The Vanguard Forum for General Counsels, NY Feb 5-6,…

The Vanguard Forum for General Counsels

February 5 & 6, 2019 – New York City

Ken Banta, Founder and Principal, The Vanguard Group for Leadership
Garrick Isert, President, Executas; past M.D. of World 50, Inc.


  • A unique leadership and networking opportunity for  General Counsels across all sectors
  • Pragmatic, real-world leadership lessons that will help delegates accelerate their success – and avoid pitfalls
  • Faculty of experienced GCs, Senior Counsels, CEOs/C-Suite Executives and leadership experts
  • Intimate format and vigorous, engaging dialogue around critical leadership challenges. No PowerPoint presentations or podium speeches.
  • Custom year-long curriculum extends the Forum experience with digital learning, private dinners on leadership topics, and a private networking platform


The Vanguard Forum for General Counsels:

The role of General Counsel is widely recognized to be a critical and challenging one – whether assuming it for the first time, moving laterally to a new company, or a seasoned veteran. The Vanguard program for GCs focuses intensely on developing top leadership capabilities – perhaps the most important success factor in the role. Over the course of one and half days in New York City, the Forum will bring together a small group of General Counsels for intensive discussions with senior faculty, devoted exclusively to helping the delegates accelerate their success in the role – while anticipating and managing potential challenges.



The delegates will engage with senior General Counsels and CEOs, C-Suite leaders, board members, and leadership experts. The discussion will be centered around real-world top leadership issues and experiences.  In highly interactive sessions on topics selected by the faculty, the delegates will learn about what worked — and what did not – from their senior colleagues.

Topics will range from the pivotal role of the GC in handling a corporate crisis, to the special role with the Board, to advising the CEO on critical decisions. (See the agenda, below.)

The delegates will also learn from each other.  And they will forge valuable networks with the faculty and with other attendees as they advance to new levels of leadership.

This learning and networking experience builds on other highly impactful Vanguard Forums — now in their fifth year. The Vanguard Forums are a unique leadership program for senior executives who are taking on higher and/or broader leadership responsibilities. The Forums are part of the The Vanguard Group for Leadership, led by Ken Banta, which is dedicated to supporting senior leadership and company transformation.

Importantly, the Forum in many ways is just the beginning of the Vanguard experience. Delegates will also become part of the Vanguard Network.  In a rich ongoing curriculum, the participants in the Forum will engage in regular digital learning modules designed to further hone leadership capabilities.  They will be invited to a series of private working dinners with faculty on leadership subjects.  And they will be members of a private online network of Vanguard GCs and other Vanguard leaders to connect, share experiences, and learn from one another.


The delegates to the Forum will be GCs drawn from across all business sectors in North America. Companies will generally be mid-cap and larger public companies and significant privately held companies.

The Forum is by invitation only, via direct invitation from the Forum and the Forum’s Advisors, and through nomination by their company.

Attendance is capped at 30 delegates.


The faculty will be highly experienced General Counsels, as well as CEOs, Board members, and top leadership experts, including the Vanguard Advisory Board.


  • Chair: Tom Sabatino; Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Aetna; past GC of Hertz, United Airlines, Walgreens, Schering-Plough, Baxter
  • Bob Bailey; Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Allergan
  • Norm Brothers; General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, UPS
  • Cheryl Beebe; Board Member Convergys, and past EVP and CFO Ingredion Incorporated
  • Ram Charan; leading CEO advisory and best-selling business author
  • Stephen Cutler; past EVP and Vice Chairman, JP Morgan Chase; Partner, Simpson Thatcher & Bartlett LLP
  • Tanuja Dehne; Board Member, past EVP NRG Energy
  • Mark Goodman; Partner, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
  • Mary Ann Hynes; Senior Counsel, Dentons; career General Counsel
  • Garrick Isert; President, Executas; past M.D. of World 50, Inc.

Additional faculty to be announced will include General Counsels, current/past CEOs and C-Suite executives, and leadership experts.  


The Vanguard Forum addresses an array of critical dimensions of leadership for incoming General Counsels. The sessions will vary in format, from fireside chat to panel discussion and workshop. The sessions will all be characterized by candid discussion of real-world experience, and vibrant dialogue with, and among, the delegates.

Delegates will be seated at small table rounds, with faculty joining them when not leading a session. No conventional podium remarks or Powerpoints – the focus will be on deep interaction.  Frequent breaks and two receptions will enable meaningful networking

Day 1 – February 5th


1:00 pm Registration
1:30 – 3:00 pm Masterclass:

Making the Transition from Professional to Top Leader 

(Fireside chat)

3:00 – 3:30 pm BREAK
3:30 – 5:00 pm



Leading in A Crisis: A ‘make or break’ moment for the General Counsel

5:30 – 6:30 pm Evening Reception



Day 2 – February 6th


8:00 – 8:30 am         Registration + Light Breakfast
8:30 am  – 5:00 pm


  Session 1

Knowing Yourself as a New Top Leader

(Dialogue with the delegates)

  Session 2                    

Succeeding as a Member of the Top Team

(Dialogue: CEO and GC)

  Session 3         

How to Work Effectively with a Board

(Dialogue: Board member and Law Firm Senior Partner)

  Session 4

Situational Leadership as a GC  


  Session 5

Developing, Focusing, and Engaging Your Team

(Breakout sessions)

  Session 6                     

What are the Key Success Factors in Your Role – And What Will Success Look Like?

(Fireside chat)



A very important dimension of the Forum is the post-meeting Curriculum.

Following the event, there will be a year-long curriculum of digital materials including related leadership readings, white papers, and videos issued to the delegates monthly.

There will also be a series of approximately six intimate dinner sessions to which delegates will be invited, each with a special senior faculty member, addressing further top leadership topics.

Delegates will also be invited to join a private digital forum to network, and exchange experiences and ideas.

The curriculum approach enables delegates to further build their leadership capabilities, to network, and to continue learning from each other and the faculty.


Year Two:

Delegates are invited to attend for a second year of the Forum to further hone their leadership capabilities.

The agenda for each subsequent year addresses new top leadership topics, so the experience year two is fully additive.


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