Margretta Jeffers Bowen

Vice President & Associate General Counsel, AXA Financial Inc./Equitable Life ? New York, N.Y.

Margretta Jeffers Bowen holds firmly to the words ?to thine own self be true? as she mounts the corporate ladder. A self-described idealist-perfectionist, the vice president and associate general counsel at AXA Financial Inc./The Equitable Life Assurance Society has ?a great deal of trouble in accepting things that are not quite what they should be.?

To her surprise, a white, male colleague took her under his wing early in her career at the Securities and Exchange Commission. ?Except for happenstance, he was not someone with whom I would have had much interaction.?? Still, from this lawyer, ?I learned many things which have served me well throughout my career,? Jeffers Bowen says.

At AXA, she represents the company in certain lawsuits and arbitrations, manages lawsuits brought against the company that are assigned to outside counsel and supervises litigation paralegals in their handling of the legal process, including subpoenas for documents and testimony, garnishments, and bankruptcies. Her mother has been ?a bedrock of support throughout my entire life,? she says, handling the daily care of her two teenagers and allowing her to progress in her career.

Jeffers Bowen received a J.D. from Ohio State University College of Law and a B.A. from Morgan State University. In one of her biggest professional achievements, she was lead trial and appellate counsel in a case against Equitable that ended up in New York?s highest court. After several appeals, ?all of which I handled as in-house counsel, New York?s highest court unanimously ruled in favor of Equitable,? benefiting the insurance industry in the process.

A practicing Buddhist for almost 25 years and proudly focused on her African heritage, she voices her thoughts on what she would most like to do if she had the time and money. ?I would form an organization or corporation dedicated to the economic empowerment of the African American community,” she says.