Leading the Way Award

The Ohio Women’s Bar Foundation's Leading the Way Award honors leaders and leadership styles that others would emulate. This award is presented to outstanding women lawyers who demonstrate exemplary leadership in the legal profession and their communities and commitment to the promotion and enhancement of women in the legal community by inspiring and mentoring other women to raise their performance to the same high standard.  

Award Recipients:

2016 -- The Honorable Betty Montgomery

Betty Montgomery’s distinguished career in public service has been one of “firsts”.  She has served as Ohio’s first woman Auditor of State, first woman Attorney General, first woman State Senator in District 2, first woman Prosecuting Attorney for the City of Perrysburg and first woman Wood County Prosecuting Attorney (and the only woman prosecutor in the state).

Montgomery’s long career in public service has included a number of highlights.  As State Senator for the 2nd District in northwest Ohio, Betty Montgomery’s work included Ohio’s first Living Will Law, Ohio’s first brownfields legislation, and Ohio’s Victim’s Rights Law.  As Ohio Attorney General, Betty Montgomery dramatically increased state support for local law enforcement, as well as rebuilt all of Ohio’s crime labs, introduced DNA, and 21st century technology to Ohio, thus helping the office join just four percent of the nation’s law enforcement agencies by earning accreditation for both the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy and the Ohio Bureau of Identification and Investigation.  Her office was awarded the American Bar Association Pro Bono Award, as well as recognition for excellence in Supreme Court advocacy, winning seven “Best of Brief” awards in her eight years as Attorney General.  Her office’s Consumer Protection section was also recognized as the most outstanding consumer protection agency in the country by the National Association of Consumer Agency Administrators (NACAA).

Betty Montgomery is a graduate of Bowling Green State University (1970) and the University of Toledo College of Law (1976).

President of Montgomery Consulting Group LLC which was founded in 2007, Betty Montgomery is also an Attorney of Counsel with MacMurray Petersen & Shuster LLP.  She serves on the Capitol Square Foundation and the Ohio Women’s Bar Foundation Advisory Committee, the JobsOhio Beverage System Board and the Ohio Venture Capital Authority.  In addition, she chairs The Davidson Ohio Leadership Institute and serves on the Board of Bowling Green State University.

2015 -- Jeanette Knudsen

Jeannette L. Knudsen is the Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for The J.M. Smucker Company. The J.M. Smucker Company is a leading marketer and manufacturer of consumer foods and beverage products and pet food and pet snacks in North America. Ms. Knudsen is a member of the company's executive team and Strategy Council and has extensive experience in leading complex business transactions, including mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, joint development and licensing agreements, commercial agreements, and dispute resolutions. In addition, Ms. Knudsen works closely with the company's Board of Directors and its committees to develop and implement corporate governance programs and ensure compliance with Securities and Exchange Commission and New York Stock Exchange regulations. She also leads the company's compliance efforts and assists with its Enterprise Risk Management program. Ms. Knudsen joined the company in 2002 as its Corporate Counsel. Prior to joining the company, Ms. Knudsen was an associate with the law firm of Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs, LLP in Akron, Ohio, where her practice focused on corporate transactions and intellectual property. Ms. Knudsen is passionate about being involved with community service opportunities, including, the Achievement Centers for Children, Habitat for Humanity, Akron Food Bank, Ronald McDonald House of Akron, Annual Holiday "Adopt a Cause" Drive, Alex's Lemonade Stand, and Susan B. Komen Walk to Fight Breast Cancer. Ms. Knudsen holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from The University of Akron and a Juris Doctorate from The University of Akron School of Law.

2014 -- Justice Judith Lanzinger

Justice Judith Ann Lanzinger has demonstrated exemplary leadership in the legal profession and in her com-munity. In 2004, Justice Lanzinger became the only per-son in Ohio ever elected to all four levels of the state judiciary. She was re-elected in 2010 to the Supreme Court for a second six-year term. Over the last 28 years, she has also served on the 6th District Court of Appeals, the Lucas County Court of Common Pleas, and the Toledo Municipal Court. And for the first time in Ohio history, with her son Joshua Lanzinger joining the municipal bench in 2013, a mother and son are serving together as state court judges.  Justice Lanzinger has been a leader from an early age. She had a modest upbringing as the granddaughter of coal-miners and a daughter of a carpenter. She was the first one in her family to attend college. She received a bachelor’s degree magna cum laude in Education and English from the University of Toledo. She then taught elementary school and started a family. She went on to earn a law degree cum laude at the University of Toledo College of Law and was Valedictorian of her law school class. She was named Distinguished Alumna of her alma mater in 2012. Before taking the bench, Justice Lanzinger was employed in Toledo Edi-son’s legal department and then practiced with Shumaker, Loop and Kendrick.

2013 -- Susan Jacobson of Cardinal Health

Susan Jaccobson is Senior Vice President, General Counsel of the Medical Segment of Cardinal Health, which is headquartered in Dublin, Ohio.  Ms. Jacobson is based in Cardinal Health's Northern Illinois location.  Cardinal Health is a 108 billion health care services company that improves the cost-effectiveness of health care.  As the business behind health care, Cardinal Health helps pharmacies, hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers and physician offices focus on patient care while reducing costs, enhancing efficiency and improving quality.  Ms. Jacobson has been with Cardinal in various legal positions since 1997, and has been Senior Vice President, General Counsel of the Medical Segment since 2006.  She is responsible for legal matters within the Medical Segment and within Cardinal Health's China business.  Ms. Jacobson received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan, and her JD from the University of Minnesota Law School.  Prior to joining Cardinal Health, Ms. Jacobson practiced law at various leading Chicago law firms, focusing on healthcare law and transactions.

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