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Gloria Santona has made hands-on pro bono work a big part of her legal department’s mission. Since she started there straight out of law school in 1977, Santona, like many McDonald’s execs, has been known to sweep and garden at local Ronald McDonald Houses for seriously ill children. After her promotion to GC three years ago, Santona (who sits on Corporate Counsel’s editorial board) embarked on her most ambitious projects yet. Besides supplying legal services to Chicago’s poor and elderly, and running a legal advice hot line, she has transformed the in-house legal department into a haven for disadvantaged Chicago children. Santona and her staff host legal seminars at McDonald’s in-house school, Hamburger University, teach high school classes, and several times a year invite some 50 inner-city youth to follow 25 lawyers around for the day. Maybe they’ll be lovin’ a job in Santona’s department someday.

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