On Friday, April 30, the OWBA Government Subcommittee Co-Chairs - Renata Staff and Corinna Efkeman - announced the recipients for the 2020 and 2021 Government in Action Awards.
Each year, the Government Subcommittee and OWBA Executive Committee determine a recipient of the Government in Action Award, which is bestowed to a woman who has demonstrated strong leadership by promoting opportunities for the advancement of women and been influential in the public sector and in the community she serves.
The 2020 Government in Action Honoree is Justice Melody Stewart of the Ohio Supreme Court.
Justice Melody Stewart was elected in November 2018 to a full term as the 161st Justice to serve on the Supreme Court of Ohio. She is the first African-American woman elected to the Supreme Court of Ohio.
Prior to joining the Supreme Court, Justice Stewart served on the Eighth District Court of Appeals — elected to an unexpired term in 2006 and twice reelected to full terms. She served as the court’s Administrative Judge in 2013.
Justice Stewart has more than 30 years of combined administrative, legal, and academic experience. She was an administrator for a health care management company, a music teacher, a civil defense litigator, and a law school administrator and professor before being elected to the Court of Appeals. While on the Eighth District Court of Appeals, Justice Stewart was assigned to hear cases in other appellate districts and in the Ohio Supreme Court.
The 2021 Government in Action Honoree is Sherry Maxfield, Director of the Ohio Department of Commerce.
Sherry previously served as Chief Counsel for Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. Her responsibilities included overseeing 11 sections of the office which practice in legal areas ranging from Antitrust to Workers’ Compensation law.
Sherry worked for the Ohio Attorney General’s Office from 1984-2019 and during her time with the office has been the Assistant Chief of the Court of Claims section, the Chief of the Executive Agencies section and Chief of the Health & Human Services section. She previously served as First Assistant Attorney General.
During her career, Sherry has been recognized by her colleagues for her professionalism and legal expertise. She received an AGO Professionalism award in 1997 and in 1999 was the inaugural recipient of the Simon B. Karas Award for Outstanding legal contribution to the Attorney General’s Office.