Michele Coleman Mayes, Senior Vice President and General Counsel at the Allstate Insurance Company, served as the third speaker in the 2010 – 2011 General Counsel Speakers Series at North Carolina Central University (NCCU) School of Law.
The event was held on Thursday, January 20, 2011 at noon in the Great Hall. The theme of Mayes’ lecture was how “You Really Can Be in Control – Charting Your Journey.” The law firm of Womble Carlyle Sandridge and Rice sponsored the program.
Michele Coleman Mayes has been Senior Vice President and General Counsel of The Allstate Corporation since September 21, 2007. She serves as a Member of Senior Management team at Allstate and is responsible for guiding Allstate’s strategy to ensure sound compliance of governance practices, and fostering a healthy legal, legislative, and regulatory environment.
Mayes has 20 years of corporate law experience and her areas of expertise include Corporate Governance, Compliance, and General Legal Affairs. She served as a Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Pitney Bowes Inc. from March 2003 to September 2007 and was responsible for its legal affairs. She joined Pitney Bowes after nearly 11 years at Colgate Palmolive Company, where she served as Vice President of Legal, Assistant Secretary and Corporate Officer since 2001. Mayes also served as Vice President and Deputy General Counsel-International and Corporate, where she was responsible for international legal matters and overseeing general corporate transactions including acquisitions, mergers, and divestitures. Additionally, she has served as Vice President of Human Resources and Legal of Colgate North America.
Prior to joining Colgate Palmolive in 1992 as Vice President and Associate General Counsel, Mayes served at Unisys Corporation, where she served in various legal positions, including Staff Vice President and Associate General Counsel In Charge of litigation worldwide from 1987 to 1992. She also served in the United States Attorney’s Office as an Assistant United States Attorney, becoming Chief of the Civil Division for the Eastern District of Michigan.
From 1976 to 1982, Mayes served in the United States Department of Justice as Assistant United States Attorney in Detroit and Brooklyn, eventually assuming the role of Chief of the Civil Division in Detroit. In 1982, she entered the corporate sector as Managing Attorney of Burroughs Corporation. She served as a Director of Legal Momentum (NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund) and as a Director of Assurant Inc. from October 2004 to November 2007.
Mayes joined the board of Business Council of Southwestern Connecticut in 1996 and has been its Chairman of the Board since June 2001. She is a Member of American Arbitration Association, the American Bar Association Center for Racial and Ethnic Diversity, and Leadership Counsel for Legal Diversity. Her legal association activity also includes past membership on the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Commission on Women in the Profession.
Mayes has held teaching appointments at Wayne State University and Illinois State University. She has been the recipient of several awards including: the ABA Commission on Women Margaret Brent Award and the Minority Corporate Counsel Association’s Trailblazer Award. In 2003, she was named one of “America’s Top Black Lawyers” by Black Enterprise Magazine. In 2009, she was recognized as one of the most Influential General Counsels in America by the National Law Journal. Her influence is felt in both the business and private sector; she is recognized as a sought after speaker.
Michele Coleman Mayes received her Bachelors of Arts and her Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan.