Ambassador Vilma S. Martinez, a recipient of the ABA’s Margaret Brent Award in 1994, currently serves on the Boards of Directors of Fluor Corporation, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation, Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc., and Bank of the West. Ms. Martinez was also chosen by President Obama to become the first woman to represent the United States in Buenos Aires as Ambassador. Ambassador Martinez ended her tenure in Argentina on July 4, 2013, and she was awarded the Order of May in the grade of Grand Cross, the highest honor awarded by Argentina to a foreign national.
In the past, Ms. Martinez has served on the Boards of Directors of Shell Oil Company and Sanwa Bank of California. Ms. Martinez has been a partner at Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP since 1982. Prior to joining Munger, she served as President and General Counsel to Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. During her decade at MALDEF, she enabled and nurtured the growth of the fledgling group into a national organization with an annual budget of nearly $5 million. Ms. Martinez also previously was a litigation associate at Cahill, Gordon & Reindel LLP, specializing in employment discrimination matters. Ms. Martinez started her legal career as an attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
Ambassador Martinez is one of the founders of Directors’ Council, a group which helps companies around the globe bring increased independence and effectiveness to the governance process. Ms. Martinez and her other Council partners work collaboratively to find, develop and place a new, diverse generation of directors on corporate boards, drawn primarily from the largely untapped pool of talented and qualified women and minorities.
Ms. Martinez has served on numerous civic and nonprofit boards, including the Board of the National Association of Corporate Directors. She served as Chairman of the University of California Board of Regents from 1984-1986, and was a member of that board from 1976- 1990.
Ambassador Martinez holds a B.A. from the University of Texas and a L.L.B. from Columbia Law School.