Seletha Butler is First Vice President and Senior Counsel with SunTrust Banks, Inc. where she supports the wholesale unit on strategic commercial matters and the founder of and advisor at srButlerCo through which she consults with organizations on governance matters, including business ethics and diversity. She is a former co-chair of the Public Sector Initiatives Committee of the Thirty Percent Coalition. Previously, Ms. Butler was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Georgia Tech Athletic Association, an Assistant Professor of Business Law and Ethics at Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business, a Fellow with the Harvard Kennedy School, Women and Public Policy Program, and a Network Fellow with the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University.
Ms. Butler has a J.D., Harvard Law School, M.B.A. (global focus), Georgia Institute of Technology graduating with a 4.0/4.0, and B.S. (summa cum laude), Corporate Finance, The University of Alabama where she ranked 3rd in class of 236. While at The University of Alabama, Ms. Butler was an Academic Tutor for The University of Alabama’s Athletic Department and The Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration.
At Georgia Tech, Ms. Butler taught courses involving the intersection of business, law, ethics, and policy, including developing a Corporate Governance course for undergraduate students for which she received the Scheller Professor of the Year Award—Elective Business Courses (2013) on her first semester teaching the course. This is an award selected solely by students. Ms. Butler also received other honors recognizing her work at Georgia Tech, including Professor Appreciation recognition from the various programs with the Georgia Tech Athletic Association, and Thank-a-Teacher recognitions from students through the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning.
Ms. Butler’s research addresses corporate governance and related business ethics issues. Such research includes the structure, obligations, and activities of boards of directors, including (i) the ethical aspects of legislation and regulation around board diversity and regulatory disclosure and (ii) business decision-making with her developed ethic of care and justice framework. Her four articles touching on corporate governance and business ethics include: (1) “All on Board! Strategies for Constructing Diverse Boards of Directors” published in Virginia Law and Business Review; (2) “‘Financial Expert’: A Subtle Blow to the Pool and Current Pipeline of Women on Corporate Boards” published as the lead article in The Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law; (3) “Business Ethics: Conceptualize Governing with the Ethic of Care and Justice” published in NYU Journal of Law & Business; and (4) “Higher Education Governance: Proposals for Model Child Protection Governance Policy” published as lead article in Brigham Young University Education and Law Journal. Ms. Butler is the co-author of a book chapter—“Using Power and Influence to Create Gender Diverse Boardrooms: the Role of Public Policy”—in the book, More Women on Boards of Directors: An International Perspective. Ms. Butler frequently engaged undergraduate and graduate students to assist her on her research projects, and she sometimes works with industry experts on her research projects.
Ms. Butler is the recipient of the 2015 Leaders and Legends Faculty Award from the Georgia Tech Black Alumni Organization and 2014 Women Out Front Award. In 2011, she was a recipient of the Nation’s Best Advocates: 40 Lawyers Under 40, an honor by the National Bar Association and IMPACT to recognize a cross-section of legal professionals age 40 and under within the African-American legal community who have achieved prominence and distinction in their career.
Prior to joining Scheller, Ms. Butler spent fourteen years, collectively, with global law firms in Atlanta (DLA Piper LLP, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP, and Hunton & Williams LLP) and Chicago (Altheimer & Gray) and one of the nation’s largest commercial banking organizations. During her tenure in private law practice and corporate America, Ms. Butler’s legal practice focused on complex domestic and global commercial transactions, including acquisitions and divestitures, joint ventures, strategic alliances, technology licensing, and outsourcing, and corporate governance matters. She retains close industry relationships and included industry speakers in all of her classes. Ms. Butler also connected students with some of the industry contacts as they seek career advice.
Ms. Butler is a speaker on organizational governance, diversity, professional responsibility, ethics in business, and career development and advancement strategies for corporations, education institutions, professional associations, governmental organizations, and not-for-profit organizations. Among Ms. Butler’s professional and community activities, she is on the Board of Trustees of MedShare International, Inc. (and its Executive Committee (Secretary) and chairs its Nominating and Governance Committee), and co-chair of the Public Sector Initiatives Committee of the Thirty Percent Coalition. She is a former member of the Board of Governors of Tech High School, Inc. Ms. Butler served as a Faculty Associate for the Georgia Tech Grand Challenges Program and the Faculty Advisor for the Scheller Society of Entrepreneurs and the Scheller College of Business Graduate Minorities in Business. She also is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, and a member of the Georgia Tech Leadership Roundtable, Fall 2011 and the 2005 Class of Leadership Georgia.
Currently, Ms. Butler also is working on The Hayden, Butler and Lovett Family Foundation and the Judge Willie Lovett “IGB” Scholarship (honoring her late husband The Honorable Willie J. Lovett, Jr.) and a book project.