New Executive Director and 2018 Officers and Directors of Association of Corporate Counsel National Capital Region

WASHINGTON--()--Association of Corporate Counsel National Capital Region (ACC NCR), a regional legal association representing approximately 2,500 in-house counsel from more than 800 organizations in Washington, D.C., Virginia, and suburban Maryland, recently announced that it has hired Shannon A. Graving as its new Executive Director. Ms. Graving, who joined ACC NCR on April 2, will work closely with newly installed ACC NCR President Navid Haghighi.

Prior to joining ACC NCR, Ms. Graving was Assistant Director for Corporate Pro Bono (CPBO), a global partnership project of the Association of Corporate Counsel and Pro Bono Institute (PBI) for seven years, where she worked with in-house counsel from legal departments of all sizes, across industries and around the world, to help them start or expand their pro bono programs. Prior to her work with CPBO, Ms. Graving practiced at Holland & Knight LLP in its business law group for ten years. Ms. Graving replaces Ilene G. Reid, who was ACC NCR’s first executive director and served in that role for 20 years. Ms. Reid will continue with ACC NCR as senior director.

Mr. Haghighi, who is Managing Associate General Counsel – Law, Public Policy, and Security at Verizon Communications, began his one-year term as President at ACC NCR’s 2018 Annual Meeting. Previously, he had served as President-elect and Secretary, and as a Board member of ACC NCR. In addition to continuing ACC NCR’s long history of providing numerous substantive programs, Mr. Haghighi plans to focus on three goals: (i) increasing membership, (ii) encouraging member engagement and leadership development, and (iii) providing members with information and tools to improve wellness.

Mr. Haghighi has more than 20 years of wide-ranging experience in telecommunications and media services, including technical, legal, and business positions at AT&T, MCI, and AOL. Prior to his current position at Verizon, he served as Executive Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary for XO Communications, a national telecommunications operator of one of the largest IP and Ethernet networks providing networking, cloud connectivity, voice, Internet access, and managed services to customers. Following Verizon’s acquisition of XO Communications in 2017, Mr. Haghighi is now leading legal support for various initiatives related to Verizon’s network and technology.

In addition to Mr. Haghighi, the following ACC NCR officers will serve in 2018:

  • James Villa, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Hensoldt, Inc., as President-elect.
  • Gregory Watchman, Managing Associate General Counsel – Employment Law and Employee Relations, Freddie Mac, as Vice President, Programming.
  • Mary Jane Saunders, Vice President, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary, The Beer Institute, Inc., as Secretary.
  • Heather French, Managing Director and Associate General Counsel, Ares Management LLC, as Treasurer.

The other members of the ACC NCR Board of Directors, who were elected, reelected, or continue to serve, are:

  • Afsanah Ambrose, General Counsel, Acumen Solutions Inc.
  • Constantine Athanas, General Counsel, James G. Davis Construction Corp.
  • Thomas Cluderay, General Counsel, Yellowstone Forever
  • Diane Ennist, senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary, Carey International, Inc.
  • Evan Farber, Chief Legal Officer, The Advisory Board Company
  • Darryl Franklin, Vice President and Senior Counsel, Marriott International, Inc.
  • Kindra Kirkeby, Assistant Counsel, NewMarket Services Corporation
  • Rhonda Lees, Senior Counsel, American Bankers Association
  • Mona Mahoney, Administrative Vice President, M&T Realty Capital Corporation
  • Andrea Shandell, Associate General Counsel and Chief Ethics and Privacy Officer, Gannett Co., Inc.
  • Stephen Sherman, General Counsel – Americas, BSI Group
  • Zack Stewart, assistant General Counsel, Serco Inc.


With approximately 2,500 members, Association of Corporate Counsel National Capital Region (ACC NCR) serves the professional needs of in-house counsel in Washington, D.C., the Commonwealth of Virginia, and suburban Maryland. ACC NCR is a professional association for the in-house bar, and a leading chapter of the global Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC). ACC NCR fosters advancements in the standards of corporate legal practice and provides its members with more than 70 substantive networking, education, and professional development programs each year. More information about ACC NCR is available at:


Shannon A. Graving, Executive Director


Shannon A. Graving, Executive Director