt, Angela | VP and Corporate Secretary & Associate General Counsel | Clorox
Hughes, Lily | Senior Vice President, Chief Legal Officer & Corporate Secretary | Public Storage
Kildea Dewane, Jennifer | Deputy General Counsel | CareSource
Klane, Polly | Managing Vice President, Chief Counsel, Digital and Enterprise Service | Capital One
Mathas, Lydia | Director, Corporate Governance and Assistant Corporate Secretary | Walgreens
Miles, Morenike | Deputy General Counsel – Enterprise Risk Management and Legal Administration | Dominion
Miller, Stephanie D. | Senior Vice President, Associate General Counsel and Corporate Secretary | Baxalta, Inc.
Rosenthal, Lesley | Senior Vice President, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary | Lincoln Center
Sharps Myers, Gail | Chief General Counsel | Snyder’s-Lance
Sher, Lori | SVP, Deputy General Counsel | E*Trade
Soman, Vanessa | General Counsel | The Street, Inc.
Soranno, Linda J. | Vice President, Deputy General Counsel | General Mills, Inc.
Telman, Deborah | Vice President & General Counsel, Centers of Excellence – Americas | Johnson Controls
Wright Cottrell, DeVona | Director & Associate General Counsel | Robert W. Baird and Co.
Wright, Janet | Vice President, Corporate, Securities and Finance Counsel & Asst Secretary | Dell, Inc.
Bortolotti, Rebecca | VP Chief Technology Counsel – Technology, Supply Chain, R&I | ConAgra Foods, Inc.
Coleman, Bevelyn | Executive Vice President & Deputy General Counsel | Wells Fargo
DiFabio, Andrea | VP, Legal | Biogen Idec
Greenwald, Jill C. | Assistant Chief Counsel Legal Affairs | ABC
Gupta, Anirma | Vice President and Deputy General Counsel | Intuit
Harvey Dawson, Alyssa | Vice President, Global Intellectual Property and Licensing | Harman International
Hickey, Toni | Deputy General Counsel & Chief IP Counsel for Transactions & Strategy | Cummins Inc.
Johnson, Cheree | Vice President, Senior Associate General Counsel | McCormick & Co.
Joyce, Kelsey | Senior Director of Legal Affairs | T-Mobile
La Voi, Sarah J. | Associate General Counsel, Media | Re:Sources USA, a Publicis Groupe company
Lacavera, Catherine | Director, IP and Litigation | Google
Lewis Bell, Bonita | Vice President, Deputy General Counsel | Terex Corporation
Marson, Deborah | Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel | Iron Mountain
Montz, Renee | Deputy General Counsel | American Equity
Morgan, Lorie Ann | Vice President, Intellectual Property | Gilead Sciences
Southall, Noni | Associate General Counsel, Finance and Assistant Corporate Secretary | W.W. Grainger
Turner-Brim, Phyllis | Vice President and Chief IP Counsel | Intellectual Ventures
Weinstock, Pamela | Associate General Counsel | Kenneth Cole Productions
Wilson, Erika | Intellectual Property Counsel | Honeywell
Belcher, Megan | Vice President & Chief Counsel – Employment Law and Compliance | ConAgra Foods, Inc.
Caruso, Joanne | Vice President, Director of Global Litigation | Jacobs Engineering Group
Colon, Flor M. | Vice President, Strategic Partnerships & Alliances, and EHS&S | Xerox
Davis, Marleina | DGC, Deputy Chief Legal Officer | Cleveland Clinic
Egan, Margaret | VP, Associate GC | Hyatt Hotels Corporation
Grays, Taa | Chief of Staff and Assistant General Counsel | MetLife
Hufford, Wendy | VP, US Litigation, Risk Management & Human Resources | Boehringer Ingelheim
Hunter, Jocelyn | Vice President and Deputy General Counsel | The Home Depot
Huser, Mary | Senior Vice President, Legal | McKesson Corporation
Koorenny, Kathryn | General Counsel | AlixPartners
Levitt, Catherine | DGC, VP, Risk Management and Chief Litigation Counsel | Astellas Pharma US
Lu, Linda | VP, Chief Litigation Officer | Nationwide Mutual Insurance
Meiselman, Abby | Head of Investment Banking Litigation for the Americas | UBS
Moorthy, Malini | Vice President & Associate General Counsel; Head of U.S. Litigation | Bayer Corporation
Robinson, Cari | Associate General Counsel | IBM
Robinson Haden, Laurie | Senior Vice President and Assistant General Counsel | CBS Corporation
Tamez, Raquel | Chief Legal Officer | SourceAmerica
Tillman, Michaune | General Counsel, Vice President Human Resources & Compliance | WAVE
Botticelli, Denise | VP, Associate General Counsel, Secretary | Edwards Lifesciences
Cattier, Jennifer | Head of Alternatives Legal | Deutsche Bank
Chainey, Kim | Associate General Counsel / Legal Lead LAC/APAC | Avis Budget
Dankovic, Rae Ann | Senior Vice President | Nationwide
D’Antonio, Anza | Assistant General Counsel | A.O. Smith Corporation
Gray-Kemp, Felice | Deputy General Counsel | Amphenol, Corp
Ha, Martha | Vice President, Corporate Secretary, and General Counsel – Corporate & International | DaVita HealthCare Partners Inc.
Jaeger de Foras, Tanya | Vice President & Chief Legal Officer, Europe, Middle East & Africa | Whirlpool Corporation
Kelly, Genevieve | Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary | Dole Food Company, Inc.
King, Lea Ann | General Counsel | Toyota Material Handling, U.S.A., Inc.
Logan, Adrienne | Senior Vice President & General Counsel Kenneth Cole Productions, Inc.
Mawakana, Tekedra | N. Global Head of Public Policy | Yahoo
Perkins, Noelle | Chief Counsel – Oilseeds | Archer Daniels Midland Company
Risam, Monica | General Counsel & Company Secretary – Aviva UK Life | Aviva
Rodriguez, Candace | Associate General Counsel | Home Depot
Sanford, Amy | Vice President and Group General Counsel | DaVita HealthCare Partners Inc.
Sheehan, Karen | Vice President & Deputy General Counsel | Tupperware Brands Corporation
Surace-Smith, Kathy | Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary | Nanostring Technologies
Tanzi, Lisa | Vice President & Deputy General Counsel, Applications & Services Group | Microsoft
Varner, Carla | Chief Legal Officer | Franklin Monroe
Wallman, Suzanne | Assistant General Counsel | Orbitz
Wilmer, Antje | Executive Counsel, Mergers & Acquisitions | The General Electric Company
Wong, Sylvia | Vice President, Assistant General Counsel and Chief Trust & Compliance Officer | IBM
Wu, Simone | Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary | Choice Hotels International