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Intellectual property keeps Mary Ellen Morse captivated
Mary Ellen Morse
Mary Ellen Wenners Morse, 39Home: Rye
Family: Husband, Tyler; children, Jack, 11, Joseph, 7, James, 7, and Eleni, 2; parents, Vincent and Judith Wenners of Manchester; brother, Douglas Wenners of Bedford
High school: Manchester Central and Phillips Exeter Academy
College/post grad degrees: B.A., Boston College; J.D., UNH School of Law; LL.M, Intellectual Property, Commerce & Technology, UNH School of Law
Current job: Corporate counsel, IP and E-Commerce Group, Liberty Mutual Insurance Company
Volunteer activities: Dana Farber Cancer Institute's Boston Marathon Team; founding member, Gosport Chowder Club; executive leadership team, N.H. Heart Association's, "NH Start! Heart Walk;" Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Dublin Marathon Team; funding and marketing committee, Families First Health; and Support Center, Rye Education Foundation Grant Committee; volunteer, Pine Street Inn Legal Clinic Most admired person (outside your family): Aside from my father, a few of the people whom I most admire are Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Eleanor Roosevelt.
Key current professional challenge: Determining when "good" is good enough so that I am able to spend my time on the most critical activities that make a difference to the business.
Last major achievement: Though most days it seems like just making it through the day is a major achievement, running the Boston Marathon with my brother as part of the Dana Farber Marathon Team was a deeply rewarding experience.
Biggest problem facing New Hampshire: Although it may not be our biggest problem, I believe we have a technology deficit that has a profound impact on the economic viability of our state. Investing in state of the art networks would better position us to attract new business and business investment, create jobs and retain local talent, allow state universities to grow distance learning programs and bring distance learning opportunities to residents in rural locations.
Favorite place in New Hampshire: Rye Harbor
What book are you reading now? "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks"
How do you relax? Spending time with my husband and children, running, reading
What websites do you visit most often? cnn.com, seacoastonline.com, houzz.com, TED.com
Favorite TV show, radio station or musical artist: "Homeland," "Modern Family," NPR, James Taylor
Morse attended Central High School and then Phillips Exeter Academy before studying English at Boston College. Soon after graduation, she began her pursuit of a law degree at what is now the University of New Hampshire Law School and soon after that, landed a job as corporate counsel for Liberty Mutual, a job based near her current home of Rye.
She said she always knew she wanted to stay in New Hampshire. Her family still lives here – her parents in Manchester and her brother in Bedford — and it offers everything within an hour's drive or less, from the mountains, to the city of Boston, to the beach.
Morse said she always knew she liked the art of advocating for someone or something. She focused her studies on intellectual property and e-commerce.
"I really liked intellectual property. I like the technology piece and the innovative piece, and it's constantly changing," Morse said.
Since 2003, her work at Liberty Mutual has also focused on technology and intellectual property law for the global insurance company. It is work that is always interesting, she said, because new technologies are being developed all the time.
"Technology and patents are changing so rapidly that each day it's a new thing," Morse said.
In her free time, Morse is busy raising four children, 11-year-old Jack, 7-year-old twins Joseph and James, and 2-year-old daughter Eleni with her husband of 15 years, Tyler Morse, vice president of global planning, operations and continuous improvement at Johnson & Johnson. The two met while working summers at Saunder's Restaurant in Rye during college.
When she is not working, Morse can often be found at hockey practice or soccer and basketball games with her three active boys.
"I love watching those games. There is no place I would rather be," she said.
She is also involved in various civic activities.
In 2008, Morse helped start the Gosport Chowder Club, a group of Seacoast-area women who get together and raise money for vulnerable residents. This Thanksgiving, the group held their fourth annual "Huffin for the Stuffin" 5K walk/run on Thanksgiving morning, raising around $2,000 to help area residents with food, gifts and other needs at Christmas.
Morse has also served on the marketing committee for Families First, on the board of the Rye Education Foundation and on the executive leadership team for the New Hampshire Heart Association's Heart Start Walk.
Morse said she wishes she had more time to devote to nonprofit work, but she is kept pretty busy by her current schedule. "The hardest thing in terms of work is finding enough hours in the day," she said.
In 2013, Morse and her brother ran in the Boston Marathon and raised over $20,000 for the Dana-Farber Cancer Center. It is a place that has become close to the family's heart.
Morse's brother, mother and father have each been treated at Dana-Farber for various forms of lymphoma. Right now, her brother is in remission, her mother recently completed treatments and her father is also doing well.
"It is a true testament to what you can do with the right medicine and the right funding," Morse said.
She said raising the money was the easy part, and a way to thank and give back to Dana-Farber for the wonderful help they have provided her family.
"If I win the Megabucks, that's all I would do," she said.
At the end of the day, Morse said the most important thing to her is making sure her children learn through example that they have an unwavering responsibility to be active and engaged members of their communities.
"Though New Hampshire may be one of the most beautiful states around … it is the people that make our state such a warm and inviting place to live. I don't want my children to ever forget that it is always about the people," Morse said.
Nominations for Class of 2015
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