The 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award was awarded to David Cohen, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer at Comcast Corporation at the MCCA Diversity Gala on October 4, 2017 at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, NY.
David L. Cohen is Senior Executive Vice President of Comcast Corporation and is the Company’s Chief Diversity Officer. David has a broad portfolio of responsibilities, including corporate communications, government and regulatory affairs, public affairs, legal affairs, corporate administration, and community investment. He also serves as senior counselor to the CEO. Before joining Comcast in July of 2002, David served as a partner in and Chairman of Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, LLP, one of the 100 largest law firms in the country.
A native of New York, David graduated from Swarthmore College in 1977 with a B.A. and with a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School (summa cum laude) in 1981. From January 1992 to April 1997, David served as Chief of Staff to the Honorable Edward G. Rendell, the Mayor of the City of Philadelphia. As detailed in the book A Prayer for the City, written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Buzz Bissinger, David played a critical coordinating role in significant budgetary and financial issues, in economic development activities, in collective bargaining negotiations, and in a wide variety of other policy and operational issues relating to the city.
David serves as Chairman of the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania and its Executive Committee. He also serves as a member of the Trustee Board and the Executive Committee of Penn Medicine. In addition, David serves on both the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, is a member of the Chamber’s CEO Council for Growth, serves as Honorary Chair of Campus Philly’s Board of Directors, and is Chair of the Philadelphia Theatre Company. David is also the Campaign Chair for the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey’s 100th Anniversary, is Co-Chair of the 2017-2018 Campaign for the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, and is a member of the United States Semiquincentennial Commission. David serves as Vice Chair of the national board of City Year and is Chair of its Governance Committee and a member of the Executive Committee. He also serves on the national board of the National Urban League and is Chair of its Audit Committee and is Chair of the Corporate Advisory Board of UnidosUS, formerly called the National Council of La Raza. Additionally, David is a member of the Board of Directors of FS Global Credit Opportunities Fund and serves as Chair of its Nominating and Corporate Governance Committees.
David has received numerous awards for his civic and charitable activities, including the Americanism Award of the Anti-Defamation League (1993), the American Red Cross Citizen of the Year Award (1999), the National Cable Television Association Vanguard Award for Leadership and Impact in the Cable Industry (2005), the President’s Volunteer Service Award (2007), the MS Society Hope Award (2007), the Drexel University Business Leader of the Year Award (2008), the National Urban League of Philadelphia Business Leader of the Year Award (2008), The William Way Community Center Amicus in Res Award (2009), the William Penn Award from the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce (2012), the Spirit of Asian American Award (2012), the Jewish National Fund Tree of Life Award (2012), the Community Hero Award (2013), the Boys & Girls Clubs of America Champion of Youth Award (2015), and the Peirce College Legacy of Leadership Award (2016). David also was awarded Honorary Doctor of Laws degrees from Drexel University (1997), Rider University (2010), and Rowan University (2017).
David lives in Philadelphia with his wife and their two sons.
Laureen E. Seeger is Executive Vice President and General Counsel of American Express Company, a position she assumed in July 2014. As the corporation’s chief legal officer, Seeger oversees the Law, Government Affairs, Global Security and Corporate Secretarial functions for American Express and its subsidiaries. Ms. Seeger is a member of the company’s Operating Committee, Global Management Team and Enterprise Risk Management Committee.
Prior to American Express, Ms. Seeger served as Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer of McKesson Corporation. Preceding her appointment in March 2006, Seeger was Vice President and General Counsel of McKesson Provider Technologies (MPT), McKesson’s health care information technology solutions business.
Before joining McKesson, Ms. Seeger was with the Atlanta law firm of Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP from 1992 to 2000, where she was Partner-In-Charge of the Technology Litigation Section, and was with the firm of Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue from 1986 to 1992.
Ms. Seeger serves on the board of FTI Consulting, Inc., a global business advisory firm. Ms. Seeger previously served on the board of the California Chamber of Commerce, the board of Umpqua Holdings Corporation, and the Executive Committee of the Association of General Counsel.
She earned a law degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
Laureen is an All-American in track and field. She is married to David Elliot Cohen, author of photography books including A Day in the Life of America. Together they have five children. She lives in New York City.
Each day, American Express makes it easier, safer and more rewarding for consumers and businesses to purchase the things they need and for merchants to sell their goods and services. An engine of commerce, American Express provides innovative payment, travel and expense management solutions for individuals and businesses of all sizes. Most of all, the company helps its customers realize their dreams and aspirations through industry-leading benefits, access to unique experiences, business-building insights, and global customer care. American Express enables its customers to do more and achieve more.
As a global company, American Express believes it is vital that its employees are as diverse as the customers and communities it serves. The company has built a diverse workforce and an inclusive workplace— a culture it’s committed to continuing.
Julie Janson is executive vice president, external affairs, chief legal officer and corporate secretary for Duke Energy. She is the primary legal advisor to Duke Energy’s board of directors and senior management, and she leads the Office of the General Counsel, which includes the company’s legal, corporate governance and ethics and compliance functions. In addition, Janson oversees the corporate communications, federal government affairs, strategic policy and sustainability functions, stakeholder strategy and the Duke Energy Foundation.
Previously, Janson served as president of Duke Energy’s utility operations in Ohio and Kentucky, serving approximately 1 million natural gas and electric customers in southwest Ohio and approximately 230,000 customers in six Northern Kentucky counties. Having led the Ohio/Kentucky utility operations since 2008, Janson assumed her current position in December 2012.
Prior to that, she served as senior vice president of ethics and compliance, and corporate secretary for Duke Energy, a position she held since 2006. Before that, she served as corporate secretary and chief compliance officer for Cinergy Corp. She was appointed chief compliance officer in 2004 and corporate secretary in 2000.
From 1998 to 2004, Janson served as senior counsel, providing advice on general corporate, corporate governance and securities-related matters. From 1996 to 1998, Janson served as counsel for Cinergy, providing research, advice and support for divestitures, mergers and acquisitions, and several internal clients including investor relations, shareholder services, corporate communications and government and regulatory affairs. She also served as corporate counsel to the international business unit. She was manager of investor relations for Cinergy from 1995 to 1996.
Prior to joining Cinergy, Janson was corporate attorney for The Cincinnati Gas & Electric Company (CG&E), playing a role in the merger of CG&E and PSI Energy, which formed Cinergy Corp. Before joining CG&E, she served as a law clerk with Adams, Brooking, Stepner, Wolterman & Dusing in Covington, Ky.
She earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Law. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies from Georgetown College in Georgetown, Ky.
Janson is a member of the bar associations of Ohio and Kentucky, with legal experience that spans nearly 30 years. She is a member of the DirectWomen Board Institute Class of 2011, a program designed to identify and promote accomplished female lawyers to serve on corporate boards of public companies.
Janson is active in a number of community and professional activities. She is a member of the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) Legal Committee, director of the North Carolina Chamber Legal Institute and vice chair of Economic Development for the Charlotte Chamber Executive Committee. She serves on the board of directors of The Ohio National Life Insurance Co. and Ohio National Financial Services Inc. and on the board of trustees for Queens University. She is also a member of the Commercial Club of Cincinnati and serves as a trustee for the Duke Energy Foundation.
Janson chaired the Cincinnati Business Committee and co-chaired the Economic Development Task Force. She chaired the board of directors and the executive committee of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber. She was also a member of the board of directors and executive committee of the Ohio Business Roundtable, the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Vision 2015 CEO Roundtable in Northern Kentucky.
Janson served on the Climate Protection Steering Committee, appointed by the Cincinnati City Council, and was a board member of the Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC), the University of Cincinnati Foundation and Cintrifuse. She served as vice chair of the 2012 World Choir Games and chaired the city of Cincinnati’s 2010 Fine Arts Fund Campaign. She has also served on the boards of directors of Northern Kentucky Tri-County Economic Development Corporation (Tri-ED), Vision 2015 Regional Stewardship Council, United Way of Greater Cincinnati and Lighthouse Youth Services.
Janson and her husband, Chip, have two daughters.
Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is one of the largest energy holding companies in the United States. Its Electric Utilities and Infrastructure business unit serves approximately 7.5 million customers located in six states in the Southeast and Midwest. The company’s Gas Utilities and Infrastructure business unit distributes natural gas to approximately 1.6 million customers in the Carolinas, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. Its Commercial Renewables business unit operates a growing renewable energy portfolio across the United States.
Duke Energy is a Fortune 125 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available at duke-energy.com.
Founded in 1945, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld has for decades been a dominant figure at the intersection of business, policy and the law. With 20 offices and more than 900 lawyers across the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Asia, Akin Gump maintains a reputation for strength across a wide range of practices and industries and has been selected repeatedly as one of the top 20 law firms in the United States in the The American Lawyer’s A-List.
Akin Gump prides itself on consistently delivering clients exceptional advice and counsel, thanks to the experience, knowledge and creative solutions brought to the table by its talented mix of lawyers and advisers who bring years of experience in the boardroom, on the bench and in the halls of government.
Akin Gump has championed, from its inception, a commitment to diversity and an appreciation of the benefits it brings to clients and the firm itself and has been recognized repeatedly for its commitment to diversity and its leadership role in the legal profession. The firm honors its founders by pursuing their goals of ensuring a diverse and inclusive firm as well as a commitment to equality before the law and equal access to justice.
At Morgan Lewis, we partner with clients to understand their needs and craft powerful solutions for them. Our team encompasses more than 2,200 legal professionals, including lawyers, patent agents, employee benefits advisers, regulatory scientists, and other specialists, working together across offices in North America, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. We offer truly comprehensive services for clients as they work across the globe. If a client has a question, we’ll find the person in our network with the answer. If there’s a shift in the legal landscape, we’re on top of it, and our clients will be too. Whether a client has been with us for days or decades, whether it’s today’s industry leader or tomorrow’s game-changer, we’re always responsive and always on.
Proskauer is an innovative law firm with 725+ lawyers serving clients from 13 offices located in financial and business centers in North and South America, Europe and Asia. The world’s leading organizations choose us to represent them in their most critical situations. But more, they consider Proskauer a strategic partner in driving their business forward. We represent asset managers, major sports leagues, Fortune 500 companies, entertainment industry legends and other industry-redefining organizations.
Diversity and inclusion are core values that are fundamentally intertwined in Proskauer’s history and culture. We named our Silver Scholar Program, the Firm’s signature scholarship and “pipeline” initiative, after our first elected Chairman, Edward Silver. It is part of the Firm’s multifaceted approach towards increasing diversity within our Firm and the broader legal profession.
Our flagship talent development programs, the Diverse Lawyer Mentoring Circle Program and the Women’s Sponsorship Program, are aimed at expanding opportunities for, and cultivating, our emerging leaders. Our Diverse Lawyer Mentoring Circle Program enhances the integration and career growth of young diverse associates through one-on-one relationships with designated partner mentors. Our Women’s Sponsorship Program propels the careers of mid-level women lawyers who have demonstrated strong promise through pairings with selected sponsors and specialized coaching to prepare them for leadership roles in the future.
CaRe, our caregiver return program, eases the transition of lawyers returning from primary caregiver leave by allowing them to return on a 75% schedule and receive 100% of their pre-leave compensation for their first six months, reaffirming our commitment to supporting the needs of our lawyers at key stages of their lives.
We understand that a diverse workforce enables us to offer the highest quality of service to our clients by affording them the benefits of unique perspectives and approaches to legal issues. At Proskauer, being diverse and inclusive goes beyond doing the right thing, it’s who we are.
Michelle Banks (Co-Chair)
Craig L. Silliman (Co-Chair)
CIT Group, Inc.
Panasonic Corporation of North America
Toys “R” Us, Inc.
Abercrombie & Fitch
The Brown Law Group
Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP
Duane D. Holloway
Ascena Retail Group, Inc.
John W. Kuo
Varian Medical Systems, Inc.
Nationwide Insurance Company
Showtime Networks Inc.
Natalie A. Pierce
Littler Mendelson P.C.
Thomas L. Sager
Ballard Spahr LLP
Austin K. So
StoneMor Partners L.P.
Alan K. Tse
Beveridge & Diamond, P.C.
Carter’s Oshkosh B’gosh
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Kelly McNamara Corley is Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Discover Financial Services, a leading consumer credit, payments and online banking company. Ms. McNamara Corley’s responsibilities include serving on the firm’s 11 person Executive Committee responsible for management and strategic direction of the Company and managing the Company’s legal advisory, litigation, regulatory, and government relations matters. She has deep expertise in corporate governance, public and regulatory policy, risk management, consumer financial services and global payments and is experienced in advising and leading teams responsible for business growth, global expansion, product/market diversification, acquisitions and divestitures. Over her career, she has partnered with Discover’s CEO, Executive Management and Board members to achieve the highest revenue, profit and corporate value while fully protecting shareholder interests.
Ms. McNamara Corley has been committed to the company for 34 years, blazing a distinctive career path from intern to General Counsel. For the first 16 years of her career, she worked in various leadership roles in government relations for Sears, Dean Witter, and Morgan Stanley. As global head of government relations for Dean Witter and Morgan Stanley, Ms. McNamara Corley developed and executed strategies to repeal statutory growth and activities restrictions impacting the firms. In addition she played a leadership role on a number of public policy issues impacting the financial services industry including the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, CARD Act, Dodd-Frank Act, and Sarbanes-Oxley Act among others. She provides valuable insights to senior management as well as key clients on public policy developments in Washington DC.
Her ability to innovate and build consensus facilitated a smooth transition into her role as General Counsel for Morgan Stanley’s Discover business in 1999. She led Discover through its spin-off from Morgan Stanley and in 2007, assumed her current role. In 2004, she led Discover’s efforts on an antitrust lawsuit that resulted in a $2.75 Billion payment to Discover – at the time, the third largest antitrust settlement in the U.S. In addition, she played a key leadership role in Discover’s acquisition of the PULSE debit network as well as Diners Club International payments network. Ms. McNamara Corley’s innovative, risk based approach to legal advice has enabled Discover’s strong business growth while maintaining an appropriate risk profile and strong regulatory relations.
Under Ms. McNamara Corley’s leadership Discover’s legal department has been recognized for Pro Bono initiatives, Diversity and Inclusion, and Innovation.
Ms. McNamara Corley earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California and her J.D. from the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University. She is a member of the Chicago Network, the Chicago Finance Exchange, and Women in Housing & Finance. She has also served on the boards of George Mason University (Board Secretary and Chair of Audit Committee), Rush University Medical Center, and Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep.
Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS) is a direct banking and payment services company with one of the most recognized brands in U.S. financial services. Since its inception in 1986, the company has become one of the largest card issuers in the United States. The company issues the Discover card, America’s cash rewards pioneer, and offers private student loans, personal loans, home equity loans, checking and savings accounts and certificates of deposit through its direct banking business. It operates the Discover Network, with millions of merchant and cash access locations; PULSE, one of the nation’s leading ATM/debit networks; and Diners Club International, a global payments network with acceptance in more than 185 countries and territories. For more information, visit www.discover.com/company.
Craig Silliman is Executive Vice President, Public Policy and General Counsel, responsible for leading the company’s public policy, legal, regulatory, government affairs and security groups.
Before assuming his current position in January 2015, Silliman was Senior Vice President for Public Policy and Government Affairs, with responsibility for Verizon’s global public policy, federal and state legislative affairs, federal regulatory affairs, strategic alliances, national security, privacy and corporate citizenship.
Prior to that, Silliman served in a number of other senior management roles at Verizon. He was Senior Vice President and General Counsel for Verizon’s wireline consumer, business and wholesale groups globally, and Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, with responsibility for antitrust, intellectual property, national security, privacy and strategic product support.
Prior to joining a Verizon predecessor company in 1997, Silliman was an attorney in the international trade practice at Collier, Shannon, Rill & Scott in Washington, D.C. He has also taught international telecommunications regulation as an adjunct professor at the American University School of Law in Washington, D.C.
Silliman earned his law degree from the University of Virginia.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ), headquartered in New York City, has a diverse workforce of 163,400 and generated nearly $126 billion in 2016 revenues. Verizon operates America’s most reliable wireless network and the nation’s premier all-fiber network, and delivers integrated solutions to businesses worldwide. Its Oath subsidiary houses more than 50 media and technology brands that engage about 1 billion people around the world.