Quarterly Vanguard Forum for General Counsels - Online, January 13, 2021


  • Transforming D.E.I. from Rhetoric to Reality

  • Responding to a New Administration

Quarterly Vanguard Mini-Forum for Genera


January 13, 2021



This Forum was presented at the request of several of our GC members. We worked on two critical challenges for 2021: how to turn DEI rhetoric into reality, and how to navigate the regulatory landscape and government relations under the new Biden administration. Each session was led by fellow GCs with deep experience in the topic. Tom Sabatino was the Forum Chair.

Throughout 2021, our quarterly Vanguard mini-forums for GCs will address leadership challenges like these through intimate, interactive dialogues in a variety of engaging formats.

Forums are complimentary for Vanguard Network members. If you are not a member, you can apply here, or you’ll be asked to contribute a guest fee of $100 when we send you your invitation link.



Session leaders for the mini-forums are highly experienced General Counsels, Senior Counsels, board members, and top leadership experts.


Advisory board members help us plan the forum agendas, which focus on the topics most important to GCs. Board members include:

  • Bob Bailey, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Allergan

  • Noni Ellison, General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer and Corporate Secretary, Carestream

  • Mark Goodman, Partner, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP

  • Mary Ann Hynes, Senior Counsel, Dentons; career General Counsel

  • Garrick Isert, President, Executas; past Managing Director of World 50, Inc.

  • Michael O'Connor, General Counsel, MassMutual

  • Tom Sabatino, Former Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Aetna; past GC of Hertz, United Airlines, Walgreens, Schering-Plough, Baxter

  • Brandon Smith, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Tenneco

  • Bjarne Tellmann, General Counsel, GSK Consumer Healthcare

  • Caroline Tsai, CLO and Corporate Secretary, Western Union



The role of the GC in transforming Diversity, Equity and Inclusion from rhetoric into reality.

As at the recent Forum for GCs, we’ll break into small groups to look closely at the issue, this time focusing on the practical question of what works and what doesn’t, based on participants' experience. And we will explore the role of GCs around DEI: do we have a special mission to enable the total enterprise to do what is right in these areas, or should we be focusing on our own function?

Leading the response to the new U.S. administration.

Enormous amounts of analysis and forecasting are being done around the business implications of the Biden presidency. But this session will focus on the GC's role, and on what pragmatic steps GCs will need to take to prepare for and respond to the coming changes. How do we think about the regulatory, legal and societal impacts, and how our companies should respond? What are areas where we need to be proactive, and where should we be less so? If we have an office or representation in Washington, how do we get the most from it?


Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
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Debevoise & Plimpton