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I am very excited about this issue of eNews because it features a person who I admire a great deal … a man who conducts himself at a very high level of consistent excellence. Brandon Smith became the General Counsel of Fortune 500 tier-one auto supplier Tenneco at the age of 37 two years ago.

When I met Brandon in 2011, he was already the No. 2 attorney in Tenneco’s law department, and my main client contact for some Adjunct Counsel work we did for his company at the time. He was a sponge. Brandon and I did the occasional lunch and he would soak up whatever insights I could offer on recruiting and the local law department scene. I just re-read a memo I sent to him in 2012 with a list of my best general counsel contacts so that he could pick their brains. It’s the only memo of that kind I’ve written in 20 years. He will be a CEO down the road if that is what he chooses, or he’ll be a rock star high performing GC for as long as he finds it fulfilling.

But, as with most truly successful people, my respect for Brandon extends to appreciating that he is a great family man. As revealed in Cate’s profile of Brandon, he is one of those driven people who exercises every day at 5 am, including sit-ups with his kids! I had the privilege of getting to know Brandon a bit away from work thanks to a charity gala.

That fundraising event is my transition point to talk about giving back. I suggested the 100 Club to Brandon, an organization that helps support the families of fallen first responders, as it seemed aligned with his interests (he is a former firefighter and EMT). The sponge soaked up that idea and joined.

So, what non-profit cause are you passionate about? I ask, because Evers Legal is now going to tease out an offer. We will donate $1,000 to the charity of your choice for any new order placed with us for the rest of 2019.

For any new order placed before the end of 2019, I’m also going to donate an additional $1,000 to the charity of my choice … which is the Big Brothers and Big Sisters chapter in Chicago. I have been a “Big” for more than a year now, and it’s the best decision I’ve made in a long time. I don’t have kids of my own, so mentoring a young man (now 11) twice per month has enriched my life tremendously. It is a very well run organization, locally and nationally. For anyone who wants to learn more about BBBS, just give me a call.

To wrap up this column and bring it full circle for me, we placed a terrific in-house lawyer named Robyn Martin into an Adjunct Counsel role on Brandon’s team in 2013. When that assignment ended, Robyn landed, on her own, a position in the law department at Potbelly. Just a few days ago, on August 12, Robyn started a new position as the Associate General Counsel & Assistant Corporate Secretary with Knowles Corporation. Evers Legal was retained by Knowles for that search, and drafting this Congrats Announcement is another big reason I’m loving this issue of eNews!

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