Growing up in Chicago, Evonne Inglesh spent much of her early life trying not to stand out. Though she came to the US from Greece and attended Greek school multiple days a week, she just wanted to put her head down and find her own American dream. It was a different time when anything outside the norm wasn’t always celebrated. But fortunately, times have changed.
Inglesh plans to write a book about the Greek diaspora and what it means to live as a Greek American in the melting pot of the US. But before she begins that story, Inglesh will continue to find new ways of growing and practicing law.
One her old bosses called her an “incrementalist,” able to achieve long-term goals without causing much disruption. That’s because after Inglesh joined, she built up the capability of a law department that started with her, a paralegal, and an administrative assistant and that grew along with the businesses she supported.
“We built up that department to be a truly global organization that supported the sales, product, and other revenue-producing functions of the market intelligence division of the company,” Inglesh remembers. “My job started with doing contracts and deals with salespeople, but I wound up aiding our business in our European and Asian Pacific markets. The job just continued to grow and challenge me.”
Inglesh came to NIQ at a critical moment. In early 2021, the company announced its spin-off from its media business, having been acquired by Advent International. The standalone company needed everyone, even its months-old general counsel, to hit the ground running. That meant getting to know the company’s products and strategic objectives as quickly and comprehensively as possible.
There was an advantage the GC saw early. “One of the great things that NIQ does is to really keep its senior leaders informed,” Inglesh explains. “We have regular operating committee meetings, and so you always know what’s important to the company and where your time should be spent.”
The GC stresses the importance of understanding the ways in which legal aids revenue growth by getting into the nuts and bolts of its products, services, and, especially, contracts. Inglesh says it may sound rudimentary, but in-house counsel should have helped craft contracts that are a reflection of the company, putting the company in the best possible situation it can while applying a balanced approach.
“That means understanding all of the pain points of your organization and what’s working well for people and what isn’t,” she explains. “As a leader, you need to assess the landscape. Whenever I have a conversation with another leader, that is the value I try to provide. I want to know their goals, their obstacles, and what’s important to them.”
Inglesh jokes that it may not be “sexy,” but that standardization has been as important at NIQ as it has been across the rest of the in-house legal landscape. For a company known for providing critical and real-time data, its legal department should reflect that culture.
The GC says lawyers are smart and can spot potholes during the process of a contract negotiation, but if that process seems to repeat itself, it needs to be rethought and retooled. Not everything may fit into a neat repeatable process, but more often than not, standardization can be introduced to streamline processes and ensure consistency in the business.
A handful of decades into her legal career, the GC has a lot to be grateful for. She’s proud of where she’s come from and who she has become. Her daughter, now a lawyer in her own right, seems poised to continue a tradition Inglesh herself has begun. At some point, she will be ready to write her whole story. Until then, general counsel, trusted advisor, business driver, mother, wife, and gardener will have to do.
“Evonne is a smart, creative and business-minded lawyer. I have greatly appreciated my opportunities to work with her.”
—Amy B. Manning, Chair and Partner, Antitrust Practice Group