Look who’s talking

BilstadBlake T. Bilstad, SVP, General Counsel & Secretary, WWE is currently responsible for overseeing the legal and business affairs at global sports entertainment pioneer, WWE, and serving as the principal legal advisor to the Chairman & CEO and management team. Previously, Bilstad managed all legal matters and public affairs for Provide Commerce, an e-commerce conglomerate and market disruptor specializing in the direct-model delivery of flowers, dipped berries and other unique gifts through its brands, including ProFlowers® and Shari’s Berries®, RedEnvelope®. He assisted in the company's highly profitable growth from $90M is annual net sales to over $750M at peak.


Bilstad holds a J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he was the Executive Editor of the Harvard Journal of Law & Technology and winner of the Irving Oberlin Memorial Award writing prize. He holds a B.A. magna cum laude from Duke University, and studied at Oxford.


1. Why are you attending the ACC Annual Meeting?

I try to attend every ACC Annual Meeting and encourage my team to do the same. I believe the learning and networking opportunities are unparalleled for in-house lawyers.


2. What makes this particular Annual Meeting unique? Are there programs in particular you are looking forward to?

One of the appeals of the ACC Annual Meeting is that it is hosted in a different city each year. Washington DC as our 2017 host city unlocks greater access to DC-unique practices, in particular US government affairs, regulatory, IP, international, as well as the sponsor law firms that specialize in these practices. As a former Washingtonian myself, I especially look forward to reconnecting with many of my colleagues from the area.


3. How does the ACC Annual Meeting add value to your practice?

I find that our ACC Annual Meetings provide a welcome “time out” to the daily grind of an in-house practice – a chance to hit the reset button on learned behaviors over the years and to sit back and study with one’s peers as if we were back in law school, just on a more practical level. This is terribly useful for me to stay sharp, and current, in my legal practice. As such, I recommend that each of my attorney team members attend ACC Annual Meetings every year, if possible, and budget my department legal spend accordingly. Finally, as an attorney admitted in multiple jurisdictions with independent continuing legal education requirements, the CLE credits offered at the ACC Annual Meetings definitely come in handy come year-end.



TantonoWelly Tantono, Country Counsel, Hewlett-Packard Asia Pacific is the Country Counsel for Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s Singapore operations. Before joining HPE, Welly co-founded, and was the CEO and GC of Singapore’s first healthcare co-operative, which is widely considered to be a disrupter in the local healthcare scene. Welly started her legal career in large New York and California law firms as a litigator and corporate lawyer working on securities and bet-the-company patent litigations, as well as cross-border M&As, joint ventures and IPOs. As an in-house practitioner, she works in the technology and management consultancy sectors where she partners with the business to drive strategies that grow the business while sandboxing risks in the most diverse region in the world.

Welly graduated with honors with a B.A. in Mathematics from Harvard University and a Juris Doctor, with honors, from Duke University. She is qualified to practice in California and New York. She is a founding member of the Association of Corporate Counsel’s Singapore Chapter and currently sits on its board.


1. Why are you attending the ACC Annual Meeting?

This is my second ACC Annual Meeting. I attend the meeting because it gives me an opportunity to meet others and exchange ideas with them. In a globalized world, I think it is more critical than ever to actively reach out to people who come from different industries and geographies to keep up-to-date with things that are happening outside of my circle. As a general counsel, my job is to create solutions to work problems and spot trends to prevent problems from materializing. To do that, I need to be innovative and have access to partners who share my interest in co-creating solutions to these common problems. The ACC Annual Meeting provides that environment – access to potential partners, and exposure to a diverse range of information and talent– all of which are critical to support the work I do.


2. What makes this particular Annual Meeting unique? Are there programs in particular you are looking forward to?

This is the first Annual Meeting that I’m attending that is held in the Washington DC area. With the changes in the U.S. political landscape, I think it’s a great chance for me to experience D.C. and gauge for myself the current feel of the U.S. administration and the people who work in the Government. I am also looking forward to the plenary session where Don Tapscott will share how disruptive technologies will transform the corporate legal landscape and we can prepare our departments and ourselves to find opportunities to participate in the transformation.

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