3rd Annual Women Leaders in Life Sciences Empowerment Award


Welcome to ACI’s Women Leaders in Life Sciences Law 3rd Annual Empowerment Award Page! This award recognizes and celebrates the successes and achievements of leaders in the community. This is your opportunity to select the nominee of your choice, and we encourage you to make your voice heard.

Voting for the winner is now active and will remain open until 5 pm on Friday, June 29th. All members of the community can cast their vote one time for the award recipient. The winner will be notified the week of July 9th and the award will be given out during the 5th Annual Women Leaders in Life Sciences conference in Boston on July 26, 2018.

Thank you all for your participation. The 2018 Empowerment Award voting has ended. The winner will be honored on July 26th during the Women Leaders in Life Sciences Law conference in Boston. We hope to see you there!

And the nominees are:


Nominee #1: Keeley A. Aleman, Vice President, Deputy General Counsel & Assistant Secretary, Waters Corporation

In her current role at Waters, Ms. Aleman oversees the strategic direction and the specific tactical plans of the global legal team, and is responsible for the overall success of legal matters globally.  Known as a leader with a “proactive and forward-thinking approach,” Ms. Aleman is accountable for setting the direction for the global legal department with respect to developing and approving company policies on key issues. She actively serves as the Co-Chair of the Waters Gender Diversity Network, “a group whose mission is to ensure that women are active and well-represented in management. Attracting women to science and technology, a field in which they continue to be underrepresented, and keeping them engaged are challenges that Ms. Aleman is committed to taking on – and with which she has succeeded – adding to her impressive list of accomplishments as a leader for women in the legal profession.”  She also serves as a  “member of the Global Advisory Board of Women in Law Empowerment Forum, an organization focused on creating a dialogue for the purpose of educating women in law on how to become leaders in the workplace and in the community by building, exercising and implementing a strong sense of empowerment.” 

Nominee #2:  Lisa Jakob, Managing Counsel of Trademarks, Merck & Co., Inc.

Ms. Jakob “has a strong history of leadership and professional excellence in life sciences” specifically working in the field of intellectual property law.  Since joining Merck in 2004, Ms. Jakob has been primarily responsible for IP litigation and counseling both domestically and internationally.  Lauded by her colleagues as “a leader in life sciences law,” she is also known for her commitment to the “mentorship, sponsorship, and the advancement of women in life sciences.”    Last year, Ms. Jakob co-founded a professional network of women IP lawyers.  This group, called “WIN: The Women in IP Network,” is “dedicated to helping women in IP support, teach and learn from each other, and to promote the success of other women lawyers, junior and senior, working in IP.”    She is considered a mentor to and champion of WIN members by others in the association and her “leadership in WIN has unquestionably helped recruit, retain, and provide support to other women lawyers.”

Nominee #3: Isabelle Le Creff,  Executive Legal and Compliance Director, MSD France

Since joining MSD in 2009, Ms. Le Creff has served as legal director and executive legal director for MSD France. Prior to joining MSD, Ms. Le Creff has over 25 years’ experience in the life sciences industry having occupied different positions in various pharma companies.  Known for her “track record as an extremely skilled lawyer, particularly with regards to competition law.”  Ms. Le Creff has earned “the place of a trusted advisor” and is “able to command the level of respect from [her] executive team.”   Her colleagues have noted that she has a “remarkable ability to cut through the noise and rapidly identify the key issues at stake. She is an impressive multitasker, excelling as a leader and highly valued by the business for her legal finesse.” In addition, Ms. Le Creff is considered a “very effective leader with a talent for managing senior lawyers working in her team” who “delegates efficiently, allowing her team to work and revert to her when faced with a challenge.”

Nominee #4: Donna M. Meuth, Associate General Counsel, Intellectual Property, Eisai Inc.

Described by her colleagues as “an exceptional role model” and “very supportive”, Ms. Meuth is relatable, well-liked and known as “an invaluable mentor.”   With diverse experience in IP law, including patent portfolio management and patent prosecution and litigation, Ms. Meuth was also awarded the 2017 Global Counsel Award in the Intellectual Property category.  As part of her current duties as Associate General Counsel, Ms. Meuth “wears many hats” and can often be found working with Eisai’s parent company in Japan on IP issues, supervising her legal team on licensing negotiations, and engaging in thoughtful discussions on litigation strategy.  But despite how busy she is, Ms. Meuth “always seems to have the time to devote to a particularly difficult legal question and collaborate on finding the best solution.” She is known to actively support other women in the industry by sharing her insights and support and is considered by many “a very strong champion of women in this field overall.” 

Nominee #5: Lorie Ann Morgan, Legal Advisor, Gilead Sciences, Inc.

Named a “Visionary Leader” by ALM and In-house Counsel magazine in 2016, Ms. Morgan joined Gilead in September 2008 and “through consistent, demonstrated excellence in all facets of intellectual property, rose to become the leader of a 40-plus person department.”  Ms. Morgan oversaw all aspects of Gilead’s Intellectual Property function and through “grit, passion and perseverance, she expanded and transformed the group into one of the most successful and respected in the U.S.”  Having enjoyed a successful career for over 25 years, Ms. Morgan decided to retire in March 2019 and assumed her current role of Legal Advisor in May 2018 in order to provide a smooth transition for the company and her successor.  “One of the most important hallmarks of Ms. Morgan’s tenure at Gilead has been her recruitment and advancement of women.  Ms. Morgan founded the Women’s Legal Forum, providing Gilead’s women attorneys with an opportunity to discuss issues of mutual concern and to mentor and encourage one another.”  She is also known for championing the firms that mentor and promote women as evidenced by a recent appellate argument where the Gilead team attending the appellate hearing consisted of five women.  Ms. Morgan’s efforts to support women have not been confined to the workplace – she has also received the Tribute to Women Award from the Silicon Valley YWCA.  

Nominee #6: Dr. Bharati Nadkarni, Vice President and Head- Portfolio Planning and IP Litigation, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Limited

Dr. Nadkarni has over 17 years’ experience at Sun Pharma and has been instrumental in building the IP Portfolio and team at the company.  She is responsible for IP strategy, IP due diligence for M&A and management of IP litigation through a cost-effective and business driven strategy for generics and brands. Over the years, Dr. Nadkarni has “demonstrated the ability, skill and attitude to be a leader” and “has translated her knowledge into passion to effectively coach, train, and provide opportunities to young people to enhance their leadership skills.”  She is considered by her colleagues to be “a role model not only to many aspiring women in the field, but also others in the corporate arena and has been immensely instrumental in their development.”  In addition, “about half of the personnel in her team are women and they have developed expertise and achieved growth through her mentorship.”

Nominee #7: Caroline Sitbon, VP & Associate General Counsel – Legal Operations Europe, GSK

Since joining GSK in 2008, Ms. Sitbon is known as an engaged, passionate and experienced manager with excellent leadership skills.  Due to her hard work and “strong background in pharma, coupled with the ability to align legal solutions with commercial objectives,” Ms. Sitbon was recently appointed to her current role where she now has legal accountability for over 37 countries including the five biggest European countries.   As one of her colleagues noted: “It is extremely impressive for Ms. Sitbon to have achieved so much relatively early in her career, she has emerged as an outstanding GC in whom the leadership team clearly place a lot of trust.” She has displayed a strong commitment to diversity at work and in civil society, is a member of the French Pharma Women Association for gender diversity in Pharma business and has supported the development of women at the company including her own team comprised of primarily women.

Nominee #8: Charlene Stern, J.D., Ph.D., Vice President and Head of Legal, Editas Medicine

Dr. Stern was part of the team that launched Editas Medicine in 2013 and took the company public in 2016.  As Head of Legal, she oversees and manages all legal matters, including corporate governance, securities compliance and SEC reporting, partnering and licensing transactions, financings, and intellectual property strategy.  According to her colleagues, she has demonstrated “great intellect, judgment and negotiation skills” during her impressive transition from an IP specialist into a general counsel role.  She also serves as Editas Medicine’s Corporate Secretary, is an active member of the company’s Leadership Community, and has built an accomplished legal team.   In addition to her role at Editas Medicine, Dr. Stern is focused on mentoring women in the biotech field. She enjoys participating in women’s networking groups and building relationships with peers, junior lawyers, scientists and business professionals to help them develop as leaders and network with other women leaders.

Nominee #9: Robin Walker, Vice President, Head of Legal, Casebia Therapeutics

With 19 years of legal experience as a business lawyer in both private practice and in-house, Ms. Walker is described by her colleagues as “an excellent lawyer” and a truly innovative thinker “who is unfailingly passionate and enthusiastic about her work.” She is a “true leader” who “inspires confidence amongst her colleagues” and “doesn’t shy away from difficult choices.” She is considered by her colleagues to be respectful, smart, and genuine and to demonstrate “courage, leadership and most importantly authenticity in everything she does.” Ms. Walker’s “commitment to helping and advocating for women goes beyond lip service by granting her team flexible schedules so they may continue their educations, and she works hard to provide opportunities for advancement both internally and externally,” including “mentoring and supporting colleagues at all levels.” In addition to her commitment to diversity at her own company, Ms. Walker serves on the Board of Directors of the Northeast Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC), as Chair of the ACC’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Massachusetts Women’s Bar Foundation.


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