JOIN MCCA

Cover Story

Return to July/August 2008 issue of Diversity & The Bar®:  Fortune 500 Women General Counsel

 

Cover Story

Margaret M. Foran
Sara Lee Corporation
Executive Vice President, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary

Margaret (Peggy) Foran will remember the summer of 2008 as a time of change, as she departs Pfizer Inc. after 11 years. In July, she joins Sara Lee Corporation—the global manufacturer and marketer of brand-name products including Ball Park, Hillshire Farm, Jimmy Dean, and, of course, its namesake Sara Lee—as executive vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary.

“Sara Lee is a great company with great leaders,” says Foran. “I’m especially eager to work with CEO Brenda Barnes and all of the great people at Sara Lee, and to get to know the business. Learning the company is a challenge that I enjoy, but I also like applying the patterns that I’ve seen in other companies and past work I’ve done.”

Until very recently, Foran was senior vice president, associate general counsel, and corporate secretary of Pfizer, Inc. During her decade in the multibillion-dollar pharmaceutical company’s New York office, Foran gained a great deal of knowledge about not only the business, but also related public policy and the political and activist environments surrounding the industry.

“These days you hear a lot about the bad things that drug companies do,” Foran says, “but I experienced firsthand how Pfizer employees were trying to improve the quality of life for others, so one of the ongoing challenges of my job was to make these positive acts known.”

Foran was initially drawn to the law by a sense of justice—she believed in leveling the playing field for society’s more vulnerable members. “I never envisioned myself winding up at Fortune 500 companies like Pfizer and Sara Lee,” she says; however, as a law student at Notre Dame, Foran remembers being unexpectedly entranced by a corporation law class. Tax and securities rendered her equally rapt.

In the early days of her career, Foran perceived more challenges for women attorneys than she does now. “When I tell my daughters how it used to be, they look at me in disbelief, the way I once looked at my father when he talked about walking five miles to school in three feet of snow,” says Foran. “Servicing the client and getting the work done are still important, but today we have greater flexibility for juggling work and personal obligations.”

Along with a quick chronological recap of her professional history—private practice, J.P. Morgan & Co., ITT Corp., Pfizer, and now Sara Lee—Foran serves up an amusing memory tool: “First I was into money, then gambling, followed by drugs, and now my parents are delighted that I’m going into an industry with tasty baked goods,” she jokes, before adding, “I’ve truly worked in many industries and there are lot of parallels among the companies where I’ve worked, and now I’m able to use that experience at Sara Lee.”

This is a busy and exciting time for Foran. While she has put in time scouring 10Ks, proxies, and analyst reports, she is convinced that the only way to really know a company is through its people—“those who drive the company, clients, customers, and suppliers. By meeting them, I’m learning what Sara Lee is all about.”  DB


Return to Fortune 500 Women General Counsel

From the July/August 2008 issue of  Diversity & The Bar®

The Academy - Boston

Join MCCA for our next Academy for Leadership and Inclusion on October 7th, hosted by Liberty Mutual in Boston, MA.

Latest News

  • BESLA Honors MCCA and Joseph K. West with Beacon of Diversity Award
    Summary: Washington, D.C. – The Board of Directors of Black Entertainment & Sports Lawyers Association (BESLA) has honored the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) and its President and Chief Executive Officer, Joseph K. West with its coveted Beacon of Diversity Award for 2014.
  • Hot Jobs - August 2014
    Summary: MCCA is pleased to send out an email blast of Hot Job announcements to our network on the last Friday of every month. Check out the latest job postings.
  • BP America Named Employer of Choice by MCCA
    Summary: The Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) has named the legal department of BP America as its 2014 Employer of Choice Award winner for the South/Southwest Region.

More News

Fast Facts

Americans aged 25-34 have the second highest rate of bankruptcy (just after those aged 35 to 44), indicating that Gen-Xers were more likely to file for bankruptcy than were young baby boomers at the same age.
Source: "Generation Broke: The Growth of Debt among Young Americans."
The average young-adult household spends almost one quarter of every dollar earned on debt payments.
Source: "Generation Broke: The Growth of Debt among Young Americans."
The annual unemployment rate in 2012 for Management, Professionals, and Related Occupations was 4.1%.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Nearly two-thirds of the 5.4 million legal immigrants from Mexico who are eligible to become citizens of the US have not yet taken that step. Their naturalization rate-36%-is only half that of legal immigrants from all other countries combined.
Source: Pew Research Center
The overall U.S. birth rate declined 8% from 2007 to 2010. The birth rate for U.S.-born women decreased 6% during these years, but the birth rate for foreign-born women plunged 14%-more than it had declined over the entire 1990-2007 period.1 The birth rate for Mexican immigrant women fell even more, by 23%.
Source: Pew Research Center
Three-quarters of retirees said they worked longer than they would have otherwise to maintain access to their employer healthcare plan. The Affordable Care Act does include provisions aimed at reining in prices by limiting the amount insurers can charge older Americans to 3 times what they charge younger subscribers.
Source: The Washington Post
Only four in ten third-graders in the District of Columbia can read proficiently, and only about four out of ten young adults in the District have a full-time job.
Source: Raise D.C.
In 1779, before his time as president, Thomas Jefferson proposed a law to castrate gay men and to destroy the nose cartilage of gay women.
Source: Washington Lawyer
Pennsylvania was the first state to repeal the death penalty for sodomy in 1786.
Source: Washington Lawyer
In 1924 the Society for Human Rights in Chicago became the country's first gay rights organization. Other organizations such as the Mattachine Society and the daughters of Bilitis, were formed decades later.
Source: Washington Lawyer
In 1962 Illinois became the first state to decriminalize homosexual acts done in private between consenting adults.
Source: Washington Lawyer
The nationalities with the highest rates of nationalization in the US - about75% - are Vietnamese, Russian, Filipino, Korean, Laotian, and Cuban.
Source: The Pew Research Center
To become a citizen of the US, a legal permanent resident must be at least 18 years; have lived in the US continuously for 5 years; be able to speak, read, write, and understand basic English; pass a background check; demonstrate knowledge of US history and government; swear allegiance to the US; and pay the $680 application fee.
Source: The Washington Post
The Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Conn., metropolitan area, near New York City, had the highest percentage (17.9%) of households with at least $191,469 in income. At the other end of the spectrum are two metro areas named Danville -- in Virginia and Illinois -- each with 1.1% of households having such high income.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
National Women's History Month dates back to March 8, 1857, when women in NYC factories staged a protest over working conditions. International Women's Day was first observed in 1909, but it wasn't until 1981 that Congress established National Women's History Week, celebrated the 2nd week of March. In 1987, the week was expanded to a month.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Americans aged 25-34 have the second highest rate of bankruptcy (just after those aged 35 to 44), indicating that Gen-Xers were more likely to file for bankruptcy than were young baby boomers at the same age.
Source: "Generation Broke: The Growth of Debt among Young Americans."
The average young-adult household spends almost one quarter of every dollar earned on debt payments.
Source: "Generation Broke: The Growth of Debt among Young Americans."
The annual unemployment rate in 2012 for Management, Professionals, and Related Occupations was 4.1%.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
MicroSoftMCAAWal-Mart