Annually in February, in observance of Black History Month, MICDS holds the Bond Lecture in which a noted African American guest comes to campus to speak with students and spend time in our classrooms. The Erik Lyons Bond ’77 lecture is named in honor of the first African American graduate to complete all eight grades at Saint Louis Country Day School. During his years at CDS, Bond distinguished himself in scholastics, athletics, and student government. He served as student council president, captain of the varsity football team, and was selected by his team as the league’s most valuable player. Bond was named a National Merit Scholar, and he was also an accomplished musician and artist.
After his unexpected death in 1985, the Bond family sought meaningful ways to honor his memory. On the occasion of their 25th class reunion, the class of 1977 established the Erik L. Bond ’77 Endowed Lecture Fund in 2002. Since that time, a noted African American guest has shared and encouraged MICDS students, parents, alumni, faculty, and staff to reflect on the value of life during the Erik L. Bond ’77 Lecture. Past participants have included authors, lecturers, and civil rights leaders.
At this year’s Bond Lecture, Upper School school students gathered in Brauer Auditorium to hear from Mary Institute alumna Monica Howard Douglas ’90. Douglas is senior vice president and general counsel of The Coca-Cola Company. In this role, she oversees the company’s global legal function, reporting to Chairman and CEO James Quincey. She was appointed to her role in April 2021. She previously served as chief compliance officer and associate general counsel for the North America operating unit. Douglas joined Coca-Cola in 2004 as senior managing counsel. She went on to hold roles of increasing responsibility, including as legal director for Coca-Cola Southern and East Africa, before being named general counsel for Coca-Cola North America in 2018.
Prior to Coca-Cola, Douglas was an attorney with Equifax and an associate at Troutman Sanders LLP, now known as Troutman Pepper LLP, both in Atlanta. She is a member of the board of directors for VICI Properties Inc., Junior Achievement USA, and Cool Girls Inc. Douglas earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a law degree from Stanford University.
Watch her lecture here:
Also during the day, Douglas had lunch with students from the Black Student Union and attended a meet and greet with African American Support Committee parents and guardians. She enjoyed a tour of campus, attended an Upper School assembly, and was asked questions during Upper School History Teacher Max Campbell’s United States History class. The class started their Power & Equality unit on the day she visited. Students built working definitions of power, privilege, equality, and marginalization and then discussed how those ideas play into both Douglas’ work and personal experience. They used that conversation as a jumping-off point for the unit as a whole, which discusses how different groups have shifted or achieved power through United States history. Students also asked her about life as a lawyer, her experience at Mary I (and how the school, its work, and the student body have changed since then), what it means to be a black woman in a position like hers, and they had fun hearing about the travel and celebrity encounters that are part of her work. It was particularly exciting for the students who are considering a future in law themselves.
Thank you for sharing your wisdom and about your professional journey with us, Ms. Douglas! We are very grateful for your inspiring visit.