Anne Showalter: Corporate attorney in Chapel Hill, N.C.

By Steve Shenk | July 20th, 2015

Anne Showalter

Anne Showalter ’90 followed in the footsteps of her father, Donald E. Showalter ’62, and became a lawyer. She is an in-house counsel for the global healthcare company GlaxoSmith Kline. (Photo by Randy Berger Photography)

After graduating from EMU in 1990, Anne Showalter, who majored in biology and English, spent the summer preparing for medical school at the University of Virginia (UVa) in nearby Charlottesville. Soon, however, she changed her mind.

“A few weeks before medical school was supposed to start, I got cold feet,” she said. “I wanted to be a psychiatrist, but I wasn’t sure I could handle the more traditional medical rotations that were required to get there.”

So Showalter ended up in graduate studies in English literature at UVa, earning a master’s degree the following year. Her first job was teaching freshman English at James Madison University in Harrisonburg. At age 22 – and looking even younger − she was standing in front of students who weren’t much younger than she was. “Are you really our teacher?” asked one student.

After three classes of similar annoying questions, Showalter went to her fourth class early and sat in a student desk. She waited for 10 minutes after the class was to start, noting that the students were getting agitated about their instructor’s whereabouts. She then stood up, walked to the front of the class and said, “Well, if no one else is going to teach this class, I will.” She started to call the roll, then stopped and said, “I’m just kidding. I’m really your teacher.”

Showalter decided to follow in the footsteps of her father – Donald E. Showalter ’62 of Broadway, Virginia – and become a lawyer. She was accepted into the UVa School of Law, graduating in 1995 in the top 15 percent of her class. For the next year, she was a law clerk for a judge in the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

From 1996 to 2002, Showalter worked for a top Boston law firm, Hill & Barlow, where she was nominated for a partnership before the firm went out of business. After a year as a corporate attorney in Minneapolis, she moved to North Carolina, where she was general counsel for two different corporations over the next five years.

Since 2010, Showalter has been assistant general counsel for legal quality at a global healthcare company that researches and develops medicines, vaccines and consumer healthcare products. London-based GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has 100,000 employees in 115 countries. GSK traces its history as far back as a pharmacy in London in 1715 and a drugstore in Philadelphia in 1830.

Showalter, who lives and works in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, is responsible for improving the processes, efficiencies and quality of legal services in GSK’s legal department, which includes over 700 legal professionals in 47 countries. Her job takes her to many countries, including three years in Belgium, where GSK’s vaccine business is located.

“What I love most about GSK is working for a company that improves the lives of others,” said Showalter. “In addition to developing and manufacturing traditional childhood vaccines, we’re also developing vaccines to fight diseases in the developing world, such as malaria and Ebola.”

Outside of work, Showalter enjoys spending time with her husband, Stéphane Honbon, and two children, as well as scuba diving and cooking.