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WJA 2020: Sara Yang Bosco, Emerson

Sara Yang Bosco has long been her family’s designated lawyer, and for good reason. She grew up as the most vocal child in a large family, and her parents encouraged her to become a lawyer to take advantage of her natural talents.

She took to the field, and it has taken her from her hometown of South Bend, Indiana, to new places, including New York City and Hong Kong. Now as Emerson’s senior vice president, secretary and general counsel, she is part of the company’s office of the chief executive, with a front-row seat when the company makes decisions and develops strategy.

Sara Yang Bosco

Bosco

“We’re always trying to align what we do as lawyers with the business level of the company,” she said. “That part of it is really quite fun.”

Bosco began her career in New York City after graduating from Maurer School of Law at the University of Indiana. She later moved with her husband to Taiwan, where he conducted Ph.D research and she joined a law firm in Taipei City, the capital.

She then worked for a small boutique firm on Wall Street for about five years before moving with her husband and young children to Hong Kong. What was intended to be a short-term move turned into a 24-year stay. Bosco first worked for the Baker McKenzie law firm’s Hong Kong office, where she took on Emerson as a client when the company started investing in Asian markets. She worked with the company for 10 years before officially joining its team as a general counsel.

Emerson later moved her into the operations department as president of its Asia Pacific unit for about eight years.

“That certainly is a career highlight because it really taught me a lot about driving through change, working with the organization, being very involved in the strategic initiatives for the region and trying to help the company understand why certain decisions are good in helping their Asia strategy,” she said. “That really helped me be considered and had helped me in the role I have now.”

She now has lived back in the United States for eight years, serving in her current role in St. Louis. She said her team has three main daily objectives: Protect assets, protect people and protect the company’s reputation.

“I think that in this current environment, all of those things are a part of the equation when you’re trying to figure out what the right decisions are,” she said. “We have businesses in every market [around the world], so the changes and pace of change really challenges us to make sure that we are transparent, consistent and fair while trying to achieve those goals of protecting assets, people and reputation.”

Bosco said she also has a couple of mottos that have helped to keep her on track throughout her career. She now passes them on to her team members: Have a full life outside of the office, and if you can’t protect the client, protect yourself.

“When I’m coming up to a challenging situation where there may not be good news or I have to communicate something that is not positive, I always think, what is going to be the best thing for the client, and even if the client doesn’t want to hear it, what’s the best way that I implement my own duty to inform and advise the client?” she said. “I always keep that in mind, and I always tell my team that.”

2020 Women's Justice Awards