The Honorable Ruth V. McGregor (Co-Chair)
Chief Justice Ruth V. McGregor (ret.) served on the Arizona Supreme Court from February 1998 until June 2009. She was the Court’s chief justice from 2005 until her retirement. She was also a member of the Arizona Court of Appeals from 1989 until 1998, where she served as chief judge from 1995 to 1997.
Before her appointment to the bench, Justice McGregor engaged in the private practice of law as a member of the Fennemore Craig law firm in Phoenix. She served as law clerk to Justice Sandra Day O’Connor during Justice O’Connor’s first term on the United States Supreme Court.
Justice McGregor has participated extensively in professional activities, particularly those involving legal education and the discipline of lawyers and judges, and in organizations dedicated to assuring a fair and impartial judiciary. Among other activities, she has served as an officer and a member of the board of trustees for the American Inns of Court Foundation, as an officer and board member for the National Association of Women Judges, as a board member of the Conference of Chief Justices, and on the Legal Council of the American Bar Association’s Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar, which is the accrediting body for American law schools.
Ambassador Barbara Barrett (Co-Chair)
Ambassador Barbara Barrett served President George W. Bush as the first female chairperson of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy and as senior advisor to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. In 2008 and 2009, Ambassador Barrett was U.S. Ambassador to Finland. Ambassador Barrett also chaired the State Department’s Women’s Economic Empowerment Working Group and, as a member of the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council, founded Project Artemis, a program to train and mentor Afghan businesswomen at the Thunderbird School of Global Management.
During the Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations, Ambassador Barrett served as deputy administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration and vice chairperson of the U.S. Civil Aeronautics Board. She chaired the National Export Conference and the Arizona District Export Council. She was also a member of the President’s Advisory Committee on Trade Negotiations and the Administrative Conference of the United States.
In 2012, Ambassador Barrett served as interim president of the Thunderbird School of Global Management. Previously, she taught leadership as a fellow at Harvard University, and was CEO of the American Management Association. Ambassador Barrett is chairman of the Aerospace Corporation and a member of the boards of California Institute of Technology, Sally Ride Science, RAND Corporation, Smithsonian Institution, Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, and Lasker Foundation. She has been recognized with the Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service.
The Honorable Scott Bales
Chief Justice Scott Bales joined the Arizona Supreme Court in 2005. He teaches at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. Before his appointment to the court, Justice Bales practiced at Lewis and Roca LLP in Phoenix, concentrating on appellate and complex litigation.
As Arizona’s solicitor general from 1999 to 2001, he handled major appeals in state and federal court, oversaw the enforcement of Arizona election laws, and supervised the preparation of legal opinions on issues concerning state government. Chief Justice Bales also was a deputy assistant Attorney General for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Policy Development, a federal prosecutor in the United States Attorney’s Office in Phoenix, and a Special Investigative Counsel for the Justice Department’s Inspector General. He clerked for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on the U.S. Supreme Court and Judge Joseph T. Sneed III on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Charles (Chuck) A. Blanchard
Charles Blanchard, who previously served as the General Counsel of the Air Force and the Army, works with clients in the contracting and national security communities, drawing upon his experience in government and private practice, providing unique insights into doing business with the federal government. He represents major US and foreign defense and aerospace companies on a wide range of national security and government contracts issues, including bid protests, transactions, internal investigations, cybersecurity and sensitive national security issues. This has included advising companies on the unique issues raised in acquiring companies that do highly classified work for the government, data rights disputes, Defense Production Act and other supply chain issues, Trade Agreements Act and Buy America advice, suspension and debarment defense, CFIUS and global foreign investment review advice, and advice on compliance with US government cybersecurity and supply chain requirements. He also counsels life sciences and other companies that engage in US Government-funded research and development, including OTAs and other agreements with BARDA and the DoD.
Brian G. Cartwright
Brian G. Cartwright retired from his partnership at Latham & Watkins LLP in 2005. He returned to the firm and served for two years as a senior advisor in 2011 and 2012. Mr. Cartwright is now a senior advisor at Patomak Global Partners, a financial services consultancy located in New York and Washington, D.C. He is also a member of the board of directors of HCP Inc. a real estate investment trust that invests in real estate serving the healthcare industry. In addition, he serves as a trustee of the Pacific Legal Foundation, a nonprofit legal services organization.
Mr. Cartwright served as general counsel of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission from 2006 to 2009, following a 23-year career at Latham & Watkins. As SEC general counsel, he was responsible for counseling the commission on all matters brought before it, including all enforcement actions and all rule makings. Mr. Cartwright also supervised all cases litigated by the SEC in the United States Courts of Appeals and advised on all adjudications appealed to the commission. During his service at the SEC, Mr. Cartwright also served as a senior advisor to the chairman and other commissioners and helped shape the commission’s major policy and regulatory initiatives.
Mr. Cartwright served as a law clerk to Judge Malcolm R. Wilkey of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and then as a law clerk to Justice Sandra Day O’Connor of the United States Supreme Court.
Stacy Leeds is Dean and Regents Professor of Law at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Arizona State University. She is a scholar of Indigenous law and policy and an experienced leader in law, higher education, economic development and conflict resolution. She holds law degrees from University of Wisconsin (LL.M.) and University of Tulsa (J.D.), a business degree from University of Tennessee (M.B.A)., and an undergraduate degree in history from Washington University in St. Louis (B.A.).
Leeds was the first Indigenous woman to serve as a law school dean. She served as dean of University of Arkansas School of Law (2011-2018) and as the inaugural Vice Chancellor for Economic Development, University of Arkansas (2017-2020). She has been a professor and administrator at University of Kansas and University of North Dakota, and a William H. Hastie Fellow at University of Wisconsin. She is an elected member of the American Law Institute and a recipient of the American Bar Association’s Spirit of Excellence Award.
Leeds prioritizes public service at the national and local level. She is a former Cherokee Nation Supreme Court Justice and former Chair of the Cherokee Nation Gaming Commission. She currently serves as a founding board member and treasurer of the Foundation for America’s Public Lands, a congressionally-chartered non-profit. She is a corporate board member for Kituwah LLC (wholly owned business diversification company of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians) and board vice-president of Native Forward Scholars Fund (formerly American Indian Graduate Center).
Minister Ana Palacio
The 2016 O’Connor Justice Prize was given to Ana Palacio, member of the Council of State of Spain and former senior vice president and general counsel of the World Bank Group. Ms. Palacio was also the first woman to serve as the Minister for Foreign Affairs for the Spanish Government from 2002 to 2004. Throughout her varied and impressive career, Ms. Palacio consistently earned a reputation as an ardent defender and protector of the rule of law, human rights, judicial independence, and press freedom. Ms. Palacio’s passion for the rule of law and human rights was evident when as a member of the European Commission’s panel established under Article 255 of the Lisbon Treaty, she was instrumental in ensuring the independence of the European Union judiciary, vetting judicial candidates for two levels of Courts of the European Union. In the early stages of the development of the EU as something more than a commercial relationship, Ms. Palacio’s influence was pivotal to the incorporation of human rights into the fabric of the EU. Additionally, with Ms. Palacio’s counsel at the World Bank, human rights and freedoms were elevated in financial analyses.
Michael R. Rooney
Mike Rooney practices business and corporate law and private post-secondary school law at Sacks Tierney P.A. He is listed in The Best Lawyers in America. Mr. Rooney has a long tradition of generous commitments of time in the community, and his current service includes the Prescott College Board of Trustees, Rio Salado Foundation, Tempe Center for the Arts Foundation, the O’Connor Institute, and Arizona Family College Savings Plan Oversight Committee.
Mr. Rooney is a past president of the Grand Canyon Council of the Boy Scouts of America; a James E. West Fellow; a recipient of the Silver Beaver award; the Silver Antelope award; and, primarily because of his work with the homeless community in Arizona, was awarded the Distinguished Eagle award. Mr. Rooney was appointed by an Arizona governor to a four-year term on what is currently the Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education. This board regulates the private trade and technical school industry in Arizona. For two years, Mr. Rooney was the board’s chairman.
Ms. Stanton serves as Vice President and General Counsel of Trulieve, Inc. where she is responsible for the company’s legal affairs, compliance, risk management, safety and security. Prior to her role at Trulieve, she was the managing partner of the Phoenix office and assistant general counsel of Quarles & Brady where she was standing senior member of the firm’s Professional Liability Team. Ms. Stanton served as defense counsel for several local and national law firms, as well as Quarles & Brady, along with representing accounting firms, financial institutions, insurance brokers, and a variety of other clients. In addition to her work as a litigator, Ms. Stanton has taught Professional Responsibility at Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law several times and teaches a course on Leadership in Law at the University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law. Ms. Stanton is highly invested in the Phoenix community. She spearheaded a statewide anti-bullying initiative called Stop Bullying AZ and has served on many nonprofit boards. She’s received numerous awards for her business and community service activities.
Sarah E. Suggs
Sarah Suggs is a third-generation Arizonan whose 25-year career has taken her to the east coast and west. She served as Senior Vice President of Marketing for Phoenix-based Pivotal Group, a private equity and real estate investment firm, and as Executive Director of The National Women’s Hall of Fame in New York, which recognizes and celebrates the achievements of extraordinary American women.
A community volunteer since the age of 12, Ms. Suggs has held several leadership positions including Phoenix Heart Ball Chairman, Arizona Science Center Gala Chairman, Women’s Board of the Barrow Neurological Foundation, a Founder of Phoenix Children’s Hospital Leadership Circle, and Past President of Charter 100, whose purpose is to recognize outstanding women in the community and provide a forum for their interaction. Honorary members include former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and former Arizona Governors Rose Mofford, Jane Dee Hull, and Janet Napolitano.