Associate General Counsel • Harley-Davidson Motor Co. • Milwaukee, Wisc. • Age: 39
Recent corporate scandals have made ethics in big business and legal counsels like Tonit Calaway more important than ever. Calaway serves as associate general counsel for Harley-Davidson Motor Company, a company she says was ahead of the curve in meeting heightened expectations for responsible governance. “It is the benefit of working for a company that has always believed in the necessity of high ethical standards of ethics already,” she says. She provides legal advice for the landmark motorcycle manufacturer and handles negotiations for corporate contracts and license agreements.
A Milwaukee native, Calaway was drawn to securities and the stock market through her father, George Calaway, a machinist, who encouraged his children to follow the financial performance of several companies. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from University of Wisconsin and a juris doctor’s degree from the University of Chicago. Calaway started in securities and public finance law at a medium-sized firm in Milwaukee and was set to perform the same function for a larger law firm when she received a job offer from mentor Gail Lione, the general counsel for Harley-Davidson.
In her nine-year tenure at Harley-Davidson, she has climbed from corporate counsel to senior counsel and now associate general counsel to Lione. “Things are always happening. There is a lot of work, a lot of fun, challenging and interesting work,” Calaway says.
Aspiring business attorneys require good writing skills, solid work ethics, knowledge of self and a willingness to accept guidance. “You have to be able to recognize people that are going to aid your development and you carrer,” she says. Calaway also is a fan of fast cars and volunteers her time on the board of Meta House, which supports women recovering from substance addiction. Calaway still sees new worlds to conquer in the corporate world.
“I don’t see myself at the pinnacle,” she says. “I’m still on the journey, and I’ll see where the ride takes me.”