Lauren (Szejk) McAndrews ’86 is Vice President Environmental Affairs and Sustainability and Assistant General Counsel at Allegheny Technologies Incorporated, a large specialty materials manufacturer. In this role she is responsible for environmental compliance of all their operations around the globe and for implementing the company’s inaugural sustainability program, which addresses energy consumption, impact on the environment, and social responsibility for communities.
As Assistant General Counsel, she renders legal advice to all of the operations of the company on a variety of matters.
She credits her preparation at OHIO, especially in the earning of her B.A. in Sociology-Criminology with a minor in Psychology from the College of Arts and Sciences, with enabling her to understand and anticipate the needs and interests of her organization’s communities and those opposed to manufacturing.
Law Student to Civil Litigator
After she graduated from Ohio University, McAndrews had every intention of becoming a criminal defense attorney.
“In my first intern job as a law student, however, I discovered that such a career path was much more emotionally difficult than I expected,” she says. “I realized that I was not cut out for defending accused rapists.”
So she pursued a career as a civil litigator representing large corporations. After several years with a large law firm, she was hired by a client and moved to an in-house position.
Environmental and Energy Law to Sustainability Program
Over twenty years, her career has changed and evolved from environmental and energy law to a multitude of issues for a large multinational corporation. She is now responsible for matters beyond legal advice as her duties include managing environmental liabilities, developing a sustainability program and rendering legal advice on many issues, as well as managing all the company’s surplus real properties.
Challenge and Opportunity
The biggest obstacle she had to overcome during her career was being a single working mother in a manufacturing company dominated by males who mostly had stay-at-home wives.
“I thought it would be difficult for them to understand why I needed time away from work for school meetings, doctor appointments and home repair appointments,” she says. “In reality, however, they were very accommodating. I was actually complimented by my former boss on my ability to balance work and family life.” “I credit my extracurricular activities at OHIO for giving me excellent time management skills.”
She says the best part of her job is that it is ever evolving, enabling her to continue learning every day.
“There is hardly a day that goes by that I do not learn something new,” McAndrews says, “which makes it an interesting career!”
She also enjoys talking to and helping young people who express an interest in attending law school. She sees a law degree as a versatile asset that can be used in so many ways and she is happy to discuss the opportunities with anyone interested.