Bridge Partners holds prominent legal positions at Accion, Humane Society of the United States, Sierra Club and Southern Poverty Law Center


NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Bridge Partners, the inclusion-focused, minority-owned executive search firm, recently named Angela Ciccolo, legal director of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS); Maria Hermida, General Counsel, Accion; Erica McKinley, Legal Director, Sierra Club; and Derwyn Bunton, Legal Director, Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). These hires show the advancement of women and people of color to the highest levels of the legal profession. According recent data only 38.5% of all general counsel are women, 7% are Hispanic or Latino, and just 5.9% are Asian.

“The past two and a half years have ushered in a rapid and significant shift in the way people work and the way they value workplace culture,” said Ryan Whitacre, partner at Bridge Partners. “Younger generations want to be fully engaged in the workplace and are increasingly demanding that their employer’s mission and vision align with their own. Add to that the changing social, economic and political landscapes, where women’s health care is now seen as a job advantage and there is an increase in nonprofit unionization, and all of this means that organizations look for a very particular set of skills in their legal executives. This rapidly changing world requires a new kind of leader, one who is flexible, embraces change, and has the emotional intelligence to foster an environment in which open and respectful conversations can take place among those with different opinions. Angela, Maria, Erica and Derwyn exemplify this new type of leader.

Angela Ciccolo, Legal Director, HSUS

Ciccolo joined HSUS in August, reporting to President and CEO Kitty Block. She is a member of the management team and acts as an advisor to managers and boards of directors. Most recently, Ciccolo was Chief Legal Officer and Secretary of Special Olympics International, where she also served as Co-Chair of the organization’s Diversity and Inclusion Task Force.

Maria Hermida, General Counsel, Accion

Hermida, who started with Stock in April oversees all legal areas of the global nonprofit’s work, covering investments, partnerships and operations. Previously, she served as the Chief Compliance Officer for the Anti-Bribery and Corruption, Legal, Conduct Risk and Regulatory Remediation programs for the United Services Automobile Association (USAA). Previously, she was Chief Ethics Officer for Citigroup and General Counsel for Citigroup Women & Co., a multi-channel platform that served the financial planning needs of women.

Erica McKinley, Director of Legal Affairs, Sierra Club

McKinley began working with Sierra Club in April as an advisor to the organization’s executive director, its board of directors and its staff, and she is a member of the management team. Most recently, she served as Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel for the Big Ten Conference, where she served as a key adviser to Commissioner Kevin Warren. Previous positions include Chief Legal Officer of the University of Mississippi; Chief Operating Officer, National Basketball Players Association; Associate General Counsel, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.; and Chief General Counsel and General Counsel, DC Human Resources Department.

Derwyn Bunton, Legal Director, SPLC

This month, Bunton joins SPLC, where he will lead all impact litigation strategy for the organization and serve on the leadership team while advising CEO Margaret Huang. Bunton will be based at the SPLC office in New Orleans, where he has practiced since earning his law degree. Most recently, he was chief defender of the Orleans Public Defenders District (OPD), which he had led since 2009, following significant statewide public defense reforms and a complete reform of the OPD after Katrina. Bunton has spent his entire legal career defending and fighting for the rights of vulnerable and marginalized communities. Prior to OPD, Bunton served as Executive Director of Regional Juvenile Services, the nation’s first stand-alone juvenile advocacy office.

“Progress on DEI has been slow in GC/CLO roles, but we are thrilled to have partnered with these amazing organizations to augment DEI in their leadership teams,” said Debbie Tang, Partner, Bridge Partners. “Placing four GC/CLOs of color, Ciccolo, Hermida, McKinley and Bunton in the most senior legal positions at HSUS, Accion, Sierra Club and SPLC respectively, with an immediate impact on their leadership teams, is something we are very much proud. ”

In a sign of the market’s continued interest in seasoned legal executives, Bridge Partners currently leads general counsel searches for two major philanthropic organizations: Wellspring Philanthropic Fund in New York and the Sequoia Climate Foundation on the West Coast.

About Bridge Partners

Bridge Partners is an executive search firm founded in 2003 and led by a diverse team of women and leaders of color. We have an unparalleled track record of nearly two decades conducting inclusive research and centering our work and culture on equity and inclusion. We bring extensive experience and credentials in leadership and executive recruitment. Speaking several languages, with experience living on three continents and having conducted research assignments in more than 15 countries, we have a deep understanding of the multifaceted needs of our clients. We have built our reputation on maintaining high quality relationships and consistently delivering superior results in the execution of our inclusive missions. Bridge Partners is a minority-owned company. To find out more visit


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