Hanover, MD (June 16, 2021) — Major, Lindsey & Africa (MLA), the world’s leading legal search firm, today announced the placement of Ona Dosunmu as president and chief executive officer at the National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA) in Washington, D.C. Ona will succeed Kathleen Curry Santora who will retire in September. The search was conducted by Deborah Ben-Canaan, partner and senior practice leader in Washington, D.C., and Heather Fine, partner in Chicago.
NACUA’s mission is to advance the effective practice of higher education attorneys for the benefit of the college and universities they serve. NACUA is a membership organization in the field of higher education law and a primary source of information on legal developments facing colleges and universities. NACUA has more than 1,850 institutional campus members and 5,000 attorney representatives. Members are accredited, non-profit, degree-granting institutions from two-year and four-year, public and private sectors of higher education.
Ona will work closely with the board of directors to provide a strategic vision, develop goals and implement objectives consistent with the association’s mission. As the new president and chief executive officer, she will lead a talented team, manage the day-to-day operations of NACUA, serve as chief spokesperson for the organization, and support and communicate with the association’s diverse members.
“Given the critical role NACUA plays within the higher education community and for its members, we were honored and privileged to partner with NACUA on this very important search for its next president and CEO. I have known Ona for years and have always been exceptionally impressed with her as a leader and as a person. She brings a strategic viewpoint and vision, intelligence, business savvy and warmth that will add so much to the future growth of NACUA,” said Deborah Ben-Canaan. “This was an extremely competitive national search and Ona stood out as a star from the beginning. We have no doubt she will be an excellent leader and expertly guide NACUA in the years to come,” Heather Fine added.
Ona joins NACUA from the California Lawyers Association, an organization dedicated to the professional advancement of attorneys practicing in California, where she most recently served as CEO and executive director. Previously, she spent 16-plus years with The Brookings Institution, most recently as vice president, general counsel and secretary. Before joining The Brookings Institution, Ona spent several years in private practice—as a project finance and infrastructure development associate with Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, L.L.P. and a finance associate with Latham & Watkins, L.L.P. Ona began her career as an associate with Arent Fox. She earned her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, her M.A. in Sociology from Howard University and her B.A. also from Howard University.
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