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Baker Donelson Recognizes Sheila P. Burke for Commitment to Women in the Legal Profession

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Baker Donelson has recognized Sheila P. Burke with the Firm's 2017 Susan E. Rich Award for excellence in the promotion of and commitment to women in the legal profession.

"Sheila contributes to the advancement of women in so many extraordinary ways," said Christy Tosh Crider, chair of Baker Donelson's Women's Initiative. "She has succeeded at every step of her career in some of the highest institutions in our country, including the Smithsonian Institution and the United States Senate. She has demonstrated her extraordinary leadership style within Baker Donelson as well, serving as chair of our Government Relations and Public Policy Group, and as co-chair of the Women's Initiative Pathways to Leadership Committee. Sheila is a relentless champion for the careers and causes of women."

A senior advisor in Baker Donelson's Washington, D.C. office and chair of the Firm's Government Relations and Public Policy Group, Ms. Burke previously served as Chief of Staff to Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole. She spent 19 years on Capitol Hill, and early in her career was a member of the staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance responsible for legislation relating to Medicare, Medicaid and other health programs, ultimately becoming Deputy Staff Director of the Committee. She went on to serve as Deputy Chief of Staff to Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole and then his Chief of Staff for ten years. In 1995, she was elected as Secretary of the Senate, the chief administrative officer of the United States Senate.

Ms. Burke previously served as the deputy secretary and chief operating officer of the Smithsonian Institution, the world's largest museum and research complex, and in 2005 was a recipient of the Smithsonian Institution Exceptional Service Award. A former executive dean and currently a faculty member at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, Ms. Burke also serves as Distinguished Visitor at the O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University.

Ms. Burke is a member of the boards of directors of The Chubb Corporation and Ascension, and is also a member of the National Council of the National Academy of Medicine, the Board of Visitors of Georgetown University's School of Nursing and Health Studies, as well as a member of the Board of Regents of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. She previously served as a member of the board of directors of the Bipartisan Policy Center and as chair of the Kaiser Family Foundation Board.

Baker Donelson established the Susan E. Rich award in honor of Susan Elliot Rich, a shareholder in the Firm's Chattanooga, Tennessee office, who was the Firm's first woman shareholder, the first woman to be appointed an office managing shareholder and the first woman appointed to the Firm's board of directors. This award is given annually to a recipient who exemplifies ongoing commitment and effort to strengthen the role of women attorneys at the Firm.

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