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Maurice Watson

Lawyer Maurice Watson was born on January 13, 1958 in Kansas City, Missouri to Christene and George Watson. He attended Barstow School and was the first African American to graduate from there in 1976. Watson then attended Harvard University where he graduated cum laude and received his B.A. degree in social studies in 1980 before earning his J.D. degree from Harvard Law School in 1984.

After graduating from Harvard University in 1980, Watson worked in the legal department at Hallmark Cards, Inc. until 1981 when he entered Harvard Law School. Upon receiving his J.D. degree from Harvard Law School in 1984, Watson was hired as an aide for Senator John Danforth (R-MO) where he worked with civil rights, healthcare, and education issues. He remained here until 1987 when he returned to Kansas City, Missouri to serve as an associate at Blackwell Sanders, working on civil rights and education issues. Here, he would later become partner and relationship manager for the Kansas City Public School system. In 2012, Watson was named chairman of the board of Husch Blackwell, making him the first African American to head a major law firm in Missouri and the third to do so in the country. He remained as chairman until 2018 when he co-founded Credo Philanthropy Advisors and became of counsel to Husch Blackwell.

Watson has served on numerous boards throughout his career, including as president of the board of trustees for Barstow School from 1989 to 1996, chairman of the board of directors for Children’s Mercy Hospital from 1993 to 2007 and vice chair of ther board of trustees from 2002 to 2007, and secretary of the board of trustees for the National Association of Independent Schools from 1995 to 2003. He has also been a member of the African American Managing Partners Network, the Jackson County Bar Association, the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City, and the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association.

Watson also received numerous awards, including the 2007 Missouri Hospital Association Excellence in Governance Award, the NAACP Kansas City, Missouri Chapter’s Velma E. Woodson Outstanding Leadership Award in 2012, the Urban League of Greater Kansas City Difference Maker of the Year Award in 2012, Kansas City Business Journal’s Power 100 recognition from 2014 to 2017, the Missouri Lawyers Weekly’s 2018 Law Firm Leader Award, and the African American Managing Partners Network’s 2018 Managing Partner of the Year Award.

Watson resides in Kansas City, Missouri.

Maurice Watson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 4, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.120

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/4/2019

Last Name

Watson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Middle Name

Alvin

Occupation
Schools

George Washington Carver School

George Melcher Elementary School

Southwest High School

The Barstow School

Harvard University

Harvard Law School

First Name

Maurice

HM ID

WAT21

Favorite Season

Spring

Favorite Vacation Destination

London

Favorite Quote

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Speakers Bureau Region State

Missouri

Birth Date

1/13/1958

Speakers Bureau Region City

Kansas City

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Lawyer Maurice Watson (1958- ) was the first African American to head a major law firm in Missouri and the third to do so in the country after being named chairman of Husch Blackwell in 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri.

Employment

Hallmark Cards, Inc.

Blackwell Sanders Matheny Weary & Lombardi

Lord Lloyd & Bissell

Senator John Danforth (R-MO)

Blackwell Sanders

Husch Blackwell Sanders LLP

Husch Blackwell

Credo Philanthropy Advisors

Favorite Color

Purple

Teri McClure

Corporate executive Teri McClure was born in 1963, in Kansas City, Kansas. She received her B.A. degree from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri in marketing and economics and went on to earn her J.D. degree from Emory University School of Law in Atlanta, Georgia. McClure began practicing employment and labor law in Atlanta in 1988, and then began working for the United Parcel Service in 1995, as employment counsel to the Corporate Legal Department.

McClure became vice president of operations for UPS in 1999, the year UPS became a public corporation, and then was vice president of operations for the Central Florida district in 2003. During this time, McClure managed over four thousand employees and was responsible for all aspects of package pickup and delivery in that area. She also held an assignment with UPS Supply Chain Solutions during this time, which was the period that UPS was first expanding its supply chain capacities. From 2004 to 2005 McClure served as Compliance Department Manager for UPS, in which capacity she worked to ensure that the company followed ethical and legal business practices. After that, she was quickly promoted to compliance department manager and then was promoted again to corporate legal department manager. In 2006, McClure became the first African American senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary at UPS. This was at a time when only 15.7% of top corporate executives were women and only 1.6% of them were African American.

McClure has served on the board of the UPS Foundation, which is the charitable arm of the UPS Corporation. She has also served on the board of The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Junior Achievement Worldwide, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Equal Justice Works, and the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights. McClure served as co-chair of the Georgia Supreme Courts Committee on Civil Justice and was involved with other civic, religious, and professional organizations.

Accession Number

A2010.077

Sex

Female

Interview Date

7/12/2010

Last Name

McClure

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

P.

Occupation
Schools

Loretto Academy

West Middle School

Sumner Academy of Arts and Science

Washington University in St Louis

Emory University School of Law

John F. Kennedy Elementary School

First Name

Teri

Birth City, State, Country

Kansas City

HM ID

MCC12

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Kansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

I Can Do All things Through Christ, Who Strengthens Me.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Interview Description
Birth Date

12/31/1963

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Steak, Pasta

Short Description

Corporate executive Teri McClure (1963 - ) served as an officer of UPS from 1999, and as a board member of several charitable and professional organizations.

Employment

United Parcel Service

Ford Harrison

Smith, Currie, and Hancock

Troutman Sanders

Hallmark Cards

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Teri McClure's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Teri McClure lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Teri McClure describes her mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Teri McClure describes her mother's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Teri McClure remembers her maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Teri McClure describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Teri McClure talks about her father's ancestry

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Teri McClure describes her parents' relationship

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Teri McClure describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Teri McClure recalls her early aspiration to become an attorney

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Teri McClure recalls moving to the suburbs of Kansas City, Kansas

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Teri McClure describes her early education

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Teri McClure recalls her early religious experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Teri McClure describes her early extracurricular activities

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Teri McClure reflects upon her upbringing in a predominantly white community

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Teri McClure describes her early interest in learning

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Teri McClure talks about her transition to public schooling

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Teri McClure recalls her activities at the Sumner Academy of Arts and Science in Kansas City, Kansas

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Teri McClure remembers her influential teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Teri McClure describes her experiences of school desegregation

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Teri McClure talks about her senior year at the Sumner Academy of Arts and Science

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Teri McClure describes her internship at the district attorney's office

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Teri McClure talks about her emphasis on education

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Teri McClure remembers her decision to attend Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Teri McClure talks about her summer work experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Teri McClure remembers her family vacations

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Teri McClure describes her family's holiday traditions

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Teri McClure describes her experiences in the INROADS program

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Teri McClure remembers her high school prom and graduation party

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Teri McClure describes her experiences at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Teri McClure talks about the black community at Washington University in St. Louis

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Teri McClure remembers her parents' disinterest in politics

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Teri McClure recalls her decision to attend the Emory University School of Law in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Teri McClure talks about moving to Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Teri McClure describes the African American community at the Emory University School of Law

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Teri McClure talks about her involvement in the Moot Court Society

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Teri McClure recalls meeting her husband

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Teri McClure talks about her study techniques at the Emory University School of Law

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Teri McClure talks about her law internships

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Teri McClure recalls her early experiences with labor law

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Teri McClure talks about her experiences of gender discrimination

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Teri McClure remembers her first trial

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Teri McClure talks about her experiences at Troutman Sanders LLP

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Teri McClure describes her decision to work for the United Parcel Service

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Teri McClure describes the history of the United Parcel Service

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Teri McClure recalls expanding the legal department of the United Parcel Service

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Teri McClure recalls learning about the operations of the United Parcel Service

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Teri McClure talks about her promotion to general counsel of the United Parcel Service

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Teri McClure talks about the management training process at the United Parcel Service

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Teri McClure remembers the United Parcel Service's initial public offering

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Teri McClure describes her challenges as the head of the legal department at the United Parcel Service

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Teri McClure recalls becoming a senior officer of the United Parcel Service

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Teri McClure talks about her career goals

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Teri McClure describes her role as a mentor

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Teri McClure talks about her organizational affiliations

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Teri McClure describes her daughters

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Teri McClure shares a message to future generations

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Teri McClure reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Teri McClure describes her plans for the future

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$5

DAStory

8$3

DATitle
Teri McClure describes her experiences of school desegregation
Teri McClure describes her challenges as the head of the legal department at the United Parcel Service
Transcript
So you get ready to go to high school. And tell me about that.$$Well, at that point in time, as I mentioned before, Kansas was going through a desegregation plan. They were under a desegregation order. And at that time there was only, there was one predominantly, well, solely black high school. And then there were only four other, three other--four other high schools in the city. And so in order to integrate, they decided to make the predominantly black school a magnet school and take the top kids from all the other schools and bus them into the inner city to this predominantly black school and try to integrate it, reverse integration, that way, instead of bussing the black kids out. And then if you weren't in the top of your class, you got bussed out to one of the other high schools. And so, you had to maintain a B average to stay in the Sumner magnet school. It was called the Sumner Academy of Arts and Science [Kansas City, Kansas]. So it was designed to be a college preparatory school, and it was starting, it was going to start in the ninth grade. And although I went there in the tenth grade, I was in the first class to enter into the school at that stage. So, we voted on the school colors. We established all the school traditions. That was for the first cheerleaders for the school, you know, the first everything for the school. And we really kind of created the foundation for this new school. And again, my parents [Donna Mitchell Plummer and Louis Plummer, Jr.] had gone to the same building, but it was Sumner High School back then, and I went back to the same building as Sumner Academy of Arts and Science.$$Okay. Now since the building was there and it was an all-black school--$$Uh-huh.$$--and now they're bringing in white kids. Do you know if there was a change in what went on in the school?$$Oh, yeah, substantially. It was interesting because--kind of in both ways. From one perspective, there was a lot of history in Sumner High School, the black school. I mean, like I said, my grandfather went there and my parents went there. All of the blacks in the community went to that high school. A lot of very successful people who have gone on to do great things went to that high school. They had a very, a very good sports program. So Sumner High School had won state championships, and regional, and district championships in sports for many, many years. So, there were just trophy cases just full of trophies from over the years. A lot of the players there had gone on to Kansas University [sic. University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas] and other universities to do well in college, and some eventually made it to the pros, as I understand. There's a lot of history in that school, a lot of strong relationships and bonds. And even to this day, they continue to have Sumner High School class reunions. The group was just very, very tight knit. They all grew up in the same community and went to the same high school. So there was a, there was a lot of, I guess disappointment that a lot of those traditions and history was kind of pushed aside in an effort to desegregate and create these new traditions. So there was a little bit of a, I guess not tension, but I guess there was a little bit of tension. It wasn't negative in any sense, but you could just tell there was this tension between the past and the future, that existed as a result of the change. In terms of the education level, it's funny. My mom just told me to this day, and we didn't realize this, but Sumner High School probably had some of the best teachers in the country, largely because--as a result of a grant or either some sort of litigation, there was a decision made many, many years back, I think this was like maybe the '50s [1950s], that paid the teachers at Sumner High School the same as white teachers in the rest of the school district. And as a result of that, they were getting some of the best teachers from all across the country who were coming to Kansas to work at Sumner High School. So I think they had a very good program there, and they, you know, graduated a number of people who did very well and went on to college. When I say there was a change, the change was they just changed the whole format of the school. It became intentionally a college preparatory school. They determined all the kids would take a foreign language for so many years. We had to study Latin in the first two years of school. We did internships our senior year in school. So it became, it was a very planned college preparatory program as opposed to the more traditional educational program that existed in the past, although the quality of education I would say was probably very good at the old Sumner High School. Again, during the time my parents were there, the time just prior to when I arrived, I'm not sure what the quality of the education was. But, you know, this college prep curriculum that they established has been very, very successful for the school, and has gotten a great deal of recognition over the years.$$Well, they had really good teachers. As you said, they paid them like they paid the white teachers?$$Uh-huh.$$This is before you came there?$$Right, right. That was like--$$Did your parents, did your mother or father ever talk about having secondhand books? Because that was a lot that was going on during that time--$$Right.$$--where they would get the books from the white schools.$$From the white schools?$$Yeah.$$You know, I've never heard them talk about that. I can't say that that was an issue one way or the other. But I never heard them talk about that, yeah.$$Okay.$Back in Atlanta [Georgia], and the person who--you take over his position. And because you had the previous experience, did it make the job a little easier, or not?$$Well, it was easier in the sense that I was working with people I already knew, very familiar with, that I'd worked with prior to going out into the district. And so, it was very much home again. It had been where I had started out with the company. It was challenging in that, again, I was now responsible for areas of law that I hadn't practiced in previously. While a large part of our legal budget was spent on labor and employment matters, we also have litigation and other areas; real estate and compliance, and all sorts of areas. And so, I was learning as well as managing other areas of the company. So it was challenging and rewarding in that respect, in that I was doing things new, and being exposed to other areas of the company.$$Okay. Were you were involved with the UPS Foundation [United Parcel Service Foundation], any part of that?$$At some point. Actually, I didn't become a trustee in the UPS Foundation until I came to the management committee, until I was promoted to the management committee. I did at that time become involved with the Annie E. Casey Foundation [Baltimore, Maryland], which is a foundation that was started by our founder, Jim Casey. Jim Casey didn't have any children when he died, so he left all of his money to a foundation which was named after his mother, Annie E. Casey. And the Annie E. Casey Foundation is a substantial foundation now, focusing on children's issues and foster care, and advancing the issues. So when I was head of the legal department I became--some members of UPS [United Parcel Service] serve on the board of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, although it's an independently run organization. And so, I was elected to the board of the Annie E. Casey Foundation as a UPS representative to the board.$$So, okay, so what year do you become manager, department manager?$$It was, would be two thousand and--$$Five [2005]?$$Two thousand five [2005] and 2006 timeframe, yeah.$$Okay. And just tell me more about what you do, or what you did, or what you hoped to accomplish in that position?$$In that position, I felt when I came into the position there were a number of really structural employee relations issues and communication issues, just as a result of a number of changes that had been made prior to me taking on the role. And so, my first responsibility was to really build a team to understand the dynamics that were in place, some of the issues that had presented problems in the past, and to sort of bring the team together and create a sense of I guess clarity as such, as to the decision making that was being done that impacted the team members, and just help them feel a greater part of the business process, and not isolate lawyers that worked for the company. So I spent a great deal of time serving in more of a management role, helping bring the legal department into the fold as part of the business, and helping them view their jobs as advocates on behalf of the business, and educating them in that regard. So, that was a large part of it at that time.