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July 03
Profiles of Leadership—David McDonald

David Mcdonald 063015.jpgHave you ever wondered what an INTA leader does? Or how a member got to where he or she is today? And what inspired them to become involved in INTA at a leadership level? 

David McDonald, Chief Trademark Counsel of Johnson & Johnson, has volunteered on INTA committees since 2004 and is currently serves on Board of Directors in the 2014–2017 term. He believes that the key traits of a successful team leader are (1) being a good listener and (2) showing recognition “that your success is measured by the achievements and development of your team members.”

Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, David now lives in Short Hills, New Jersey, with his wife, Hilary, and their son, Hutch (9), and daughter, Ryland (8).

How do you motivate your team members?

I try to give my team independence. I work with a group of rather experienced lawyers and legal professionals in whom I have a great deal of confidence, which admittedly makes it easier to be a good manager. I trust their judgment and initiative, so I just try to be there to provide support when they feel it’s needed. Being trusted has always motivated me, so I try to foster that same environment. 

What is your number-one recommendation for aspiring INTA leaders?

I would advise anyone interested in becoming an INTA leader to be open to different ways of contributing and to try rotating into various committees. That way you will have a broader set of experiences and more opportunities to meet people.  

When I first got into committee work, I had a rather narrow view of what I thought I would find interesting.  I first served on The Trademark Reporter Committee because I thought it was a great journal and I enjoyed writing and researching interesting legal issues. When I was first appointed to the Government Officials Education & Training Committee, I was a bit disappointed that I hadn’t been selected for either of my choices. However, once on board, I found the work incredibly interesting. I soon realized the importance of the Committee’s role and its potential for developing INTA’s relationship with and impact on trademark offices. Moreover, I felt my efforts benefitted not only INTA, but also my company. So I think it’s important to keep an open mind about the different committees within INTA and to try new things at each opportunity.  

Can you describe in a few words what it’s like being a Member of the Board of Directors?

Well, it’s definitely an honor, but it’s also humbling. INTA is such a great organization with so many outstanding members and has such a history of strong leadership that you feel this profound sense of responsibility in serving on the Board. It also presents a unique opportunity to see the breadth and the reach of the organization, and, in particular, how much work the INTA staff puts in to not only ensure that things run smoothly, but also to make INTA better—something I didn't fully appreciate until this year. 

Be sure to read the full interview with David McDonald, available online now. 


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