Reviewing Helane Morrison’s career has shown me an example of women’s strength in leadership, commitment to work and public service.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, she started her successful career in journalism, with a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University. She eventually moved to California where she attended the prestigious School of Law at UC Berkeley. Her leadership abilities and commitment to work became apparent when she became editor-in-chief of the California Law Review. After earning her Juris Doctor degree in 1984, she became a law clerk for judge Richard A. Posner of the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
Moving up in her career, she joined a law firm in San Francisco. She became a partner in 1991, where she remained until joining the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 1996 as head of regional enforcement activities for the San Francisco Office. Promotions followed; office head as district administrator and then regional director.
Under Helane Morrison’s direction, the SEC office brought several high-profile insider cases dealing with insider trading, fraud, and investment advising violations. One of the most well-known cases involved a subsidiary of McKesson HBOC and NextCard.
Mrs. Morrison remained as the SEC San Francisco Regional Office Director until 2007.
On the press release announcing her departure, Helane Morrison’s tenure was described as a “…extraordinarily active time in the SEC’s history”. She was praised for her leadership, enhancing the San Francisco office with her “… strong and effective presence in Northern California and the Pacific Northwest”.
My highest respect for Mrs. Morrison was the comment from the SEC Chairman at the time, Christopher Cox. He expressed his admiration by reminding everyone about her dedication, integrity, and passion for protecting investors. “A public servant for over a decade, she enhanced the strength of US markets by her outstanding work at the SEC”, said Mr. Cox. When your boss praises your work as you leave, that’s to me the greatest compliment you can have.
A notable career at the SEC, also known by the San Francisco Business Times when she was selected among the Most Influential Women in Bay Area Business and Public Sector in 2003 and 2005-2007.
Today, Helane Morrison serves as general counsel and chief compliance officer at Hall Capital Partners LLC, where her example continues to inspire me.