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Whether it's a 100-year-old international corporation or a startup that launched last year, the common factor to successful companies can be a great in-house team. In advance of an event on Wednesday, March 11, honoring 40 of Washington's leading corporate counsel nominated by their peers (you can join us), we're profiling the honorees. (Here's a full list. Look for more next week.)



Terry Adamson joined National Geographic full-time in January 1998, asked by the CEO to become the Chief Legal Officer and build an international publishing business. He's helped create more than 40 local language editions of National Geographic Magazine and other international products (including in Iran, Georgia, China, Taiwan, Indonesia, Estonia, Slovenia, Thailand and Korea), and the National Geographic television channel. Through extensive litigation in the 2nd Circuit and 11th Circuit over 10 years, he secured the ability to publish the archive of National Geographic Magazine spanning its 127-year history. Outside of NG, Terry helped longtime friends President and Mrs. Carter begin and govern the Carter Center. With new NG president and CEO Gary E. Knell, Terry says the Society looks ahead to continue building platforms to engage with the public over its science and education mission.

What you didn't know about Terry:

  • His first job was selling watermelons on Highway 41 roadside at his grandfather's South Georgia farm​ at age 10.
  • A serendipitous experience in the mid-'70s as a Henry Luce Scholar oriented him to a lifelong engagement​ ​with Asia.
  • He spent several years as a newspaper reporter for the Atlanta Constitution after college​.
  • He and a partner won a state high school tennis doubles championship​ to the surprise of everyone, most of all themselves.