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The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) is the world's largest organization serving the professional and business interests of attorneys who practice in the legal departments of corporations, associations, nonprofits and other private-sector organizations around the globe.

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ACC Western Pennsylvania's Member Spotlights initiative features a member in a creative question-and answer format

Our chapter has more than 500 members, and Member Spotlights are designed to help you get to know your fellow chapter members better and enhance networking opportunities.

If you are interested in being the subject of a spotlight or know a member we should feature, please contact Barbara Dudek at  

Jo Anne Schwendinger

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Jo Anne Schwendinger, Chief Legal and Compliance Officer and Secretary at II-VI Incorporated


Tell us about yourself (anything from school, family, hobbies, etc.).

I was born and raised in Miami, Florida, which was a wonderful place to grow up. We had avocados, key limes, guavas, and more, in our own yard, we raked oysters from the Miami River, and we ate lots fresh seafood. The beaches were fabulous -- I can't believe I ever took them for granted.

I have lived and worked outside the United States about 1/5 of my life, in places like France, Guinea, Luxemburg, Brazil, South Africa, China, India, and Singapore, which has made me aware of just how much culture influences everyday life.

Tell us about your career and current job.

I am the Chief Legal and Compliance Officer and Secretary at II-VI Incorporated. II-VI is a public company headquartered in the Pittsburgh area, which makes products that are used in the industrial, optical communications, military, life sciences, semiconductor equipment, and consumer electronics markets. My job at II-VI caps a career that has progressed through private practice, and other in-house roles. Along the way, I was exposed to projects, assignments, and people, that sometimes challenged, sometimes delighted, me, learning skills and receiving valuable training that I now have the privilege of using for the benefit II-VI.

What do you enjoy most about your career?

The role that team building plays in personal and professional growth. I have my own set of knowledge and skills, but an effective team has a positive multiplier effect on everything we do.

Is there anything that has surprised you about being an attorney?

I am still surprised by the barriers that exist to a female attorney's ability to flourish. I naively expected the resistance and barriers to disappear by the time I had five or so years under my belt, but over 30 years later, they are still with us. I am grateful for the progress we as women, and therefore as a society, have achieved, but am sad that there is much more to do.

Of what accomplishment are you most proud?

Two things. First, what my team and I are doing to build the II-VI Legal, IP and Compliance function. Second, being a part of ACC's growth in Asia, where I was involved with many others in the creation of the Singapore Chapter, and now serving ACC as a Board member.

What do you most look forward to doing in your career?

I look forward to being able to say, on that day in the still-distant future, that I left II-VI and its legal function well organized, efficiently operating, and in the hands of a successor and a team that can take the company and the function to greater heights.

Complete this sentence in seven words or less "To me, the ACC is…"

The hands-down best professional association.

What is your favorite book, band, or movie?

The best novel I have read recently is Solar Bones by Mike McCormack. It is the story of a life, narrated in a single 200-page long sentence. It is poignant, and beautifully written – think of a 21st century, Irish Proust, with a lower page count. My all-time favorite book is Thinking, Fast and Slowby Daniel Kahneman.

People might be surprised to know that you…?

I love murder mysteries, especially those written by Golden Age authors like Dorothy Sayers and Agatha Christie, and by P.D. James.

Who was most influential in your career and why?

My husband, because he has always and selflessly encouraged and supported me.


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