Megan Belcher, senior vice president and general counsel of Scoular, a $4 billion supply chain solutions company for end users and suppliers of grain, feed ingredients and food ingredients, based in Omaha, talks about building inclusive and collaborative in-house teams that get things done.
CCBJ: What led to your current position?
Megan Belcher: After six years of big-firm experience, I started my in-house career in 2007 at Conagra Brands, where I held roles of increasing responsibility until 2016, when I decided to make the jump to a general counsel role. After briefly returning to big-firm practice, I joined Scoular in June 2017 to lead the company’s legal, brand marketing, and corporate communications teams.
Tell us about your leadership style and who has influenced it.
My passion in leadership is around building inclusive and collaborative teams to solve complex problems, drive clarity in times of confusion, and create opportunities to drive my business partners forward.
I have been influenced by a number of critical mentors and sponsors over the years, as well as an executive coach who was pivotal in my leadership journey and created the opportunity for a turning point in my career. In addition, there have been a handful of inspirational women general counsel, like Michelle Banks, former global GC of Gap Inc., who have provided inspiration and mentorship along my climb to being a general counsel.
What qualities do you look for when hiring new people for your team?
I look for collaborative leaders with a “make-it-happen” approach. I favor continuous learners with a growth orientation and mindsets, as well as seeking skillsets we don’t already have at the table. It’s also vital that they have an inclusive perspective derived from diverse experiences.
What’s the best career advice you’ve received?
It’s critically important to sort through information to determine what are facts and what are feelings. Most of the time the facts are simply data for your consumption and use, while feelings are about context or your or other people’s motivations.
What are some changes you're hoping to see within the profession?
I’d like to see greater diversity at the highest levels of legal leadership, across all practice venues, and recognition of the high value lawyers bring to the table, especially women lawyers, as board members and board leaders. I’d also love to see more collaboration among in-house leaders to drive crowdsourced leadership and development opportunities for high-potential team members and tomorrow’s leaders.
Related to that is a growing focus and recognition of the value of personal development and inclusive leadership skills across all practice venues. Finally, for law firms I’d like to see continued evolution of their compensation models to drive team rewards and incentivize inspirational and inclusive leadership.
Published May 8, 2020.