THE ADVANCELAW GC LEADERSHIP AWARD is given to GCs who provide exceptional leadership to their companies, the legal profession and society. These GCs have led beyond expectations and touched lives beyond the legal department. AdvanceLaw will select and recognize 20 inspirational GCs across 2021, and will profile each of them here.

A.B. Cruz III

A.B. Cruz III, former General Counsel at USAA, Emergent BioSolutions, Scripps Network Interactive and The E.W. Scripps Company, retired Navy Admiral, and Immediate Past President of the National Asia Pacific American Bar Association, has been engaged in a range of leadership roles since graduating from the Naval Academy.  In our conversation, A.B. shared thoughts on private sector and military leadership, connecting with each team member as a whole person, and the paramount importance of learning a client’s business in detail.

Marie Oh Huber, eBay

Marie Oh Huber, SVP and General Counsel of eBay Inc., has been advocating for diversity, equity and inclusion in the legal profession since she started practicing law. By pushing for all lawyers to prioritize inclusion, Marie reminds us that everyone has a responsibility to contribute – not just those in leadership positions. Her career reflects the evolution of Silicon Valley – first at Hewlett-Packard, then Agilent Technologies, and now eBay.  Given the pace of change in tech, perhaps it was inevitable that Marie would experience the challenges of corporate transformation as much or more than many GCs. In the full interview, Marie talks about encouraging – and managing – change in its many forms. 

Anne Madden, Honeywell

Anne Madden: In Her Own Words

In Their Own Words profiles focus on how GCs have transcended the “reactive lawyer” role to lead positive change in their companies, the legal profession and society.

Anne Madden is a champion of innovative change initiatives. After 15 years as Honeywell’s VP and Global Head of M&A, Anne stepped up as general counsel in 2017 in a big way: she implemented comprehensive digital contract lifecycle management and transformed Honeywell’s approach to law firm management. With her full commitment and confidence in implementing digital innovation and her belief that change can be a good thing in the legal realm, Anne embodies the qualities of a true leader.

Verona Dorch, Providence St. Joseph Health

Verona Dorch was an extraordinary person who embodied the qualities of a true leader throughout her incredible career. We were able to honor her with the GC Leadership Award in December 2020 before she sadly passed away unexpectedly in February of this year.

At AdvanceLaw, we worked with Verona to set up her law firm panels at Peabody, and in 2020 we began that process at Providence. We saw how she led through change with vision and a destination in mind.

Lee Reichert, Molson Coors

Lee Reichert’s almost 10-year tenure at Molson Coors has been filled with impressive leadership and a thoughtful effort to make positive, lasting changes in the company and the legal profession. One such effort was the creation of an 18-month law department clerkship which has created additional opportunities for diverse law school graduates. It exposes young lawyers to in-house legal work, providing them with a powerful – and highly marketable – experience straight out of law school. Below, Lee talks us through his company’s innovative clerkship program and its goal to impact DEI for Molson Coors and in the legal profession.

Bjarne Tellmann, GSK Consumer Healthcare

Bjarne Tellmann talks about leading the charge in legal department transformation during his time as GC at Pearson PLC along with lessons learned. He walks us through the framework of how to look at change: Hardware, Software, and Constants. Bjarne puts emphasis on digital transformation, explaining that data driven insights are where the true value lies. He also recognizes the human aspect of the journey. As the environment around starts to shift, what behaviors and thinking will be moved forward, and what should be left behind? Bjarne reminds us that the only constant in a major transformation such as this one, is change.

Wanji Walcott, Discover Financial Services

In her first year as GC of Discover, Wanji Walcott set clear new expectations for the department, company, and community. She committed the department to five hours of pro bono work per lawyer and tailored new pro bono opportunities for her lawyers; extended the Mansfield Rule to the staffing of major internal projects; narrowed and focused key performance indicators (KPIs) and gave KPIs a more central role in department management; and initiated a comprehensive review of over 100 law firm relationships while instituting budgeting protocols to forecast and manage costs more effectively in all matters.

Contact Us

Every year we welcome innovative GCs to our community.
If you’re interested in learning more about the project, please let us know.