Attorney Intel is pleased to announce The Top 25 General Counsels of 2022. This year’s awardees represent some of the most successful companies in the world across many metrics. However, with success in any field inevitably comes controversy and legal issues, and the counsels on this year’s list provide the steady hand, guidance, and leadership necessary to navigate their companies through troubled waters and come out the other side whole and often in a better position than they were before.
Katherine Adams oversees all of Apple’s extensive legal matters, including corporate governance, intellectual property, litigation and securities compliance, and global security and privacy. Meanwhile, Halimah DeLaine Prado has been instrumental in addressing numerous cross-product and company-wide issues over the course of her nearly 16-year career at Google. And Hossein Nowbar not only handles Microsoft’s Corporate Legal Affairs but also oversees the strategic projects, pro bono, and cloud initiatives team focused on advancing Microsoft’s broader aspirations.
This year’s awardees come from a wide range of backgrounds: trial attorneys, a clerk for Supreme Court Justices, even a structural engineer for Lockheed, just to name a few. What they share is their ability to expertly lead their companies through the complex quagmire of legal matters that inevitably face large corporations in a litigious world. Without the deep knowledge and sound leadership of these general counsels, their companies would not be able to achieve the financial success they have or reach the number of customers they have. Please join us in celebrating The Top 25 General Counsels of 2022.
1. David A. Zapolsky, Amazon
Title: General Counsel
As Amazon.com, Inc.’s General Counsel, David A. Zapolsky manages the company's legal, policy, compliance, and regulatory affairs. He initially came to Amazon as its Associate General Counsel for Litigation and Regulatory Matters in 1999. He was appointed to his current positions as General Counsel and Senior Vice President in 2014. He recently made deadlines for taking point on facilitating a $2.2 million donation meant to support the immediate needs of thousands of students from underserved communities in the Puget Sound region through the Right Now Needs Fund.
Preceding his tenure with Amazon, Zapolsky was a partner at the Seattle offices of both Dorsey & Whitney and Bogle & Gates. Before his move to Seattle, he had served as an Assistant District Attorney in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, and later practiced law at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. He was a founding board member of Seattle JazzED, which provides jazz education and performance opportunities to Seattle-area youth. He is also the Director of The Alliance for Education, an independent nonprofit that supports public school funding in Seattle. In addition, he recently worked as an Affiliate Instructor at the University of Washington School of Law, instructing courses on technology law and policy. Zapolsky received his Bachelor of Arts in Music from Columbia University and a Juris Doctor from the University of California, Berkeley.
2. Katherine Adams, Apple
Title: General Counsel and Senior Vice President, Legal and Global Securities Division
Reporting directly to Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook, Katherine Adams is Apple’s General Counsel and Senior Vice President of the company’s Legal and Global Security division. As a key member of the company’s executive team, Adams oversees all of Apple’s extensive legal matters, including corporate governance; intellectual property; litigation and securities compliance; and global security and privacy.
Adams arrived at Apple from Honeywell in 2017, where she worked for 14 years, most recently as Senior Vice President and General Counsel. At Honeywell, she was in charge of the organization’s global legal strategy across more than 100 countries. Prior to joining Honeywell, Kate was a Partner at Sidley Austin. Earlier in her career, she served as a Law Clerk for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor; as Trial Attorney for the United States Department of Justice, Appellate Section, Environment and Natural Resources division; and as Law Clerk for Stephen Breyer, then Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and later Supreme Court Justice. Adams earned a Bachelor’s in Comparative Literature from Brown University and her Juris Doctor from the University of Chicago Law School.
3. Ronald Olson, Berkshire Hathaway
Title: Berkshire Board Member and de facto Legal Chief
Although Berkshire Hathaway has no General Counsel or traditional legal department, it counts on law firm Munger, Tolles & Olson for its representation and counseling. Ronald Olson, a founding partner of that law firm and a Berkshire board member, serves as Berkshire Hathaway’s de facto legal chief. In this capacity, Olson counsels individual executives and boards of directors in a wide range of matters, including transactions, corporate governance, and executive compensation, having acted as the lead partner in various high-profile litigation matters.
Previously, Olson served as a director of The Washington Post Company, Edison International, and City National Bank. He is also the director of several nonprofits, including the California Institute of Technology and ProPublica. Olson earned a Bachelor of Science from Drake University, his Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan, and a Diploma in Law from the University of Oxford.
4. Halimah DeLaine Prado, Google
Title: General Counsel
Google’s General Counsel is Halimah DeLaine Prado. She has assisted the company as it faces a slate of potential antitrust cases, leading Google’s extensive legal department at a critical juncture. Otherwise, she is on hand to oversee all of the company’s legal responsibilities and teams. She has been instrumental in addressing numerous cross-product and company-wide issues over the course of her nearly 16-year career at Google.
Before her current role, Prado managed Google’s global team providing legal counseling for various Google products, including advertisements, Search, and YouTube. Prior to Google, she was an Associate with Dechert as well as with Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz, and was a Judicial Law Clerk for the U.S. Eastern District of Pennsylvania under the Honorable Mary A. McLaughlin. Prado received her Juris Doctor from the Georgetown University Law Center and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Yale University.
5. Hossein Nowbar, Microsoft
Title: General Counsel, Corporate Legal Affairs and Corporate Secretary
Hossein Nowbar is General Counsel for Microsoft’s Corporate Legal Affairs organization, and is also the company’s Corporate Secretary. In his general counsel role, Hossein leads a dedicated team of professionals responsible for Microsoft’s intellectual property, litigation, compliance and ethics, competition and market regulation, HR and immigration, finance, M&A, business development, and legal operations functions; he also oversees the strategic projects, pro bono, and cloud initiatives team focused on advancing Microsoft’s broader aspirations. In his other capacity, as corporate secretary, Hossein leads a team managing corporate governance, which is responsible for providing strategic legal counsel to the company's business leaders for a wide range of legal and regulatory issues.
Nowbar joined Microsoft in 1997 and has held a variety of increasingly senior leadership roles within its legal organization. Prior to joining Microsoft, he was an Attorney with Davis Wright Tremaine. He holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Washington Law School and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Washington.
6. Scott Nehs, Blue Cross Blue Shield
Title: Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary
Scott Nehs is Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), a national conglomerate of community-based, locally operated BCBS companies. In his roles, he guides BCBSA and BCBS Plan leadership on a broad range of strategic, reputational, and operational issues to both safeguard and advance the brand. He has hired or promoted over half of the 36 members of the division, making significant inroads in fleshing out the legal team’s diversity and depth. He is also responsible for BCBSA’s governance matters and privacy initiatives, as well as its audit, compliance, and national anti-fraud functions.
Prior to ascending to his current positions, Nehs worked as BCBSA’s Deputy General counsel and Assistant Corporate Secretary. Before joining the BCBSA family, he was the SVP of Legal and Government Affairs for PepsiAmericas – and a member of the company’s worldwide leadership team, holding the positions of Chief Compliance Officer and Chief Privacy Officer. His career started at the Chicago-based law firm Wildman, Harrold, Allen & Dixon. Nehs earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Wisconsin Law School and a Bachelor of Science in Political Science and Sociology from Northwestern University.
7. Stacey Friedman, JPMorgan Chase
Title: Executive Vice President and General Counsel
As Executive Vice President and General Counsel for JPMorgan Chase and a member of the firm’s Operating Committee, Stacey Friedman is responsible for the firm’s exposure to legal risk across the globe, including litigation and enforcement matters; advising on products and services; and advocacy in connection with proposed laws, rules, and regulations. She also works as the Operating Committee Sponsor of the firm's Digital Assets Group and as the Executive Sponsor of the Office of LGBTQ+ Affairs. She came to the firm in 2012, and served as the Deputy General Counsel and as the General Counsel for the Corporate & Investment Bank before rising to her current role in 2016.
Prior to her time with JPMorgan, Friedman was a partner at Sullivan & Cromwell in its Litigation Group. She is a member of the board for the National Women’s Law Center, an organization dedicated to fighting for gender justice in the courts, in public policy, and in society as a whole. She kicked off her legal career as a clerk for the Honorable Gary L. Taylor in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Friedman holds a Juris Doctor from Duke University and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Los Angeles.
8. Thomas J. Reid, Comcast
Title: Chief Legal Officer and Secretary
Tom Reid is Chief Legal Officer and Secretary of Comcast Corporation. In these capacities, he manages Comcast’s legal, corporate governance, and strategic intellectual property functions as well as the company’s government/regulatory affairs and political affairs operations. He arrived at Comcast in 2019 after a long and fruitful career with Davis Polk, where he served as Chairman and Managing Partner of the firm from 2011 until his eventual transition to Comcast.
Reid additionally serves as the Secretary of the Board of Trustees of The Morgan Library & Museum and as a Trustee of the National Urban League. The Pro Bono Partnership honored him with the “Champion Award” in 2018 in recognition of his unwavering commitment to pro bono work, and in 2021 he received the St. Thomas More award from the Archdiocese of New York’s Inner-City Scholarship Fund. Reid graduated from Edinburgh University with First Class Honors in Law and from Columbia Law School with a Master’s in Law.
9. Brett C. Gerry, Boeing
Title: Chief Legal Officer and Executive Vice President of Global Compliance
Brett C. Gerry is the Chief Legal Officer and Executive Vice President of Global Compliance for The Boeing Company, having assumed those roles in mid-2020 after serving one year as the company’s General Counsel. Gerry is the company’s senior legal adviser and is additionally a member of the company’s Executive Council. Since coming to the company in 2008, he has served in senior positions in the Law Department, including as Vice President and General Counsel for Boeing Commercial Airplanes as well as Chief Counsel to Boeing’s Network and Space Systems business. Previously, Gerry served for three years as President of Boeing Japan, based in Tokyo. There, he was charged with expanding the company’s local presence, identifying new business and partnership opportunities, and leading government affairs and corporate citizenship programs.
Gerry came to Boeing following several senior positions in the U.S. Department of Justice and the White House. He also worked in private practice at Boston-based Goodwin Procter and was a law clerk in both the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court. He currently serves as a member of the board of trustees at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, as a member of the industry advisory board for the University of Washington Law School’s Global Business Law initiative, and as a member of the board of directors of the Seattle Shakespeare Company. Gerry received a Juris Doctor from Yale Law School, a Master’s in Political Science from Yale University, and a Bachelor’s in Political Science and Economics from Colgate University.
10. David Searle, Tesla
Title: Acting Head of Legal and Corporate Secretary
David Searle is the Acting Head of Legal and Corporate Secretary for clean energy automotive company Tesla, arriving in part to help it address a recently unsealed lawsuit that accused Tesla of refusing to hire law department leaders willing to stand up to the company’s controversial CEO and Co-Founder, Elon Musk. The lawsuit specifically alleges that the Palo Alto, California-based company and its board have “consistently failed to ensure that Tesla has an independent general counsel who can provide advice untainted by Musk.” Prior to Seale’s arrival, Tesla had shuttered its media/public relations department.
Before his appointment to Tesla, Searle served nearly two years as the International Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer at Walmart. Preceding that, he served as a Deputy General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer at Bristow Group, the world's largest provider of offshore industrial aviation services, primarily to the energy sector. The former Baker Botts associate also previously held in-house roles at Nexeo Solutions and Baker Hughes, operating as he did at Bristow primarily in the oil and gas sector. At the outset of his legal career, he was a Trial Attorney assigned to the Criminal Division in The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Texas and a Law Clerk to Judge Jerry E. Smith in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Searle earned his Juris Doctor from the Duke University School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Stanford University.
11. Kathryn Ruemmler, Goldman Sachs
Title: Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel
As Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel of Goldman Sachs, Kathryn Ruemmler leads the firm’s Management Committee as well as its Firmwide Conduct Committee. In addition to her other considerable duties within the organization, Ruemmler heads Goldman Sachs committees on reputational risk, regulatory reform, and client and business standards. Ruemmler first joined Goldman Sachs as a Partner in 2020, building on her prior experience in the sector with Latham & Watkins.
Prior to taking up her current position with Goldman Sachs, Ruemmler distinguished herself as Counsel to President Barack Obama and Associate Counsel to President Clinton. Ruemmler has a long history of legal work within the government, holding the titles of Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General and Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia. A fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, she is also a member of the board of trustees of the German Marshall Fund. Ruemmler holds a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University Law Center and a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Washington.
12. Jonathan Shafner, Geico
Title: Vice President and General Counsel
Jonathan Shafner is Vice President and General Counsel at insurance giant Geico. This position represents the culmination of more than two decades of service with the company, working from Assistant General Counsel for the company’s internet business unit before becoming Assistant and then Deputy General Counsel. Shafner took the helm of Geico’s legal team at a critical time in which the company faced legal challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
An attorney with considerable experience in litigation management and commercial litigation, Shafner first joined Geico’s life insurance division as an Attorney in 1986. Prior to beginning his tenure with Geico, Shafner cut his teeth as a Multiple Line Agent for Metropolitan and as a Senior Research Associate with the Life Insurance Marketing and Research Association, then went on to work in Cigna’s legal division. Shafner holds a law degree from Western New England Law School, where he was a member of the university’s Law Review, and a Bachelor of English from the University of Connecticut.
13. Zabrina Jenkins, Starbucks
Title: Executive Vice President and Interim General Counsel
Executive Vice President and Interim General Counsel of Starbucks Zabrina Jenkins brings more than two decades of experience in legal excellence to the Seattle-based coffee titan. A people-first team leader with vast experience in the executive legal world, Jenkins is Executive Champion of the Starbucks Black Partner Network and advises her department’s diversity committee. Before she was named to her current post with the company, Jenkins led Starbucks’ global litigation team as Managing Director of the legal division, then headed its global legal strategy as Vice President Deputy General Counsel.
In addition to her duties at Starbucks, Jenkins continues to serve as a fellow of the International Women’s Forum, and is an Independent Board Director for Retail Opportunity Investments Corp. Prior to joining Starbucks as Corporate Counsel in 2005, Jenkins began her legal career as an Associate for Garvey Schubert Barer. An avid volunteer, Jenkins is a trustee of her undergraduate alma mater, Central Washington University, and serves on the boards of the Washington Leadership Institute and the Loren Miller Bar Foundation. Jenkins earned a Juris Doctorate from Syracuse’s College of Law, a Master of Science in Higher Education Administration from Syracuse University, and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Finance from Central Washington University.
14. Tim Teter, Nvidia
Title: Executive Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary
Tim Teter, Nvidia’s Executive Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary, is an expert in patent law and other technology-related legal issues. On top of his considerable duties with the tech company, he holds a position on the board of directors for the Semiconductor Industry Association. Helped along by his legal guidance, Nvidia has posted remarkable gains over the last several years, branching out from familiar territory in graphics processing into domains including scientific computing and artificial intelligence.
Although Teter has made a name for himself as counsel to Nvidia over the last five years, he is perhaps best known for his twenty years of service as Partner in complex commercial and intellectual property litigation for Cooley LLP. He also served with distinction as Judicial Clerk in the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the District Court for California’s Central District. He began his career as a Structural Engineer for Lockheed Missiles and Space Company, working on critical equipment for the Hubble Space Telescope. Teter holds a Juris Doctorate from Stanford Law and a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Davis.
15. Todd Machtmes, Salesforce
Title: Executive Vice President and General Counsel
Salesforce’s Executive Vice President and General Counsel Todd Machtmes is hailed as one of the best in the business for legal, ethics and integrity, and compliance matters. Starting with his previous positions with the company – including several years as Corporate Counsel before working his way up to SVP and EVP posts – Machtmes has guided Salesforce through a series of critical milestones, such as the period of rapid growth following its initial public offering.
Machtmes’ reputation as a remarkable leader in his field extend back before he joined Salesforce in 2005. Previously, Machtmes worked as a Senior Contracts Associate at Adobe, an Associate at Miller Starr Regalia, and an Associate at the law firm of Ropers, Majeski, Kohn & Bentley. Machtmes holds a Juris Doctorate from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law and a Bachelor of Science from California State University, Chico.
16. Bimal Patel, PayPal
Title: General Counsel
Bimal Patel only joined PayPal within the last two years, but has already advanced from Senior Vice President to his current post of General Counsel. Described by his immediate predecessor as “the very best leader and General Counsel,” he has already distinguished himself in his new role, exploiting his firsthand experience as the architect of the federal Paycheck Protection Program to secure the interests of PayPal and its customers.
Patel cut his teeth as a Senior Advisor at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), after which he worked as the head of the financial advisory and regulation practice at D.C.-based law firm O’Melveny & Myers. He also served for more than three years with the U.S. Department of the Treasury, providing oversight over the financial world as Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions and Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Financial Stability Oversight Council. Patel earned a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University Law Center, a Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School, and a Bachelor’s in Economics and Political Science from Stanford University.
17. Angela Steele, McDonald’s
Title: General Counsel
Angela Steele has been General Counsel for McDonald’s U.S. for just under a year. Among her current responsibilities with McDonald’s, Steele oversees global legal services related to areas including advertising, communications, and intellectual property. She is building on over a decade of experience with the company, having previously served as McDonald’s Managing Counsel for various divisions as well as General Counsel for the Latin American region.
Before she joined McDonald’s in 2011, Steele was an Associate/Of Counsel at Greenberg Traurig, and spent four years as an Associate with Pattishall, McAuliffe, Newbury, Hilliard & Geraldson LLP. In addition to working with McDonald’s Global Women’s Leadership Network, she is an in-house mentor to Diversity Lab’s “Move the Needle” program to increase diversity in the legal world. Steele holds a Juris Doctorate from the University of Chicago Law School and a Bachelor’s in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
18. Jeffrey Pash, NFL
Title: Executive Vice President and General Counsel
Executive Vice President and General Counsel for the National Football League (NFL) Jeffrey Pash has been with the popular sports league’s legal team since 1997. He provides in-house legal advising on affairs including internal auditing, labor relations, and security. He has distinguished himself as Counsel to the NFL over the years, meeting a series of legal and PR crises with a capable hand.
In addition to his long career with the NFL, Pash worked as Senior Vice President and General Counsel for the National Hockey League, working as a legal and policy advisor to the league’s Commissioner. Prior to his time with pro sports leagues, he was at D.C. firm Covington & Burling for thirteen years, rising to become Partner and heading the firm’s sports practice as well as handling other litigation and labor matters. Pash holds multiple degrees from Harvard College and Harvard Law School, and he has taught sports law as an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University Law School and as a Lecturer at the University of Virginia Law School.
19. Rena Hozore Reiss, Marriott International
Title: Executive Vice President and General Counsel
Marriott International’s Executive Vice President and General Counsel Rena Hozore Reiss brings more than two decades of experience in legal excellence to the hotel and travel giant. Having previously worked as Senior Vice President and Associate General Counsel for the company, she spent three years as General Counsel to the Hyatt Hotels Corporation before returning to Marriott in 2017. Since then, she has distinguished herself as a leader in the legal community, receiving the title “Transformative Leader” by Inside Counsel.
A standout in the fields of employment and corporate law, Reiss has provided top-tier guidance to Marriott and her other employers, leading risk management and corporate transactions teams while supporting international development efforts. A frequent speaker in the legal world, she is a member of the Georgetown University Hospitality Law Advisory Board. Reiss earned a Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School and a Bachelor’s in History from Princeton University.
20. Thomas Golden, Bloomberg LP
Title: General Counsel
Thomas Golden has been General Counsel for Bloomberg LP since November 2021. Prior to joining Bloomberg as an employee, in August 2011 Golden successfully represented Bloomberg as a Litigation Partner at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, when it won the dismissal of a high-profile pregnancy discrimination case filed against the company four years earlier.
The August 28, 2009 edition of The Am Law Litigation Daily named Golden "Litigator of the Week" for his lead role in Bloomberg LP v. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, a high-profile action challenging the Federal Reserve’s refusal to disclose certain information under the Freedom of Information Act. Prior to his current role, he spent nearly seven years as Counsel for Bloomberg and 15 years as Partner at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP. Golden holds a Doctor of Law from the New York University School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts in History from the College of the Holy Cross.
21. Lara Pitaro Wisch, MLB
Title: General Counsel
In 2019, Major League Baseball (MLB) promoted longtime in-house lawyer Lara Pitaro Wisch to be its General Counsel, making her the first woman to hold the position. Wisch leads MLB's legal department, overseeing all of the league’s attorneys throughout the organization, including those who support the league’s business groups and the league office. She joined MLB in 2004 and has held a variety of positions throughout her tenure. Notably, she has played a vital behind-the-scenes role in shaping professional baseball's shift to digitization. In particular, she was a key adviser in the $2.6 billion transaction that resulted in Disney becoming the majority owner of MLB's digital media arm.
Wisch earned her Juris Doctor from Fordham University School of Law and her Bachelor's from Cornell University. She grew up competing in sports, especially doubles tennis and lacrosse. Her brother, James Pitaro, is the President of ESPN.
22. Rick Buchanan, NBA
Title: General Counsel
As General Counsel for one of the fastest-growing sports leagues in the world, Rick Buchanan is responsible for not only all of the National Basketball Association's (NBA) legal affairs, but also for those of its affiliates. This includes a wide range of issues, including: collective bargaining with NBA players, legal issues arising from the league’s various commercial businesses, ownership matters, arena issues, investigations, litigation, legislation, and various player matters. He also serves the league as the Chief Compliance Officer and Secretary of the Board of Governors.
Buchanan's relationship with the sports world goes back to his youth. He attended Amherst College, where he played varsity golf and squash, graduating in 1985 with a major in Political Science. After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1988, Buchanan clerked for Judge Kenneth W. Starr at the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. In 1989 he joined Covington & Burling, which is one of the NFL’s principal outside firms. While there, Buchanan worked under Paul Tagliabue, who left to become NFL Commissioner. Later, he worked under Jeff Pash, who is now General Counsel for the NFL.
23. Rich Baer, Airbnb
Title: Chief Legal Counsel
A trial attorney by training, Rich Baer joined Airbnb as Chief Legal Officer in 2019. Among his responsibilities, Baer oversees any legal and ethics functions related to the multi-billion dollar home-rental platform. Named by the National Law Journal as one of the country’s top general counsels, Baer has a long track record of success at the highest levels. He is especially beloved by stakeholders due to his vast experience helping to scale large, complex, publicly traded companies. Prior to Airbnb, Baer led legal departments at Qwest Communications, UnitedHealth Group, and Liberty Media – the latter being a set of five public companies which own, or hold large stakes in, companies such as SiriusXM, Formula 1, LiveNation Entertainment, TripAdvisor, Qurate, Zulily, the Atlanta Braves, Charter Communications, and GCI, among others.
In addition to his legal work, Baer has served on the boards of numerous nonprofits and currently serves as Chairman of the Board for National Jewish Health. Baer is a graduate of Columbia University and Duke University School of Law.
24. Phyllis Harris, American Red Cross
Title: General Counsel
With over three decades of legal experience in the government and corporate sectors, Phyllis Harris is now the General Counsel for the American Red Cross, the world’s largest humanitarian volunteer network dedicated to providing emergency relief to people around the globe. Known amongst her peers for being a dynamic leader, Harris has always been a strong advocate for environmental sustainability, diversity, inclusion, and equity. In her role at the American Red Cross, she reports directly to the CEO and provides counsel to the Board of Governors, among other duties.
Harris began her career by spending 20 years working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), including a stint as Regional Counsel in Atlanta. In 2001, she was conferred the rank of Meritorious Executive by President George W. Bush for sustained superior accomplishments. After the EPA, she spent the next 13 years at Walmart, most recently serving as Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Legal Operations, where she managed a team of at least 70 attorneys and support staff. Extremely active in the community, Harris also serves as the Chairwoman of the Converse College Board of Trustees and on the Advisory Board of the Wake Forrest Graduate School of Sustainability, among numerous other nonprofits. She holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Florida – Frederic G. Levin College of Law and a Bachelor of Arts in Politics from Converse University.
25. Robyn Whipple Diaz, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Title: Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer
Robyn Whipple Diaz is Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which is leading the way the world understands, treats, and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. After graduating from Georgetown Law, Diaz started her professional journey at a law firm where she mainly advised health industry clients on compliance and regulatory issues. From there, she took a job with MedStar Health, which offered her an in-house position. Diaz has been with St. Jude for nearly 13 years. She joined the hospital’s Office of General Counsel as Associate General Counsel in August 2010 and was promoted to Deputy General Counsel in May 2012.
Prior to her current position, Diaz also served as an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University School of Nursing and Health Studies, where she taught classes on law and health care administration. In 2012, she founded the Memphis Bar Association’s Health Law Section and was nominated to serve as its first chair. Furthermore, she has been published in a variety of health-related publications, including the Health Lawyer, the Journal of Health Care Law and Policy, the American Bar Association Health eSource, and the Pittsburgh Journal of Environmental and Health Law. Diaz earned her Juris Doctor from the Georgetown University Law Center, a Certificate in Executive Leadership for Healthcare Professionals from Cornell University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Politics and Sociology with a minor in Women’s Studies from Brandeis University.