The Midwest Wraps Up the Sustainable Partnership Program at Nationwide

In April 2024, Nationwide hosted the final session for the Midwest Sustainable Partnership Program (SPP). After sessions in Chicago, IL, and Milwaukee, WI, the 25-member cohort traveled to Columbus, Ohio to visit Nationwide’s corporate headquarters. The event started with an optional tour of the Nationwide campus, offering participants the opportunity to learn about the Insurance and Financial Services leader and get a glimpse into the inner workings of one of the nation’s leading insurance companies.

After the tour, 2014 Fellow Marilyn McClure-Demers, Vice President and Associate General Counsel of Corporate Litigation & Discovery Management, Nationwide, moderated a panel of LCLD Alumni turned Managing Partners, which included Mark Hatcher, Columbus Office Managing Partner, BakerHostetler; Janica Pierce Tucker, Partner-in-Charge of Columbus Office, Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP; Ashley Pack, Office Managing Partner, Dinsmore & Shohl; and Lisa Kathumbi, Office Managing Shareholder, Littler Mendelson. The panelists shared invaluable tips and strategies for building a successful book of business in today’s competitive market.

Following the panel, the cohort broke into small groups for two rounds of mock pitches. Each cohort member pitched their skills, firm, and a recommended team to a panel of in-house counsel members (including LCLD alumni from Nationwide) and Managing Partners. Participants then received constructive feedback from the panel on how to improve their pitch.

Next, the cohort reconvened for a talk by Robert Calabrese, Principal and Co-Founder of Business Visions Group, on how to unlock a team’s potential while navigating change. Emphasizing the importance of synergy and adaptability, Robert provided the cohort with innovative strategies for driving success within their organizations. 

Mark Howard, Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer at Nationwide joined LCLD President Robert Grey for a fireside chat. The pair discussed Mark’s professional journey, Nationwide’s organizational structure, and their respective roles in the DEI landscape along with some of the challenges facing the industry.

The day came to a close with a networking reception at Nationwide’s corporate headquarters graciously sponsored by BakerHostetler, Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP, Dinsmore & Shohl, and Littler Mendelson. With the conclusion of the Midwest SPP sessions, the South region will welcome a fresh cohort of LCLD Alumni in 2025. 

The Sustainable Partnership Program (SPP) was created in 2017 to enhance the LCLD Alumni network by providing a structured format for relationship development between in-house and outside counsel in the same geographical region. Focused on building meaningful connections locally, SPP brings together a small group of in-house decision-makers and newer law firm partners/senior associates at the cusp of making partnership. The group has three formal meetings each year and informal meetings in pairs each quarter through the Peer Partnership Program. The Midwest is the third region to host SPP; they follow Mid-Atlantic and the West. The South will be the next region to host SPP.