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Missouri Lawyers Media honors 23 with 2020 In-House Counsel Awards

Missouri Lawyers Media has been honoring excellence in law for decades. Four years ago, we expanded our range of honor events to recognize and celebrate top in-house lawyering throughout our state.

That first event in 2017 over-delivered on its promise to spotlight those who consistently excel in the legal departments of some of Missouri’s most significant businesses and organizations. And while it might be natural to worry that subsequent performances would never reach the same high, we didn’t.  We knew we had only scratched the surface of the remarkable depth of legal talent serving these businesses.

As predicted, our 2020 group of honorees stands just as tall.

On these pages, you’ll find the stories of 23 men and women who partner and lead with CEOs across a spectrum of businesses and organizations — public to private, large to small, emerging to maturing.

They are strategists. Collaborators. Problem-solvers.  Innovators. They are uncomfortable with ambiguity and navigate a company to excel in efficiency and execution. They are often courageous in their recommendations and guidance during turbulent times.

Parsing the broad business of law into precise practice areas is an evolving need for firms. Legal specialists must become laser-focused in meeting current needs of their many clients. But it’s the generalist who best suits the in-house counsel role for the single client. That attorney has a seat at the boardroom with a stake in the overall and long-term success of the company.

So in selecting the honorees for the In-House Counsel Awards, we look not only at expertise in the legal profession, but the commitment and impact these attorneys have made within their companies. They understand and demonstrate a unique blend of counselor and business strategist as they help to guide their companies’ vision.

Please take the time to read the profiles of all of our 2020 honorees. While their companies and work may vary, they share a common excellence in their profession.

For that, we salute them.

— Liz Irwin, Publisher
Missouri Lawyers Media


Lifetime Achievement Award

Mark C. Darrell, senior vice president, chief legal and compliance officer, Spire

Health care organization

Urmila Paranjpe Baumann, associate chief counsel, Cigna

Nonprofit or government organization

Nate Berneking, director of financial and administrative ministries, Missouri Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church

Barbara A. Enneking, general counsel, Bi-State Development

Christopher W. Lebeck, city attorney, City of Branson

Private company with more than $500 million in annual revenue

Charles Etherington, senior vice president and general counsel, American Century Investments

Sven Fickeler, senior corporate counsel, Bunzl Distribution USA

Jenny Herner, assistant vice president and assistant general counsel, MiTek

Nancy Inman, general counsel, ARCO Construction Co.

Gregory Omer, executive vice president, corporate secretary and general counsel, Central Bancompany

Laura Staley, employment counsel, Enterprise Holdings Inc.

Peter Wimmer, executive vice president and general counsel, First Bank

Private company with up to $500 million in annual revenue

Jacqueline Pollvogt, general counsel, Drury Development Corporation

Public company

Mary Frontczak, chief legal and administrative officer and corporate secretary, Compass Minerals

John Godar, associate general counsel, Anheuser-Busch

Sara Meinhard, vice president, assistant general counsel & head of litigation, Cerner Corporation

John C. Pauls, executive vice president and general counsel, UMB Financial Corporation

Tyrus R. Ulmer, chief counsel, The Boeing Company

Rising star

Lauren Allen, general counsel, Housing Authority of Kansas City

Alexander Bean, director of legal services for risk management, BJC HealthCare

Mary Kate Hogan, general counsel, Clearent

Tyler Winn, associate general counsel, Anheuser-Busch

Beatrice Zdrodowski, general counsel and risk management officer, Ungerboeck Software International