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Carissa Hong Anderson
Carissa Hong Anderson

In-House Counsel 2023: Carissa Hong Anderson

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During medical school over two decades ago, Carissa Hong Anderson volunteered at a women’s shelter. Then a single mom, she wanted to give back after surviving an abusive marriage.

Anderson worked with an attorney on protection orders and discovered law was not that different than medicine. Law offered intellectual challenges while serving others and the community, all lifelong passions for her.

After graduating from Mitchell Hamline School of Law and spending a brief time at Briggs and Morgan (now Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP), Anderson began her in-house career at 3M. She stayed nearly 11 years before going to Pentair and then to Donaldson Company, Inc. in 2014 to serve as senior counsel. She loves the work. “It’s like being Madonna,” Anderson said with a laugh. “You’re constantly reinventing yourself. Every company and business within a company offered me a chance to learn a different industry and model.”

At 3M, Anderson worked on breast implant litigation and health care-related businesses. At Pentair, she connected with lawyers worldwide to address everything the global business needed. Now at Donaldson, she is back to familiar ground in helping build Donaldson Life Sciences including the acquisition and integration of Solaris Biotechnology srl, Purilogics and Isolere Bio, and serving as Life Sciences senior counsel.  She has been instrumental in negotiating deals with companies like Wildtype, a cell-cultured seafood maker.

“As in-house counsel I work with all employees from top to bottom, and across all departments,” Anderson said. “You’re on the cutting edge of what the business is doing.”

The Korean-American attorney has volunteered throughout her life and is now focused on serving on the board of Watershed High School, where an art-infused curriculum empowers students, half coming from low-income families. “If it weren’t for the school, some of our students would not be going to school anywhere,” Anderson said. “At work and in outside pursuits, I advocate for inclusion and belonging.”

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