THE GIFT OF INCLUSION According to renowned diversity and inclusion strategist, Vernā Meyers, Vice President, Inclusion Strategy for Netflix, Inc., “Diversity is being invited to the party; Inclusion is being asked to dance.”® I was invited to my first dance party in 8th grade. For some reason, the powers that were at that time thought it was a great idea to cap off the annual 8th grade field trip to Washington, D.C., by treating we uber-awkward teenagers to a dance. The experience did not disappoint as I (by my own estimation, the most awkward of them all), sat on the sidelines watching the cool kids dance and have fun. I was invited to the party yet felt totally invisible. That all changed when my science teacher, Mr. Dew, asked me to “cut a rug”; he actually said that. Anyway, setting aside what being asked to dance by my teacher says about my social standing at the time, the fact that Mr. Dew saw me, meant everything to me in that moment. I did not appreciate it then, but what Mr. Dew gave me was the “gift of inclusion.” I was reminded of this childhood experience while putting this publication together. Since it’s the last one of the year (indeed, of the decade), and reflection is top of mind, we thought what better way to end 2019, than to focus on this “gift” if you will, and on the powerful and lasting positive impact such breeds. As you will see in the pages to come, the “gift of inclusion” breeds many things – “consciousness” per my teammate Jim Leonard, “validation” per my teammate Alma Martinez, “belonging” per my teammate Mark Kittaka. And from our deliberate efforts to support our talent through Project Keymaker (our signature sponsorship program), “respect” emerges. More, you’ll hear from some corporate champions and Barnes & Thornburg alumni on what the “gift of inclusion” means to them. The “gift of inclusion” I got from Mr. Dew bred in me a sense “worth.” I carry it with me to this day. In fact, I ran into Mr. Dew a few years back and told him as much; his decision not to leave me on the sidelines way back then changed my life. In an open letter prior to joining Netflix, Vernā Meyers encouraged all who share her vision for a more diverse and equitable world to “please keep dancing.” I think that sums it up nicely and captures the spirit of this winter edition. So, “please keep dancing!” That is, please do and keep doing whatever you can to foster inclusion within your sphere of influence. It may not seem like a big deal to you now, but take it from me (a former kid on the sidelines), being seen – being included – is everything! Happy New Year. Enjoy!
Dawn R. Rosemond Partner, Director of Diversity, Professional Development & Inclusion
OUR CORE • We strive to reflect the clients we serve and the communities in which we have the privilege to practice law. • We define, promote and embrace diversity broadly to foster authentic inclusion. • Our commitment to diversity and inclusion permeates every aspect of how we conduct business. • We are responsible stewards of our resources, taking care to use our influence, brand, purchasing power, and thought leadership to drive diversity and inclusion growth outside the walls of our firm. • We proactively seek out and pursue opportunities to better support, empower, and promote our talent. • We continuously look for innovative solutions to remain effective, relevant, and in tune with our clients’ values and business objectives.
To position all of our talent to win - individually, collectively, and for our clients.
To align the business of diversity and inclusion so fully with the business of the firm that top talent from all backgrounds sees Barnes & Thornburg as both the preferred destination and national standard relative to excellence, inclusive engagement, and empowerment in action. We will only realize this vision with true commitment and deliberate action from all of us.
Empowering our talent
Aligning business with values
CAMARADERIE For the last 10 years, Barnes & Thornburg has endeavored to honor diversity and inclusion change agents throughout the Chicagoland area and beyond though our Chicago office’s Celebrate Diversity dinner and awards program. This year was no exception! From our esteemed honorees to a moving tribute of the late Rafael Medina, McDonald’s inhouse labor and employment counsel who left behind a fierce legacy of mentorship and kindness, Celebrate Diversity 2019 affirmed that we are indeed “better together.” See more.
“I had the distinct pleasure of attending the Diversity Dinner for the first time this year. During my 20-plus years in forensic services and litigation consulting in New York, London and Chicago, it was the first event that I’ve attended that celebrated diversity and the importance of it. It was a magical evening and an event that is so important to support. As a minority woman, it particularly resonated with me because, for the first time in a long time, I felt we were all celebrating as one community. It was truly an inspiring event that proves that Barnes & Thornburg doesn’t just celebrate diversity, but holds it as a key value.” -Sabera Choudhury, Principal, Charles River Associates
CONSCIOUSNESS “Consciousness” means to be aware, full of care, mindful. Inclusion most certainly breeds consciousness – just ask Jim Leonard and he’ll likely respond with a story about his son, Matty and his experience attending Morehouse College. Morehouse is one of the most well-known and respected historically black colleges in the country. It is known for its scholarship and service and is self-branded as “the college of choice for black men.”
James Leonard, Partner, Litigation
While playing college ball in New York City, Matty was recruited by Morehouse to play basketball. His former teammate from Grady High School, Tyrese (who went on to play in the NBA for the New Jersey Nets!), convinced his coach to bring Matty home to Atlanta because they needed a strong point guard.
He transferred to Morehouse at the start of his junior year. Accepting positioned Matty as the only white student in a class of more than 450 young black men and consequently, subjected him and his family to the realities of being a minority (indeed, an “only”), in a majority environment. Jim recalls an instance when his son was attempting to attend a school party with his teammates. He was not allowed to enter because of the color of his skin. In a deliberate show of consciousness (caring that is), Matty’s teammates responded by declaring (amidst a few “choice words” here and there), that if Matty was not welcome, they were not attending either and then as a team, they all left.
In the last semester of his senior year, Matty was diagnosed with stage 4 lymphoma in his chest, kidneys, pancreas, and multiple lymph nodes. Matty’s teammates were there once again (this time along with the entire Morehouse community), praying and otherwise supporting the entire family. His teammates and Morehouse brothers helped carry Matty through his classes while he was undergoing intense, inpatient chemotherapy. Jim says those prayers – that extravagant support – were critical to Matty’s full recovery. They never stopped caring for him. He remains cancer-free today. Jim says that he was reminded of Matty’s experience at Morehouse while attending the firm’s diversity, inclusion and equity training this past fall. The facilitator opined that true inclusion manifests when we begin to “care about what we don’t have to care about.” She was championing consciousness.
Their voices made all the difference in the world to Matty and to our family. “We had a lot of Morehouse folks step up. And when someone didn’t seem to like us being there simply because of the color of our skin, because they knew us, those folks spoke up,” Jim said. “Their voices made all the difference in the world to Matty and to our family.” Sounds like our facilitator was on to something.
The Leonard Family – Jake, Matty, Jim, Jesse, Lorri, McCoy
Lori Sutton, Director, Corporate Human Resources/Director Diversity & Inclusion Human Resources (Left) | Randi Finn, Lab Technician – Manufacturing (Center) | Gina Mayes, Talent Acquisition & Development Manager - Human Resources (Right)
The gift of inclusion can take on several different forms based on a person’s background, demographic makeup, generation, gender or any other form of diversity. Inclusion should be seen as an expectation, not a choice. In order for this to be attained, we must start with the ‘I.’ I am responsible for being supportive of a culture that honors individual differences. Sometimes this may require a shift in mindset but can lead to a transformational change. If people are an organization’s most valuable asset, you must ensure they feel included. At Berry Global, we strive to build an inclusive culture where employees feel welcomed, connected and included in order to maximize their engagement, contributions and overall employee experience. ‘The greatest gift you can give someone is to include them. – Author Unknown’ – Lori Sutton, Berry Global, Inc.
There are now five generations working side by side in the workplace – The Silent Generation/Traditionalists (born 1900-1945), Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964), Generation X (born 1965-1980), Millennials (born 1981-2000), and Generation Z (born 2000-present). According to The Center for Generational Kinetics (CGK), learning how to communicate with, understand, incentivize, support and empower a multigenerational workforce is “mission critical.” We agree. That’s why in fall 2019, in support of our signature sponsorship program, Project Keymaker, we hosted two courses through BTLaw Academy to this end: “Obstacle Course” featuring three of our trailblazing partners, Paula Goedert, Bill McErlean and Alan Mills, and “Crossing the Generational Divide” featuring CGK faculty, Alicia Rainwater. Both helped us deliberately activate the unique gifts and talents each generation brings to the table and the “Obstacle Course” program in particular demonstrated the respect that comes from doing so.
“I found the Obstacle Course presentation refreshing and insightful. It was helpful to learn how Alan and Paula overcame the daunting challenges of discrimination in their careers through perseverance and relying on each of their individual strengths. I also appreciated all of the panel members’ emphasis on the importance of maintaining a commitment to excellence, as the foundation for building a successful practice.” - Bunnie Poullard, Associate, Los Angeles
“As the chair of the litigation department, Bill understood the strategic needs of the department as a whole and promoted the success of individuals. Bill is a wonderful mentor, colleague, and friend.” – Carrie Marie Raver, Partner, Fort Wayne, said about her mentor, Bill McErlean, Partner, Chicago
“Paula has invested in me and pushed me to do and learn more, which has expanded and changed my practice. She has provided me with innumerable opportunities and guidance, encouragement, independence, and at times, appropriate criticism along the way in all manner of things. I feel extremely lucky to count her as mentor and teacher – I would not be as successful or happy in my practice without her. I only hope that I can pay it forward.” – Melissa Vallone, Partner, Chicago, said about her mentor, Paula Goedert, Partner, Chicago 9
“Alan not only collects fine art, but he is a disciplined collector and curator of relationships as well. He has continually invited me into rooms with his most cherished business relationships, positioned me to lead teams for top clients, and has provided unparalleled access into the business of the firm. Why? Plainly, this most sagacious practitioner is unabashed in his devotion to increasing diversity and inclusion in our profession in the years to come.” – Oni Harton, Partner, Indianapolis, said about her mentor, Alan Mills, Partner, Indianapolis
Mark Kittaka, Partner, Labor and Employment
The firm’s Asian-Pacific American Talent Resource Group, BTAPA, which endeavors to create professional development and networking opportunities for our Asian Pacific American teammates and allies, played a critical role in this year’s National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) Central Regional Conference which was held in Indianapolis this past August for the first time. This year, NAPABA honored author, critically acclaimed actor, internet sensation and social activist, George Takei. For BTAPA co-chair, Mark Kittaka, the opportunity to meet Mr. Takei (created by the firm’s sponsorship of the conference), changed his life.
According to Mark, because there were so few representations of Asian Americans in television when he was young, Mr. Takei’s iconic role as Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the USS Enterprise in the TV series Star Trek, “meant everything” to him growing up. There were “very few Asian role models on television in the ‘70s and ‘80s.” Most movies showed negative stereotypes from World War II or the Vietnam War. “Having a positive Asian role model who was a significant cast member was somewhat of a novelty and was very impactful for a young Asian American growing up in a largely Caucasian neighborhood,” said Mark. But Mark didn’t realize until after meeting Mr. Takei at the conference just how closely they were tied. You see, Mr. Takei was being honored by NAPABA because of his body of work and efforts to educate others of the plight of over 120,000 Japanese Americans (the vast majority of whom were U.S. citizens) who were imprisoned in American concentration camps during World War II, in particular, through his most recent graphic memoir entitied, “They Call Us Enemy.” This matters because as it turns out, Mr. Takei was in the same concentration camp as Mark’s late father. Mark never knew this. His father never spoke of that time in his life, with the exception that it caused a lifelong aversion to eating lamb as it reminded him of the gamey, tough mutton that was served to him when he was in the camp. As a result of this chance encounter created by the NAPABA conference, Mark was able to meet one of his childhood idols and learn details about his father’s experience in the internment camp. After Mark mentioned that his father rarely, if ever, spoke about his time in camp, Mr. Takei told him that there were so many painful memories that he could not share. It gave Mark insight into his father’s feelings as reflected by Mr. Takei, who experienced the same hardship. Moreover, Mr. Takei and his husband, Brad, graciously had dinner the next day with Mark, his wife, and his mother, who was also incarcerated during World War II, but at a different concentration camp (Heart Mountain in Wyoming). Mr. Takei and Mark’s mother shared stories and experiences about their
lives since camp which was very timely because earlier in the summer Mark and his family accompanied his mother on a pilgrimage back to Heart Mountain. “It was beautiful in that three generations of my family stood strong in the very place that once imprisoned her. It was very moving and heartwrenching to see the conditions and hardship that my grandparents, mother and uncles endured during their years at the camp,” said Mark. Japanese Americans were relocated from their home into in these concentration camps across the country simply because they were of Japanese descent, regardless of citizenship, proof of wrongdoing or due process of law. Mark went on to share, “I am grateful to my parents for teaching me, notwithstanding their beginnings, that my uniqueness as a Japanese American is actually my power – that I belong just as much as everyone else. They did not let their childhood hardships taint their attitude for the rest of their lives. They worked hard and achieved success in their lives. With their guidance, I have lived with intention, modeling and teaching my children the same. I didn’t process it at the time, but George modeled this every week on Star Trek. I am grateful for the opportunity to meet him in person to gain insight on my parents’ childhood experiences in the camps and to heed his warning that we must learn from the past and never repeat such an injustice against any people based on their race or country of origin. People of all races deserve respect, equality and a sense of belonging.” Learn more about the NAPABA Central Regional Conference, Heart Mountain Interpretive Center and George Takei’s memoir “They Called Us Enemy.”
WHAT DOES “THE GIFT OF INCLUSION” MEAN TO YOU? For me, diversity and inclusion go hand-in-hand; without one, the other necessarily fails. Accordingly, for the “gift of inclusion” to be meaningful, there must also be a “gift of diversity.” Those organizations that demonstrate equal efforts in diversity and inclusion can position themselves to rise to the top of their field. And those organizations that focus on either gift in isolation are likely to suffer shortcomings in the attraction/retention of talent, cultivation of creative thinking, and overall prosperity of the business.
WHAT IS YOUR BEST PIECE OF ADVICE FOR BUILDING AND DRIVING INCLUSION? Know your audience. People may support diversity and inclusion efforts for a variety of reasons – fairness/equality, positive impact to the bottom line, measurement stick used by others, etc. Identify why diversity and inclusion matters to your group and use the appropriate language to get their buy-in. If you don’t speak to the group in their language(s), you risk losing potential supporters, who may even turn into detractors. Conversely, if you can get the group to buy in, then you’ve created additional advocates to promote your cause.
WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO? Treat others as you would like others to treat you.
CHRISTOPHER TUCKER CORPORATE COUNSEL, CUMMINS, INC. BARNES & THORNBURG ATTORNEY (2011-2016)
VALIDATION Alma Martinez, legal administrative assistant in the Los Angeles office, was born in Santa Ana, El Salvador. When she was six years old her mother left for the United States, and at the age of 10, Alma wrote and asked to join her. Her mom, Dolores, traveled back to Santa Ana and then together, they undertook a dangerous, two-week journey to America. Memories of that journey are very vivid for Alma – she has never forgotten her excitement for what was to come. Despite her initial homesickness for Santa Ana, Alma was determined to succeed in America. From humble beginnings running a paper route, to being selected as an intern for a local L.A. law firm, to attending night school pursuing a litigation secretarial certificate, to joining Barnes & Thornburg – all while working toward attaining her U.S. citizenship – Alma found support and validation every step of the way. We learned about Alma’s story because of the L.A. office’s recent celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. The office hosted a special luncheon to showcase the native cultures and cuisines of our colleagues, with foods from Belize, Columbia, El Salvador, Mexico, and Venezuela. The meal was delicious, but according to Alma, the most incredible outcome was the safe space it created to share her story.
Stories are a communal currency of humanity. – Tahir Shah, author and journalist “I come from humble beginnings, but I’m grateful and don’t take anything for granted. I came here, learned English and went through the hard challenges that come with becoming a citizen. Coming through the hard times has made me a resilient and thankful person,” said Alma. “Inclusion means something different for each of us. Being validated for who you are and what you have to offer is a never-ending gift … one that I’ll never stop appreciating.”
INVESTMENT At a fun event in September in Klyde Warren Park – which is the place to be in Dallas where family and friends gather regardless of age, race, religion, or sexual orientation – the firm, thanks to a connection forged by Dallas partner, John Dickey, launched the Barnes & Thornburg Student Enrichment Fund. The goal: to invest in the students of Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing & Visual Arts (Booker T), a nationally acclaimed institution dedicated to multiculturalism and known for its academic achievements and contributions to the arts community. Through the Booker T. Advisory Foundation, Barnes & Thornburg invests in enrichment grants that support these highly talented students. By providing life-enriching opportunities that help them further develop their artistic gifts, the grants have a positive impact not only on those individual recipients but also on the larger Dallas community as well. Our relationship with Booker T., the foundation and, ultimately, the students continues to grow with each of our grants. “We started with seven enrichment grant scholarships and are working toward more than 20 this school year,” said John. “With each grant award, we see how these students’ future opportunities are enhanced and how their success lifts our community in return.”
Booker T. is named after Booker Taliaferro Washington (April 5, 1856 – Nov. 14, 1915), who was from the last generation of black American leaders born into slavery and was viewed as the leading voice of the former slaves and their descendants. He was an American educator, author, orator, and advisor to multiple U.S. presidents between 1890 and 1915. The Booker T building was built in 1922 as the first African American high school in Dallas.
Whether for travel expenses to attend competitions, conferences, performances, auditions or college visits; for academic and artistic supplies and accessories; for college application expenses; or for extracurricular intensive training programs; the Barnes & Thornburg Student Enrichment Fund allows students to move forward with the goals and aspirations they’ve already set for themselves and affords us the opportunity to partner with Booker T. in our shared goal of giving back to the Dallas community in which we are privileged to serve. Outreach certainly isn’t new. But by creating this fund, we are doing something different here, in that we are using our resources to deliberately bridge longstanding racial and socio-economic divide in the Dallas community, one student at a time. “The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” – Coretta Scott King Learn more about the Barnes & Thornburg Student Enrichment Fund and some of the amazing students already benefitting from this investment.
WHAT DOES “THE GIFT OF INCLUSION” MEAN TO YOU? WHAT IS YOUR BEST PIECE OF ADVICE FOR BUILDING AND DRIVING INCLUSION? To build and drive inclusion, senior leaders have to authentically understand and embrace the importance of belonging and actively share their perspectives on why inclusion matters. They have to do more than help people understand the business case for inclusion, although making the business case is important, too. They have to help people feel the difference between being excluded and being included. When employees can empathize with the feelings of exclusion, they will be more likely to engage in building an inclusive culture.
Imagine how you feel when you walk into a room and someone’s face lights up as he or she says, “I am glad you are here.” Compare that to entering a room where no one notices you or, worse, they act as if you don’t belong. Creating that first experience for people is the gift of inclusion. At work, included employees are engaged employees who do their best work. The gift of inclusion is two-way. What the employer gives in inclusion, the employee returns in contribution. Why wouldn’t we want to be part of a more inclusive culture?
WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO? “Inspire Dreams. Create Opportunities.” My most important contribution is helping other people. I review this daily with my to-do list as a reminder that I have to be intentional about making time for my most important work. As a passionate advocate for inclusion, I especially hope to inspire dreams and create opportunities for others who have not had the opportunities I have had.
JULIE DILTS QUALITY AND REGULATORY COMPLIANCE LEADER, ROCHE DIAGNOSTICS CORP. BARNES & THORNBURG ATTORNEY (1997-2007)
Yasmine S. Murray, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, H.J. Russell & Company
To me the ‘gift of inclusion’ means allowing everyone a seat at the table. Over the years, the definition of the term ‘inclusion’ has certainly evolved and has come to mean something different depending on who you may ask. For me, one of my passions is ensuring that the women with whom I work have a voice and are an integral part of the decisions we make to move our company forward. As such, I work tirelessly to provide opportunities for women within our organization to showcase, have a seat at the table and let their voices be heard. We should all endeavor to ‘give inclusion away’ because that is the only way we will close the gap on inequality and inequity. The progress we’ve made to date, for example, around gender, race, and economic equity is only because of those who have been brave enough to provide access, opportunity, and/or a voice…i.e. ‘give inclusion away.’ Certainly, ‘giv[ing] inclusion away’ is a work in progress. I think one of the best ways to give inclusion away is to provide access and opportunity when you’re in a position to do so.
With more than 600 attorneys and other legal professionals, Barnes & Thornburg is one of the largest law firms in the country. The firm serves clients worldwide from offices in Atlanta, California, Chicago, Delaware, Indiana, Michigan, Minneapolis, Ohio, Raleigh, Salt Lake City, Texas and Washington, D.C.
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DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION COMMITTEE Robert T. Grand, Co-Chair Dawn R. Rosemond, Co-Chair Kelly Atkinson, Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator
ATLANTA James Robinson CHICAGO Jonathan Froemel Christine Hollis Denise Lazar Paul Olszowka Debby Usher COLUMBUS David Paragas Katrina Thompson DALLAS Matthew Agnew Mark Bayer ELKHART Alice Springer
FORT WAYNE Mark Kittaka Savannah Robinson GRAND RAPIDS Tammy Helminski INDIANAPOLIS Cari Bryson Angela B. Freeman Ann Grayson Kenneth Inskeep Karoline Jackson Nick Kile Steven Merkel William Padgett Monica Payne Steve Thornton Heather Willey David Wong
LOS ANGELES Amber Bollman Salvador LaViña Melanie Mawema David Wood MINNEAPOLIS Christopher Fowlkes SOUTH BEND Jeanine Gozdecki Sarah Kuhny WASHINGTON, D.C. Edward Ayoob WILMINGTON Jesse Reeves
TALENT RESOURCE GROUPS BTAPA | BTBEmpowered | BTLatinx | BTPride | BTWomen