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Jill Wine-Banks

Watergate prosecutor, U.S. Army General Counsel, American Bar Association COO, corporate and public sector executive, social advocate

Jill Wine-Banks is a tough-minded litigator, an eloquent and persuasive communicator and an outspoken critic of the sexism she and her peers have encountered and survived. In a memorable cross-examination, Ms. Wine-Banks questioned President Richard M. Nixon’s personal secretary, Rose Mary Woods, about an 18 ½-minute gap in a White House tape. She was one of three assistant special prosecutors – and, long before Marcia Clark prosecuted O. J. Simpson -- was the only woman on the the cover-up trial team. That case led to the convictions of Nixon’s top aides and eventually forced the President to resign. Wine-Banks went on to join the heavy-hitting Washington law firm of Fried Frank Harris Shriver and Kampelman. She later became the first female General Counsel of the U.S. Army under President Jimmy Carter, supervising more than 3,000 lawyers, with responsibility for military justice and policy issues, including the integration of women into West Point and basic training, the opening of most military jobs to women, and legislation that abolished the Women’s Army Corp. These pivotal changes opened the door for women soldiers to become Regular Army Generals beyond the sole one-star available to any WAC. One woman now holds a four-star rank and many hold one- to three-star ranks. After the Army, Ms. Wine-Banks returned to her hometown of Chicago to become a litigation partner at Jenner & Block. In 1984, she was appointed Solicitor General and then Deputy Attorney General of the State of Illinois. Ms. Wine-Banks was then recruited to serve as the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the American Bar Association, where she oversaw the world’s largest professional association and legal publisher with almost 400,000 members. From there, she became an executive at Motorola and later an officer at Maytag, where she had global responsibilities for international business development, global alliances and government relations in Pakistan, China, Ukraine, Russia, Japan and Singapore. After a stellar corporate career, Ms. Wine-Banks became the Chief Executive Officer of Winning Workplaces, a nonprofit organization designed to improve success of small and mid-sized businesses create better work environments through enhanced human-resource practices. Her most recent public-sector appointment was to the nation’s third-largest school district, Chicago Public Schools. Under CEO Arnie Duncan, she led the Career and Technical Educational Department. Her innovations included the creation of the DeVry Advantage Academy, a public school where students simultaneously earn a high school diploma and a college associate degree. Currently, Ms. Wine-Banks is a member of a U.S. Department of Defense Subcommittee investigating how to improve the military’s handling of sexual assault cases. She has traveled globally to participate in this process and contributed to a report recommending changes to the Code of Military Justice. A second set of recommendations is expected soon. She also serves on several boards, including the Executive Service Corps, the National Veterans Art Museum and Governors State University. Previously she was on the boards of The Chicago Network, International Women’s Forum and the ACLU, as well as two corporate boards. Ms. Wine-Banks is a frequent speaker at professional, business, women’s and academic venues and she has appeared on television, including C-Span, a Ken Howard show about workplace sexual harassment and a Robert Redford Watergate documentary. Ms. Wine-Banks holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Illinois in journalism and a JD from Columbia University Law School in New York.