Media Announcements

DirectWomen Institute Enrolls First Class

Initiative to identify and promote qualified women lawyers as corporate directors hosts first DirectWomen Insitute

DirectWomen today announced the 21 members of the first class of the Direct Women Institute, being held March 29 - 30 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York. A distinguished group of women lawyers will attend workshops and discussions designed to heighten their understanding of the demands of corporate board membership to help prepare them for service on the boards of public companies.

The Institute is being conducted as part of the DirectWomen Initiative, an effort by the American Bar Association, the ABA Section of Business Law, and Catalyst, Inc., to increase the number of women lawyers serving as independent directors on boards of large public companies.

"We are delighted that such a diverse and outstanding group of women attorneys wants to accept the challenge of serving on corporate boards," said Karen J. Mathis, president of the American Bar Association. "These attorneys, who have honed their business judgment through years of representing corporations, corporate executives and boards, represent an enormous resource as corporations seek proven leaders with relevant business experience to help chart their future."

Catalyst president Ilene H. Lang said, "Our latest Catalyst research shows that, at the current rate of change, it could take women 73 years to reach parity with men in the boardrooms of Fortune 500 companies. Against this astonishing backdrop, we look to this untapped and highly qualified group of women attorneys who can share the wealth of their expertise, experience and skills while bringing a needed diverse perspective to boardrooms."

More than 200 applications were received for the Institute’s first workshop. The class includes corporate counsel at a wide variety of companies, partners at leading law firms, and academia, associations or other affiliations. The pool is also geographically diverse, coming from 13 states nationwide.

Institute participants will explore topics ranging from independence and oversight to issues of compensation and compliance. The distinguished faculty is composed of judges, prominent academic experts in corporate governance, women currently serving as corporate board members, and representatives of institutional investors, search consultants and leading law firms.

The DirectWomen Institute will culminate with an awards luncheon on March 30 at the Waldorf=Astoria where the inaugural class will officially be introduced. At the same time, the Institute will pay tribute to a distinguished list of 13 women lawyers currently serving as corporate directors and the companies on whose boards they serve.

A full listing of faculty and honorees can be found at www.directwomen.org.

Participants in the Inaugural Class of 2007

Pinney L. Allen—partner, Alston & Bird, LLP, Atlanta

Marlene Alva—senior counsel, Davis Polk & Wardwell, New York

Cynthia Augustine—previous senior vice president for talent management, Time Warner, Montclair, N.J.

Susan G. Boswell—partner/managing partner, Quarles & Brady, LLP, Tucson, Ariz.

Karen O. Cottle—senior vice president, general counsel, Adobe Systems, San Jose, Calif.

Mary Cranston—senior partner, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, San Francisco

Jane Landes Foster —visiting scholar, University of Pennsylvania, Organizational Dynamics Graduate Studies, Philadelphia

Kathleen M. Franklin—partner, Boies Schiller & Flexner LLP, Albany, N.Y.

Patricia Frobes—group senior vice president & general counsel, The Irvine Company, Newport Beach, Calif.

Nesa E. Hassanein—executive vice president, general counsel & secretary, The Sports Authority, Inc., Englewood, Colo.

Mary Ann Hynes—vice president, general counsel & corporate secretary, Corn Products International, Westchester, Ill.

Catherine Lamboley—senior vice president, general counsel & corporate secretary, Shell Oil Company, Houston, Texas

Patricia A. McQuater—senior corporate counsel, Solar Turbines, Inc., A Caterpillar Company, San Diego

Annette M. Mulee— lawyer, self employed, Gleneden Beach, Ore.

Mary W. Quazzo—principal counsel, Bechtel Group, Inc.\Bechtel Corporation, San Francisco

Barbara Paul Robinson—of counsel, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, New York

Lynn Schenk—lawyer, corporate consultant, self employed, San Diego

Wendy C. Shiba—senior vice president, chief legal officer & secretary, PolyOne Corporation, Avon Lake, Ohio

Elisse B. Walter—senior executive vice president, National Association of Securities Dealers, Washington, D.C.

Kathleen Wilson-Thompson—senior vice president, global human resources, Kellogg Company, Battle Creek, Mich.

Joan S. Wise—general counsel, AARP, Washington, D.C.

An innovative initiative of the American Bar Association, the ABA Section of Business Law, and Catalyst, Inc., DirectWomen is a unique program specifically designed to identify, develop, and support accomplished women lawyers for placement in qualified director positions in U.S. companies, while promoting the independence and diversity required for good corporate governance.

With more than 60,000 members, the ABA Section of Business Law is one of the Association’s largest sections. It provides business lawyers with education and analysis that furthers the development and improvement of business law and helps its members serve their clients competently, efficiently and professionally.

Catalyst is the leading research and advisory organization working with businesses and the professions to build inclusive environments and expand opportunities for women at work. As an independent, nonprofit membership organization, Catalyst conducts research on all aspects of women’s career advancement and provides strategic and web-based consulting services globally. With the support and confidence of member corporations and firms, Catalyst remains connected to business and its changing needs. In addition, Catalyst honors exemplary business initiatives that promote women’s leadership with the annual Catalyst Award. With offices in New York, San Jose, Toronto, and Zug, Catalyst is consistently ranked No. 1 among U.S. nonprofits focused on women’s issues by The American Institute of Philanthropy.

With more than 413,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law in a democratic society.

Editor’s note: Accredited reporters are welcome to cover the luncheon. To obtain press credentials, please contact Suzanne Cibotti at 312/988-6142 or at [email protected].