Throughout her twenty-seven years in the legal profession, Nationwide’s Marilyn McClure-Demers has worked to bring conversations around diversity into the spotlight
July 16, 2018
BY LORI FREDRICKSON
Marilyn McClure Demers; VP, Associate General Counsel, Corporate & Intellectual Property Litigation and Discovery Management; Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company
When Marilyn McClure-Demers looks back on her long history of fostering diversity and inclusion in the corporate world, she compares it to keeping your foot on the gas pedal. If you run out of gas on level terrain, you go nowhere, and if you take your foot off the gas while working your way up an incline, you can go backwards. “There needs to be a continued appreciation for the importance of an inclusive work environment,” the vice president and associate general counsel of Nationwide says. “There’s a moral imperative here, and it’s incredibly important to keep that on the horizon.”
Over the course of her twenty-seven-year career as a legal professional—including her earlier work in private firms and her latest in-house counsel position at Nationwide, where she has been for the past eleven years and where she currently oversees corporate, IP, financial services, litigation, and discovery management—she has championed these beliefs through involvement with a broad roster of outside associations, through internal diversity efforts, and through mentorships and sponsorships. The work is something she sees as a calling.
It all began early in her career, after she earned her JD from West Virginia University and began doing legal work in the coal industry. There, she often encountered many challenges as a young female lawyer, and in her later work at firms and businesses in Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and elsewhere, she overcame perceptions associated with being a native of West Virginia, a region that has often been stereotyped.
What she learned from these experiences was to create opportunities for herself and to challenge herself to look for people’s strengths in their differences. She wanted to help others get ahead. “Everyone is different and we know it,” McClure-Demers says, “but the extent to which we differ—and the extent to which leaders and others are committed to learning the differences—varies greatly.”
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