Anne Jasorkowski fully appreciates the value of surrounding herself with bright, inspiring leaders. However, it wasn’t always easy for her to find professional role models.
“I grew up with limited means,” Jasorkowski explains. “Within my family, I was the youngest of four, but the first to attend and graduate from college. I wasn’t exposed to a lot of opportunities where someone could take me under their wing.”
Her past experiences make Jasorkowski all the more grateful for the environment that she has found at sandwich-driven fast food brand Subway, where she serves as lead counsel for North America franchising. The strength of the company’s vision for its employees and its brand motivates her to effect change of her own. Through her role as chair of the women in leadership employee resource group (ERG), she seeks to empower colleagues of all backgrounds by sharing some of the many lessons that she has learned over the course of her legal career.
During her many years as a litigator in private practice, Jasorkowski focused on developing her skills in the courtroom, learning to think on her feet, and honing her understanding of how judges apply the law in practice. Of all her takeaways from that time, one continues to inform her approach to risk assessment and strategic decision-making in an in-house setting.
“It’s not always about being right under the law. Often, there’s a commonsense, real-world argument beyond the clinical application of the law that you need to articulate in the courtroom to get your point across,” she says. “The same commonsense approach is very effective in an in-house setting as well.”
“We know that a good idea can come from anyone, at any level, and seek to fuel the potential of our team.”
Before her promotion to lead counsel in September 2020, Jasorkowski held two different litigation roles—one domestic in scope and one international—at Subway. Today, she manages a vast array of litigation, transactional, and regulatory matters impacting the company in the midwestern United States.
“It’s great because while I’m focusing on putting out fires and reacting, I’m also able to be proactive in helping the company further its goals through transactional matters and other ways of working with and giving guidance to our business leaders across complex issues within a heavily regulated industry,” she says.
Among its corporate goals, Subway recently launched the “Eat Fresh Refresh” campaign, kicking off the company’s multiyear transformation journey. “We recognize that building a better Subway is a continuous process, and we are committed to enhancing many aspects of our brand and business,” Jasorkowski explains. “This includes making improvements to almost every core menu item, introducing important digital upgrades to elevate the guest experience, and rolling out Subway Delivery.”
The campaign embodies a commitment to improvement that aligns with Subway’s emphasis on employee empowerment. “The company gives us access to incredible leaders—really smart people who support us, encourage out-of-the-box thinking, and give us the opportunity to grow,” Jasorkowski says.
“We know that a good idea can come from anyone, at any level, and seek to fuel the potential of our team,” she adds. “Our purpose is to help people achieve their goals, whether it’s our guests who are looking for ‘better for you’ food choices, franchisees who are focused on driving their businesses forward, or employees who want to grow in their professions.”
“It’s not just that women should help other women. Women benefit from other strong women who they can see as their role models.”
Subway also supports employees by celebrating diversity and promoting inclusive workplace practices. On top of a dedicated diversity and inclusion (D&I) council, the company helps shape D&I efforts through its ERGs—including the women in leadership ERG that Jasorkowski chairs. “The group’s vision is to inspire, motivate, and support our community,” she says. “It’s a group of talented professionals who share that common goal, and I’m so happy to be part of it and to lead it.”
Jasorkowski’s lack of mentors as a young woman—not to mention the male-dominated courtrooms that she encountered as a litigator—drives her determination to uplift her peers through the ERG. It was not until she met her mentor that changed things for her. “I recognize now how important it is for people to show you the way. It’s not just that women should help other women. Women benefit from other strong women who they can see as their role models,” she says.
Like any good role model, Jasorkowski has her fair share of advice to pass down to junior colleagues. “Don’t be afraid to take risks because you’re uncertain. You have to get over the possibility that you might fail,” she says.
Beyond taking risks, she urges up-and-coming attorneys to live to learn. “To be successful in an in-house counsel role, understand what the business needs are, and invest in yourself by developing new skills,” she says, “because those skills will give you the confidence that you need to meet the demands of a constantly changing business environment.”
As for herself, Jasorkowski will always keep growing, no matter how far she has come in her career. “Between my years of private practice and three very distinct roles at Subway in the last three years I’ve learned a lot, including the importance of agility,” she says. “No matter how experienced you are, never think that you’ve gotten to a point where you know it all. There’s always something new to learn.”
Jackson Lewis P.C.:
“Congratulations to Anne Jasorkowski for being recognized as the superstar that she is. We are proud to call her our partner and look forward to seeing what she does next at Subway.”
–Jay Athey, Tanya Bovée, and Danny Jarrett