Profiles in Diversity Journal Q4 Magazine 2022

Page 1

2022 Fourth Quarter ® $14.95 2023 Latino Leadership and Diversity Leader Awards NEXT ISSUE: INSIDE THIS ISSUE Building a Culture of Partnership: The CEO and Chief Diversity Officer Relationship By Natalie Levkovich, Jose Rodriguez and Toya Lawson 2 022 A W ARD INTERNATIONAL 2 022 A W ARD DIVERSE L AW YERS Making a Difference INTERNATIONAL 2 022 A W ARD Innovations in Diversity INTERNATIONAL 2 022 A W ARD DIVERSE ORGANIZATIONS LEADERSHIP INTERNATIONAL The 2022 Innovations in Diversity Awards

Health equity demands fresh thinking.

We are at an inflection point for health. We live in a world where good health care and outcomes are not yet available to all. Point32Health companies, including Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Tufts Health Plan, are challenging the status quo by introducing new perspectives and solutions that are both equitable and inclusive, bringing health care to the next level. Guiding and empowering healthier lives in every community and for every person – that’s Point32Health.

We proudly congratulate our CEO, Cain Hayes, on being recognized among the 2022 Black Leadership Award winners for leading the way and advancing equity, diversity and inclusion in our workplace and the communities we serve. To learn more about one of the nation’s top 20 largest health plans and our vision for the future, visit

All Things Diversity & Inclusion





Profiles in Diversity Journal

Gemini Towers #1 • 1991 Crocker Road, Suite 600 • Westlake, OH 44145 Tel: 440.892.0444 • Fax: 440.892.0737


Single issue $14.95

1 year subscription (4 issues) $45.00 2 year subscription (8 issues) $82.50 Canada, 1 year subscription $52.50 Canada, 2 year subscription $97.50 International, 1 year $99.95 International, 2 year $187.50 U.S. funds only. Subscriptions can be ordered at: or call customer service at 800.573.2867

Copyright © 2022 Rector Inc.






Profiles in Diversity Journal® is a quarterly magazine dedicated to promoting and advancing diversity and inclusion in the corporate, government, nonprofit, higher education, and military sectors. For more than 24 years, we have helped to stimulate organizational change by showcasing the visionary leadership, innovative programs, and committed individuals that are making it happen.

The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and may or may not represent the views of the publisher. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Registered in U.S. Patent Office

It is with sadness and shock that we mourn the untimely death of our esteemed editor, Teresa Fausey. Teresa’s abilities and her innovative contributions aided and supported the magazine’s mission and objectives. She will be missed.

As we prepare to pass the 25th milestone publishing Profiles in Diversity Journal, we pause and reflect on 25 years promoting people and programs to foster greater diversity and inclusion in the workforce. We have statistics to prove our intention and commitment for this work. We have many organizations who have supported our work over the years and made it possible to achieve this longevity. We offer our sincere and sustaining gratitude.

With 25 years and a decent head start, we gather momentum to further this important work. And we’re not alone. Support from organizations like New York Life, Sephora, Freddie Mac, Dechert and numerous others sustain our efforts and enhance our ability to deliver on our commitments.

All through these past 25 years we have made it our core effort to identify men and women from all backgrounds for their leadership. Women Worth Watching® annual awards continue to sponsor and award nominated leadership.

We’re proud to recognize 53 Black Leadership Award winners for 2022. An important part of our work is to collaborate with organizations identifying achievement and leadership in their ranks and to profile and acknowledge outstanding individuals in the PDJ magazine. Concurrently, we added a new award this year, diverse lawyers making a difference. Six awardees are profiled in this issue too.

This year witnessed many interesting events that just happen to society. We suffered and we rejoiced. We expect and we are prepared to work through whatever is necessary to assure that meaningful collaborations identify many more leaders and achievers.

Join us.

Warm regards to all.

Since 1999

PUBLISHER'S COLUMN 1 2022 Fourth Quarter
3 2022 Fourth Quarter
AARP is proud to congratulate our prestigious colleague, Shani Hosten, for being selected for the 2022 Diversity Journal Leadership Award. Thank you for your consistent dedication and commitment to diverse communities.

Diverse Organizations Worth Watching

These are companies, nonprofits, and educational institutions for whom DEI is fundamental to their being, and foremost among considerations in everything they do and every strategy they develop. Meet our second Diverse Organizations Worth Watching Award recipients in this issue.

The singular power of diversity

Dechert is a global law firm dedicated to seeking and nurturing diverse viewpoints and experiences to develop the highest caliber of talent, leadership and service for our clients. We’re proud of our recent achievements – and eager for the continuing growth and progress to come.

n Diversity Leader Award – Profiles in Diversity Journal, 2022

n 100 Best Companies, Best Companies for Multicultural Women, Best Companies for Dads, and Inclusion Index – Seramount, 2022

n Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality – Human Rights Campaign, 2022 (for the tenth consecutive year)

n Mansfield Plus 5.0 Certification – Diversity Lab, 2022

n Best International Firm for Diversity – Euromoney, Americas Women in Business Law Awards, 2021

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
4 2022 Fourth Quarter
Teresa Fausey 1952-2022
“Every blade in the field, every leaf in the forest, lays down its life in its season as beautifully as it was taken up.”
5 2022 Fourth Quarter
–Henry David Thoreau


Building a Culture of Partnership: The CEO and Chief Diversity Officer Relationship


As Chair of the DEI Client Engagement Committee, Co-Chair of the Black Attorneys Affinity Group, and member of the Washington D.C. Office DEI and Financial Services DEI committees, Chris has been a pillar of the community and culture of DWT. His leadership has played an integral role in driving towards our vision: to foster a culture where all talented individuals – including those from traditionally underrepresented communities in the legal profession – can have, and can see, a path to success.

Davis Wright Tremaine congratulates our Partner Chris Ford for being recognized among the 2022 Black Leadership award winners by the Profiles in Diversity Journal.
6 2022 Fourth Quarter
Natalie Levkovich, CEO, The Health Federation of Philadelphia; Jose Rodriguez, Senior Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, The Health Federation of Philadelphia; Toya Lawson, Partner, Bridge Partners

2022 Innovations in Diversity Awards

For 19 years, Profiles in Diversity Journal has recognized the innovations of organizations committed to improving and expanding diversity, inclusion, and equity in the workplace. We are equally proud to share this year’s ambitious and transformational innovations in diversity from some of the world’s leading companies—programs and initiatives that are taking DEI to a new level. One of our featured innovations may be your company’s next best step.

Congratulations Tinesha Richardson

2022 Black Leadership Award Winner

The Profiles in Diversity Journal has honored Tinesha Richardson as a recipient of the 2022 Black Leadership Award for her outstanding efforts to enrich the Black employee experience and expand equitable homeownership opportunities.

Freddie Mac’s inclusive culture empowers diverse leaders like Tinesha to go above and beyond to make home possible.


7 2022 Fourth Quarter


2022 Black Leadership Awards

Profiles in Diversity Journal is extremely proud to bring readers our third class of Black Leadership Award recipients. They are extraordinary individuals who have blazed new trails, mentored the next generation, and advanced the cause of diversity and inclusion. Get to know them and join us in celebrating their achievements.

Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP congratulates our partner Nefertiti J. Alexander on being recognized as one of the 2022 Black Leadership Award winners.

Kasowitz’s core focus is commercial litigation, complemented by our exceptionally strong bankruptcy/restructuring and real estate transactional practices. We are known for our creative, aggressive litigators and willingness to take on tough cases.
8 2022 Fourth Quarter


2022 Diverse Lawyers Making a Difference Awards

Profiles in Diversity Journal is proud to recognize prominent lawyers making a difference in diversity, equity, and inclusion within their law firms, and for their clients and communities with our first ever Diverse Lawyers Making a Difference Awards.

9 2022 Fourth Quarter

Coporate Index

Check out the list of organizations that appeared and/or advertised in this issue. Their contributions are invaluable.

Congratulations to our 2022 Black Leadership International Award honorees! Sonepar and our African American Employee Resource Group (AAERG) are proud of these two exceptional associates, who prove that we are “Powered by Difference.” Ron and Deshawn, you’ve had an unmistakable impact on our organization and set an inspiring example for future leaders to follow.

PAGE 100
You Encourage Us. You Challenge Us. You Inspire Us.
10 2022 Fourth Quarter
From Left Ron Harper SVP Supply Chain & Logistics, Sonepar USA Deshawn Fentress Director of Project Management, NorthEast Electrical

Congratulations John Guy A Profiles in Diversity Journal 2022 Black Leadership Recipient

Nominations are open

At Profiles in Diversity Journal ®, we truly appreciate all the support given to us over the years by many organizations and businesses, large and small. We’re reaching out and asking for your continued support for our work and recognition of your organization’s own outstanding leadership, creativity, and inclusive culture. Please take this opportunity to nominate candidates for our Diversity Leader and Latino Leadership Awards.

until Friday, Jan. 13 Nominate Today! 2 023 A W ARD INTERNATIONAL Nominate Today!
EVP, Head of
Banking We applaud John for his leadership and dedication to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging in the communities we proudly serve.
Webster Bank, the Webster Bank logo and the W symbol are trademarks of Webster Financial Corporation and Registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Webster Bank, N.A. Member FDIC. © 2022 Webster Financial Corporation. All R ghts Reserved. 11 2022 Fourth Quarter
Congratulations to all this year’s outstanding honorees.


Their Diversity Is in their DNA …

The organizations featured in the following pages live their commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity every day … and in everything they do. Diversity, inclusion, and equity are preordained when it comes to recruitment and hiring, promotion and advancement—in fact, every aspect of career advancement and professional growth. Profiles in Diversity Journal is proud to honor these diversity high achievers and share their stories, their strategies, and their successes with you, our readers.

We invite you to peruse the following profiles and get to know these admirable organizations. We think you’ll like them as much as we do. We’re sure you will also encounter pearls of wisdom, be moved by deep insights, discover best practices, and take delight in creative ideas that your company, school, or nonprofit organization may be able to benefit from and apply in your own workplace.

12 2022 Fourth Quarter

Organization Name: Freddie Mac

Headquarters Location: Mclean, Virginia

Organization Website:

Industry: Consulting–Financial Services

Number of Employees: 6,892

CEO: Michael DeVito

Diversity Leader: Wendell Chambliss

Diversity Leader Title: Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer

1. Number of minority, women, or members of other underrepresented groups that are currently C-level executive at Freddie Mac: Three or our 12 leaders are racial or ethnic minorities.

a. Two of the three were added to the C-Suite in the past 3 years.

b. Three of the 12 leaders are women and were added to the C-Suite in the past three years.

2. Number of minority, women, or members of other underrepresented groups that currently serve on the Freddie Mac board of directors: Four of 12 board members are racial or ethnic minorities.

a. Three individuals from these groups were added to the board of directors in the past three years (2019 – 2021)

b. Two board members that are racial or ethnic minorities

c. One board member that is a woman

13 2022 Fourth Quarter

3. The diversity make-up of Freddie Mac:

Freddie Mac is a majority-minority company. At yearend 2021, 56 percent of the workforce identified as a racial or ethnic minority. Women make up nearly half of the organization. At year-end 2021, 45 percent of the workforce identified as a woman.

7. Freddie Mac’s Mission: We serve America’s homebuyers, homeowners, and renters by equitably providing liquidity, stability, and affordability to the housing market.

a: The mission statement is chartered by Congress and published prominently on

8. What is your Diversity and Inclusion statement?

Freddie Mac has had a Chief Diversity Officer role for more than 10 years. In April 2022, Wendell Chambliss was named the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer reporting directly to the CEO responsible for a team of individuals focused on workforce diversity, supplier diversity, diversity in financial transactions and community engagement.

At Freddie Mac, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is more than a business imperative. It’s a mindset. As leaders in DEI, they are committed to promoting equity, igniting innovation through diverse perspectives, and instilling a culture where people feel comfortable to be their authentic selves in the workplace. Most importantly, they are committed to encouraging equitable and sustainable homeownership and rental opportunities for traditionally underserved Black and Latino communities.

a: The DEI statement is shared with their employees. The statement is also shared with jobseekers and to the public.

Freddie Mac attracts and sustains a pipeline of diverse candidates by partnering with diverse organizations, Hispanic Serving Institutions and Historically Black Colleges and Universities that create career opportunities for underrepresented populations, including Thurgood Marshall College Fund, HomeFree USA’s Center for Financial Advancement (HBCU Students), Hispanic Heritage Foundation, Hispanic Scholarship Fund, PowerToFly (Women in Tech), FairyGodBoss (Women), and Next for Autism.


other underrepresented groups?

Freddie Mac implements competitive compensation programs and practices to help ensure employees are paid similarly for similar work without respect to gender, race or ethnicity.

b. The DEI statement is part of Board-approved DEI strategic plan which informs their hiring practices and interactions with employees, customers, and the community.

9. What programs, policies, or initiatives does Freddie Mac currently have in place to ensure fairness and inclusion in the recruitment and hiring process?

- Unconscious bias training for HR team and hiring managers

- Cultural competence training for HR team and hiring managers

- Diverse hiring team

- Inclusive job descriptions

- Sourcing from nontraditional talent pools and diverse groups

4. Does Freddie Mac have a Chief Diversity Officer who reports directly to the CEO?
5. Do you have a robust pipeline-to-leadership program in place for women and members of minority and other underrepresented groups?
Is Freddie Mac pursuing, or have you achieved, pay parity for women, minorities, and

10. What is Freddie Mac’s Culture Statement?

Grow talent for today and tomorrow.

a. It is shared with jobseekers, employees, and the public via and their intranet.

b. The culture statement guides the HR strategy of: Attract, Retain and Grow Talent for Today and Tomorrow. Freddie Mac’s focus is to ensure every potential employee understands the culture and what drives their key successes. A video was created to capture those key authentic moments:

11. Current ERGs supported by Freddie Mac: Ten business resource groups (BRGs): Abilities, ARISE, Green, HOLA, InspirASIAN, Military Appreciation, Pride, Rising Leaders, and WIN.

BRGs are voluntary, employee-led organizations that foster a diverse, inclusive workplace aligned with Freddie Mac’s mission, values, competencies, business goals and Board-approved DEI strategic plan.

• Freddie Mac offers them expert advice on marketing their businesses and introduces them to decision-makers, including the Enterprise Supply Chain (ESC) category managers – the experts who guide the competitive contracting process. *Since the program’s creation in 2016, more than 50 participants have completed the program, and new spending with their small businesses totals more than $55 million.

13. Honors/recognition


for Freddie Mac’s diversity

awarded during the past three years:

Freddie Mac has a long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion. They are very appreciative of the recognition they have received for their community work, which includes support of individuals and companies that excel and inspire service.

They have earned external recognition for our efforts.

• 100% score on Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index 2022 as a Best Place to Work for LGBTQ equality. Freddie Mac has received this score since 2010.

• Many of Freddie Mac’s leaders have been recognized for their individual contributions to DEI in their discipline and the housing industry by Profiles in Diversity Journal and HousingWire

As Freddie Mac’s DEI efforts continue to evolve, they’re committed to ensuring that supplier diversity grows. They have supported diversity in contracting for more than 25 years – awarding millions of dollars in contracts to diverse suppliers that provide the highest-quality products and services at the most competitive prices. They develop qualified diverse suppliers.

• Through the Supplier Academy, they help diverse suppliers learn how to strengthen their business to be more competitive for opportunities with Freddie Mac and other companies.

12. Does Freddie Mac have a supplier diversity program in place?
14. Freddie Mac includes DEI as part of its Annual Report and Sustainability Disclosure.

Organization Name: New American Funding Headquarters Location: Tustin, CA

Organization Website: Industry: Financial Services

Number of Employees: 3,900+

CEO: Rick Arvielo

Diversity Leader: Patty Arvielo

Diversity Leader Title: Co-Founder and President

1. Number of minority, women, or members of other underrepresented groups that are currently C-level executive at New American:

New American Funding is female and minority-owned. President and Co-Founder Patty Arvielo is a first-generation Hispanic-American with more than 40 years of experience in the mortgage industry. Additionally, New American Funding has a female Chief Operating Officer – Christy Bunce.

2. The diversity make-up of New American:

American Indian or Alaska Native 0.28%

Asian 8.70%

Black or African American 9.18%

Hispanic or Latino 21.58%

Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 0.58%

Two or more races 3.24%

3. Does New American have a Chief Diversity Officer who reports directly to the CEO?

While New American Funding does not have a person designated in the role of “Chief Diversity Officer,” Senior Vice President, People and Culture, Renae Souza functions in a similar role. Souza oversees the team that manages recruiting, onboarding, employee relations, compensation, benefits, and culture/engagement. The People and Culture team, guided by Souza is also responsible for overseeing the company’s award-winning culture, NAF360. NAF360 is designed to ensure employees feel balanced and valued in their work life and are treated with 360 degrees of respect. Additionally, the company’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts are truly led by Co-Founder and President Patty Arvielo, as DEI efforts have been a focus of her career for more than four decades.

16 2022 Fourth Quarter


6. Are New American’s values clearly stated?

All new hires are briefed on New American’s values as part of their orientation and the values are posted on the website and internal employee portal.

New American’s NAF 360 Mentorship Program is open to all employees within the organization. The 360 Mentorship Program is a developmental partnership through which the mentor and mentee share perspectives as they foster personal and professional growth and serves as an opportunity for the mentor to share their knowledge and aid in the mentee’s professional development. While not specifically tracked, the program has seen participants earn promotions and make career moves.

They also offer a career-development program, called “If You Want to Grow, We Want to Know,” where employees can openly share their goals and ideas with leaders. The campaign was started by President Patty Arvielo to encourage employees to grow and advance within the company. Whether they wanted to expand into a new area or have aspirations of advancing in their careers, senior leaders want to hear from them.

New American created a submission process where employees can submit their information, current position, the position they would like to grow to, and provide more information about themselves. Both Patty Arvielo and Chief Operating Officer Christy Bunce review each submission together and contact the employee’s manager to start the process of getting the employee moved up or on the right track.

Patty Arvielo also created a quarterly mentorship program called “Thrive and Lead,” which launched in October 2017. The program includes New American Funding employees and external mortgage professionals who are mentored for three months.

New American Funding understands the challenges of joining a new company, whether it be in-person or remote. To help them get started, all new hires attend an orientation session hosted by leaders from the New American Funding People and Culture (PAC) team. The three-hour orientations are held every Monday, and employees can attend from anywhere virtually. The orientation focuses on teaching new team members about the company’s mission, ethics, and policies, giving them the tools and knowledge they need to succeed at their new job.

The orientation sessions are informal and friendly, so that employees can absorb the information in a relaxed environment. This also encourages employees to ask any questions they have regarding these policies. All company policies and ethics guidelines are housed in an employee portal that employees can access and view at their convenience.

The PAC team leads the orientation with a focus on sharing the NAF360 culture at New American Funding. At the orientation, new employees watch videos of NAF360 in action and get to hear from current team members about their NAF360 experiences at New American Funding.

7. What is your Diversity and Inclusion statement?

Diversity and Inclusion is intertwined with our Vision and Mission statements.

At this time, New American Funding has not put any specific plan into place. However, the company is committed to fair pay for all team members.

Vision statement: New American Funding will transform the mortgage industry by providing world class service to our clients while maintaining our commitment to our NAF 360 culture. We will remain focused on our commitment to the underserved. Our innovative technology and sales platforms will allow the world to reimagine the possibilities of home ownership while simplifying the process from initial qualification to final payment.

Do you have a robust pipeline-to-leadership program in place for women and members of minority and other underrepresented groups?
5. Is New American pursuing, or have you achieved, pay parity for women, minorities, and other underrepresented groups?

Mission statement: New American Funding enables clients of all backgrounds to accomplish the American dream of homeownership by offering a diverse product suite, competitive pricing, and our promise to provide a timely and efficient closing. Our dedication to client service during the transaction extends after the closing while we service their mortgage. This passion for client service is displayed in every step of the homeownership experience with a focus on fulfilling our client’s needs in a manner that enhances their standard of living.

a. How is it shared with jobseekers, employees, and the public? It is communicated to employees via internal communications, posted on NAF intranet, and stated here:

b. How does it inform your hiring practices and interactions with employees, customers, and the community? Our mission statement contains our guiding principles that are forefront in all interactions, hiring and through the lifecycle of employment. These principles drive company direction, commitment, long-term strategy, and annual goals.

We are a community fighting for ALL communities to achieve the dream of homeownership.”

This is shared will all team members on our internal company web.

Company leadership truly cares about investing in their employees and helping them succeed both personally and professionally. That spirit is embodied in the company’s culture initiative, called NAF360.

The initiative works to support the company’s goal of having happy employees who enjoy coming to work every day. NAF360 was designed to ensure employees feel balanced and valued in their work life and know they are being treated with 360 degrees of respect.

This is more than just a motto – it’s a belief and way of life that employees take to heart. Employees take away a real sense that they’re part of a community, not just a company.

While treating customers this way seems like an easy thing to do, treating fellow team members the same way is also an important focus at New American Funding. The company requires its team to treat all vendors with dignity and respect. The company takes this point so seriously that it has parted from top producers who weren’t willing to take this expectation seriously.


- Diverse hiring team


9. What is New American’s Culture Statement?

New American’s Culture Statement is part of NAF360 – their overall company philosophy.

“We are driven, motivated, push for positive movement and most importantly we do it together. Our melting pot allows for individual growth through support, transparency, collaboration, and innovation.

Since New American Funding is focused on cultivating a community environment, the company’s leadership has chosen to collaborate in partnership with the company’s various departments to create a sustainable company culture. This culture is one that regularly sources new ideas for process improvements and new projects from vendors, customers, and especially employees at all levels within the organization.

10. Current ERGs supported by New American:

The New American Funding Diversity and Inclusion initiative has been in place for nearly eight years. However, this year, the company codified its internal diversity initiative with its external commitment to

18 2022 Fourth Quarter
8. What programs, policies, or initiatives does New American currently have in place to ensure fairness and inclusion in the recruitment and hiring process?
Cultural competence training for HR team and hiring managers
Sourcing from nontraditional talent pools and diverse groups

serving the underserved through its community lending programs into a new initiative, called “Included.” Included encompasses the company’s internal and external efforts to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in all forms.

Included represents the New American Funding’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and unifies the company’s community lending programs and its internal Diversity and Inclusion initiative with the shared goal of creating, cultivating, and sustaining equity for all.

Included has specific goals that guide its efforts both internally and externally. Those goals are:

1. Cast a wider net in recruiting to increase our goal of mirroring all communities

2. Innovate specialized loan products and programs to contribute to increase homeownership rates for the underserved

3. Offer resources and tools to help grow financial literacy in all communities

4. Develop and provide learning and resource channels for our internal team’s professional development

5. Identify and create Employee Resource Groups that consider the needs of all communities

New American Funding’s Included initiative involves the company’s Latino Focus and New American Dream initiatives, efforts designed to boost homeownership and mortgage industry career awareness among Hispanic and Black communities, respectively. The initiative also includes the company’s Military Heroes Focus, which works to increase homeownership for military servicemembers, veterans, and their families and to bring more veterans into the company’s workforce.


Profiles in Diversity Journal: Latino Leaders Worth Watching | Patty Arvielo

Profiles in Diversity Journal: Diversity Leader | Patty Arvielo

Profiles in Diversity Journal: Asian Leaders Worth Watching | Karen Chiu

Stevies - The American Business Awards: Minority-Owned Business of the Year | New American Funding

FORTUNE/Great Places to Work: Best Workplaces for Women | New American Funding

Top Workplaces: Culture Excellence Awards - Compensations & Benefits, Innovation, Leadership, Purpose & Values, Work-life Flexibility | New American Funding

Association of Latino Professionals of America | Entrepreneurial Icon and Most Powerful Latinas

Profiles in Diversity Journal: Women Worth Watching® in Leadership Award | Patty Arvielo

Latina Style 50: Corporate Executive of the Year | Patty Arvielo

Clinton Foundation | Clinton Global Initiative 2022 Meeting | Featured Speaker | Patty Arvielo


FORTUNE/Great Places to Work: Best Workplaces for Women | New American Funding

Profiles in Diversity Journal: Diversity Leader | Patty Arvielo

Profiles in Diversity Journal: Latino Leaders Worth Watching | Patty Arvielo

National Association of Women in Real Estate Businesses: Diversity and Inclusion Leader | Patty Arvielo

Stevies - Women in Business: Social Change Maker of the Year | Patty Arvielo

Profiles in Diversity Journal: Innovations in Diversity Awards | New American Dream

Mortgage Women Magazine: Top Employers for Women | New American Funding

Profiles in Diversity Journal: Asian Leaders | Karen Chiu

Association of Latino Professionals For America: Most Powerful Latinas | Patty Arvielo

Profiles in Diversity Journal: Black Leaders Worth Watching | Charles Lowery

Profiles in Diversity Journal: Black Leaders Worth Watching | John Drumgoole Jr

Profiles in Diversity Journal: Black Leaders Worth Watching | Kim Arrington

Profiles in Diversity Journal: Black Leaders Worth Watching | Michael Moseby

Profiles in Diversity Journal: Black Leaders Worth Watching | Nisaa El-Hasan

11. Honors/recognition for New American’s diversity efforts awarded during the past three years:

New American Funding has recently received numerous diversity awards, including:


FORTUNE/Great Places to Work: Best Workplaces for Women | New American Funding

Profiles in Diversity Journal: Women Worth Watching | Patty Arvielo

Latina Style 50: Corporate Executive of the Year | Patty Arvielo

19 2022 Fourth Quarter

Building a Culture of Partnership: The CEO and Chief Diversity Officer Relationship

The Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) role continues to gain prominence in both the nonprofit and for-profit industries. This is an encouraging sign, especially

as societal change demands that commitment to Diversity Equity and Inclusion be front-and-center when critical business, cultural or organizational decisions are made. Job title and search research con-

firms this trend; LinkedIn found that individuals with the title “head of diversity” have more than doubled and those with the title “director of diversity” increased 75% and the “Chief Diversity

20 2022 Fourth Quarter
Authored by: Natalie Levkovich, CEO, The Health Federation of Philadelphia; Jose Rodriguez, Senior Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, The Health Federation of Philadelphia; Toya Lawson, Partner, Bridge Partners

Officer” position rose 68% in just the last year. However, the proliferation of diversity leaders does not always equate to tenure or success in the role; the average tenure of CDOs is less than two years.

If organizations cannot make a commitment to DEI work at the top it’s nearly impossible to make it work throughout the organization. DEI leaders must have access to the C-suite, decision-making influence, and the ability to build trust and engagement with employees. But the hard work, as The Health Federation of Philadelphia has found, starts before the CDO job-search begins or the placement happens.

themselves before starting the journey and ask hard questions, like:

• What does success look like for this role?

• How safe do I feel entering into this turf?

• How well do I know myself and my organization?

• What are the underlying processes and principles at my organization?

• Will I be threatened by the addition of this role?

To truly set the stage for a successful partnership between the

The position was also created with a mindset of continuous process improvement; not total transformation or redirection of the organization, but an understanding that no matter how good you are, you can always do better. That premise set the stage for a true partnership between the CDO and CEO that has carried through from the initial interview to the onboarding in September 2021, to the present. That foundational layer of implicit and explicit commitment to equity – along with transparent sharing of the assessment’s findings – led to a smooth transition when the CDO was hired.

The tenets for success in the CDO role start long before the position is created or filled. Rather than looking at hiring a CDO as a box-ticking exercise to nominally address DEI, the organization –and specifically the CEO – should consider in advance how this new dynamic will affect operations and only hire a DEI professional if they are willing to make changes and allow that professional to express and exercise their independent judgement.

CEO’s must be honest with

CEO and future CDO, it’s critical to reflect on these questions first and gather the necessary data before moving forward.

In the case of Health Federation, the hard work began with investing in a consultant to assess the organization’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Although equity and inclusion has been a focus for the organization since its founding, the assessment confirmed the belief that there were opportunities for operational improvements and important internal dialogues that could and should be led by a Chief Diversity Officer.

Traits that should guide a CDO search

When it’s time to start the search for a CDO, there are three essential traits that Bridge Partners recommends looking for in candidates. First, identify someone with passion and commitment to the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion, coupled with previous successful experience of helping organizations to manage change. The work of DEI is all about change management and helping people to look at things differently within their organizations.

21 2022 Fourth Quarter
An implicit and explicit commitment to equity
“If organizations cannot make a commitment to DEI work at the top it’s nearly impossible to make it work throughout the organization.”

Second, a DEI leader must be a compassionate influencer who is approachable and easy to talk with and who possesses strong emotional intelligence. DEI leaders must be able to speak with employees at all levels within an organization, building relationships, confidence, respect, and trust.

Third, a DEI professional should have a strong business acumen and strategic thinking skills. Executive teams desire DEI leaders who can be strategic thought partners providing insight into how DEI can move the business forward.

Making the hard work, work

Once the role has been filled, the CEO must give the space for the CDO to maximize the potential of developing relationships throughout the entire organization, as well as set him/her/ them up for success. There is also incumbent responsibility on the CDO to develop a strong relationship with the CEO so they can understand at a deeper level the institutional knowledge and working dynamics with key stakeholders. The preparatory work that was done by the CEO must be reciprocated by the CDO.

Success in the relationship requires a mutual commitment to be curious and confident that there is always room for improvement when it comes to equity and inclusion. Finding those opportunities is not to find fault but rather to support the process of continuous organizational growth. Working together

requires establishing trust and safety. The CEO has to be willing to be both candid and humble and the DEI professional has to be both supportive and honest about their observations. If those conversations can occur in a space of mutual respect, even if the subject is difficult, then presenting a unified and credible voice to the staff can be the outcome.

Unfiltered and unmanaged access to anyone on the staff is critical. The CEO must be intentional about providing space for employees to proactively come to the CDO. That space is necessary for the CDO to cultivate trust and credibility across the organization, which is paramount to the overall success of the role. A DEI professional may approach organizational processes, procedures and cultural issues from a unique lens, but they need first-hand input and data from employees to turn their expertise into tangible actions or subtle changes.

Charting a course for tenured success

In the case of Health Federation, as well as other organizations or corporations with a strong DEI foundation, the challenge for the CDO may be how to dig even deeper and find the small percentage that’s needed to move the needle from 90-94% commitment. That unique challenge can be met by spending time with peers and the leadership team to gather insights, perspectives and buy-in on the collective DEI vision and nuanced changes that need to be made to initiatives, messaging, and internal dialogues.

Commitment from the CEO to continuous improvement, through iterative changes and subtle achievements lead by the CDO, is necessary to ensure the tenure of the role. At Health Federation, early steps have included:

22 2022 Fourth Quarter
“Success in the relationship requires a mutual commitment to be curious and confident that there is always room for improvement when it comes to equity and inclusion.”

A six-month program of baseline DEI training for the entire staff

• A bi-monthly DEI newsletter that covers a full spectrum of topics and categories.

• The formation of a DEI committee with members who are representative of the organization as a whole.

• An “open door” policy and level of trust that

About the authors:

encourages employees to voice their concerns one-onone to the CDO.

• Assisting Health Federation’s community health center members along their DEI journey

The CDO role is truly a large and influential one within an organization. If designed and structured properly, the role will

interact with, have impact on, and influence over all employees throughout an organization. Important, too, is the understanding that the hard work is never done. Continuous internal improvement will eventually lead outward to review external communications and programmatic reach bringing even greater visibility to the CDO role and lead to tenured success within the organization. PDJ

Toya Lawson is a Partner with Bridge Partners, an executive search firm with a unique mission to diversify leadership teams. She has twenty years of experience working in retained and contingent search, corporate human resources and talent acquisition environments. Throughout her career, she has recruited candidates at all levels from administrative support professionals to CEOs and executive team members across a variety of industries. Her clients view her as a trusted advisor, her relationships with candidates are long-term, and she prides herself on always ensuring that her searches and shortlists are diverse and inclusive.

Natalie Levkovich has held the position of CEO of the Health Federation of Philadelphia since 1987, and served as director of program development for three years prior to that. During this tenure, she has led a number of notable, community-oriented, collaborative public health initiatives, and has overseen the organization’s growth from a budget of approximately $200,000 to more than $40 million. Natalie is assisted by a highly qualified senior management team.

José Rodriguez joined the Health Federation of Philadelphia in 2021 as Sr. Director for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Prior to this role he held several JDEI leadership roles at the Pennsylvania State University and Cabrini College. José brings a wealth of experience in advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in multiple settings, and has more than 25 years of experience in the field as a JDEI professional trainer, facilitator and coach. He is a primary champion for creating and promoting opportunities for dialogue toward an understanding of diversity, equity and inclusion; and is building a comprehensive JDEI program both internally at the Health Federation and within its network of member health centers. José holds a Bachelor of Arts from Allegheny College and a MS in Higher Education from the University of Pennsylvania.

23 2022 Fourth Quarter

The 2022 Innovations in Diversity Awards

Profiles in Diversity Journal’s Innovations in Diversity Award Recipients for 2022 (in alphabetical order)

Innovation. It’s what happens when aspiration and inspiration meet commitment and hard work, and turn powerful ideas into exciting realities. Innovations in diversity and inclusion show us possibilities that can transform workplace, cultural, and social landscapes across the globe. Innovative thinking invites us, as individuals and organizations, to embrace a new and better future.

Profiles in Diversity Journal is proud to share this year’s ambitious—and sometimes revolutionary—innovations in diversity from some of the world’s most successful and respected companies, including leaders in law, real estate, cosmetics, and retail. They are truly taking diversity and inclusion to a new level.

Please explore and enjoy the creative ideas featured on the following pages. One of these exciting innovations in diversity may be your organization’s best next step.

24 2022 Fourth Quarter

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, LLP

Innovation Title: Akin Gump/Robert S. Strauss Diversity & Inclusion Scholarship Program

Company Website:

Year Introduced: 2013

Executive Summary

Launched in 2013, Akin Gump’s Robert S. Strauss Diversity & Inclusion Scholarship (SDIS) program is one of the firm’s most innovative recruiting initiatives. The program is offered in our five largest U.S. offices: Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C. It is unique in that it spans two summers, with the scholars spending six weeks of the first summer with the firm and four weeks at a firm client. The second summer, the scholars participate in the firm’s general 2L summer associate program.

Named for firm founder Robert Strauss, the SDIS program continues his vision and pursuit of racial, ethnic, gender, economic and cultural diversity. Scholars from diverse backgrounds are given the opportunity to gain direct experience working at a global law firm as well as an in-house legal department at a client – resulting in a 360-degree perspective of the practice of law. Splitting the scholars’ first summer in this

manner gives them a unique opportunity to develop client relationships at the very start of their legal careers and to build upon those relationships when they return to the firm as a practicing attorney.

In addition to the salary they earn at the firm during their two summers, the scholars receive a $25,000 award to help offset law school expenses.

While the SDIS program has existed since 2013, in 2019, the firm began offering the scholarship to 1Ls instead of 2Ls in order to connect with talented, diverse students earlier in the recruiting cycle. We also added the client partnership element as a way to better connect with our clients in the drive to further diversity, equity and inclusion in the legal profession.

The firm continues to expand the SDIS program, now offering Financial Restructuring and Intellectual Property focused SDIS programs for 1L students interested in careers in these practice areas.

As a result of these enhancements,

the SDIS program has allowed the firm to attract talented, diverse law students and deepen our connections with firm clients. This program has been so successful that we increased the number of scholars from 11 in 2021 to 23 in 2022.

The legal industry has consistently faced the challenge of identifying and hiring diverse legal talent. The establishment of the SDIS program has contributed significantly to the firm’s efforts to continue to provide diverse perspectives for our clients and vibrant career opportunities for lawyers. The impact on our firm’s diversity has been significant – among our summer associates, our 2022 class was our most diverse class to date and, for the first time, exceeded the most recent National Association for Law Placement (NALP) average of 42%.

In addition, the number of SDIS program applicants has continued to increase year over year, from 700 applicants in 2020 to a record 1,300 applicants in 2022!

25 2022 Fourth Quarter
2 022 A W ARD Innovations in Diversity INTERNATIONAL

Ally Financial

Innovation Title: Ally’s Moguls in the Making: Building a New Generation of Entrepreneurs Company Website:

Year Introduced: 2019

Executive Summary

Ally’s leadership has weaved diversity, inclusion, and equity into how the company was built, how it serves customers and communities, and how it welcomes teammates. At Ally, diversity isn’t just what we can see — it’s how we engage with one another and our communities to lift each other up.

As part of our commitment to financial and social inclusion, Ally leaders collaborated with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund to start the Moguls in the Making program – an entrepreneurial pitch competition that engages students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Program goals: 1. Empower Black and Brown students to find new pathways into business and let them show their creativity and problem-solving skills; 2. Develop a diverse early talent pipeline for the company and support the development of future leaders.

Through 2022, we’ve brought 36 Moguls on as interns and 12 have joined Ally as full-time employees in technology, finance, product development and marketing. Moguls gave the students unique

networking opportunities, and access to top-tier business leaders, in addition to critical skill-building seminars and mentors. Moguls helps the next generation of talent see their own unique paths to high-wage careers in technology and financial services, and it supports economic mobility among diverse communities. In the first four years, Ally has hosted more than 200 HBCU students, providing $500K in scholarships.

Morehouse College took home the top prize and $20K scholarship for each student in 2022.

At Ally, we know that more diversity brings better ideas. The inaugural Moguls program in 2019 led to the development of Ally’s popular Fintropolis financial education game for middle schoolers, patterned after the popular Minecraft universe and built by Blockworks. A four-person Moguls team came up with the idea, pitched it to executives, prototyped it, and Ally’s tech and design teams brought it to life with their help. Fintropolis goes a long way in teaching basic financial concepts for middle school-age students, now even more critical with some states passing legislation requiring that

high schools teach financial literacy courses. As players explore Fintropolis, they learn about earning money, paying taxes, budgeting, building credit and managing debt, as well as investing. The results have been staggering: the game has been downloaded 3.5 million times and hundreds of students have taken part in Fintropolis gaming sessions at home and in after-school programs.

Not only has the Moguls program made an impact on HBCU students, but it has also helped Ally build a diverse talent pipeline while increasing awareness of our company’s purpose-driven ‘do it right’ culture; Moguls leans into Ally’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and allows our teammates to volunteer their time to help students build their business and financial skills. The program also addresses our corporate commitment to building a more diverse and equitable workforce, providing a blueprint for using innovation to enhance economic mobility, and identifies and nurtures qualifiedcandidates of color. Ally will welcome its fourth cohort of HBCU interns (and their innovative ideas) from the Moguls program in May 2023.

26 2022 Fourth Quarter
2 022 A W ARD Innovations in Diversity INTERNATIONAL

Dechert LLP

Innovation Title: Dechert and Aspiring Solicitors – Improving access to the law

Company Website:

Year Introduced: 2017

Executive Summary

Over the past five years, Dechert’s partnership with Aspiring Solicitors (AS) has led to huge strides in the firm’s efforts to recruit diverse talent. The collaboration with AS, a non-profit organization aiming to improve access to the UK legal profession, has resulted in underrepresented groups making up over half of Dechert’s trainee intake since 2017. “Our partnership has been very successful because everyone at the firm is so invested,” said Katrina Phull, Dechert’s Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Manager. “Candidates really care about diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and they are seeing firsthand that Dechert values this at all levels, and that we are attracting and retaining outstanding diverse talent.”

Founded by former Dechert trainee Chris White, AS works alongside law firms and legal teams to provide opportunities for aspiring solicitors from diverse backgrounds. At the heart of the firm’s collaboration with AS is the Commercial Awareness Competition (CAC) and the Dechert-sponsored

AS Culture event. Held annually, these events give professionals from underrepresented groups access to the legal profession. In turn, this allows Dechert to identify talent from backgrounds that would otherwise be more difficult to reach. The partnership has provided Dechert with access to broad demographics, resulting in the more nuanced areas of DEI being reflected in the firm’s hiring, such as mature students, career changers and parents, as well as those from low-income backgrounds, ethnic minorities, and the LGBTQ+ community. “It doesn’t matter what people look like or where they come from,” said Gus Black, co-chair of Dechert’s global financial services group and a member of the Policy Committee. “Our objective is excellence in client service. Hiring diverse talent means we can bring a broad range of experiences and skillsets to bear on our clients’ problems. The clients get a better team and our lawyers become better lawyers.”

Dechert is now the first AS partner firm to achieve a newly qualified solicitor intake in 2022 with 50% originating from the program, which

earned the firm its fourth award from AS since 2017. AS founder and CEO Chris White commented: “Dechert is a leading partner firm of AS. As such, it is fitting that they received the inaugural “Best Retention of Diverse Talent” Award for a record-setting level of representation of AS members in its newly qualified ranks. We greatly appreciate that the firm continues to invest funding, support and senior professionals’ time in a catalogue of talent development initiatives and campaigns.”

The success of the partnership with AS has transformed Dechert’s talent in London. With 50% of the firm’s 2022 newly qualified lawyers, as well as 50% of the future 2023 trainee intake coming from AS, the firm is attracting and keeping these diverse professionals. “This partnership enables us to create meaningful relationships with high-potential candidates that has led us to create an increasingly inclusive environment at the firm” says Ms. Phull, “Dechert wants to retain these attorneys because they are exceptional lawyers; they stay because they recognize the firm has a true commitment and investment in DEI.”

27 2022 Fourth Quarter
2 022 A W ARD Innovations in Diversity INTERNATIONAL Reprinted with permission of PDJ

Enact Mortgage Insurance

Innovation Title: Enact Mortgage Industry Development Program

Company Website: Year Introduced: 2021

Executive Summary

What Makes this Initiative Unique:

The Mortgage Industry Development Program (MIDP) is the first program of its kind, bringing education of the mortgage industry to college students at Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs). By working with HBCUs, the MIDP is highly accessible to students of color. This program does not impact Enact’s profitability, but instead takes a philanthropic approach by exposing students of color to opportunities within the industry and increasing financial literacy.

The Why Behind the Purpose:

This program was designed to provide HBCU students with awareness around career opportunities in the mortgage industry and give them the foundation they need to begin a successful career in the field. The intention is that by being familiar with the opportunities available, more students will seek careers in the mortgage industry following graduation. Additionally, the optional mentorship component prepares students for their future careers, regardless of industry, by providing coaching and development opportunities.

The Positive Change:

Fannie Mae reports that the 2022 demographic of the mortgage industry is 73% white, 6% black, and 7% Latinx, which is not representative of the overall population. The industry awareness that MIDP participants receive will recruit more diverse talent into the industry and help the industry better reflect the borrowers it serves.

Additionally, the program grants the students more visibility into their options for homeownership and provides them with the knowledge they need to buy a home. With the minority homeownership gap now greater than when housing discrimination was legal, this is an important step in minimizing that gap.


Despite the program’s age, its reach has already expanded, and the industry is benefiting. In its first offering in the fall of 2021, 15 students participated from two different HBCUs through Enact’s partnership with HomeFree USA’s Center for Financial Advancement (CFA). By the 2022 spring offering, the program expanded availability to any CFA scholar interested in the content, and 47 students from 11 universities enrolled in the program. The program reached a total of 62

students over the 2021-2022 school year with 32 of the students choosing to complete the requirements to earn an official Certificate of Completion. Enact recently hired a program graduate for a full-time position, and other participants have begun work in the industry.


Research shows that black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) tend to have lower rates of financial literacy than white and Asian Americans. By providing an in-depth look at the mortgage industry, students also receive a detailed explanation on credit and how loan decisions are made. The financial education provided will enable students to make better financial decisions beyond buying a home.


Most directly, this initiative impacts HBCU students, and thus students of color. The effect is more expansive, however, as it will lead to greater diversity in the industry over time, which means that BIPOC homebuyers will interact with more people in the industry who look like them. Finally, the program exposes the employee mentors to more diverse experiences and perspectives.

28 2022 Fourth Quarter
2 022 A W ARD Innovations in Diversity INTERNATIONAL

Freddie Mac

Innovation Title: Freddie Mac Inclusive Content Guide Company Website: Year Introduced: 2021

Executive Summary

What Makes this Initiative


Freddie Mac strives to capture and accurately portray the diversity of the human experience as part of our longstanding commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). As such we partnered with Rachele Kanigel, Chair of the Journalism Department at San Francisco State University and Editor of The Diversity Style Guide to create our own custom inclusive content guide. Our guide includes references from diversity organizations such as the National Association for Black Journalists along with feedback from our Business Resource Groups, communication professionals and other DEI champions in the company.

The guide consists of usage guidelines for commonly misused or misunderstood terms in these areas: DEI, Age/Generations, Disability, Gender, Housing, LGBTQ+, Race and Ethnicity, and Technology.

The Why Behind the Purpose:

Communicating is a critical aspect of most jobs at Freddie Mac and doing so in a way that gets our message across to intended audiences is key. Using language that is inclusive not only strengthens our message but also

enhances clarity. Paying attention to how we communicate also prevents distracting and insensitive use of words, expressions, stereotypes and imagery that exclude or discriminate against others. Ignoring the principles of inclusive content risks alienating customers, readers and viewers, and an uninformed and inaccurate choice can become a potential financial or reputational risk.

The Positive Change:

The Freddie Mac Inclusive Content Guide serves as an educational and reference tool to help everyone at Freddie Mac communicate in respectful and inclusive ways when reaching out to increasingly more diverse audiences.


We launched the Freddie Mac inclusive content guide in November 2022. The roll-out plan included an all-employee article, fire-side chat, and targeted training with the editor for communicators, BRG leaders and DEI champions within the company and reminder messages throughout the year to encourage people to reference the document. Best practices were also shared externally at two conferences for communication

professionals on ways in which other organizations could develop their own inclusive content guide. The inclusive content guide is undergoing its annual refresh given the pace of change in language.


Teams across Freddie Mac continue to embed principles of inclusive language into how they work. Our Talent Acquisition team uses software to identify and mitigate potential bias in language in our job descriptions, helping to ensure the language is more inclusive for jobseekers. Teams within our Enterprise Operations and Technology division have also made changes to industry terminology used in their processes to be more inclusive. Our inclusive content guide was also used to help refresh our gender transition guidelines.


All Freddie Mac employees are impacted — especially those whose jobs involve communicating internally or externally. In doing so, we can continue to use words and images that convey respect for all people, sensitivity to differences and a commitment to accuracy.

29 2022 Fourth Quarter
2 022 A W ARD Innovations
in Diversity

Gibbons P.C.

Innovation Title: Gibbons Diversity Initiative (GDI) and the Gibbons Cares pro bono program, Company Website: Year Introduced: 2020-2022

Executive Summary

What Makes this Initiative Unique:

Since 2020, Gibbons P.C., led by the Gibbons Diversity Initiative (GDI) and the Gibbons Cares pro bono program, launched three pro bono efforts to assist small, minority-owned businesses throughout New Jersey that typically face hurdles in financing and sustaining their operations and have limited access to services and resources:

• “Small Businesses Need Us” (SBNU), an initiative of the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership in which Gibbons is a partner

• Equitable Small Business Initiative (ESBI), a joint venture structured by Gibbons for two longtime clients: New Jersey Community Capital (NJCC) and the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey (AACCNJ)

• AACCNJ Pro Bono Alliance, a partnership with Gibbons

Alliance provides free legal counsel and advice to AACCNJ members to launch, sustain, calibrate, or advance their businesses.

The Positive Change: SBNU and the AACCNJ Pro Bono Alliance connect participating businesses with legal service providers specializing in employment, real estate, intellectual property, data privacy and security, and other areas to meet these businesses’ specific needs.

With a multimillion-dollar commitment, the ESBI facilitates access to business-related resources to New Jersey’s BBEs and provides them with hands-on, customized support, pandemic relief loans, and critical capital.


In 2021 alone, participating Gibbons attorneys donated more than 645 hours to SBNU to clients, ranging from a STEM enrichment program for students to an event management company to a life and business empowerment coach.


Through their involvement with SBNU, the ESBI, and the AACCNJ Pro Bono Alliance, GDI and Gibbons Cares are proving to play an integral role in helping small, diverse business owners thrive. In turn, these business owners are boosting the local economy by providing valuable services and creating jobs for people in Newark and other New Jersey communities, thus strengthening those communities.

Also through GDI and Gibbons Cares, the firm donates more than $1 million annually, particularly to the communities in which it resides. This financial support complements the provision of pro bono legal representation, which itself enables the firm’s participating attorneys to gain a valuable, firsthand look at the tangible ways their knowledge and experience are assisting small businesses.


Purpose: SBNU mobilizes professionals throughout the business community to help small women- and minority-owned businesses recover from the impact of COVID-19. The ESBI provides Black business enterprises (BBEs), including those economically affected by the pandemic, access to wide-ranging business-related resources. The AACCNJ Pro Bono

The Why Behind the

The ESBI, in its first month, attracted outside contributions in support of its mission, including a $1 million commitment from a local foundation.

Since its establishment earlier this year, the AACCNJ Pro Bono Alliance has assisted many clients, including a business in a civil action to secure possession of a property that the business had purchased in foreclosure.

As described above, these joint GDI-Gibbons Cares initiatives assist women- and minority- owned enterprises throughout New Jersey. SBNU specifically assists womenand minority- owned small business owners impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The ESBI addresses the business needs of Black business enterprises. The AACCNJ Pro Bono Alliance directly supports AACCNJ member companies, particularly legacy companies and independent practitioners.

30 2022 Fourth Quarter
2 022 A W ARD Innovations in

in Diversity

New York Life

Innovation Title: DE&I Center for Awareness & Advocacy Company Website: Year Introduced: 2021

Executive Summary

To further advance New York Life’s diversity, equity, and inclusion platform, our Office of Diversity and Inclusion, established in 2006, expanded to the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Center for Awareness and Advocacy (DE&I Center) in 2021. This evolution is much more than just a name change; it is a recognition that strategy and initiatives must go beyond engagement and education to play an active role in advocating for advancement of DE&I at all levels of the company.

The DE&I Center helps employees identify their personal goals and thrive in their career, supports managers in developing talent, and connects employees across the company, while continuing to foster the company’s inclusive culture. It’s a place where employees can go to better understand their strengths, get advice and guidance, and connect with colleagues. To achieve this, the Center is organized into two areas: advocacy, supporting employees and managers in their development; and awareness, continuing the extensive inclusion programming that has been

built over the past 15 years.

Initial advocacy programming was launched at the end of 2021 and included a new development program for diverse Senior Associates and Associates. This program helps employees leverage their strengths and helps managers in furthering their inclusive leadership skills while supporting the development of their team member who is participating in the program. A new mentorship program for diverse Appointive Officers, pairs mentees with Executive Officer mentors and includes development programming throughout the year. In addition, all employees can sign up for monthly coaching sessions with a certified coach to discuss skills, capabilities, and overall career development. As well as networking programs to educate employees on the dos and don’ts of networking and provide opportunities to connect with colleagues to put into practice what they learned.

In less than a year, more than 1000 employees have participated in the DE&I Center’s new programming, with positive feedback all around. And, while the advocacy branch of

the DE&I Center took off late last year and has hit the ground running since, the awareness branch has continued to roll out new programming that builds on the work done by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion for the last 15+ years. Our social justice in action: let’s talk about community campaign has highlighted the various communities of New York Life, while encouraging employees to attend as many Employee Resource Group events as they can. Meanwhile, our Coming Together Courageous Conversation series, established in 2016, continues with company-wide sessions on timely topics and annual departmental campaign. These conversations focuse on specific topics to discuss at the team level. 2022’s topic is Bridging blind spots, building on 2021 series, Color Brave vs. Color Blind. And our seven Employee Resource Groups continue providing meaningful events and development opportunities to employees across the company.

As the DE&I discipline advances, so too must New York Life’s strategy and initiatives to support all employees.

31 2022 Fourth Quarter
2 022 A W ARD Innovations

Norton Rose Fulbright

Innovation Title: Company Website:

Year Introduced: 2021

Executive Summary

What Makes this Initiative Unique:

Corporate legal departments understand the value of diversity. While many large firms talk about improving diversity, they almost always fail to recruit in ways that actually yield results, and they also fail to make the changes to firm culture and work-life matters that make it possible to retain diverse talent. With the Racial Equity Council’s unwavering commitment to advancing racial equality, Norton Rose Fulbright has done both and is contributing to the changing face of the legal industry.

The Why Behind the Purpose:

Following a year of traumatic events and social injustice in the US and around the world, Norton Rose Fulbright recognized the urgent need — coupled with the unique opportunity of the moment — and chose to prioritize the advancement of social justice and racial equality. The Racial Equity Council was formed with a mission to improve the experience of Black personnel and advancing racial equity throughout the firm.

The Positive Change:

With the full support of firm management, we made significant progress toward these goals in a number of ways over the last 18 months, including:

• Significantly increasing the number of Black attorneys at the firm through an aggressive approach to recruiting and hiring Black talent.

• Identifying and implementing process changes to promote equity in leadership and promotion opportunities for our business services personnel through open and consistent dialogue with firm leadership.

• We also seized every opportunity to connect Black personnel across the firm’s offices through formal and informal events that promoted fellowship and sense of belonging.


The efforts have been demonstrably successful. In the 2021 Summer Program, the firm had a total of 13 summer associates across offices that identified as Black, a significant increase over recent years. The firm extended offers to 12 of those students, and all 12 accepted the offers.


The pilot sponsorship program pairs each Black non-partner lawyer with an established partner along with a Council partner advocate. It is designed to maximize the opportunities for Black non-partner

lawyers to succeed through career development and increased visibility, support, and opportunity. With the full implementation of the program, the Council saw improved utilization and participants almost universally reported an enhanced sense of belonging and engagement.


Additionally, the firm selected championing social justice as its 2021 Global Charitable Initiative, a program focused on one cause annually through fundraising, pro bono, and volunteering efforts. Significant time and resources have been funneled into the cause, including proceeds from the 2021 Run Against Racism, a charity 10k/5k run, which we organized and hosted.

While the road to racial equity will be long and arduous, we are primed to effect real and lasting change for our Black personnel, the firm and in our communities with the full support of firm leadership. The firm has committed resources to inhouse programming to combat racial bias, including a quarterly speaker series to educate all firm personnel on topics related to racial equity and implicit bias training for all hiring managers. We will continue to proactively create an inclusive culture and will strive to never stop improving.

32 2022 Fourth Quarter
2 022 A W ARD Innovations
in Diversity

United Rentals

Innovation Title: Month of Impact Company Website: Year Introduced: 2022

Executive Summary

In early 2022, we set six new Corporate Responsibility goals, one of which included our public goal to achieve 44,953 Hours of Impact focused on making a positive impact in our locations and within our communities in celebration of our 25th anniversary as an international company.

We dedicated November as our Month of Impact. To ensure that employees had the opportunity to make an impact within our communities and ourselves, United Rentals created geographic events and company-wide virtual events through our employee resource groups. Whether it is through giving back to a local charity, or through personal and professional development, we believe that when we Work United, together we can make a huge impact.

Some highlights thus far include our Nashville, TN team raised $60,000 for the Fisher House Foundation (a charity and foundation that builds comfort homes where military & veterans families can stay

free of charge, while a loved one is in the hospital). Our New Orleans, LA team “had an incredible day partnering with the New Orleans Mission serving over two hundred people in need some of the best southern cooking imaginable and loaded bags of hygiene products.”

Our ERGs organized 7 company-wide events that will take place in November, including: “Sustainability Programs and Trends: A Discussion with Representatives of UR and a few of our Customers and Suppliers”; the “Why pronouns and inclusive language are important” Workshop; the Building with Books Initiative (which promotes black and African American Children’s literacy); a Conversation on Immigration and Hunger; a Leading with Empathy panel discussion; Holiday Stock Stuffers for Veterans Initiative; and Signs of Strength Series (promoting getting help as a sign of strength).

We also encouraged personal and professional learnings through United Rentals’ e-course offerings

including: “Our Winning Culture, Explained”; “Leading with Empathy”; “The Basics of Emotional Intelligence”; and 70 Ways to Thrive at Work.

Finally, United Rentals encouraged all employees to highlight the good work they already do on their personal time – whether it is running a marathon for breast cancer awareness, donating blood, participating in neighborhood cleanups or even building homes.

While November is our designated Month of Impact, our employees have already logged approximately 10,000 hours - with over 3,000 hours in the first week of the initiative being announced.

As this was a public goal, our Chief Administrative and Legal Officer (“CALO”), Director of Diversity and Inclusion, and team of employee volunteers set out to create a communication plan, company-wide event strategy, and audit/logging system to maintain an accurate reporting system for the company.

33 2022 Fourth Quarter
2 022 A W ARD Innovations in

2 022

Third Annual


For more than two decades Profiles in Diversity Journal has showcased and honored individuals who have blazed new trails, led the way, mentored others, advanced diversity and inclusion in the workplace and the community, and excelled in their chosen fields. PDJ is proud to recognize Black Leaders with our third Black Leadership Awards.

The 53 profiles that appear in this issue recognize and celebrate the achievements of our third group of Black Leaders. Each award recipient has also provided us with the answers to some questions and an essay that will give you, our readers, the chance to get to know these trailblazing individuals a little better.

Welcome to PDJ’s third annual Black Leadership Awards.

34 2022 Fourth Quarter
35 2022 Fourth Quarter
36 2022 Fourth Quarter

Shani W. Hosten

Vice President, Audience Strategy–Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Education: BS, marketing, Hampton University; MBA, Columbia University School of Business

Company Name: AARP

Industry: Nonprofit

Company CEO: Jo Ann Jenkins

Company Headquarters Location: Washington, DC

Number of Employees: 2,300

Words you live by: Faith over Fear and Family over Everything

Who is your personal hero: Dorothy Williams, my Grandmother

What book are you reading: The Light We Carry by Michelle Obama

Personal Philosophy: Believe. Achieve. Succeed.

What was your first job: Pharmaceutical sales representative, Eli Lilly & Company

Favorite charity: Boys & Girls Clubs of America

Interests: Travel, kayaking, and creating memories with family and friends

Family: Husband, daughter (22), and son (17)

Faith, Family, and Fulfillment

When I reflect on the factors that have influenced my career choices, three things stand out to me: Faith, Family, and Fulfillment. Being raised by parents, and all four grandparents, with a critical focus on faith provided me with a strong foundation. Keeping faith first was instilled in me at a very early age, and I have been blessed to witness firsthand how faith enables my family to continue to persevere and achieve when faced with life’s challenges. Their altruistic acts, and the use of their time, talents, and treasures to help others, have guided my career choices. This became especially evident when I took on stretch assignments, where I learned to lead with empathy and the strategic thinking that guides my work in AARP’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Having strong faith allays the fears that can be

associated with taking on new and increasingly challenging roles.

As a wife and working mother of two, family has always been my central focus as I evaluate job opportunities. At times, I have taken roles that required less travel, and I even found a position that enabled me to telework when my husband had an international position. When my roles required increased travel and responsibilities, he was able to work remotely. Constant communication, the needs of the children at various ages, and being intentional about staying true to each other’s career goals is our balancing act. We focus on progress, not perfection, while also remembering the advice shared with me very early in my career: You’ll likely be presented with many job opportunities, but you only get one chance to be a parent. Putting my family at the

center of everything I do brings great joy.

Having started my marketing career in consumer packaged goods (CPG), I quickly learned the building blocks of effectively promoting brands. While I saw my product designs on store shelves and promotional coupons in Sunday newspapers, I lacked the same level of personal fulfillment in my work that I previously experienced when working in the pharmaceutical industry on life-changing products. As an African American woman, I find great reward in knowing that my work in diversity, equity, and inclusion is helping in some small way to make a difference in bridging the disparities that exist in many communities. I’m excited to see what the future holds, as I continue to let Faith, Family, and Fulfillment lead my journey.

37 2022 Fourth Quarter

Education: JD, University of Illinois College of Law; BA, Duke University

Company Name: Abbott Industry: Healthcare Company CEO: Robert B. Ford

Company Headquarters Location: Abbott Park, Illinois

Number of Employees: 100,000+

Words you live by: “It matters not how strait the gate, how charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.” – Invictus – William Ernest Henley

Who is your personal hero: My grandparents and parents.

What book are you reading: Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe

What was your first job: Teaching Assistant

Favorite charity: Delta Institute

Interests/Hobbies: Sports (basketball, soccer, and football), food, spending time with my family, and movies.

Family: Married with a daughter and a son on the way.

Resilience and Hard Work Will Carry You

I have used the many lessons that my grandfather has imparted upon me to become a better person, father, and lawyer.

For some context, my grandfather was born to a farmer’s family in a small Nigerian village. Defying the odds, he was able to attend a local teacher’s college, where he was later hired to teach geography and math. Such an achievement would have been sufficient to many, but it was not for my grandfather. Spurred by his dream to become a medical doctor, he saved up enough money to travel to the United States by steamboat, eventually arriving in New Orleans with only a few dollars in his pocket. After arriving in the United States, my grandfather took on various odd jobs to make money

and eventually made his way to Los Angeles to complete a pre-medicine program. After graduating from the program, he was admitted to medical school in Chicago, and later became a cardiothoracic surgeon. After finishing his residency, he spurned various job offers in the United States and uprooted his growing family (wife and three children) to return to Nigeria so that he could give back to his country. He would go on to become one of the pioneers of open-heart surgery in Nigeria, performing the first openheart surgery in West Africa in or around 1974. When my cousins and I were little, my grandfather always made time to sit down with us and impart priceless lessons about resilience and hard work, lessons

that I will always carry with me. Although he will be a little disappointed that I went into law instead of medicine (even though, by becoming in-house counsel for a health technology company, I do not think that I strayed too far from it), my grandfather’s journey—from a small village in Nigeria to becoming an esteemed cardiothoracic surgeon—continues to inspire me to work hard, be resilient, and strive to challenge myself to reach greater and greater heights. Indeed, like my grandfather, I was born in Nigeria. And since immigrating to the United States, I have used his example to help me navigate cultural differences, overcome adversity, and constantly strive to excel in my life and career.

38 2022 Fourth Quarter

Dr. Pierre Maillard

Radiation Effects & RAS Architect

Education: Master’s from University of Montpellier (France) in Electrical Engineering (EE); Master’s and Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University (US) in EE, with a focus on radiation effects on electronics

Company Name: AMD (Advanced Micro Devices) Inc.

Industry: Semiconductor

Company CEO: Dr. Lisa Su

Company Headquarters Location: Santa Clara, California, USA

Number of Employees: 25,000

Your Location (if different from above): San Jose, California

Words you live by: “It is difficult to say what is impossible, for the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow.” Dr. R. H. Goddard, Rocketry Pioneer

Who is your personal hero: My “Maman”

What book are you reading: The 7 Habits of the highly effective people, Crucial Conversations, The Alchemist, Mindset

What was your first job: Fish cleaner in my dad’s export factory

Favorite charity: Doctor Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres)

Interests/Hobbies: Sailing, scuba-diving, motor-sports, fitness, reading, traveling & world adventures

Family: A wonderful wife, daughter, extended family and friends

Persevering Is Hard and Giving Up Is Easy

As early as I remember, I have always been curious about the people, places and things in the world surrounding me and have loved taking things apart to see what was inside then putting them back together (although it always seemed like that there were more parts than the original assembly needed). When I got access to “the library”, I found books about Da Vinci’s inventions, then jet flights, and finally one day I stumbled onto books about Spacecrafts and Space exploration. These fueled my curiosity and ignited a professional passion that ultimately led to my current career path as an Engineer (& Scientist) leading the Architecture, development, and validation of radiation effects solutions for Terrestrial and Space applications, at one of the coolest companies in the world! From my initial involvement in our Space solution to

just launching our latest Space Grade product, my work is amongst the stars, and equally important to me, it has an impact on Humankind.

Mentors and professional collaborations have also been instrumental along my career path and to my successes. My parents’ interesting friends, including some that became president of countries, the first Black African member of the France Academy of Fine Arts, others that were successful entrepreneurs, geneticists, artists, thinkers, were my first mentors. They taught me that persevering is hard and giving up is easy and that without passion, a clear vision, accountability, and teamwork there is no success. I am grateful to have been the recipient of the wisdom of many people that excelled in various fields throughout my life. It instilled in me a fundamental value of sharing knowledge, passion,

life experiences, and being a mentor to help people around me grow.

This is a summary of what I’ve learned so far:

Clearly state what you want and prepare before meeting with stakeholders so you can ask the right questions. Respect everyone. Surround yourself with good people. Hold yourself to high standards and be true to yourself. Keep being curious, embrace challenges, keep persevering. It is ok to acknowledge when things are not going as you expected, use your energy to focus on the solution rather than restating the problem. Practice introspection, gratitude, and an optimistic mindset. Finally, keep dreaming! as “It is difficult to say what is impossible, for the dream of yesterday, is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow.” Dr. R. H. Goddard.

39 2022 Fourth Quarter

Mark Wadlington

Senior Vice President and General Manager, Core Markets Group – AECG, Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.

Education: BSEET from Ohio Institute of Technology; Executive MBA Stanford Company Name: AMD (Advanced Micro Devices Inc.) Industry: Semiconductor Company CEO: Dr. Lisa Su Company Headquarters Location: Santa Clara, California, USA

Number of Employees: 25,000

Your Location (if different from above): San Jose, California

Words you live by: Be your authentic self. People can spot a phony. You have superpowers within. Discover them and play to your strengths.

Who is your personal hero: My grandfather, Robert Staples. Business owner and entrepreneur with an 8th-grade education from Knoxville. He left home in his teens and headed north. Mason, Church Decan, Father, Husband, Community organizer, small business owner, and job creator.

What book are you reading: Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

What was your first job: Lot Boy (picking up trash and sweeping parking lot) at Arthur Treachery Fish & Chips. I created the job. ��

Favorite charity: My church, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., family and friends

Interests/Hobbies: Music, Fitness, Golf, Motorsports, Wild Boar Hunting

Family: Married to wife Leyna. 15-year-old son, Miles (named after Miles Davis)

Be your best-authentic self, follow the PIE formula (Performance-Image-Exposure)

Throughout my career, the best advice I’ve ever received is to simply “be yourself.” I received this advice from a boss, Dale Olstinsky, when I began my sales career. At the time, I was new in the role and trying to emulate my predecessor(s) in how they carried themselves and their communication style. The problem was it wasn’t ME. I was acting in a way that wasn’t natural and probably came off a little awkward. Dale explained that people can spot a phony; people either like you or don’t, and frankly, it’s just too much work trying to be something you’re not. Anything less than being your true, authentic self robs you of the potential superpowers you may possess from your life experience and personality. “Be comfortable in your own skin,” he said, “be relaxed but on point.” My experience since then is that people think best when relaxed. Stress is an inhibitor in terms of clear thinking, ideation, and the ability to communicate effectively, which is extremely important. Being yourself while maintaining a professional demeanor will allow you to remain cool and calm in high-pressure situations. For example, if you are naturally funny, be funny. Humor can be a very effective way of making others feel comfortable and approachable, which is also very important. If you have street smarts, use them when developing business strategies in addition to whatever you may have learned in business school. Street smarts can also be

a superpower when applied to business strategies and give you an edge over your competition. Find your superpower, invest in yourself, and hone your craft. And most importantly, be your best-authentic self. It just might surprise you in terms of the way people respond.

In the corporate sense, today’s leaders can best support the next generation of black business leaders through a combination of readiness and opportunity by helping them to be ready when called upon and helping them put themselves in a position to be offered opportunities. I like the PIE (Performance-Image-Exposure) formula in helping individuals create opportunities for themselves. I was introduced to the acronym and the concept, which seems obvious in hindsight, through a Management Leadership Experience program offered at AMD. The program is intended for New College Grads and/or people new to management. One of the people on my team who had just completed the course explained to me what they’d learned, including their key takeaways. They mentioned the PIE formula, and it resonated immediately. Simple, easy to remember, and excellent advice: Be good at what you’re doing currently (Performance), make sure that you are perceived to be adding value to the enterprise (Image), and be visible to the echelon of the company so

that you can be recognized (Exposure). In my experience, these are the keys to success and achieving your goals in a professional, corporate environment…and in life.

Mentorships can play a significant role in supporting the PIE principle and in the context of the next generation of black leaders. Today’s leaders and mentors must lead by example and be role models for others. The next generation of black business leaders will want someone as a mentor whom they respect through perceived competence and fair treatment of others. They will want someone they can relate to and perceive to be authentic. They will want someone whom they believe is approachable and whom they can learn from. I’ve personally benefited from many different mentors over the years, at various stages of my career, and from other disciplines. I would suggest not waiting for someone to offer their mentorship. Instead, if you identify someone with the right stuff and someone you’d like to emulate, approach them, and ask them to be your mentor. I guarantee they’ll be flattered and kindly agree to your request.

I believe today’s leaders must possess foundational characteristics rooted in trust and respect. They must be approachable and authentic. From there, people willing to take the initiative can learn from a lifetime of experience and wisdom, develop their own individual style, and be their best authentic selves.

40 2022 Fourth Quarter

Terence Rozier-Byrd Partner

Working to Eliminate the Racial Wealth Gap

Currently I am a partner in Akin Gump’s preeminent investment management practice—playing vital roles in business-critical engagements and advising on impactful funds-related matters. In addition, I serve as a diversity advocate within the New York office and throughout the firm. This led to my membership of the firm’s Black Firmwide Resource Group and a mentor to numerous lawyers.

I advise a myriad of institutional investors on a wide range of alternative investment matters. I

also represent fund sponsors on the formation and operation of private equity, venture capital and growth equity funds. Prior to joining Akin Gump last year, I was the partner in charge and hiring partner of the New York office of another Am Law 100 firm.

On a personal note, I served as an advisor to my brother, Trevor, on the recent launch of Stackwell, a robo-investing app designed to eliminate the racial wealth gap for the Black community.

I am one of the partner mentors

in the firm’s first-year associates’ program and its newly launched AGAdvisors program, a practicebased mentorship program for associates and counsel.

I am a distinguished alumnus of Boston University School of Law, and currently serves on the Dean’s Advisory Board. I also serve on the Investor Advisory Council of Alumni Ventures Group, which has the mission of democratizing access to venture capital. Finally, I was named to Minority Corporate Counsel Association’s Rising Stars list in 2021.

41 2022 Fourth Quarter
Education: J.D., Boston University School of Law, 2006; A.B., Princeton University, 2001
Company Name: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP Industry: Law Company CEO: Kim Koopersmith Company Headquarters Location: N/A Number of
1800+ Your
(if different from above): New York

Tiffanye Threadcraft Counsel

Education: J.D., Howard University School of Law, 2012; B.A., Harvard University, 2007

Company Name: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP Industry: Law

Company CEO: Kim Koopersmith

Company Headquarters Location: N/A

Number of Employees: 1800+

Your Location (if different from above): New York

Words you live by: To whom much is given much is expected.

Who is your personal hero: My late grandmothers

What book are you reading: Tara M. Stringfellow’s debut novel “Memphis”

What was your first job: Dance teacher in high school / Abercrombie & Fitch in college

Favorite charity: Boys and Girls Club of America

Interests/Hobbies: Music, the arts generally and popular culture

Family: I am a daughter, sister, niece, cousin and friend

Mentorship is a Vital Key to Growth

Over the course of my career, I have benefited from excellent mentors. Mentorship can come in various forms with which many of us are familiar. There are the active and intentional mentors, who show up consistently to offer guidance and advice when making decisions big or small. I am incredibly indebted to and grateful for these types of mentors. That said, some of the best mentors I have had did not know they were serving in that role for me. Rather, by being able to watch their approach to advocacy, negotiation, problem-solving, counseling clients and the practice of law in general, I was given models for the kind of lawyer I wanted to be myself. I am also very appreciative of this kind of mentorship.

There is another type of mentoring that I have come to recognize as of late. While it may not fit technically within the category, I feel compelled to include in

this discussion. What I mean is this: when someone seen as an authority gives you an opportunity to share what you know for an audience not yet familiar with your work, or on a bigger platform. This can be as simple as the person of authority who asks you on a client call, “What do you think?” and thereby gives you the opportunity to contribute and shine. Coming from an underrepresented background in the legal industry where people may not assume I am the person with the answers, this small action can be incredibly helpful in getting clients to see you as an authority as well, someone who also has the answers.

For the subject matter experts and rainmakers in our industry, it can be natural to delegate responsibility to team members whose contributions support their success; but to confer authority to a team member, to share your status as having answers with someone who

is not typically looked to for expertise can be an incredible assist not only with their ability to support the client, but ultimately also with their future opportunities and career in general. As you might imagine, conferring/sharing authority can be done in bigger and more expansive ways, but the simple act of asking “What do you think?” to the person in the room who no one is looking to for answers (when you know they are capable and prepared to share) can do so much.

So, when I think about how today’s leaders can support the next generation of Black business leaders—at least when it comes to the practice of law—share your authority; don’t just bring us to the table but ask for our contribution in front of those seated there. Deep gratitude to the mentors in my life who have (literally and figuratively) done so for me.

42 2022 Fourth Quarter

Leslie C. Overton

Partner and Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer

Education: JD, University of Michigan; BA, University of Pennsylvania

Company Name: Axinn Veltrop & Harkrider LLP

Industry: Legal

Company CEO: Matthew Becker

Company Headquarters Location: New York, New York

Number of Employees: 130

Your Location (if different from above): Washington, DC

Words you live by: Micah 6:8: “[D]o justice…love kindness, and…walk humbly with your God.”

Who is your personal hero: Michelle Obama

What book are you reading: As The Wicked Watch by Tamron Hall

What was your first job: I played a dwarf in a local production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Favorite charity: Calvary Women’s Services (Washington, DC)

Interests/Hobbies: Genealogy, live theatre, and African-American literature

Family: My wonderful parents and siblings, my amazing husband, Spencer, and my beloved children, Sterling and Langston

The Power of Representation

I became an antitrust (or competition) lawyer back in 1996, even though prior to trying out the field, I didn’t know what it was. I had never taken an antitrust class in law school. There were no antitrust lawyers among my friends or family.

I tried antitrust because the only Black partner at the law firm where I was a new associate asked me to try it. That partner, Charles James, was the global chair of the firm’s antitrust practice. I said yes because I wanted him to be my mentor and didn’t want to inadvertently offend him.

Charles knew that the field of competition law is intellectually stimulating, dynamic, and important to numerous companies, their executives, and boards of directors. It presented significant career opportunities, even if I didn’t realize it on my own.

Charles saw potential in me because he didn’t have an overly narrow view about who can be an

antitrust lawyer. I didn’t have an economics background like a number of people interested in the field. I am not a White male, like the majority of antitrust lawyers, then and now. Yet he encouraged me to try antitrust anyway.

Charles was a great mentor and sponsor. He connected me with other partners, particularly Joe Sims and Phil Proger, who would also become key mentors and sponsors. Joe and Phil are White men, but they were not limited by implicit bias. They saw potential in me, even though as a Black woman I looked different than others in the firm’s antitrust practice and in the field more broadly.

I often think about the power of representation. I am sure it was easier for me to picture myself as a successful antitrust lawyer given that my mentor, Charles, had himself been so successful in a White field. I am also confident that I was encouraged to continue on the antitrust path once I

got to know Pamela Jones Harbour and Laura Wilkinson, my first two Black female antitrust lawyer role models. Pamela was in state government back then, and Laura was in a law firm; both exemplified Black Excellence and Black Girl Magic before those were catch phrases.

The antitrust field remains disproportionately White and male, but it is thankfully becoming more inclusive. Yet the numbers of Black lawyers in senior roles in government, in-house, and law firms, while better, are still frustratingly low. I work, as I have for many years, to encourage Black students and junior lawyers to consider antitrust and the benefits it offers as a discipline. I also encourage and mentor Black antitrust lawyers, whether they are in my firm, at other firms, in government, or elsewhere. I benefited greatly from the power of representation and from people seeing potential in me, and I am committed to paying it forward.

43 2022 Fourth Quarter

Cheryl H. Curbeam

Vice President, Chief Risk and Compliance Officer

Education: Master of Science, Mechanical Engineering. Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering. University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Company Name: Corteva Agriscience

Industry: Agriculture

Company CEO: Chuck Magro

Company Headquarters Location: Indianapolis, Indiana

Number of Employees: ~21,000

Your Location (if different from above): Richmond, Virginia

Words you live by: “There is always light. Only if we are brave enough to see it. Only if we are brave enough to be it.” –Amanda Gorman

Who is your personal hero: My mom and dad are my heroes

What book are you reading: We Are Each Other’s Harvest - Celebrating African American Farmers, Land, and Legacy by Natalie Baszile

What was your first job: Summer Engineering Intern at Procter and Gamble

Favorite charity: Autism Society of Central Virginia

Interests/Hobbies: Running 1/2 marathons, playing pickleball

Family: My husband, Lamont, sons Charles (21) and Will (20)

Volunteer for the Projects No One Else Wants

The best career advice I’ve ever received is to volunteer for the projects that no one else wants. The projects that are difficult, hard, and sometimes, just plain boring. I’m talking about the projects that are complex and may take many months to complete. The type of projects where the leader of the group pleads for a volunteer, yet everyone else keeps their hands down.

The reason why this has been the best career advice I’ve ever received is because these were the projects where I have been the most uncomfortable, and yet, they have stretched me and have caused to develop the skills of building a team, lead through influence, and give me the confidence to take on even larger projects despite the probability that these projects would fail. Tackling tough projects has forced me to be comfortable with the unknown,

comfortable with my ability to work with any team, and comfortable with the possibility of not always getting things perfect, but always learning something new. Challenging projects continue to motivate me, inspire me, pull me in every direction, and I believe, it is ultimately, what helps others in the organization notice and value my work.

I started my journey with Corteva as a Compliance Officer for North America. I, along with my teammates, were tasked with launching a new ethics and compliance program.

I volunteered to lead several projects, one of which was to develop our employee Code of Conduct.

Little did I know at the time, that this project would provide an opportunity to work with several stakeholders, present project milestones to several leaders, and provide the visibility for others to notice the value that I

could potentially deliver to the ethics and compliance team. Leadership changes occurred, and I was eventually selected as the leader for the Ethics and Compliance team. Had I not had the experience of taking on tough projects earlier in my career, I would have been overwhelmed, unprepared, and possibly gone unnoticed. Thankfully, I had both the project management experience and a phenomenal team to partner with me to develop not only an employee Code of Conduct, but also a brandnew ethics and compliance program for Corteva with an employee hotline, policies, website, and a compliance mobile app.

As I reflect on what has made my career at Corteva enjoyable and rewarding, it started with the simple career advice that I had received many years ago of volunteering for projects that no one else wants.

44 2022 Fourth Quarter

Karis Gutter

An Inclusive Approach to how we Advance Agriculture in America

I grew up in Mississippi, spending summers and weekends helping on my grandfather’s farm. That experience made me appreciate the hard work and sacrifice farmers make every day. But I also saw first-hand how lack of access to farming resources severely limited opportunities in communities of color.

When I began my career in agriculture, I saw the importance of agriculture policies to the day-to-day lives of so many hard-working men and women around the country. I wanted to be part of the solutions and help all farmers thrive. That became a central focus of my work: to advocate for the change I hoped to see in the world—greater inclusion, diversity and equity (ID&E) in agriculture.

The U.S. has seen progress in diversity in many areas over the past few decades, but this transformation has not extended as quickly to the agriculture industry. Today, just 1.4

percent of farmers identify as Black or mixed race, compared with about 14 percent 100 years ago.

This is a missed opportunity. We need all the ingenuity we can muster to solve the complex challenges of feeding more people using fewer resources. That means embracing diverse talent and inventive minds to solve these complex problems, advocating to overcome roadblocks to equity and creating opportunities for all people who want to contribute to our vital industry.

We can do this through the power of collaboration. This is the stance we take at Corteva Agriscience, working with policymakers, farmers, industry organizations, and other food and ag companies to make a tangible difference.

Collaboration is also the driver for an organization I co-founded — Black Professionals in Food and Agriculture. Our goal is to promote, advance and ensure representation

of Black policy professionals in the food and ag sector. Every day, there are professionals of color who come into the industry. They can find it a lonely space, when at times we are the only ones who look like us, sound like us or have had the life experiences that we’ve had. Building community is incredibly important in order to have a culture of belonging.

When I think about the change I hope to see in the world, I see diverse communities all across the U.S. engaged in creating an affordable, accessible, abundant, and nutritious food supply. I envision an inclusive approach to how we advance agriculture in America, where people of all backgrounds have a seat at the table. Because, if there is one thing we all need, it’s food. Creating opportunities for all communities to play their part in contributing to our food supply is critical—and I believe it’s the kind of change we can all make happen.

45 2022 Fourth Quarter
Vice President, Government & Industry Affairs, North America Education: B.A. Political Science, Jackson State University; M.A. Legislative Affairs, The George Washington University Company Name: Corteva Agriscience Industry: Agriculture Company CEO: Chuck Margo Company Headquarters Location: Indianapolis, IN Number of Employees: ~21,000 Your Location (if different from above): Washington, D.C. Words you live by: “The time is always right to do what is right.” - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. What was your first job: A county special projects officer. In that role, we dispatched road crews to fill potholes, Favorite Charity: The United Way, where my mother worked. Interests/Hobbies: Grilling and smoking meats on my Kamado Joe Grill Family: My wife - Pamela and 3 children - Kollin (18), Koleman (12), and Kira (10)

Education: M.A., Intercultural and Interpersonal Communication, University at Albany, 2003; B.A., English, University at Albany; B.A., African American Studies, University at Albany; Certification, Fostering Inclusion & Diversity, Yale School of Management Company Name: Coston Consulting Industry: Coston Consulting advises clients across industries and specializes in advising law firms.

Company CEO: Michael Coston Company Headquarters Location: New York, New York Number of Employees: 10

Words you live by: Integrity is the first step to true greatness. Who is your personal hero: My mother. She’s the most authentic, loyal, and supportive person I know.

What book are you reading: Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker

What was your first job: My first big break came when I was named head of PR for the Tweezerman brand at 23.

Favorite charity: The VVA. My father passed away from Agent Orange exposure in Vietnam, so it’s close to my heart.

Interests/Hobbies: Traveling, cooking, board/card games, and family time.

Family: My wife Deepa and I have two sons, Xavier and Isaac, and our family dog, Puma.

I’m Here for the People

As the CEO of a Black-owned business advisory firm devoted to helping clients expand their business and advance their DEI efforts, my partners and I are heavily motivated by helping organizations become more equitable. I oftentimes tell my clients, many of which are among the world’s most prominent law firms, “I may be hired by the organization, but I’m here for the people,” – and that’s so true.

When you see the world from an equity-focused lens, it can become impossible to turn off that lens. Even when I’m handling engagements involving business strategy or revenue generation, I’m constantly looking at an organization’s systems and frameworks to

see who has access to certain spaces and/or privileges and who might be missing or left behind. I’m also very curious about employee sentiments and what the talent may need to meet an organization’s professional performance expectations. You would be surprised to see how much progress organizations can make, especially law firms, in accelerating profitability by becoming more inclusive and equitable.

Growing up from very humble beginnings forced me to become acutely aware of how important it can be to have a blueprint for success, and how difficult it can be to navigate life without one. I entered so many spaces as “the first” in my immediate family. I was the first to

graduate from college, the first to get a master’s degree, the first to start their own business, and so on. Sometimes, it felt like I was blindfolded and shooting in the dark as I was plotting my next steps – and each step felt so fateful. My family was very supportive of me, and I appreciated it, but there were many times when I craved guidance from someone who was familiar with where I was trying to go in life, and someone who could advise me based on their professional experiences and access. When you don’t have that type of guidance, it can make you feel like you’re on your own little island and the water around you seems treacherous.

46 2022 Fourth Quarter


Chauvon L. McFadden


Education: BS Marketing 2001, The University of Alabama; Alabama Football Player 1997-2000

Company Name: Crimson Wealth Strategies LLC.

Industry: Financial Services

Company CEO: Chauvon L. McFadden

Company Headquarters Location: Vienna Virginia

Number of Employees: 2

Your Location (if different from above): Leesburg Virginia

Words you live by: Do a good deed daily

Who is your personal hero: Gen. Colin Powell

What book are you reading: The Empathy Edge by Maria Ross

What was your first job: Grill Cook, Fuddruckers “ Worlds Greatst Hamburgers”

Favorite charity: Inova Loudoun Hospital Foundation

Interests/Hobbies: Board Service, Working Out, Smoking Meat, Alabama Football, Public Policy, Leadership

Family: Wife Alicia L. McFadden, Son Austin, and daughter Alison

Approaching Work with a Commitment to Equity and Accessibility

It is my privilege to partner with business and community leaders to foster environments of economic opportunity for the communities that we serve. This is vitally important now more than ever. Within these times of tremendous uncertainty, there lie opportunities to lead with intention, empathy, and clarity of purpose. To steward our communities into more prosperous and equitable days ahead.

By combining the expertise and resources of business and community leaders, we can work together to best empower our communities to thrive. Through public-private partnership we can identify the opportunities existing in the space between where the community is now and where they need to be in the future. We can develop innovative, effective, and inclusive solutions to closing those gaps.

It is critical that we build communities where people want to live, work, play, build a business, and contribute. I believe that we must

approach our work with an active commitment to ensuring equity and accessibility for the underserved and underrepresented members of our communities. Every single person deserves dignity, fairness, and opportunities to build the lives they want for themselves and their families. As business leaders, there is much we can do to advocate for and support investment in the areas that we feel most benefit our community. For me, this includes addressing affordable housing, equity in educational outcomes, health equity, and workforce development.

My lifelong commitment to service started early as a member of the Boy Scouts of America where I earned the rank of Eagle Scout. That commitment to service has continued throughout my career as exemplified by the leadership roles I have been honored to hold, including Chairman of the Loudoun County Economic Development Advisory Commission (EDAC), Vice Chairman, Loudoun County Economic Devel-

opment Authority (EDA), and past Chairman of the Loudoun County CEO Cabinet. I also serve on the board of the Inova Loudoun Hospital Foundation, Washington Airports Task Force (WATF), and the advisory board for the Bank of Charles Town. These leadership opportunities have helped me to see first-hand how the issues of the day are impacting our communities. They enable me to form effective partnerships focused on making meaningful differences in the lives of those in my community. Through my service and professional endeavors, I continue to appreciate the power of what can happen when we weave together business and community interests to make positive strides for all involved.

As business leaders, we are needed now more than ever. I believe we are called to take active roles in our communities, recognizing how interconnected we are, and using the opportunities before us to make a more prosperous and equitable future a reality.

47 2022 Fourth Quarter
2 022 A

Christopher D. Ford Partner

Education: B.S. Systems Engineering, University of Virginia Doctor of Law, Emory University School of Law

Company Name: Davis Wright Tremaine LLP

Industry: Law

Company CEO: Scott MacCormack

Company Headquarters Location: 920 Fifth Avenue, Suite 3300, Seattle WA 98104

Your Location (if different from above): Washington DC

Words you live by: Wherever I go, whatever space I inhabit, my goal is to leave it better than when I got there.

What book are you reading: Evil Geniuses – The Unmaking of America by Kurt Andersen

Remain authentic to who you are

I entered law school knowing that I wanted to be a transactional lawyer. When I was a first-year lawyer at a major law firm in Atlanta in 1993, I was told by a more senior black lawyer that my goal should be to endure 3 to 4 years at the firm and then seek opportunities outside of law firms - that there was no opportunity for transactional lawyers (as opposed to litigators) at the large law firms. Notwithstanding that advice, and nearly 30 years later, having been a partner at four AmLaw 100 Law Firms, I continue to advise clients on their most strategic commercial deals.

While it was true in 1993 that few black lawyers in major law firms had transactional practices, I was determined, regardless of the current atmosphere to defy the odds and pursue my practice of choice. I soon learned that I had a natural talent for negotiating complex transactions

and advising clients with respect to their business and legal choices on the deals. I attribute my success to several factors. First, I had confidence in my abilities, and that God blessed me with a special set of skills that the marketplace found valuable. Second, I surrounded myself with various mentors, both internal and external to the law firm, that would guide me through not only the substantive issues in the practice of law, but also the political issues necessary to survive in professional services firms. Third, I remained authentic to who I was; I never attempted sacrifice my beliefs, values or culture to impress those who were in a position to promote me. Fourth, I placed my family’s needs above the demands of the institutions. Finally, while I faced many roadblocks, obstacles and people who were intent to see me fail, I persevered through it, acknowl-

edging and understanding my value.

As I enter the last quarter of my legal career, my passion has shifted somewhat. No longer is doing the deal the pinnacle of my work life, but now I strive to create pathways for other lawyers of color as they forge their way through these institutions. I never want a young lawyer to think that there is not an opportunity for them to pursue a practice area, particularly one in which they have natural skills and talents. I see it as my job, maybe more important than billing hours, to mentor younger lawyers as they seek to be the best lawyers and professionals they can be. I maintain an open-door policy and the opportunity to talk in confidence. If those lawyers will pay those efforts forward, our numbers will grow exponentially, and opportunities in the legal field will be boundless. Change we can all make happen.

48 2022 Fourth Quarter

Diandra “Fu”

Debrosse Zimmermann

Managing Partner, Birmingham and Co-Chair, Mass Torts – DiCello Levitt

Education: Case Western Reserve University School of Law, J.D.; City College of the City University of New York, B.A., summa cum laude

Company Name: DiCello Levitt

Industry: Law

Company Headquarters Location: Chicago

Number of Employees: 85

Your Location (if different from above): Birmingham

Words you live by: Everybody has a choice to make every day about who they want to be and how they want to be part of creating a better world.

Who is your personal hero: I have many, but Justice Thurgood Marshall is one of my greatest personal heroes. His commitment to justice, creativity in his civil rights cases, and dedication to excellence was and is at the root of so many rights that we take for granted every day. What book are you reading: I’m currently reading a memoir, “My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me: A Black Woman Discovers Her Family’s Nazi,” by Jennifer Teege.

What was your first job: I was a PSAT Tutor for the Stanley Kaplan program as a teenager. Favorite charity: I am a former board member of STREAM Innovations—an exceptional non-profit in Birmingham. It is a nonprofit committed to helping Black and Brown, and economically disadvantaged students develop and more fully participate in Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STREAM) disciplines.

Interests/Hobbies: My favorite activity is spending time with my two daughters. I also practice yoga, run, and hike. I am a voracious reader, traveler, and a “foodie.” I enjoy cooking and entertaining and have fantasies of being a Michelin-starred chef.

Family: I have two daughters,14 and 8.I hail from a large immigrant family in U.S. We live all over the world, including several U.S. cities, Europe, Canada, and the Caribbean.

It’s Amazing what you can Accomplish when you take Responsibility

The best advice I ever got was from my grandma, when she told me “You’re the answer.” When something went wrong or didn’t work out perhaps as we hoped, she taught us to place our focus inward. What did I control? What role did I play in creating the situation? What could I have done differently? That kind of accountability was so valuable to learn at a young age. It was a central part of our identity and our family dynamic. We took responsibility and we blamed ourselves first. It is amazing what you can accomplish when you take responsibility. Holding yourself to that standard allows you to focus on what you can do better in any situation. It reinforces a key truth – that you have an impact on things; that you should use all of the tools already given to you.

Along the same lines, I teach my kids and the young people and

young lawyers who I mentor, the most important trait for success in my view, is, without a doubt, persistence. It was part of what my family taught me and it has been absolutely essential in my career. I looked different than most of my colleagues. I was different. Life is difficult in its own way for everybody. And that takes its toll emotionally. We all have disappointments and failures. And they teach us great lessons if we are willing to look at them and take responsibility for ourselves and change and work on what we can. After disappointing ourselves, or others, we have to pick up and start over. No excuses. No one hands you anything.

I had plenty of my own personal challenges. I didn’t necessarily feel welcome in any legal setting initially. But I really wanted to be a part of important cases and make a differ-

ence in the world. I had to persist as a young lawyer. I had to try new strategies and approaches to not just my work, but how I navigated the interpersonal challenges of my career. I kept working internally to develop who I wanted to be as a lawyer and made substantive efforts to find the right place to practice and to fight for people in the specific way I envisioned.

You start something and you finish it. As they say, you have to “leave it all on the field” to overcome both your internal doubts and external battles. I was raised to keep trying to find the answer. When I mentor, I am probably most concerned that the people with whom I am working and teaching understand the process to any pursuit. Sometimes understanding and thinking about the process is more important than developing the winning strategy.

49 2022 Fourth Quarter
2 022 A W ARD

My professional passion was ignited by experiences from my childhood. You see, if I were to tell you that for the first 8 years of my life, I lived in a hut with a dirt floor on the northwest side of Haiti, you may pause and take a second look. However, for me, that was my reality. Growing up in the Caribbean was tough. Even though we were considered middle class because my father had migrated to the United States, we still were surrounded by extreme poverty. As I looked around at those less fortunate than my family, I would fantasize about one day being successful enough to help others. As a child, all I could do was help the elderly by assisting with their daily chores as needed. It was always painful for me to see others in need, and I wished that I could be more helpful. That childhood fantasy sparked a desire in me to achieve something greater than what I was. To be a part of something that not only would provide me with fulfillment, but more importantly would better the lives of others, making a positive difference.

While flying to the U.S. on American Airlines, I noticed the flight attendants were all wearing suit


Education: Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University – B.A. in Business Administration; Franklin University – MBA

Company Name: Enact Mortgage Insurance Industry: Mortgage

Company CEO: Rohit Gupta

Company Headquarters Location: Raleigh, North Carolina

Number of Employees: 500

Words you live by: Give and it shall be given unto you

Who is your personal hero: My Parents, for their dedication and hard work to ensure the success of their children

What book are you reading: Everyone Communicates, Few Connect by John C. Maxwell

What was your first job: Cashier at Winn-Dixie

Favorite charity: Servants at Work Ministry – helping food-insecure families in the Caribbean

Interests/Hobbies: Giving back to the community by volunteering Family: My husband, parents, sisters, brothers, nieces and nephews

With Enough Passion and Desire you can Excel

uniforms and I was in awe, dreaming that one day in the future I would be wearing a suit as well. However, upon migrating to the States, I learned, we were not considered middle class but were in fact on the poverty side. It was at that moment I took the fantasy of desiring more than I was and made it my goal to achieve excellence in my career. That desire and vision permeated throughout my childhood. Whenever I saw an individual in a suit, I thought of a better life with greater opportunities. Upon graduating from college with a Master’s in Finance my Childhood fantasy becomes my new reality. Currently, in my career, I work for a fantastic company in a fulfilling position that allows me to give back to others where I can be a servant to family, co-workers, and the community. This passion to be a servant leader has constantly kept me ignited throughout my career. I do not look for praise from others. I view the changes I make in others’ lives to be my internal reward.

From the start of my career, I have dedicated myself to building up others and focusing on the development of diverse teams. Having

the ability to develop relationships with co-workers that are very different from me is important. My passion is to have co-workers able to connect and trust me enough to achieve shared goals. I believe leading a more diverse team is a source of greatness, as it is an opportunity to collaborate with others that think differently from me. With this in mind, I have constantly recruited team members that fit this profile. When working together with colleagues from diverse backgrounds, ignites me to see how they flourish and grow.

Along my professional journey, one of my mentors told me something that resonated with memories from my youth. It was to pass it forward, meaning, what I have learned from him is to do the same for others and those individuals will do the same. By doing so the cycle will continue. My career has afforded me the ability to give back and support others as a servant. If you were to take a moment to think of where I came from and where I am today, it shows that anyone with enough passion and desire will excel to their highest potential.

50 2022 Fourth Quarter

Tinesha C. Richardson

Equitable Housing Manager


Education: Bachelor of Arts, African American Studies at University of Massachusetts Boston

Company Name: Freddie Mac Industry: Financial Services

Company CEO: Michael DeVito

Company Headquarters Location: McLean, Virginia

Number of Employees: Approximately 6,000

Words you live by: “Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.” –Julia Child

Who is your personal hero: My mother

What book are you reading: Right Within: How to Heal from Racial Trauma in the Workplace by Minda Harts

What was your first job: Peer Leader at the YMCA

Favorite Charity: The Thurgood Marshall College Fund

Interests/Hobbies: Music, cooking, basketball, and family

Family: My amazing husband, Justin Richardson

Inclusive Resilience is My Motivator

Resilience ignites my professional passion. Like many Black women, I faced obstacles in my life and my career, but my ability to overcome those challenges is what motivates me the most. The saying goes, “When the world gives you lemons, make lemonade,” but sometimes you need the recipe to make the lemonade. When I started my career as an executive coordinator, I had a limited career path. I made it my business to break the mold and build my own road to success. When I felt I could do more, I asked for more. This allowed me to demonstrate what I was capable of

in my career.

I have always gone beyond the standard to accomplish my goals. I am the daughter of teenage parents and growing up in Boston, I woke up at 5 am every day to bus to the neighboring suburb of Needham to get the education my family felt I deserved. I was, “the only one” in my classes and extracurricular activities. Being the only Black person in any environment is challenging, but it is especially tough in your formative years as you build your identity. I was told that I would not be able to get into a four-year institution or have a career beyond a customer service

rep or hairstylist.

Early on, I learned the dynamics of race and how it can influence the outcomes of your life. And over time, I have leveraged experiences, both personal and professional, to build a career devoted to the economic and professional development of the Black community. I am making Freddie Mac a destination employer for Black employees because I don’t want anyone to feel they are “the only one” in the workplace. We all have our stories of winning against adversity, and we must empower each other to live in the power of that resilience.

51 2022 Fourth Quarter
2 022 A W

Wale Mafolasire

Founder and CEO

Company: Givelify

Industry: Software and financial services

Headquarters: Indianapolis, Indiana

Number of Employees: 95

Your Location (if different from above): Dallas

Words you live by: Never, ever give up

Who is your personal hero: My dad and mom

What book are you reading: Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

What was your first job: Librarian

Favorite charity: Faith Apostolic Church

Interests/Hobbies: Ping pong

Doing Good and Giving Back Doesn’t Stop

As a Black tech founder, I didn’t want to build just any successful product. I dreamed of creating one that would have an impact, especially in communities of color.

In 2014, I founded Givelify, an online and mobile giving platform, on the belief that innate to every human being is the desire to do more good. Having experienced no cash or a check in hand when I wanted to donate to support my favorite cause or give my tithes to my church, was frustrating.

As I set out to change that, I sought funding for an unknown app that would make the giving process seamless. Door after door was closed in my face. I was turned down by traditional venture capitalists and angel investors everywhere. It’s not surprising given a mere 1% of venture capital is allocated to Black founders.

Despite this, Givelify became the most trusted and loved online and mobile giving platform by over 1 million donors and 55,000 places of

worship and nonprofits. More than $3 billion has been raised and our award-winning mobile giving app is rated 4.9 out of 5 stars in more than 90,000 reviews.

And while I’m proud of these numbers, what really drives us at Givelify are the numerous stories of good that we’re privileged to be a part of. Special thanks to our giving community, a large part of whom are Black churches and donors.

We especially heard many of these stories as we faced the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. Black communities were greatly impacted. However, Black churches, as they’ve done historically, stepped in during a time of need.

For decades, Black churches have been the architect of inspiring good and organizing around the spiritual and social needs of their congregants and surrounding communities. Pastors and faith leaders, or as we call them at Givelify, faith responders, and their congregants, played

a critical role during the pandemic. Although the pandemic disrupted in-person service, doing good and giving back didn’t stop.

Our 2022 Giving in Faith report found that 90% of congregations offered community services or outreach throughout the pandemic. And even as congregational finances decreased and expenses increased, 73% of faith leaders reported that their outreach increased or stayed the same during the pandemic.

In addition to the much-needed virtual spiritual nurturing and healing, Black churches were essential in providing food relief, medical supplies, vaccination clinics, and much more during these challenging times.

I’m humbled that Givelify can be part of these stories. The impact that churches, nonprofits, and their supporters are making with Givelify inspire me every day. My dream is that together we continue to improve our chartable work.

52 2022 Fourth Quarter

I believe mentors were critical both early and later in my career journey. The path I’ve traveled to arrive at my current role at Harman required more than just my own drive and determination to get me here.

As I reflect on the journey, it required the help, support, and sage advice of mentors along the way. In the intellectual-property community, patent attorneys are asked to combine a strong understanding of science and technology with an understanding of law. It’s a niche legal community that I didn’t originally set out to become a part of. Diverse and non-diverse mentors were crucial to the effective navigation of the unique challenges I faced. I will be forever grateful for their support, and the best way I know how to demonstrate my gratitude is to pay it forward through the mentee relationship I support.

After high school, I left metropolitan Detroit as a scholar athlete with dreams of playing Big Ten football and studying engineering at the

Fred Owens

University of Wisconsin at Madison. Learning to steer my energy between competing in division I athletics and a very competitive academic environment took some patience and trial and error. Having access to mentors early on for both areas was crucial to my success. I was paired with a group of upper-class African-American student-athlete mentors who reminded me that although I had enjoyed success on the field, the work necessary to be equally successful in the classroom would require an intense dedication as well. They also gave me permission to swallow my pride and access help through the Engineering Diversity & Inclusion Office. The office connected me with diverse and nondiverse mentor faculty and alumni who helped unlock my passion for a career in engineering.

As I look at my career in both engineering and law, I believe mentors have helped me to effectively access and leverage professional

networks. Early in my engineering career, Ford Motor Company assigned a senior leader as a mentor. He encouraged me to create the first networking connections with the Ford legal team. In 1994, the Ford African-American Network was formed as the company’s original Employee Resource Group and this provided me with a much broader group of mentor relationships to learn to develop and cultivate. Continuing to develop my networking skills enabled me to gain access to other networks, new information and more people.

Today, many of my mentors and partnerships are not formal, but have happened organically. My male and female mentors are all very good at being able to quickly develop meaningful relationships, not only with me, but with other people. Any conversation with someone you may not know much about could be the one that alters your career path and changes your life in a positive way.

53 2022 Fourth Quarter
Pay it Forward
Vice President, Global Intellectual Property Education: University of Wisconsin - Madison, B.S. Mechanical Engineering; University of Detroit-Mercy Law School Juris Doctorate Company Name: Harman International Industries, Incorporated Industry: Legal Intellectual Property Company CEO: Michael Mauser Company Headquarters Location: Stamford, Connecticut Number of Employees: 30,000 Your Location (if different from above): Novi, (Detroit) Michigan Words you live by: ***Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t.
is your personal hero: Fred Sr, and Gwen Owens, my parents
book are you reading: The Crux by Richard P. Rumelt
was your first job: Worked as a busboy at Bob Evans Favorite charity: Zero Cancer Interests/Hobbies: Golf, Coaching youth sports
Married, to Nneka; three kids: Marcus, Julius, and HonorMarie

Christopher Cocking

Education: Queens College, CUNY

Company Name: Heartbeat

Industry: Marketing / Advertising Company CEO: Co-Presidents James Talerico & Nadine Leonard Company Headquarters Location: 375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014

Number of Employees: ~300

Words you live by: I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain. –Frank Herbert, Dune.

Who is your personal hero: Superman

What book are you reading: 1Q84 by Murakami Haruki

What was your first job: My first job was selling custom kitchen cabinets at a Luskin’s Hardware Outlet. I was 14.

Favorite charity: HoodCodeNYC

Family: I’m married with two sons.

Tinkering and Problem Solving is my Passion

I was born a tinkerer. As soon as I could hold a pencil I was drawing. As soon as I was trusted with a pair of scissors, I was cutting up cardboard boxes to build my own version of the hot new toy we couldn’t afford. When our toaster broke, I took it apart. I delighted in the universe of wiring and circuitry inside. Problem solving, design and iteration was my idea of fun.

In the Summer of 1983, I was 11 years old and visiting a friend’s house to play video games. What I saw there changed my life forever. A bread box sized device was plugged into a small TV sitting on a desk. It had a keyboard on its top face. When it whirred to life, a cyan blue screen appeared with a flashing cursor. It was a Commodore 64, my first exposure to a home computer.

I was fascinated by the strange commands you had to type in. My

friend lent me the manual. This spiral bound, 200-page book became my companion over the next several months. I was 11 years-old and dove into the glorious world of programming.

I wrote code on a typewriter at home, then re-typed it at my friend’s house into his C64 to debug. I spent so much time doing this, my grandparents bought me my own C64 that Christmas. There was no internet. My school had no computer lab, and my local library had only one shelf devoted to Computer Science. I had a deep need to learn more and developed my own methods for doing so.

Today I am a Vice President and Solutions Architect at Heartbeat, an advertising agency, and a part of Publicis Health. I’ve spent my career building web applications and infrastructures for clients throughout the

Healthcare/Pharmaceutical Industry.

I’ve been a developer, a team lead, and a department head. My work has given me the opportunity to mentor many developers. They are fresh out of school, looking for ways to gain the practical experience that comes with being an engineer, rather than a student of the science.

I like to remind them why we do what we do. We take the toaster apart because we must, we need to see what’s inside and how it works. We pour countless hours into learning and improving our craft, which is in a constant state of change and evolution. This feeds our wallets, but more so our passion. The most important thing we can do is pass that passion on to the next generation. Though we each discover this truth in our own time and in our own ways, we are tinkerers, and we are born this way.

54 2022 Fourth Quarter

Nefertiti J. Alexander Partner

Education: Harvard Law School, J.D., 2008; New York University, B.A., cum laude, 2004

Company Name: Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP

Industry: Legal

Company CEO: Marc E. Kasowitz, Managing Partner

Company HQ Location: New York, NY

Number of Employees: 423

Words you live by: To whom much is given, much will be required.

Who is your personal hero: My sociology professor at NYU, Steven Lukes, is my personal hero, for his commitment to supporting his diverse students over the course of decades, and encouraging me to apply to Harvard Law School. He always believed in me and I endeavor to pay it forward to young people in the legal industry.

What book are you reading: Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown

What was your first job: A summer camp counselor through NYC Summer Youth Employment Program

Favorite charity: 696 Build Queensbridge and Community Capacity Development (CCD), which focuses on successful violence interruption and community empowerment. CCD employs human and healing justice models for achieving justice, safety, and the well-being of the communities it serves.

Interests: Poetry, snorkeling, dancing, nature walks

Family: Proud mom of a boy and girl

One of my proudest professional accomplishments was when I was named partner at my firm. And I am indebted to my wonderful mentors who have supported me throughout my journey. For me to be elevated to partner as a first-generation college graduate and woman of color has required a tremendous amount of grit and mentors who are invested in my growth.

I grew up in a large family from humble beginnings in South Jamaica, an underserved neighborhood in Queens, New York. Growing up, my family frequently depended on government assistance for food and housing. My parents, who believed in the value of education, worked very hard to provide my five siblings and myself with a quality education while protecting us from the gun violence and drugs that plagued the 1980s. Following the advice of my concerned, local elementary school principal--my mother transferred me to a school in a neighborhood where very few teachers and students

looked like me. It was during this time my mother enrolled me in a dance program that would change the trajectory of my life.

Through dance, I not only had the opportunity to perform throughout NYC and in countries around the world, I learned the importance of mentorship. This is where I met my first instrumental mentor, my dance director, who was one of the people who encouraged and helped me apply to NYU. At NYU, my sociology professor, another key mentor, encouraged me to apply to Harvard Law School.

Throughout my legal career, I’ve had several law firm mentors and sponsors, including at my own firm. Here I had the opportunity to serve as a law clerk for two outstanding jurists, who have all been invaluable to my professional growth.

As an attorney at a big law firm, I tackle the toughest legal problems with creativity and the same level of determination my mother had in securing a quality education for her six

children; whom she struggled to feed and clothe. As a result, I’ve achieved impressive court wins, multimillion-dollar settlements and favorable judgments for my clients.

Despite my full workload, mentorship and pro bono work are top priorities. I have one-on-one coaching sessions with attorneys and diverse law school students to discuss how they can achieve their goals and flourish in their careers. I also work on various pro bono matters, from representing trafficking survivors to working on mitigation teams involving criminal juvenile matters and on several police accountability projects.

I hope my journey shows the next generation, especially marginalized communities, that there are many pathways to success, their background and upbringing are sources of strength, and they, too, can achieve their goals and flourish. I also hope it encourages people to take on mentees, give back to their communities, and amplify and uplift marginalized groups.

55 2022 Fourth Quarter
How Instrumental Mentors can be 2 022 A W ARD INTERNATIONAL

Sarah Fortt Partner

Education: JD, Yale Law School

Company Name: Latham & Watkins

Industry: Legal Services — Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG)

Company CEO: Richard M. Trobman

Company Headquarters Location: Los Angeles, California

Number of Employees: 6,947

Your Location (if different from above): Austin, Texas

Words you live by: Community First

Who is your personal hero: Every woman of color, every member of my LBGTQIA+ family, who chooses to walk into a room where they are underrepresented

Navigating ESG in Business and Communities the Right Way

As political and social pressures create an increasingly fragmented approach to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) work, companies around the world are having to engage in challenging conversations. These conversations include a broad range of stakeholders and regulators across multiple jurisdictions; requiring companies to dig deep into what is important to their business, the communities in which they operate, and the greater good.

Amid unprecedented stakeholder expectations, a global patchwork of regulatory frameworks, and increasing ESG engagement, my role as Global Co-Chair of Latham’s ESG practice allows me to guide companies and their boards through the stages of their ESG journeys — at the very intersections of business

and community. Simply stated, my job is not just to help our clients do the right thing, but to our clients do hard things the right way.

I help clients navigate the risks and opportunities they face relating to climate change, human rights, and corporate culture. Corporate cultural wellness solutions require an indepth understanding of leadership, governance, ethics and compliance, incentives and initiatives, and corporate risk and crisis management. And beyond my significant experience in the boardroom and helping clients navigate the ever-expanding ESG space, I enjoy having what I refer to as a broad ESG table. I believe that creating spaces that include people who disagree with each other on these topics is of critical importance.

Giving back to the communi-

ty also plays a central role in my personal commitment to ESG. In addition to maintaining an active pro bono practice, I hold positions on multiple advisory boards and dedicate significant time and resources to mentoring lawyers who identify as women of color and members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

As my clients’ demand for practical ESG guidance continues to skyrocket, so too does the complexity of the regulatory requirements that govern corporate action. Going forward, the hardest part of ESG will be distilling a constellation of regulations, market expectations, and business risks into actionable advice. Being able to see through that complexity to provide clear guidance is what we at Latham, as sophisticated ESG counsel, do best.

56 2022 Fourth Quarter

David Ziyambi Partner

Education: LPC, BPP Law School

Company Name: Latham & Watkins

Industry: Legal Services- Finance and Africa Practice

Company CEO: Richard M. Trobman

Company Headquarters Location: Los Angeles, California

Number of Employees: 6,947

Your Location (if different from above): London

Words you live by: “If” by Rudyard Kipling. And an old reminder of the value of hustle from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: “The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night.”

Who is your personal hero: Definitely my mother – I’ve never needed another role model either personally or professionally, and I am very comfortable living in her shadow.

Who is my personal hero: Definitely my mother – I’ve never needed another role model either personally or professionally, and I am very comfortable living in her shadow.

What book are you reading: The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution by CLR James, the history of the first Black republic, and They Came

Before Columbus by Ivan van Sertima

Favorite Charity: Bigkid Foundation

Family: My three ladies – my incredible wife, Sophie, and my two little lionesses, Chloe and Lea.

A call to change

The legal community has embarked upon a business-critical journey to combat racism and institutional inequities. However, meaningful, and sustainable change requires the legal industry to enhance its commitment to social justice and racial equality, with a focus on promoting equal opportunity, supporting those affected by institutional racism and advancing the careers of those affected to encourage change through representation. In the Black context and given that the legal profession is part of the services industry, the achievement of these outcomes will be accelerated with the support of Black business, which will help to level the playing field for young Black lawyers by transforming the disadvantages associated with racial inequality into a unique selling point.

Seeing yourself in others

Having grown up in Zimbabwe, I recognize the many challenges individuals from ethnic or racial minority backgrounds face when establishing a career in a competitive global market. Accordingly, I offer

my support to other minority students and young lawyers in similar situations whenever possible. Reminding them about the importance of developing a broad skill set and setting career goals. Advising them to aim high but to be authentic and to recognize the value of their work, while also seeking to build communities to support each other and those coming up behind them.

Change begins at home, professionally speaking.

As an inaugural founder of Latham’s global Black Lawyers Group (BLG), I helped to conceive and spearhead an ecosystem focused on the recruitment, retention, and progression of Black lawyers. This done by fostering an inclusive culture that supports their success, both personally and professionally. The program spans financial advice, an awardwinning layered mentoring program, bespoke training sessions for Black lawyers at different career stages, and diverse recruitment initiatives.

Giving back

Another way today’s leaders can

invest in future Black leaders is by pursuing initiatives that directly support the Black community, promote equality and access, and combat poverty. At a law firm, pro bono legal advice is probably the most impactful means of supporting communities. I have been privileged to lead a number of deeply impactful pro bono initiatives such as: (i) assisting individuals with navigating the complex application process to claim compensation from the Windrush Compensation Scheme; (ii) advising the Making of Black Britain on the launch of its ground-breaking historical history project; (iii) advising the BigKid Foundation, a UK-based charity that works to improve the lives of young people at risk of social exclusion; and (iv) advising Colorintech and ADD PSALT, incubators for Black tech founders and Blackowned retail brands, respectively.

Today’s racial equity and social justice efforts will continue to benefit members of underrepresented populations in perpetuity — within the firm, in the legal and business sector, and beyond.

57 2022 Fourth Quarter
2 022 A W ARD

Kutina Ruhumbika Chief People


Education: BBA Georgia Southern University

Company Name: Levain Bakery Industry: Food + Beverage Retail Company CEO: Andy Taylor

Company Headquarters Location: New York City Number of Employees: 350

Words you live by: Success is failure turned inside out, The silver tint of clouds of doubt, And you never can tell how close you are, It may be near when it seems afar, So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit, It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit

Who is your personal hero: My parents—they are immigrants from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. My father is now a retired professor of Comparative Literature and my mother was the stay-athome parent. They worked hard to ensure that my siblings and I had a balanced upbringing in a new country. They instilled in us the principles of hard work, integrity and honesty. I attribute these values to my success today.

What book are you reading: Token Black Girl by Danielle Prescod. I love this book because it reflects on how the author grew up in predominantly white spaces as the token black girl. She talks about the reality of working in a world with a predefined standard of beauty that is non black.

What was your first job: Hostess at Ryan’s Steakhouse in Athens, GA Favorite charity: Tanzania Children’s Fund -

Interests/Hobbies: Advocacy work centered on uplifting marginalized groups, travel, cooking Family: I have 3 brothers – I’m the oldest. My parents are retired.

Leaders Must Stay True to Themselves

My work in HR is incredibly rewarding and, at times, challenging. I learned early on that my work is most impactful when I show up authentically without “filters.” As a black immigrant woman seated in leadership positions over the past decade, being my true self, every day, is the single most important thing I can do as a leader.

When we lead with authenticity, we create an open dynamic amongst team members at every level. As a champion for social

justice issues and underrepresented groups, I actively and unapologetically advocate for the many HR issues impacting our internal and external teams, from supplier diversity to talent retention.

In removing barriers and operating with transparency and honesty, we also build trust and create safe spaces for talent to grow. I’ve been lucky to have worked with several value-led companies whose internal values mirror what’s out in the world. The

leaders of these companies not only believe in this philosophy, but they’ve also encouraged me to sit in the driver’s seat and lead with purpose.

I encourage CEOs to partner closely with their HR leaders so they can fully realize the potential of their teams and most importantly, themselves. The best leaders are those that function with humility and willingness to learn from those they lead.

58 2022 Fourth Quarter

Cayse Llorens


Education: Computer Engineering & Spanish @ University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Summa Cum Laude; MBA from University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Honors

Company Name: LexShares

Industry: Litigation Finance

Company CEO: Cayse Llorens

Company Headquarters Location: Boston, MA

Number of Employees: 17

Words you live by: Let your values and goals drive your actions.

Who is your personal hero: I admire Neil deGrasse Tyson. He’s brilliant, focused on teaching others, and has a great podcast.

What book are you reading: Black Excellence: 20 Stories about Rising from Ordinary to Extraordinary by Jeff Shafer

What was your first job: Lifeguard

Favorite charity: Dedicating my time to helping entrepreneurs and under represented groups.

Interests/Hobbies: Astrophysics, traveling to experience other cultures, electric longboarding

What is your current role?

I currently serve as CEO of LexShares, a tech-enabled litigation finance firm. My role lives at the intersection of investor and entrepreneur.

What was the genesis of your entrepreneurial spirit, and how has your work evolved throughout your career?

Having grown up in a family of entrepreneurs, I’ve launched many startups over the years. In elementary school I published comic books and shadowed my parents at our family’s drop shipping and video editing businesses. I’ve also greatly enjoyed the privilege of leading global teams on consulting engagements, and being part of hyper-growth stories through IPO and acquisition. In my role I’m able to drive enterprise growth by working hand-in-hand with an amazing

team and adapt to a rapidly evolving market. Our work also entails full life cycle investing, from crafting investment through executing and servicing investments as part of an overall portfolio. It’s fascinating to both invest in assets, and help grow a business under one roof.

How do you share what you’ve learned with others?

Something else I inherited from my parents was the passion for teaching. Overlaying our family businesses, both of my parents were high school teachers. From this backdrop, I’ve had the distinct pleasure of educating aspiring entrepreneurs as a venture capital investor, teaching private equity at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and being a repeat guest speaker at Harvard Business School Executive Education program. It’s invigorating to

share what I learn on the front lines of the business world with fellow colleagues and the next generation.

As a leader of color, how do you promote diversity?

It’s both humbling and empowering to find myself in a position to provide fair access to opportunity to those from diverse backgrounds. I encourage all leaders to embrace the value of diverse perspectives in their organization. It’s always amazing how a group of smart people who have walked very different paths can work together to create a solution that serves both themselves and their customers. While many leaders may find it takes a bit of extra legwork at times to build a diverse pipeline of talent. As my mentor would say, “The juice is worth the squeeze!”

59 2022 Fourth Quarter

Jeremiah A. DeBerry

Partner and the Director of Diversity & Inclusion at Mayer Brown

Education: JD, The University of Virginia School of Law; BA, Tufts University

Company Name: Mayer Brown LLP

Industry: Legal

Company CEO: Jon Van Gorp, Chair

Company Headquarters Location: N/A

Number of Employees: More than 3,800 globally

Your Location (if different from above): New York, New York

Words you live by: “Don’t go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail” –Emerson

Who is your personal hero: My parents

What book are you reading: How to Be Black by Baratunde Thurston

What was your first job: Cafeteria worker

Favorite charity: Charles Edward DeBerry, Jr. Memorial Scholarship Fund

Interests/Hobbies: Old-school rap music, technology, NFL, single malt scotch, cigars

Family: Wife of 20+ years, Two sons - Justin 19, Clark 17

Remain Diligent in your Fight for Equality

As legal challenges to affirmative action and similar efforts continue to proliferate, it’s incumbent on leaders of law firms and other legal industry organizations to remain diligent in their efforts to fight for equality.

Leadership matters. It spells the difference between success and failure, winning and losing. In the DEI arena, strong and impactful leadership is an essential ingredient in the recipe for making meaningful cultural and organizational change. Training is also critical to address issues of bias, both unconscious and conscious, micro-inequities, micro-aggressions, and imposter syndrome. While these trainings are central to any successful DEI program, leadership training is also imperative. Leaders who desire to significantly impact the DEI space may need to look inward and adjust their leadership style to help create the type of work environment that welcomes, embraces and supports individuals who are members of an increasingly diverse community.

Changing leadership style is not easy, which is why training is necessary. We’ve all heard that it is

better to be feared than liked when it comes to effective leadership. As a practicing attorney, I adopted that philosophy and lead my teams from that perspective, with a “no excuses, I’ll settle for excellence” approach. While it worked, and my team members completed their assignments for me on time and with few errors, I was not creating the type of environment that engendered loyalty or job satisfaction/fulfilment for my team members. Instead, it created an atmosphere of trepidation and toxicity that was not healthy or helpful for anyone. While, most everyone I led on my teams agreed that my pursuit and standard of excellence in the practice of law helped them become better attorneys, they also agreed that my approach did not foster any sense of allegiance or attachment to the team or the organization. In fact, it did the opposite. I alienated team members whose greatest desire became to get off of my team and out of my firm as soon as possible. I learned this from several team members leaving and through a 360-review process that shed light on the impact of my lead-

ership style. As a result, I endeavored to change my leadership style while still achieving the high-performance levels of my team members that I had come to expect.

This led to my journey to become an equity-minded leader. Equity-minded leadership embraces the notions of fairness and equity, but more importantly, demands incorporating empathy, compassion, and collaboration into an individual’s leadership style. It is based on the theory that compassion, empathy and authenticity are required in a leadership style that seeks to produce peak performance and a work environment that embraces all. Through extensive training, trial and error, and a commitment to change, I have adopted this leadership style and encourage anyone in a leadership role to consider adopting it as well.

I am certain you’ll find that an equity-minded leadership style will lead to improved retention, team cohesiveness, fairness in the distribution of professional development opportunities and more equitable outcomes.

60 2022 Fourth Quarter

Shaunté Kinch

Consulting Director


Education: BS Mechanical Engineering and Master of Engineering from Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA

Certificates: Entrepreneurship from Cornell University; Executive Leadership from UCLA Anderson School of Management; Lean Practice from Old Dominion University; Project Management from University of CA Irvine; Systems Engineering from Old Dominion University

Company Name: Moss Adams

Industry: Healthcare Consulting

Company CEO: Eric Miles

Company Headquarters Location: Seattle, WA

Number of Employees: 4,262

Your Location (if different from above): Wake Forest, NC

Words you live by: I can do anything!

Who is your personal hero: My mother

What book are you reading: The Light We Carry by Michelle Obama

What was your first job: Psychologist’s office assistant

Favorite charity: Creating Healthier Communities

Interests/Hobbies: Travel and dance

Family: Husband, Antoine; Son, Amari; Daughters, Naomi and Crisette

Everything You Need to Succeed is Already in You

My professional passion is ignited by the desire to have a tremendous impact. I want to leave this world better than its current state. An important issue to me is the lack of Black people in the c-suite. It is proven that diverse leadership results in better outcomes, increased creativity, and employee engagement. Being black I am extremely sensitive to inequity and when it comes to increasing the number of black people in key leadership positions, I believe that mentoring and sponsorship are key.

I have had wonderful mentors and sponsors. All these relationships were not formally defined; however, I am always observing, questioning, learning, and seeking support from people I admire. I consider my first mentor my mother. She returned to school and completed a college degree as an adult, she held a full-time job and was an entrepreneur. More

importantly, I watched her gain respect and influence people without a position of power. As a young child she would tell me positive affirmations like “you are wonderful and unique, there is no one like you, and everything you need to succeed is already in you”. Even though my mother passed away in 2002, I can still hear her voice reminding me of my value. Today I repeat this mantra to my daughters as part of developing the next generation of leaders.

When I was pregnant with my second child at 40+ years old, I was concerned about my ability to continue performing professionally with two toddlers at home. As I expressed my concern, through tears, another mentor said, “you can have it all”. This person, a white male, not only uplifted me verbally but in the organization. He helped open doors and positioned me for growth. He invited me to meetings

so others would know my name. His words were the confirmation I needed to help push me to not settle for less than my dreams and his sponsorship helped enable me to realize my dreams.

I rely on both of those mantras when I’m feeling overwhelmed, unsure of myself, or when imposter syndrome is starting to creep in. I absolutely believe that I can do anything, and on the days that fear and exhaustion are louder than my confidence, I hear their voices reminding me to press on knowing “I got this!”.

Mentoring and sponsorship are two examples of how today’s leaders can support the next generation of Black leaders. If everyone in a position of power, regardless of their race, reaches back to help develop an up-and-coming Black leader, the c-suites of the future would be more diverse, cultures would be more inclusive, and new ideas would flow.

61 2022 Fourth Quarter
2 022 A W ARD

Kraig B. Long Partner

Education: J.D., University of Maryland School of Law; B.B.A., Temple University

Company Name: Nelson Mullins Industry: Law

Company CEO: James K. Lehman, Managing Partner

Company Headquarters Location: Columbia, SC

Number of Employees: 1817

Your Location (if different from above): Baltimore, MD

Words you live by: “Do unto others as you would have them do to you”

Who is your personal hero: My father

What book are you reading: Servants of the Damned by David Enrich

What was your first job: Paperboy for local newspaper

Favorite charity: Alexander Williams, Jr. Center for Education, Justice & Ethics

Interests/Hobbies: Collecting black entertainment/movie memorabilia; playing golf; traveling Family: Wife (Liza) and two children, daughter (Cree) and son (Kole)

Become a Champion of the Marginalized

I grew up in Los Angeles during the 1980s when gang activity, drugs and violent crime were plaguing the city. While the 80s saw important firsts for Black people in politics, science, literature, entertainment, sports, Black people continued to

struggle for human dignity and basic freedoms. As a young black male living in Los Angeles, the late Johnnie Cochran became a role model for me. He commanded respect in both the courtroom and the community as a champion

of the marginalized and unrepresented. His prominence as an advocate for victims of police brutality was inspiring. I saw his success and fame as attainable and decided to pursue a career in the law.

62 2022 Fourth Quarter

Alicia N. Ritchie Partner

Education: University of Baltimore School of Law, JD, cum laude (2006); Coppin State University, MS (2001); Coppin State University, BA, magna cum laude (1999)

Company Name: Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP

Industry: Legal

Company CEO: James K. Lehman

Company Headquarters Location: Columbia, South Carolina

Number of Employees: 1817

Your Location (if different from above): Baltimore, MD

Words you live by: There is no substitute for hard wor

Who is your personal hero: My mother

What book are you reading: The Light We Carry by Michelle Obama

What was your first job: Babysitter

Favorite charity: St. Jude’s

Interests/Hobbies: Traveling, sports, and spending time with family and loved ones

Family: I come from a very large, close-knit family. My immediate family with whom I spend most of my time includes my husband, two daughters, mother, sister, and two nephews.

Sponsors Opened Doors that Others Could Not

Mentorship is incredibly important, but I believe sponsorship is even more important and critical to success, particularly in my profession. I have been fortunate to have had many mentors through my professional journey. These individuals have provided me with advice and guidance and have had a significant impact on who I am and where I am today. More importantly, however, I have had sponsors through my career who have helped to open doors for me that my mentors could not open. My sponsors have

been my advocates. They have put their reputations, both personal and professional, on the line to support me and my career goals. While I have had to prove that I am worthy of their sponsorship, through hard work and favorable results, I would not be where I am today without their backing and investment in me. It is for this reason that I try to pay it forward and do my part to help other diverse attorneys who are coming up in profession by providing any mentorship and, where warranted, sponsorship that I can. As an Afri-

can-American woman, I can appreciate firsthand the magnitude of my accomplishment of being elected a Partner at a nationally recognized, full-service law firm since the legal industry has not always been the most open environment for diverse professionals. To be among those who are a part of helping to shatter that glass ceiling is tremendously fulfilling for me—both professionally and personally—and I hope that I am influencing the next generation by leading by example and showing them that anything is possible.

63 2022 Fourth Quarter

Kenol Cadet Sales Manager

Education: MBA University of Phoenix

Company Name: New American Funding

Industry: Mortgage and Finance

Company CEO: Rick Arvielo

Company Headquarters Location: Tustin, California

Number of Employees: 3,800+

Your Location (if different from above): Orlando, Florida

Words you live by: Tenacity, trust, and integrity.

Who is your personal hero: Francois Dominique Toussaint Louverture

What book are you reading: Post Corona by Scott Galloway

What was your first job: Bank Teller

Favorite charity: Red Cross

Interests/Hobbies: Music and Soccer

Family: My family plays an essential role in my professional life. My wife, and my three children are loving and kind. They are always very supportive.

Helping People with their Dreams of Homeownership

After the collapse of the housing market from 2008 to 2010, the Dodd-Frank law was introduced to enhance existing regulations in the mortgage industry. At that time, I was a retail bank manager for one of the major commercial banks in the country. I noticed 90% plus of the applications from my branch were denied either because of credit, income, or not enough assets for down payments and closing costs. One of the people

denied was a very close family member. I just would not take no for an answer.

I found out the credit was low because of high credit card balances. We set up a payment plan to lower those debts within 60 days. She did not have enough money for down payment and closing cost. I went to Broward County Homebuyer Purchase Assistance Program website and was able to secure her $40,000

in grant for down payment and closing costs.

By August 2010, in less than 6 months, she was able to secure a home. Twelve years later, the property value has increased four times. That experience led me to switch from a branch manager to a mortgage loan officer. My new position allows me the opportunity to touch and help more people in my community to realize the dream of homeownership.

64 2022 Fourth Quarter

Education: Old Dominion University with a BS in Finance

Company Name: New American Funding

Industry: Mortgage and Finance

Company CEO: Rick Arvielo & Patty Arvielo

Company Headquarters Location: Tustin, California

Number of Employees: 3,800+

Your Location (if different from above): Waldorf, Maryland

Words you live by: H.A.P.E. (Helping All People Experience)

Home Ownership while creating Generational Wealth for Future Generations

Who is your personal hero: My Father

What book are you reading: The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber

What was your first job: Bag Boy at Safeway

Favorite charity: Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.

Interests/Hobbies: Fishing & Golf

Family: My mother and father gave me the freedom to dream and supported my efforts to grow wings and fly. My father always instilled in me to be respectful and responsible to others. My mother gave me a balance of unconditional love and a forgiving heart to ones who hurt me along my life journey. My wife is a combination of both my parents. She holds me accountable for my actions while giving me unconditional love and supporting my dreams.

It’s More Important to Know How Many Families You’ve Helped than How Much Money You’ve Earned

Entering the mortgage industry around 1992, I did not know what a Mortgage Loan Officer job entailed. When asked to attend a Mortgage Bankers event, I quickly realized that I was the only African American in the room. When I was offered my first job as an outside loan officer, I was given a desk, business cards, and was told good luck on your success.

We need to be experts at what we do as Mortgage Lenders. I tell my loan officers that if you can’t answer the question for a client (Is this the best loan option for me?

Would you take this loan yourself?), then we are not doing our job. It is more important to know how many families you have helped then how much money you have earned as a Loan Officer. If you focus on helping more families, you will make more income.

I still remember my first denial for a minority family trying to purchase their first home. My manager told me that you can’t give them a copy of their credit report and don’t go into detail explaining to the family why they were not approved. This did not make any sense to

me at that time. It has always been important for me to go above and beyond to help families receive the education to purchase and maintain homeownership.

Now 30 years later, I understand the importance of owning real estate and how it can change the trajectory of a family. Owning real estate is still the number one way to create wealth. Together, we can make a difference one family at a time. We need more African Leaders in the Mortgage industry who are willing to mentor college graduates who are entering the world of finance.

65 2022 Fourth Quarter
2 022 A W ARD

Ken Smith Sales Manager

Company Name: New American Funding

Industry: Mortgage and Finance

Company CEO: Rick Arvielo & Patty Arvielo

Company Headquarters Location: Tustin, California

Number of Employees: 3,800+

Your Location (if different from above): Evans, Georgia

Words you live by: Faith without work is dead.

Who is your personal hero: My Mother, Janice Jackson

What book are you reading: The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene

What was your first job: Hair Sweeper at my local barbershop

Favorite charity: St. Jude

Interests/Hobbies: Basketball/Football/Baseball, Saltwater Fishing

Ambition is a Drug that Should be Consumed at Your Own Risk

I’ve been blessed to have some wonderful mentors over my personal and professional life. My first mentor was Ralph Simpson. He was previously a police officer that chose to divert his attention from Black youth already incarcerated, to those much younger and with more promise. I saw a man that dressed like me, talked like me, but was highly educated. This gave him instant credibility in my eyes. He related to us on a very sincere level. He had nothing to gain from pushing us in the right direction, except for the fulfillment that comes with paying it forward. We were a hard bunch to get through to, but he showed us that doing the right thing was easier than the other path. I was able to have him as a teacher in Social Studies. This subject does not translate in the same way Math, English or Science does in a professional sense. But it’s applied in the way you identify to multiple

cultures and people spanning around the world.

This piqued my curiosity and gave me the confidence to outwardly approach people and learn about them. When you learn about a person, you then can find a way to serve them. I’ve always been grounded by faith and stewardship. A Steward is made to serve. I gain fulfillment in serving my community and trying to make a difference. Sometimes, the reward is instant; other times it’s a slow burn that’s equally beneficial.

My first professional mentor was Victor Belton. He was another person I could relate to; however, he was extremely polished. He saw potential in myself that I never imagined to have. He constantly challenged me to speak confidently and always be available to work. The job was an entry level customer service job. However, he taught

me that how I approach the position would determine how good I would be in it. When you give your all, or your best, you open yourself up to a level of success that I feel is unattainable without it.

Professionalism doesn’t always coincide with the job title or function, but in the depth of the person taking the time to complete the task. To that level I surpassed Vic. Not because I was “better”, but because my ambition outweighed his.

Ambition is a drug that should be consumed at your own risk. With more responsibility, you have a longer fall if you do not succeed. This is a fact, that I usually don’t think about often. Thinking of failure is failure itself.

Most men and women of color seldomly have people to relate to. Here I have two that I met over my life that shaped a large part of my life, and I’m forever thankful to them.

66 2022 Fourth Quarter

Micheline St. Fleur

Sr. Loan Originator


Education: Northeastern University and Oglethorpe University

Company Name: New American Funding

Industry: Mortgage and Finance

Company CEO: Rick Arvielo & Patty Arvielo

Company Headquarters Location: Tustin, California

Number of Employees: 3,800+

Your Location (if different from above): Atlanta, GA

Words you live by: Wish It, Dream It, Do It.

Who is your personal hero: My Parents

What book are you reading: The Gray Man by Mark Greane - I love a good mystery

What was your first job: Camp Counselor

Favorite charity: St Jude’s

Interests/Hobbies: Hiking, Reading, Live Music

Seek out Black-Owned Businesses and Get Behind Them

When America catches a cold, Black America catches the flu. Our Black-owned businesses are having a tougher time rebuilding after the pandemic because we were hit harder.

Even prior to the pandemic, a report from the Federal Reserve Banks showed that 78% of black-owned businesses reported financial problems compared to businesses owned by white Americans.1

Then, the national economic shutdown and social distancing restrictions of the pandemic put a major halt to in-person business, causing business owners to reach out for financial aid. Yet, Black Americans were less likely to be approved for the relief programs causing a much bigger hole to dig out of than other communities.2

Despite the difficulty of getting financial aid, it was reported that in a poll3 by McKinsey and Company that out of 1,000 small businesses

Family: My family immigrated from Haiti in the 60’s and we’ve been blessed to live the American Dream. 1

nationwide, more than 40% of minority-owned small businesses added new services to support their communities and employees, compared with 27% of all respondents. Even when faced with hardship, these minority-owned businesses still try to find a way to help those within their community!

This means we must support our community more than ever to help rebuild the financial loss that was caused by the pandemic. Boosting sales can help prove to lenders the company’s worth – thus black business owners having a higher chance at getting the financial aid they need to build back their business.

If you have had positive experiences with Black-owned businesses, be sure to share them on your social platforms. When you post a positive review, you can increase the company’s visibility and representation. Your positive review could lead the next person into the doors

of that same business, thus helping them gain back the business they need.

Even if you tend to not work online, you can keep the conversation going by mentioning the business to your friends and family members. Trust me when I say that a business referral is truly the greatest compliment!

These simple actions can help black business owners get back on top and get one step closer to owning real estate – truly one of the greatest ways one can attain wealth. As a mortgage professional, I seek to educate my borrowers how they can achieve the American Dream which will then bring generational wealth to their families.

The challenges that many Black business owners have faced with our community are real. Seek out Black-owned businesses you can get behind and give them some business – then spread the word!

67 2022 Fourth Quarter
2 022 A W
chrome-extension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/ 2 3

What ignites your professional passion?

It has been my pleasure to help all the families get into their homes for the past 30+ years!! Many of my clients are first-time homebuyers and education is the key factor. I enjoy doing the homebuying seminars with my real estate partners. I love to hear the children get so excited knowing that they will have their own room and can play in their own backyard or someone who is 80 buying their first home!!

There are so many stories and it just warms my heart!! That is what keeps me going!

Wonida Welch Branch Manager

Company Name: New American Funding Industry: Mortgage and Finance

Company CEO: Rick Arvielo & Patty Arvielo

Company Headquarters Location: Tustin, California

Number of Employees: 3,800+

Your Location (if different from above): Columbia, SC

Words you live by: Treat people the way you want to be treated!

Who is your personal hero: Michelle Obama – She is a woman who does the right things to help people and does not care what others think.

What was your first job: Cashier at Burger King when I was 16. I was so excited. If you mean in my adult life, it would be TAPCO Federal Credit Union. I started as a teller and then got into the mortgage side.

Favorite charity: Special Olympics and St Jude International

Interests/Hobbies: Swimming, hiking with my dog, and hanging out with my grandkids

Family: I have a husband, 2 grown daughters, a grandson and granddaughter both in high school now, and a big dog!

How important were mentors to your career success?

I believe mentors make a big impact on your life. I have had many mentors in my life time and

I appreciate every single one of them. Every mentor I had, and currently have, helped me to better myself and got me where I am now.

I don’t have a college degree, but I do have on the job training. I have worked since I was 16 and I feel if you have the right people in your life who want you to succeed, you can achieve your goals!

What led you to choose your current career path?

I have always been in banking. I was a teller first, then went into the Title and Insurance Department. One day, the Credit Union I worked for at the time wanted to open up a mortgage division and asked me if I would like to originate. I had no idea what that entailed, but I was ready to take the challenge! Once I started, I loved it. You never think, “when I grow up, I want to become a mortgage loan officer”, but I was led in that path and since then, I have never looked back! I also got my daughter involved in the mortgage business and maybe one of my grandchildren one day!

68 2022 Fourth Quarter


Education: BS in Finance from University of Florida; MBA in Finance and Accounting from Columbia University

Company Name: New York Life

Industry: Financial Services

Company CEO: Craig DeSanto

Company Headquarters Location: New York, NY

Number of Employees: 11,601

Words you live by: You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.

Who is your personal hero: Martin Luther King

What book are you reading: The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

What was your first job: Summer camp counselor

Favorite charity: Various education scholarships

Interests/Hobbies: Reading, sports, puzzles

Family: Single

Life is All About How You Treat People

The most inspiring person I know is my former college roommate, Paul. I learned a very important lesson from Paul when we were 18-year-old college students: always treat people well.

I have now known Paul for more than 30 years. We met as college students and were instant friends. We later became roommates, during which time I first witnessed his strong capacity for compassion, consideration, and understanding of others. Paul was one of the most popular students in our dormitory, because of his openness and acceptance of all people, his ability to listen and to be compassionate, and his willingness to make sacrifices to help others in need. There were many late-night

knocks on our door as other students with various problems sought help and comfort from Paul, knowing they would always find a willing listener. His approach was always the same: listen and hear, understand and forgive, and find a way to help. I knew then that Paul was a person I wanted to be my lifelong friend.

In the years that followed, Paul held true to his values despite the many trials that we all experience in life. He is now a loving husband and father of two. One of his children, Sara, was born into tragic circumstances, and Paul and his wife adopted her and gave her a stable family environment. Parenting is always a challenge, but Paul and

his wife are loving and attentive, great teachers and nurturers, and patient and protective. Sara is now a budding teenager, smart, welladjusted, and, most importantly, loved. She is a perfect testament to the values her parents demonstrate every day: compassion, acceptance, and generosity.

The enduring lesson that my friendship with Paul has taught me is that life is all about how you treat people. We sometimes make life very complicated but I try to always remember that it’s people that matter above all else. By living a life of compassion, kindness, humility, and generosity, we can all do our part to make the world a better place.

69 2022 Fourth Quarter
Managing Director, NYL Investors LLC

Deshawn Fentress

Director of Project Management

Education: BS, Management Information Systems, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Company Name: NorthEast Electrical

Industry: Distribution

Company CEO: Philippe Delpech

Company Headquarters Location: Brockton, Massachusetts

Number of Employees: 641

Words you live by: “Get Comfortable being Uncomfortable”

“You are your biggest Opponent”

“Difficult will take a day and Impossible will take a week”

Who is your personal hero: Shawn Carter aka Jay-Z

What book are you reading: Who moved my cheese? by Spencer Johnson, MD

What was your first job: Yale Electric

Favorite charity: Friends and Family of Brockton Wrestling Inc.

Interests/Hobbies: Coaching wrestling

Family: Married with two daughters and one nephew

Motivating Others is Essential

I believe my purpose is to inspire future generations to achieve their full potential. My ability to motivate others is the trait I consider most essential. If I help my coworkers and young people in the community be successful, I can truly consider my work a success.

I have experienced firsthand, the incredible impact you can have on the community’s youth when you put the time and effort in. One of my greatest passions is coaching wrestling. The sport played a central role in my development, teaching me to build a strong network and work within a team. It gave me a sense of pride in my local community that I have carried with me throughout my personal and professional career.

As I build a life and career in Brockton, Massachusetts, I aspire

to give back to my community as much as it gave to me. I serve on five community boards, coach all ages in wrestling and founded two local 501(c )(3) non-profit organizations focused on getting kids involved in athletics. Making sure they are successful off the mat is just as important to me. Every athlete and their parents have, and use, my phone number. It’s a 24/7 job that I wouldn’t give up for the world. I couldn’t have become an effective and compassionate leader without the experiences I’ve had mentoring these kids.

As Director of Project Management, I have the honor of leading a team of 17 project managers. I measure my success by theirs. I make it a point to recognize and celebrate each individual’s skills when develop-

ing our game plan. Everyone brings something different to the table. We need to combine all of these diverse strengths to optimize our output and reach a common goal. A principle that I live by, and challenge them to do the same, is getting comfortable being uncomfortable. There is growth in discomfort.

I’m excited about the next generation of young black professionals. In my company, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion investments are being made. As a founding board member of our African American Employee Resource Group, I strive to enact real change and shape a more inclusive future. There is no playbook for navigating a career path that paves the way for those coming up after me, but I will continue to offer my experiences and a few words to live by.

70 2022 Fourth Quarter

Vincent Dunn

Co-Partner-in-Charge, New York

Company Name: Norton Rose Fulbright

Industry: Legal

Company CEO: Jeff Cody, US Managing Partner

Company Headquarters Location: Houston/New York

Number of Employees: 7,150

Striving to Advance Change

Vincent Dunn’s leadership and commitment to build and expand diversity makes Norton Rose Fulbright a much better firm. He has been a vital member of the firm’s Racial Equity Council, particularly in implementing its successful sponsorship program. He strives to advance change at every opportunity and ensures diverse candidates are well represented in client matters.

The memory of feeling isolated as one of the only Black attorneys at the beginning of his career drives him to facilitate change for younger generations. He dedicates countless hours to ensure those underrepresented have support and he leads by example by mentoring younger, diverse lawyers.


Vincent is a gifted leader and a trusted advisor to the world’s most prominent banking institutions. His exceptional legal acumen and unifying leadership have earned him a role on the firm’s global executive committee, where he helps develop the firm’s strategic vision.

Along with his partner, Vincent oversees the firm’s largest US office by the number of lawyers. His responsibilities encompass a broad gamut and includes overseeing administrative matters, implementing rules and policy changes, integrating new partners and associates, coordinating office events, and supporting business services. He serves on the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Committee, the Global Executive Committee, the Partnership Committee, and the Racial Equity Council, where he helps oversee the firm’s Black associate sponsorship program.

Vincent is committed to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion wherever he sees a need. Having held several firm positions, he has a long track record of addressing issues on hiring, retention, and compensation, ensuring change at the highest level.

His sincerity and positive disposition have led him to significant business matters for notable companies around the globe in banking and finance, often with high-value transactions.

71 2022 Fourth Quarter

Talitha Hampton, PhD

Senior Director, Supply Chain Production Planning & Systems

Education: Doctorate, Industrial Engineering & Operations Management, George Washington University; Master of Science in Engineering, Chemical & Materials Engineering, University of Alabama, Huntsville, AL; Bachelor of Science, Chemistry; Oakwood University, Huntsville, AL

Company Name: Novavax, Inc Industry: Pharmaceuticals Company CEO: Stan Erck

Company Headquarters Location: Gaithersburg, MD

Number of Employees: 1,500

Words you live by: If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. -African Proverb

Who is your personal hero: My Grandmothers, Glorian E. Powell and Frances Hampton

What book are you reading: Minority Leader: How to Lead from the Outside and Make Real Change by Stacey Abrams

What was your first job: Ironing shirts at $0.25/shirt for my father

Favorite charity: Suited For Change and the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists & Chemical

Interests/Hobbies: Scuba diving; singing; dancing; mentoring; traveling; reading, listening to, & watching stories that build worlds, particularly Afro-futuristic worlds

Family: Husband, David Mayo, PhD; Mother, Darniece Hampton; Father, James Hampton; Sister, Makeda Hampton, DMA; Brother; Keith Wilkerson; Dog; Legend

Success is an Incremental and

Success is a relative term, and the traditional concept of success can be misleading. Success in the corporate workplace is often perceived as being in a senior role or position or having the closest proximity to the top of something. I do not believe that anyone ever finds success. I think there are opportunities that one is constantly preparing for. For each new opportunity, my entire culture, community of mentors, and career experiences led to that point. I view success as an incremental and a daily journey to be my authentic self and be prepared for opportunities as they come. That preparation comes with valuing the progress, setbacks, failures, ideal results. I am successful because I understand the many things I would do differently if I had the chance to do it all over again and I value the collection of things I

Daily Journey

wouldn’t change for the world. While growing in my career, focus on the stereotypical definition of success began to blur the line between my identity and my career. While taking time off after my second miscarriage, I hit an identity crisis. I did not know who I was outside of my job. I began to ask myself, “who am I, if I’m not working?”. My advice for being successful is to develop and strengthen a core value of being your authentic self. Learn to be comfortable with being on a journey of ups and downs and twists and turns. Find ways to give yourself grace, reclaim your time, and broaden the range of relationships and experiences that give you energy, help you feel balanced, and create a healthy identity.

When I am leading as my authentic self, I am embracing the

concept that I cannot try to be a mini this or that or a replica of so-and-so. Sometimes as a Black, female leader there is pressure to match the style that is most prevalent in the “room where it happens” or edit how I show up to be more palatable for most of the people in the room. Most executive leaders in corporate America are White men and often there is pressure to try to match what is stereotypically perceived as their style. I have learned that replication is not necessary because the world needs what I am bringing, not a copy of what is already out there. It can be hard to do when in the minority, but I have learned to trust my journey and my path. People trust me when I am true to myself, and that trust makes it possible to lead and get things done.

72 2022 Fourth Quarter

Youlanda Gibbons

CEO and Founder


Education: PhD, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Company Name: Partnership for Inclusion Leadership

Industry: Government

Company CEO: Youlanda Gibbons

Company Headquarters Location: Arlington, VA

Number of Employees: 12 employee

Words you live by: Stay focused and press forward!

Who is your personal hero: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

What book are you reading: N/A

What was your first job: Professor of Sociology, Georgetown University

Favorite charity: Humane Society

Interests/Hobbies: Swimming

The Hidden Values of Public Service

It was the call to action that ignited my passion to transform the Federal workplace. The request to advise on the execution of Executive Order 13583, signed by President Barack Obama, was made by senior leaders within the Federal government. I was humbled and grateful for the recognition and consideration. Although the call interrupted my teaching and research at Georgetown University, it became a profound part of my work as a sociologist

and teacher. I was delighted that my professional identity would be retained and broadened.

My engagement with the Federal enterprise was inspiring. I discovered the hidden values of public service and the commitment they demand. My intention to be innovative and caring as a thought leader was spawned by the possibility to create a new marketplace within government— one that would embed D&I principles into the authoritative

practices and behaviors of the Nation.

To be a part of the next iteration of civil rights has been beyond powerful. It has been infinite with boundless possibilities. To influence the direction of public policy and practice throughout the Federal government requires vision and courage, aligned with opportunities manifested over time. With certainty, my passion is driven by the call and response—to serve broadly and rigorously, without hesitation.

73 2022 Fourth Quarter
2 022 A W

H. Gregory Baker Partner

Education: Amherst College, B.A.; Columbia Law School, J.D.

Company Name: Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP Industry: Law

Company CEO: Peter Tomlinson & Dahlia Doumar

Company Headquarters Location: New York, NY

Number of Employees: 329

Words you live by: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in service of others.” –Mahatma Gandhi

Who is your personal hero: Martin Luther King, Jr.

What book are you reading: The Second Founding by Eric Foner

What was your first job: When I was 16, I served as summer camp counselor with the YMCA in Red Bank, NJ.

Favorite charity: Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO)

Interests/Hobbies: Travelling with my family, piano, running.

Family: Jenelle DeCoteau (wife), and two children Noah (10) and Maya (7).

Taking Great Pride in Serving as a Mentor

As the legal and business professions have grappled in recent years with the shameful lack of diversity in our professions, a renewed focus has emerged on the tried-and-true practice of mentorship to address the problem. And with good reason. If we acknowledge truth in the sayings that “no man (or woman) is an island,” or that “no one makes it on their own,” than we must also accept the fact that mentorship is an essential ingredient to everyone’s success. I am no exception.

I am the beneficiary of mentors from every season of my life. My parents, my first and most important mentors, taught me the value of education, the importance of striving for excellence, and kindness. But their mentorship had limits to assisting me in my professional endeavors: I had no lawyers in my family from whom to receive professional guidance.

I would not be where I am today without the many professional mentors in my career. First in my mind is the late judge William H. Walls of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, for whom I had the privilege of serving as a judicial clerk early in my career. Judge Walls, who was one of the first African American judges in the State of New Jersey, took a chance on me when he hired me out of law school. He challenged me— and all of his clerks—to compete not with each other, but with ourselves. He challenged us to think deeply about the law, and to observe, from the lawyers who appeared before the court, the difference between effective and ineffective advocacy. He would remind us that we can learn as much from watching our own—and other peoples’—failures, as we can learn from our successes. Perhaps most significantly, he instilled in me

the confidence that I could be successful at the highest levels of our profession.

I have immense gratitude for all of the personal and professional mentors I have encountered along my journey, and after practicing law for nearly two decades, I now have an opportunity to pay it forward. I take great pride in serving as a mentor to the next generation of young lawyers, especially attorneys of color. The investment of my time in their careers is returned many times over: I feel no greater professional satisfaction than watching a mentee’s career flourish. If we all re-dedicate ourselves to actively mentoring the young diverse members of our respective professions, and especially giving them the confidence to believe they can excel, then I have no doubt that our society will continue to make great strides in creating more diverse, inclusive workforces.

74 2022 Fourth Quarter

Peter C. Harvey Partner

Education: Morgan State University (B.A. Political Science); Columbia Law School (J.D.)

Company Name: Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP

Industry: Law

Company CEO: Peter Tomlinson & Dahlia Doumar

Company Headquarters Location: New York, NY

Number of Employees: 329

Words you live by: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?” –Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Who is your personal hero: Frederick Douglass

What book are you reading: The Sum of Us by Heather McGhee

What was your first job: Assistant Business Manager, Student Government AssociationMorgan State University

Favorite charity: Young Scholars’ Institute, Trenton, New Jersey

Interests/Hobbies: Jazz Festivals, Sporting Events, Theather, Movies, Food & Wine Festivals

Family: Married, 3 Children

Helping Others Reach Their Goals

No one - and, I mean, no one - succeeds in the legal profession, business or life without guidance and sponsorship from others who are in a position to help advance one’s career. All of us have needed help with our career advancement on multiple occasions, and that assistance has been given by others who believed in our potential. So, put out of your mind the myth of a self-made woman or self-made man. That person simply doesn’t exist. Our professional successes are the product of people who pushed us ahead and spoke well about us to others. What’s needed today? Return that favor. We must act affirmatively to give others the guidance, en-

couragement, and wisdom (hopefully) we have repeatedly received from those who cared about us. We must share information about opportunities, push one another to pursue identified options, and help one another succeed once the opportunity has been achieved. It is not a zero-sum game; that is, your “win” is my “loss.” No. We can and should win together, be happy about one another’s success, and commensurate with one another when it doesn’t quite work out so well.

One other thing to remember: for those who are in positions of authority to decide or influence who is hired within and by our organiza-

tions, we must make every effort to eliminate the roadblocks that interfere or preclude the advancement of African Americans, Latinx and other people of color. Once you have ascended to a position of authority, don’t become special. Don’t develop amnesia about how you achieved your own success. More is required of you. Help others reach their goals; and help them purposely. We hold many of the keys to our collective success. We owe it to those who fought long before us to undertake a sustained commitment to create the environment for each of us to have a fair chance to succeed. Our actions, or inactions, today will determine our tomorrow.

75 2022 Fourth Quarter

Cain A. Hayes

President and CEO

Education: BSBA Marketing, Drake University; MBA, Webster University; Certified Employee Benefit Specialist, The Wharton School

Company Name: Point32Health

Industry: Health care

Company CEO: Cain A. Hayes

Company Headquarters Location: Canton, Mass.

Number of Employees: 4,400

Words you live by: Assume Positive Intent

Who is your personal hero: My grandfather, Percy Hayes. WWII hero who won 5 bronze stars during combat.

What book are you reading: Healing by Thomas Insel, MD

What was your first job: Dairy Queen

Favorite charity: Boys and Girls Club of Greater Boston

Interests/Hobbies: Sports, especially baseball, arts and culture, traveling and spending time with family and friends

Family: Married, with a college aged son and daughter

Creating an Equitable Health Care System

I am honored to be the CEO of Point32Health, a nonprofit health services company and the parent company of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Tufts Health Plan. Point32Health is one of the top 20 health plans in the United States. When I joined the company last year, my goal was to make a meaningful difference in the health and wellness of the 2.2 million members we serve. This goal has become a reality and we are delivering on our purpose of guiding and empowering healthier lives for everyone.

For two decades, I served in executive leadership positions in the financial services industry, successfully assisting customers and their employees in achieving strong financial health in retirement. In 2010, I was inspired by the passage of the Affordable Care Act, which expanded health coverage to millions of Americans. This inspiration played a critical role in my decision to transition to

leadership positions in the nonprofit health care sector, as I believed I could not only have a positive impact on people’s health, but also play a meaningful role in addressing the health inequities that impact tens of millions of Americans.

Since I became CEO of Point32Health, I have made health equity a significant focus for our company. Our goal is to be the leader on this crucial initiative across the region and nationally. Colleagues at every level of our company are focused on making health care more accessible and equitable and ensuring that addressing the social determinants of health is at the heart of everything we do.

Over the past year, Point32Health has created more than 70 regional and local programs that are focused solely on advancing health equity. This includes our Quality Advance Program, which focuses on providers’ quality improvement efforts to

eliminate health care disparities in vulnerable populations, as well as programs that address maternal health, rural health care, mental health and food insecurity, to name a few. In addition, Point32Health is an active member of the Health Equity Compact, a Massachusetts’ coalition of health care leaders with live experience, seeking to dismantle systemic barriers to equitable health outcomes. While these accomplishments are impressive, I am more determined than ever to do more.

At a unique time in our country’s history, I was personally motivated to make a significant change in my career for a greater purpose, a purpose I am incredibly passionate about. There has never been a more urgent moment to execute on real commitments and change to make health equity a reality. I am proud to be part of a collective movement to create an equitable health care system that leaves no one behind.

76 2022 Fourth Quarter

Detavio Samuels Chief Executive Officer

Education: B.A. from Duke University; MBA and Master’s in Education from Stanford University

Company Name: REVOLT

Industry: Media & Entertainment

Company CEO: Detavio Samuels

Company Headquarters Location: Los Angeles, CA

Number of Employees: 100+

Words you live by: “Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” –Barack Obama

Who is your personal hero: Chadwick Boseman

What book are you reading: The Light We Carry by Michelle Obama

What was your first job: Sales Clerk at US Toy

Favorite charity: The Brotherhood Sister Sol (BroSis). They transform the lives of Black & Latinx youth through education & empowerment

Interests/Hobbies: Swimming, Photography, Any self-care activity!

Family: Wife, Mother, Brother and Nephew. Rest in peace to my amazing Father.

Redefining the Modern Media Landscape

Above all, what ignites my professional passion is having the power to create a bold vision for the future. That vision comes to life by working with a team of brilliant Black creators and professionals across the globe. My vision is to change the narrative of Black culture globally by building the largest Black-owned storytelling engine that has a scalable and sustainable impact. That dream energizes me to get out of bed and do the work every day.

REVOLT is redefining the modern media landscape by empowering Black changemakers and storytellers, providing them with a platform to authentically share their experiences.

Growing up, I was always inspired by my father, who instilled the importance of Black liberation and being a champion for our people in predominantly white spaces. This is something that I look to

carry out through all of my professional endeavors.

Beyond this role being personally fulfilling, I’m also incredibly energized to see the impact we are having on the next generation. We’re empowering them to follow their dreams, build community, and create the future they want to see – That is our legacy.

I am driven to help Millennials and Gen-Z better understand the changing world and use Hip-Hop as a lens to explore the Black experience globally.

Here at REVOLT, we’ve always maintained a culture-first approach. In September, we held our fourth annual REVOLT Summit x AT&T, an annual immersive experience that provides real-time opportunities for rising Black future-makers. We’ve also spearheaded programming that uplifts Black voices and disrupts the

status quo such as Bet on Black, a series that gives Black entrepreneurs an opportunity to pitch their business ideas in the hopes of securing investment funds. We just launched The Blackprint, a new entrepreneurial podcast series where I sit down with the innovators, disruptors, and changemakers to share their journey and provide a tangible roadmap for creators, entrepreneurs and executives navigating to the top of their industries.

Black creativity and Hip Hop are critical drivers of the global economy and culture. I’m committed to continue positioning REVOLT as the preeminent leader in Hip Hop and multiplatform media, ultimately transforming the global media landscape and changing the world for Black people, Black creators, and Black future-makers.

77 2022 Fourth Quarter

Suzette Robinson, MHA

Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion

Company Name: RWJ Barnabas Health

Industry: Health care

Company Headquarters Location: West Orange, New Jersey

Number of Employees: 37,000

Leading Corporate Sponsorship Efforts to Promote Awareness and Partnerships

Suzette Robinson has been a distinct leader at RWJBarnabas Health as a key player in helping to build a talented team of DEI leaders within our organization since 2016. She continues to provide unconventional leadership, coaching and support to DEI leaders.

All the while collaborating with leaders throughout the RWJBHealth organization championing DEI initiatives. RWJBH has 38,000 employees and the DEI initiatives that are fostered by Suzette continues to contribute to progressive measures. This is accomplished by ensuring diversity in our hiring practices, employee engagement through BRGs (Business Resource Groups), and other pertinent programming that caters to the employee satisfaction.


Suzette Robinson joined RWJBarnabas Health in 2016 as an assistant vice president where she quickly proved herself worthy of her current role as Vice President of DEI.

Suzette is a prominent healthcare leader that serves as a critical agent promoting anti-racist practices at RWJBH. She has led many efforts recognizing social determinants of health, aimed to minimize health disparities within RWJBH communities.

By leading corporate sponsorship efforts to promote awareness and partnerships alongside community leaders offering health screenings, health information and other services that aim to address health disparities in marginalized communities.

Suzette has proved she is willing to go beyond the norm to create

inclusivity among community stakeholders. She works diligently to ensure that equitable practices are employed when searching for new talent. Also, DEI initiatives are embedded in our human resource processes including employee investigations, fair disciplinary actions, and employee improvement planning.

Suzette serves as a strong ally for LGBTQ+ initiatives, influential in leading RWJBH healthcare with securing HEI (Health Equality Index) certifications since 2018 and every year thereafter. She’s led several annual LGBTQ+ sponsored events throughout our system to show support and share resources, while conveying a high level of commitment to being an inclusive healthcare network for LGBTQ+ communities.

78 2022 Fourth Quarter

Omar D. Davis Special Counsel

Education: University of Missouri Columbia School of Law, JD; Kansas State University, BS

Company Name: Saxena White

Industry: Legal

Company Headquarters Location: Boca Raton, FL

Number of Employees: 66

Words you live by: One of the most valuable pieces of advice I can give is - get comfortable being uncomfortable. You need some discomfort to create the positive stressors that force you to move forward. If you don’t stretch yourself, you don’t grow.

Who is your personal hero: My wife. She’s amazing. She inspires the people around her to be committed to what they do. I take pride in being in her orbit, to be honest. She’s the Associate Vice Chancellor of Access and Leadership Development for the University of Missouri, at Columbia. The difference she makes in the students’ lives, and the impact she has on the staff, has always been really inspiring to me. And I would be remiss if I didn’t add my mother – she is truly a hero. I am one of five siblings, and for much of our youth she took care of us on her own. She went back to school in order to support us, exemplifying and emphasizing that education and hard work would help all of us to prevail.

What book are you reading: The Alpha Masters - it’s about investment professionals and how a group of investors consistently outperform the markets within their specialties. My reading preferences are very eclectic. I’m a big history buff, so I also read historical non-fiction, and sometimes science fiction.

What was your first job: 14 years old - picking tulip bulbs up in Washington State one summer while I lived with my father, who was in the Navy. The Skagit Valley is the U.S. center for tulips. It was grueling, hard work to be digging in the dirt with your hands. That instilled a desire to go to college - if you had any misconceptions about what hard labor is, picking bulbs in the fields is certainly one example.

Favorite charity: Habitat for Humanity - that is how my mom got her first home. She was the first habitat home built in the St. Louis Metro East area. And the Ronald McDonald House. I have a nephew who was born a little bit premature. My younger sister benefitted from the nearby Ronald McDonald House.

Interests/Hobbies: Reading, running, watching college football (Kansas State Wildcats), Formula One racing, and on occasion, an action movie.

Family: I’m married, and we have a 24-year-old son who recently graduated college. He’s a great, well-rounded kid - a musician. He’s the creative in our family. I have three sisters and a brother and am close with first cousins who are my age. As we’ve gotten older, we are making decisions to help create more closeness with family. That’s where I’m at right now. Putting family first.

Mentors and Sponsors are Incredibly Important

Mentors and sponsors are incredibly important. It’s been key to whatever success I have had. I’m not here without those people giving me the opportunity to let my skills shine through, or connect me with critical contacts and projects. The mentoring is more the advising part, and the sponsoring is what I call the“access”part. A mentor is typically a confidante, a colleague with whom you can talk through challenges, strategy, and opportunities; someone to make you feel included and valued. A sponsor takes the mentorship role a step further, making certain that you have a seat at the table, that you are getting recognition for the work you are doing, and ultimately, putting you forward to other senior colleagues and decisionmakers. Effectively, they help launch and expand one’s career.

I was very fortunate to have terrific sponsors – three in particular – who saw something in me and took the time to make sure that I had the

opportunities essential to my growth, development, and success. Two are female and one is male. All of them made it their responsibility to help me. I’m still very close to all three of them.

It is equally important to be a good mentee, or “sponsee,”and hold up your end of the bargain. I always tried to take on extra assignments and granted opportunities to shine and show others what I could do. When I began managing, I paid it forward and followed the mentoring examples shown to me. It is incredibly rewarding to help young people develop.

As I stated earlier, perhaps the most important trait for my success was to be comfortable being uncomfortable. You need some discomfort to create the positive stressors that force you to move forward. If you get comfortable with the painful process of learning and getting good at something quickly

while being observed, then you will gain the trust of your supervisors and get the opportunities to engage with that senior manager, department director, or CEO, who will move your career forward. The fear of being assessed often forces people to default to their comfort zones. I haven’t always been okay moving into a new space where I wasn’t the expert, but I trusted in my ability to learn and endure being uncomfortable.

This is even more critical in a world with so much remote work and telecommunication where less time is spent in an office. You have to pursue your relationships with future mentors, sponsors and senior leaders. As things become more hybrid, you don’t have the impromptu encounters that you normally would in the office environment. With less face-to-face interaction, you have to be more creative in developing your own opportunities to engage.

79 2022 Fourth Quarter



SVP Supply Chain & Logistics

Education: BA, Industrial Management, Michigan Technological University; MS, Supply Chain & Transportation Management, The University of Denver

Company Name: Sonepar USA

Industry: Electrical Distribution

Company CEO: Philippe Delpech

Company Headquarters Location: Charleston, South Carolina

Number of Employees: 9,600

Your Location (if different from above): Seattle, Washington

Who is your personal hero: My mother

What was your first job: Repairing school bus seats and driving a tractor to mow school lawns

Favorite charity: Detroit Mission (feeding the homeless and hungry)

Interests/Hobbies: Golfing, global travel with family, working out, various home improvements

Family: Wife- Christine, Daughter - Lia , Grandchildren - Yasmine and Carter

Finding Winning Solutions with the Best Team

Growing up playing sports instilled in me a competitive drive and strong desire to win. Neither left me as I progressed through my career.

Raised in Detroit, Michigan, I fully expected to have a career in the automotive industry after graduating from Michigan Technological University with an Industrial Management degree. When the market for automotive jobs became uncertain, I shifted my focus to retail, starting in backroom processing for a large box retail store. Fast forward a few years, and I joined a team within that same company that was given the not-so-small task of starting up a 1.5 million-square-foot distribution facility. The scale of this challenge ignited my competitive instincts, but what I didn’t know at the time was how it would open my eyes to an exciting new field. The project introduced me to the world of warehousing and transport, which

we now refer to as supply chain. I was able to explore every single facet of building a state-of-the-art fulfillment center. This was the first step in my career in supply chain, and I cannot imagine another path. Supply chain is an essential, dynamic field that takes commodities and products through complex journeys all around the world.

My competitive nature is constantly engaged. Coming to Sonepar, a global market leader in electrical distribution, I had a unique and exciting opportunity to build a supply chain that matched the ambition of the organization. I leverage the same discipline I learned on the field and the court in my role as SVP Supply Chain & Logistics. Like a player analyzing the replay after a game, I consistently hone my skills, refine my approach and learn from losses. I also know the importance of building a strong team to deliver

the best results. An integral part of my strategy is recruiting diverse, top talent as the infrastructure supporting the transformation of our supply chain and logistics organization. Part of this commitment is strengthening the talent pipeline. I want the future generation of young black professionals to know the opportunity there is in supply chain. As a board member for the supply chain school at The University of Denver, I establish connections with students and work on the development of relevant curricula for this exceptional field. Mentorship has opened doors throughout my career so I want to pay it forward.

My version of a win looks a little different in the business world than in the sports world. It isn’t always about having a winner and a loser. It’s about finding the winning solution with the best team to deliver results.

80 2022 Fourth Quarter

Education: Kenneth holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Potomac College and a Masters of Business Administration from Keller Graduate School of Management. He completed his Executive Management Training at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.

Company Name: Strativia

Industry: Management, Technology & Consulting Services

Company CEO: Kenneth Kelly Company Headquarters Location: Largo, MD

Number of Employees: 321 Words you live by: Thou shalt decree a thing and it shall be established. Simply put, if you want something bad enough it will happen if you speak it into existence and put the work in.

Who is your personal hero: My father, Kenneth Kelly Sr., told me the definition of hard work and sacrifice.

What book are you reading: Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It...and Why the Rest Don’t by Verne Harnish

What was your first job: Mowing lawns in summer and shoveling snow in winter. My first stink in entrepreneurship!

Favorite charity: Covenant House Greater Washington (CHGW) which provides services to the homeless.

Interests/Hobbies: Exotic car enthusiast. I am a member of both a Lamborghini and Rolls Royce club.

Keep Pushing and Never Give Up

I started Strativia, a web-based financial guidance and lead generation software called eFinancial Portals, for banks and credit unions back in 2006. However, due to the collapse of the financial markets of 2008, that product failed. The company’s entire target market (roughly 8,500 banks and 8,000 credit unions) was compromised. Hundreds of

thousands of dollars in development cost was lost- just like that. That blow really knocked me down, personally, and at the time I didn’t know how the company would recover. But Strativia did recover, slowly and consistently, the company kept pushing and never gave up by changing its service offerings. It now provides a range

of services and solutions in management, technology, consulting to small business initially, and later to local, state and federal government. Today, with over 300 staff nationwide and growing, that setback seems so miniscule. The moral of the story is do not quit. A setback can truly position one for something bigger and better!

81 2022 Fourth Quarter

Kamil R. Shields Partner

Education: Harvard University, AB 2000; Yale Law School, J.D., 2006

Company Name: Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

Industry: Legal

Company CEO: Robert Giuffra, Co-Chair; Scott Miller, Co-Chair

Company Headquarters Location: New York, NY

Number of Employees: Approximately 900 lawyers

Your Location (if different from above): Washington, D.C.

Words you live by: It is a bit trite but I have a poster in my office that reads: “dreams don’t work unless you do.” It is a reminder that even on my toughest days I have to work at my dream of personal and professional success. And the work can be taxing, exhausting and frustrating but ultimately it is work that reveals who you are.

Who is your personal hero: This is a hard question for me because my heroes/heroines are people that embody the characteristics of grace and professionalism under fire. I am lucky to work alongside numerous people who reveal these traits who encourage me to step back and breathe even when things look like they are at their worst!

What book are you reading: Dear Miss Metropolitan by Carolyn Ferrell

What was your first job: Gap sales associate!

Favorite charity: Anything education related Interests/Hobbies: As I get older, during my down time I just want good music and positive energy. Lately, I have gotten very in to listening to jazz.

Family: Like many lawyers, I am married to another lawyer--Jake Shields. He works for DOJ and is the rock of our family. I also have a 7 year old son.

Use Your Flaws to be a Better Version of Yourself

I feel like people talk frequently about mentors in the law—how to cultivate them, how to engage with them and what to do if you don’t have one! I am constantly asked about mentoring for a reason, it is hard to navigate a professional environment without a mentor. You need someone who is “looking out” but also “looking at you” to understand your strengths and weaknesses, and consider how you should leverage both.

I have been mentored by incredible people during my almost 15-year career as a lawyer (honestly, I can’t believe it has been so long!). My mentors have listened to, advised, consoled and inspired me. And more than anything else, they have accepted me and my many imperfections. I can be stubborn and head

strong. I can be impatient and demanding. I can also be insecure and crave validation. My mentors have recognized those traits within me and taught me how to use my flaws to be a better version of myself.

I hope to do the same with the young lawyers that I mentor. Too often, people feel like they have to demonstrate perfection to acquire a mentor. That they need to be the shinier version of themselves. No. The best mentors are the people with whom you can be honest, and the best mentees are those that trust me with their honesty.

In short, I would not be here without my mentors and advocates. Without my judges—the Honorable Richard Roberts and the Honorable Barrington D. Parker—who taught a young lawyer to write with confi-

dence and to view the law critically. Without the law firm partners—Sharon Bowen, Tracy High and Inosi Nyatta—who served as role models and demonstrate constant and consistent grace under pressure. Without the men and women who exemplify dignity, poise and excellence and are willing to take the time to grab a cup of coffee with me. You simply cannot do this alone.

So, my advice to young lawyers is to find a mentor. It need not be someone that looks like you, shares your pedigree or your interests. But it should be someone with whom you can connect honestly, who has traveled the same professional landscape and who provides real advice (even when you don’t particularly want to hear it).

82 2022 Fourth Quarter


Education: 01– 11/2017 “Addressing the Health Needs of the Underserved: An Innovative Faculty Development Program for Physicians and Health Professionals. UC San Diego. A three week conference discussing community health, teaching methods and curricular design, leadership development in underserved or low health resource communities.

2015 Certificate of Achievement University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business Foundations of Leadership. On online course dedicated to foundations of leadership.

2008 – 2009 Society of Teachers of Family Medicine Predoctoral Directors Development Institute. Learned about duties of predoctoral directors related to curriculum development, evaluations, scholarship, promotion and publications. Honed negotiating skills and learned new techniques intended to promote student interest in family medicine.

2005 USC Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA Teaching and Learning Fellowship Studied the use of standardized patients, curriculum development, and how to teach the adult learner. Developed negotiating skills with Chair.

07/1997-06/2000 St. Clare’s Family Practice Residency Program, Schenectady, NY

Successfully completed the Family Medicine Residency Program. Served as elected co-chief resident as PGY-3.

10/1996 University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Galveston, TX Medical Degree

12/1991 University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX B.S. Biology

Company Name: Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso, Paul L. Foster School of Medicine

Company Headquarters Location: El Paso, Texas

Words you live by: It takes a village.

Who is your personal hero: My parents who came from humble beginnings and taught me that with hard work, compassion, and faith you could be successful.

What book are you reading: Compassionomics by Stepehn Trzeciak and Anthony Mazzarelli

What was your first job: I worked at a grocery store, bagging customers groceries.

Favorite charity: Local charities in El Paso, Texas that support my community.

Interests/Hobbies: Camping and travel.

Mentors are obviously important to have in your professional and personal life. It is important to be open and carefully identify them

because they are ubiquitous, and you can learn so much from them. As we traverse our careers, we should

not only try to be a mentor but also sponsor others in tangible ways that moves their careers forward.

83 2022 Fourth Quarter
Be a Mentor but also Sponsor Others to Help Move Their Careers Forward

Kenny Rocker

Executive Vice President – Marketing and Sales

Education: Tuskegee University – BS in Finance

Company Name: Union Pacific Railroad

Industry: Transportation

Company CEO: Lance Fritz

Company Headquarters Location: Omaha, NE

Number of Employees: Over 30,000

Words you live by: Practice doesn’t make perfect, practice makes permanent

What book are you reading: Good to Great (3rd time) by Jim Collins

What was your first job: Janitor at Hartsfield Airport (Atlanta)

Favorite charity: Education for the underpriviledged

Interests/Hobbies: Live Sports, Live concerts, Great Food

Family: Married with four daughters

My “hustle” — My Drive to Learn and Grow and Win as a Team

I’ve been fortunate to have a long career with Union Pacific Railroad, a Fortune 500 company, and to hold leadership roles that have helped Build America.

I joined Union Pacific shortly after I earned my bachelor’s degree in finance from Tuskegee University. I spent the early part of my career at Union Pacific in various positions on our Marketing & Sales team. Taking these roles wasn’t just about rising through the ranks; it was about learning the ins and outs of the industries Union Pacific serves and helping my customers succeed in their markets. This is where I found what I like to call my “hustle” — my drive to learn and grow and win as a team.

Today, as the Executive Vice

President of Marketing and Sales, I’m responsible for Union Pacific’s three major business units generating over $20 billion in annual revenue: Bulk, Industrial, and Premium, along with Marketing & Sales Operations, Commercial Strategy and Union Pacific’s Mexico business. I also oversee the railroad’s Loup Logistics subsidiary. I continue to learn, and I value the opportunity to lead such a talented team of people.

At work, I’m passionate about customer-focused business development, building highly successful teams, and supporting Union Pacific’s Diversity & Inclusion program and Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). As the father of four daughters, I’m also devoted

to promoting the health and development of young people in my community.

I’m currently serving on the boards of Children’s Hospital, Creighton University, and Seventy Five North, an Omaha-based organization that works to break the cycle of poverty and community deterioration through high-quality housing, thriving schools, recreational facilities, and other neighborhood enrichment amenities. I’ve also served on the board of North Star, an organization committed to expanding opportunities for boys to find and follow their own paths to success. My hope is that I can support others as they find their “hustle,” too.

84 2022 Fourth Quarter

Always Work to Build an Environment of Inclusivity

I grew up in a town of about 20,000, 18 miles north of Pittsburgh, Pa. At that time, the Pittsburgh economy was driven by manufacturing and many, including my father, uncles, and neighbors, worked in the steel mills or the coal mines.

One of my first real jobs as a teenager, was working for the Aluminum Company of America (ALCOA). It was a blue-collar community, with hard-working people from varied backgrounds. My playmates, neighbors and schoolmates spoke English, Spanish or Polish. Being around them, I learned that despite where people came from and looked like, they could have strong work ethics, be focused on providing for their family and were basically honest and trying to do things the right way. The appreciation of this experience is, something I consider essential to my success in business: To always work to build an environment of inclusivity where people of all backgrounds can be competitive and thrive.

Throughout my career, I have managed teams that consistently exceed financial and strategic goals. This success is a direct result of leveraging a team with varied backgrounds and experiences, ensuring a broader perspective of the opportunities and challenges we face. It’s critical to leverage the strengths of each individual but also reinforce unity and the principle that we only win as a team.

These guiding principles have helped my team at Webster Bank be recognized as the bank with the Best Small Business Strategy by Forbes in 2021 and as the #1 SBA Lender in New England for three of the last four years. My team has also instituted an innovative, automated credit application process that improved the speed of loan applications as part of the Paycheck Protection Program. This resulted in closing $2B in loans – many supporting women and minority-owned businesses.

This kind of success is not unique to me, as it’s been well

documented that diverse teams outperform non-diverse team in almost every productivity, customer experience and employee satisfaction metric. With empirical validation, and the energy around correcting social injustice it is even more important that effective leaders evolve from diversity for integration’s sake to embracing an environment that leverages and values the differences of their employees. I believe that the more success we have in creating true equity within our workforce the more these documented benefits of diversity will become the expectation rather than the exception.

At Webster, I also have the opportunity to Co-Chair our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging committee with our CEO, John Ciulla. With diversity championed as a strategic initiative by our executive leadership, I continue to be excited about what the future holds for all my colleagues and the under-served members of the communities we serve.

85 2022 Fourth Quarter
MBA Finance University of
BS Economics Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
Company Name: Webster
John Ciulla Company
Location: Stamford, CT Your Location (if different from above): Southington, CT
Words you live by: Dont let anyone steal
Who is your personal hero: My mother
What was your first job: Washing Cars
Favorite charity: Junior Achievement Interests/Hobbies: Traveling, Cycling ( motorcycle and bikes)
Family: Wife: Paula, Children: Lauren and Jonathan, Grandaughters: Aliyah and Olivia

and Inclusion

Education: Howard University School of Law, J.D. University of Hartford, M.P.A. Hampton University, B.S.

Company Name: WilmerHale

Industry: Legal

Company CEO: Robert Novick and Susan Murley, Co-Managing Partners

Company Headquarters Location: Boston, MA and Washington, DC

Number of Employees: 1,931

Your Location (if different from above): Washington, DC

Words you live by: “To whom much is given, much will be required.”

Who is your personal hero: Dorothy Bunch-Joiner (my Mom!)

What book are you reading: Caste by Isabel Wilkerson

What was your first job: Telemarketer for AT&T

Favorite charity: Children’s Defense Fund

Interests/Hobbies: Reading; Journaling

Family: Husband, Marc and 8-year old daughter, Monarc

Advocate for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in the legal profession

Law was a second career for me. I grew up in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, in a family rooted in advocacy, and spent the first 8 years of my professional career as a child welfare advocate and local planner in New York City. “Advocacy” –defined as “any action that speaks in favor of, recommends, argues for a cause, supports or defends, or pleads on behalf of others” – is essentially in my DNA, and I believe my current career path is a natural extension of that fabric. Advocacy is critically important for underrepresented attorneys in law firms.

I began my legal career in Big Law, and the firm was integral in shaping my expertise and discipline as a lawyer, as well as providing an avenue for many other opportunities. My experience was generally positive, but it provided a lens into the challenges associated with being a member of an underrepresented racial/ethnic group in the law firm environment. I left

the firm to clerk for the late Honorable Damon J. Keith, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Following my clerkship, I spent 10 years as a class action ERISA litigator, before going in-house and becoming a client of the law firm where I started my career. Throughout my career I have been an advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), primarily (but not exclusively) in the legal profession.

In my first formal DEI position, I took on a senior executive (COO) role for an organization serving individuals with disabilities. In addition, I was an adjunct professor at Howard University School of Law where I taught a Regulatory/Statutory Interpretation seminar to first year law students, and I developed the curriculum and taught an Introduction to the Legal Profession – with a DEI-focused lens – for pipeline law students at the University of Maryland-College Park.

I love my current role and

consider it a privilege to be able to support attorneys of color and other underrepresented groups as they navigate the challenging but rewarding aspects of Big Law. My responsibilities include engaging leaders in Big Law about the importance of equitable and inclusive opportunities for diverse attorneys and maintaining a culturally competent organization where attorneys of color and other underrepresented groups can thrive. Whether they plan to stay for a year or two, or pursue longer term goals, I am here to help them succeed.

As one who has a unique and particularized understanding of the business of law, the experience of being an associate as well as a client of the firm, an experienced coach and a certified DEI leader, my hope and goal is to create an engaging experience that further facilitates belonging, accountability, transparency, relationship building, professional development and wellness.

86 2022 Fourth Quarter

Peggy Otum

Chair, Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Practice; Partner

Education: JD, Howard University School of Law, 2003; B.Sc. University of Toronto, 2000

Company Name: WilmerHale

Industry: Legal

Company CEO: Robert Novick and Susan Murley, Co-Managing Partners

Company Headquarters Location: Boston, MA and Washington, DC

Number of Employees: 1,931

Your Location (if different from above): Co-located in San Francisco, CA and Washington, DC

Words you live by: “Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”

Who is your personal hero: My mom

What book are you reading: A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle

What was your first job: Office receptionist for a marketing company

Favorite charity: Welcome Home Children Orphanage in Haiti

Interests/Hobbies: Spending time with my family; quiet time outdoors; cooking traditional Nigerian and Haitian meals.

Family: My incredible husband, Andrew, who is in-house counsel for Google, and my two extraordinary daughters, Claire and Chloe.

Championing Efforts to Increase Diversity in the Legal Field

I think people would be surprised to learn that I was born and raised in Canada and immigrated to the U.S. to study law. As the older daughter of immigrants from Nigeria and Haiti, I never imagined that I would leave Canada to pursue a career in law, but upon graduating from the University of Toronto with a BSc. degree, I found myself drawn to the civil rights mission and legacy of Howard University School of Law in Washington, DC.

I really connected with Howard’s deeply rooted civil rights legacy, reflected in part by its commitment to developing high-caliber diverse lawyers. Attending Howard University School of Law changed my life and gave me the confidence to take opportunities that were slightly


One such opportunity came after I graduated from law school and began my legal career at a prestigious law firm based in Washington, DC. As a first-year associate, I was encouraged to join the environmental practice group, which provided an opportunity to apply my undergraduate science studies with a government-facing legal practice. Leaning into the confidence I gained at Howard, I embarked on a career in environmental law despite seeing too few lawyers of color in the environmental bar. The mentors I had as a young lawyer were instrumental to my career development.

After becoming a partner in 2012, I found myself at another crossroads of opportunity when my husband

landed a dream job, prompting my family to move from DC to San Francisco. Now, as the Co-Chair of WilmerHale’s Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources Practice, I divide my time between San Francisco and Washington DC, advising clients on evolving legal issues involving the most pressing environmental and social issues of our time, including climate risk, environmental justice, and racial equity.

My unique profile in the law firm industry is not lost on me. From my humble roots in Canada to becoming the Chair of a practice group at a preeminent law firm is an achievement that is immensely humbling and provides a platform to champion efforts to increase diversity in the legal field.

87 2022 Fourth Quarter

Kevin Dallas

President and Chief Executive Officer

Education: B.S.c. degree in electrical and electronic engineering from Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England.

Company Name: Wind River

Industry: Software

Company CEO: Kevin Dallas

Company Headquarters Location: Alameda, CA

Number of Employees: 1,400

Your Location (if different from above): Seattle, WA

Words you live by: Believe you can and your halfway there – Theodore Roosevelt

Who is your personal hero: Mohammad Ali

What book are you reading: AI Super Powers by Kai-Fu Lee

What was your first job: Engineer at National Semiconductor (now Texas Instruments Inc.)

Favorite charity: Oakland Promise

Interests/Hobbies: Football (Soccer)

Family: Wife and three sons

The Power of All Genders, All Races, and All Languages can Change the World.

As one of very few Black CEO’s, I’m extremely proud to have been given the opportunity to lead Wind River, and I remain personally committed to making our key cultural attribute of diversity and inclusion the lived experience at Wind River - both are the foundation for a just society and core drivers of the new intelligent machine economy. The more people who are part of one system, being offered the same opportunities regardless of their gender, race, ethnic origin, and many other diverse variables, the higher the tide rises for everybody.

The power of all genders, all races, and all languages can change the world. Even each of these pieces, though, has its blind spots if taken as a standalone viewpoint — in effect, by seeing the world through a single lens, that lens can act as a deep

barrier. Imagine how much is lost with only a single way of seeing, thinking, learning, and maybe even applying those learnings.

Digital companies talk about the power of the individual or the customer to be the center of the service. Yet how can we build around individuals without recognizing and servicing the unique combinations of needs or opinions that diverse thinking and actions entail?

McKinsey has, since 2014, leaned into the idea of measuring diversity and inclusivity as a driver of business value creation. The intent is to show every year that companies that live and deliver diverse and inclusive strategies outperform their industry peers.

The gap (between diverse and inclusive leaders and the poorest performers) has gotten bigger

year by year. Even with clear and longitudinal data, we still struggle against many inherent biases to accept and act on the fact that diversity and inclusion widen the lens for viewing ideas, thinking, processes, and customers in an increasingly global market.

We need to continue to work on improving diversity and inclusion in the business and technology sector, and the current statistics need to improve before we can point to real change. That said, I remain optimistic and look forward to a time in the not-sodistant future when my three sons can tout the significant progress that has been made. For now, we collectively have work to do, and I’m making sure that Wind River is doing its part.

88 2022 Fourth Quarter

Adrienne Smith, PMP, ITIL

Assistant vCIO & Project Manager

Education: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (MS, Project Management); New Jersey

Institute of Technology (MS, Cybersecurity and Privacy), graduating in 2024; University of Maryland (BS, Management Information Systems)

Company Name: Withum

Industry: Cybersecurity

Company CEO: Bill Hagaman, CPA, CGMA

Company Headquarters Location: Princeton, New Jersey

Number of Employees: 1,800

Your Location (if different from above): Whippany, New Jersey

Words you live by: “Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them” –Madam CJ Walker

Who is your personal hero: My parents

What book are you reading: Origin by Dan Brown

What was your first job: Lifeguard

Favorite charity: United Service Organization

Interests/Hobbies: Playing the violin and traveling

Family: 9 year old daughter, Addison

Be Open to Possibilities Outside of Your Comfort Zone

“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” This quote by Douglas Adams is the best way to sum up my career journey. I would have never predicted where I am today, but I am very grateful for all the opportunities and challenges that put in this moment in time.

My path to working in cybersecurity was not traditional. In high school, I decided to enlist in the US Army. Choosing to serve in the Army, was an easy decision; I saw the recruiters and jumped at the opportunity to serve my country and travel the world. I attended Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) training and worked in various peacetime and combat medical settings for 10 years as a member of the United States Army Medical Corps. While working as a nurse, my goal was to attend college, graduate

with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, become a Registered Nurse (RN) and Army Officer. During my deployment to Iraq, I met Soldiers responsible for building our data network so we can have the communications needed to run our hospital. We were in the middle of the desert in a foreign country, and they had the challenge of building this vast network infrastructure from scratch. I was instantly fascinated and got the opportunity to work with them and learn what they do. When I returned home, I took the leap to completely change my course of study and pursue a career in communications.

I became an Army Officer in the United States Army Signal Corps, a branch of the Army responsible for creating and managing all communications and information systems. The communications field

was a completely different world filled with new experiences. My first assignment was working with satellites in the US Army Space and Missile Defense Command to provide network solutions using space capabilities to warfighters.

After that, I learned how to provide radio communication to give the Soldiers in Air Defense Artillery the ability to provide missile defense in remote locations. These are a few of the experiences that I received from this career shift, which helped me transition into my current role in cybersecurity. Cybersecurity works in tandem with the communication field but has vast differences that I am still exploring.

All in all, the biggest takeaway from my career journey is being open to possibilities outside of your comfort zone.

89 2022 Fourth Quarter
2 022

Jasmina Woodson, CPA/ABV/CFF

Manager, Forensic Valuation Services

Education: Bachelor of Science in Accounting – Delaware State University; Master of Accountancy – Rutgers University

Company Name: WithumSmith+Brown, PC Industry: Forensic Valuation Services

Company CEO: William R. Hagaman, Jr., CPA, CGMA

Company Headquarters Location: Princeton, New Jersey

Number of Employees: 2,000

Your Location (if different from above): Saddle Brook, New Jersey

Words you live by: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be?” –Marianne Williamson

Who is your personal hero: My mother – The confidence she has instilled in me will take me places both personally and professionally that I have yet to imagine.

What book are you reading: The Light We Carry by Michelle Obama

What was your first job: I was a cashier at McDonald’s located in Newark International Airport (I was 14 years old).

Favorite charity: Community Food Bank of New Jersey - I’ve volunteered at this organization since I was a freshman in high school.

Interests/Hobbies: Travel, Meditation, Exercise (Stretching/Yoga/Pilates), Organizing events personally and for the community

Family: I have a brilliant, beautiful, and bright eyed 2-year old daughter.

The Importance of Having Representation

My earliest memory regarding a career path is from 7th grade. I wanted to be a psychologist because people liked to talk to me. Then my career aspirations changed; I wanted to be an attorney because I liked to argue, with everyone.

Finally, when I was in high school, I decided I wanted to be an accountant. Year after year those career aptitude tests you take always pointed me in the direction of an accountant or attorney. I decided on accounting because I was good at math but more importantly, we had a family friend that was an accountant. He worked at what I now know is a Big 4 accounting firm and he looked like me.

As an adult I realized when I was growing up there weren’t many people in my life that had professional careers. I didn’t personally know any attorneys or psychologists, but I did know an accountant. It wasn’t until I was 4 years into my career, two of

which were spent at that same Big 4 accounting firm where our family friend worked, that I truly realized the importance of having representation.

It was at this time that I decided to reconnect with the National Association of Black Accountants (“NABA”). It was at NABA’s Eastern Region Student Conference that I received an internship offer at the aforementioned Big 4 accounting firm and it was time for me to pay it forward. For the next generation and for the accounting profession as a whole.

I’ve taken on many roles within NABA’s Northern New Jersey Chapter, with the goal of exposing children and teenagers to accounting at earlier ages, mentoring college students, and providing a safe space for both young and experienced accounting professionals to connect over their shared experiences.

We are running a marathon to increase diversity in the accounting profession and representation is a

key factor to winning that race. What I’ve realized is that just introducing ourselves and telling our stories isn’t enough. We must keep showing up; they have to know us.

I love being an accountant – it is a career path that is challenging but rewarding both personally and professionally. This career provides opportunity far beyond any typical accounting role one may think of. As a forensic accountant, I work with attorneys every day. I must be knowledgeable of various laws, statues, and the litigation process overall. I also work with people during very difficult times in their lives. I like to think that I’ve found a way to fulfill all those childhood career dreams-I am an accountant with a little law and psychology on the side. While I know I was destined for great things, I also know that this career that I love began because I knew an accountant that looked like me.

90 2022 Fourth Quarter

Be a part of our upcoming Q1 issue!

Our upcoming Q1 issue will be featuring our 15th annual Diversity Leader award winners. We will also feature the 2023 Latino Leadership award winners. The issue will have articles written by executives from top corporations as well as articles from top influencers in the DEI field. You can participate in the upcoming issue by promoting your company or organization by writing an article or reserving advertising space. Please contact Jim Rector for details at or call 440-892-0444.

91 2022 Fourth Quarter

First Annual


Profiles in Diversity Journal is proud to recognize prominent lawyers making a difference in diversity, inclusion, and equity within their law firms, and for their clients and communities with our first ever Diverse Lawyers Making a Difference Awards.

The 5 profiles that appear in this issue recognize and celebrate the achievements of our first group of Diverse Lawyers. Each award recipient has also provided us with the answers to some questions and an essay that will give you, our readers, the chance to get to know these trailblazing individuals a little better.

Welcome to PDJ’s first annual Diverse Lawyers Making a Difference Awards.

92 2022 Fourth Quarter
93 2022 Fourth Quarter

Education: Georgia Institute of Technology (B.S. in Industrial Engineering); University of Georgia (J.D.)

Company Name: Morris, Manning & Martin LLP

Industry: Legal

Company CEO: Simon Malko (Managing Partner)

Company Headquarters Location: Atlanta, Georgia

Number of Employees: 381

Words you live by: Be the person your dog thinks you are

Who is your personal hero: All single parents out there are heroes to me.

What book are you reading: Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

What was your first job: I stocked shelves at Target.

Favorite charity: I have two: Asian Americans Advancing Justice and the Southern Environmental Law Center.

Interests/Hobbies: Traveling and cooking

Family: I have a wife and two daughters.

Dan Huynh Partner

Stay Positive and Plan for the Long Term

I graduated from law school in 2009, the very start of the subprime mortgage crisis. The economy collapsed, and companies’ legal budgets evaporated. Law firms reacted by delaying the start dates for their newest associates and laying off junior associates without work. As a newly minted lawyer, the careful plans I made for my post-graduate life and career were scrapped. Instead of buying furniture for my new apartment, I found myself back at my parent’s house, sleeping in my childhood bedroom. It was definitely not how I envisioned the start of my legal career.

Without a certain start date at my firm, I found myself doing odd jobs like tutoring students for the LSAT, working as a private high school tutor, and helping a local divorce attorney. (Turns out marriages are not recession-proof.) Many of my classmates saw their post-graduate job offers disappear and they were scrambling to find any legal position. Eventually, after six months, my firm gave me a call and told me that I was going to start in a month.

My law school friends made the best of their situations. Some found out they really loved working at their new firms. Others moved firms, shifted practices, took positions with the government, but all eventually found their niche in the legal industry. That was over a decade ago; looking back, it feels like a blip in our legal careers. While that time of my life was filled with uncertainty, I am a better lawyer and person now for having persevered through those challenges. Here are a few lessons that have stayed with me:

- Don’t dwell on things outside of your control

- Nothing productive comes from feeling sorry for yourself

- Stay positive and plan for the long term

- Take nothing for granted

- Your legal career is bigger than any firm or job

- It is okay to take chances

- Always bet on yourself

- Adversity is an opportunity

- Your career is long--expect challenges to surface along the way

- Helps others whenever you can

- It is more important where you end up than where you started

94 2022 Fourth Quarter

Christopher Fowlkes Partner

We Need to be Cognizant of Unconscious Bias

I am grateful that every day I get to do something I am passionate about, which is being involved in high-stakes products liability litigation. I’m a former Division I athlete, and I thrive on competition. It’s exciting and it’s thrilling to be able to go up against highly capable adversaries in unfriendly jurisdictions with bet-the-company litigation.

One of the things that helped me get to this level in my career was having mentors who I could trust. Law firms can be difficult for anyone to navigate, but I think even more so for traditionally disadvantaged people, including persons of color. As I was coming up through the ranks, there weren’t that many people who looked like me in the rooms where decisions were made or who were partners in large law firms. Having mentors who were successfully able to navigate these waters was critical.

I have been very fortunate to have a mentor in Jerry Blackwell, who I met through the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers and who recently served as lead prosecutor on the Derek Chauvin case on a pro bono basis. Having Jerry as a confidante was instrumental to my mental health and my resolve to continue, even when I felt like I was being treated differently. As a diverse attorney, people either treat you with kid gloves or push you harder than anyone else. Having a mentor gives you someone you can vent to without fear of appearing vulnerable or being misunderstood.

It’s important to me that we also mentor the next generation of diverse lawyers and help them out because a lot of us didn’t have many helping hands. This looks like: giving younger attorneys opportunities to argue substantive motions, more standup time in trial, and letting them participate in the governance of the firm.

We also need to be flexible in how we deal with the next generation of attorneys. So many are used to working remotely, which we’ve seen can be just as effective as traditional, in-person work. We need to understand that not everyone who becomes an attorney wants to make partner in the firm. We’ve got to value those individuals just as much as we value rainmakers because we risk losing good, talented people. Finally, we need to be cognizant of unconscious bias. I’ve been practicing since 1998, and the numbers are pretty much the same across all the different affinity groups. That in and of itself is to me demonstrative of the issue. I think we can start to make change by having more people of color represented in hiring, policy making, and management positions.

Education: University of Minnesota School of Law, JD (1998); University of Minnesota, BA, Philosophy (1995)

Company Name: Nelson Mullins Industry: Legal Company CEO: James Lehman

Company Headquarters Location: Columbia, South Carolina

Number of Employees: 1000+

Your Location (if different from above): Minneapolis, Minnesota

Words you live by: Never let anyone else define your narrative or diminish your resolve.

Who is your personal hero: Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

What book are you reading: Quiet Strength: The Principles, Practices, and Priorities of a Winning Life by Tony Dungy

What was your first job: Utility clerk for Pick ‘N’ Save grocery store

Favorite charity: Feed My Starving Children

Interests/Hobbies: Fine Dining, movies and attending my children’s activities.

Family: Wife – Melissa; 3 children – Myla, Jackson and Shiloh

95 2022 Fourth Quarter

Education: AB Biochemistry, Columbia College, Columbia University, Ph.D. Molecular Biology, Princeton University, JD, University of California, Berkeley

Company Name: Norton Rose Fulbright

Industry: Legal

Company CEO: Jeff Cody, US Managing Partner

Company Headquarters Location: Houston/New York

Number of Employees: 7,150

Your Location (if different from above): Austin, TX

Who is your personal hero: The Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg

What book are you reading: My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

What was your first job: Paper route with my brother when I was 12

Favorite charity: Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC

Interests/Hobbies: Baking delicious things for friends and family

Family: Spouse David is a Philosophy Professor; son, Felix, in college; twin daughters, Isabel and Anita

US Chief Strategy and Operations Partner

Stepping Away from Work and Attending to Personal Needs is Possible

After years of fertility treatments, first with a success that was my son, and then being pregnant with twins, I was shocked when the obstetrician said that I was checking into the hospital even though I was only 26 weeks pregnant. Shock turned to fear after another test predicted at least an 80% chance of going into labor that weekend. At that stage of the pregnancy, my girls were not quite two pounds each. This wasn’t supposed to happen now, and as an IP partner at a large law firm, I hadn’t planned to step away from my practice just yet.

Thankfully, my week in the hospital was uneventful. I went home for strict bedrest and monitored contractions daily. Nothing changed except we (the girls and I) got bigger every day. My husband was a constant support alongside our moms who alternated weeks to help. My Cuban mother-in-law served me large platefuls of arroz con pollo, carnitas, frijoles negros and rice, as well as hot fudge sundaes (I gained four-pounds/week), while my Japanese-American mom made me crispy tacos and fried rice (I gained just two pounds/week). I started to worry less, as we passed each weeks’ milestone; the prospects of the NICU, oxygen tanks, eye or heart surgery, and developmental challenges decreased.

I tried to manage some client matters but working while lying down with a growing belly (which was the size of a small garage) was uncomfortable. I was incredibly grateful that others stepped in and undertook all my work. Fortunately, I carried the girls to week 37—full-term for twins. I took six months of leave, during which clients were not lost and matters were handled. I returned to work as if nothing had happened (home, of course, was a different issue).

That experience taught me two things: one, I had created a narrative about the importance of work that wasn’t true and potentially kept me from taking better care of myself. We place pressure on ourselves that may undermine our well-being. Second, it highlighted that I could do what was needed at a particular time. Those ten weeks of bedrest taught me that I shouldn’t overestimate the importance of work while minimizing the need to prioritize what is most important at that moment (and being okay with that). While it does require the help of others, stepping away from the job and attending to personal needs is possible, indeed advisable. To this day, I continually assess what needs to be prioritized--whether it’s work, health, my husband, or my son and now 16-year-old daughters, and plan accordingly.

96 2022 Fourth Quarter

Many Positive Experiences have Shaped my Career Path

I feel very fortunate to have had many positive experiences that have shaped my current career path. Upon graduation from high school, I was selected to participate in a 4-year summer internship program at Northern Trust Bank in Chicago for minority students aimed at increasing the pipeline for trust administrators and private wealth bankers. One summer, I worked in the legal department at the bank; that’s where I first learned that a lawyer could practice business, transactional law and not be a litigator in the courtroom. I was immediately hooked and knew that business law was the path for me.

Upon graduating from Harvard Law School, I joined a large law firm in Atlanta, Georgia, and worked in the corporate group on several mergers, initial stock offering transactions and other general corporate work. After a few years, my goal was to then move into a company legal department where I could work alongside the internal business clients and become an expert in an industry. I received an offer from AT&T Corp. and joined as legal counsel for their Residential Long Distance Business Unit, where I was the only African American female lawyer in the New Jersey headquarters’ law department of over 60 attorneys. While at AT&T, I learned about telecom and loved the complexities of the legal issues, the ever-evolving nature of the technologies, and the real world, positive impact that access to quality telephone and internet service had on the lives of everyday people across the globe.

After five years at AT&T, I accepted a role at Ameritech, a local Bell telephone company in the Midwest, to round out my telephony experience. During this period, consumers were increasingly purchasing cable television services. My curiosity and interest in this segment of the communications industry was piqued and I joined Cox Communications in Atlanta.

During my 17-year tenure at Cox Communications, I was the chief marketing lawyer. This gave me the opportunity to work with residential sales, product, procurement, regulatory and other teams within the organization. In 2018, I joined Cox Enterprises (the parent company of Cox Communications) as the chief commercial counsel and provided legal support to our new esports teams, the newspaper division, aviation, real estate, and other internal divisions. In 2021, Cox Communications completed its acquisition of Segra, one of the largest independent fiber network companies in the Eastern US, and I was afforded the opportunity to join as Chief Legal Counsel. I believe that my vast legal experiences put me on the path to my current role. My willingness to take chances and learn new areas of the law have positioned me well for this opportunity.

Education: J.D. Harvard Law School; B.S. Bradley University

Company Name: Segra Industry: Telecommunications Company CEO: Kevin T. Hart Company Headquarters Location: Charlotte, North Carolina

Number of Employees: Approx 900 Words you live by: Family, Friendship, Faith and Fun! Life is not a dress rehearsal. Treat each day like it’s your opening night.

Who is your personal hero: Michelle Obama

What book are you reading: The Light We Carry by Michelle Obama

What was your first job: Internship at Northern Trust Bank in Chicago

Favorite Charity: UNCF

Interests/Hobbies: I am currently learning how to play golf; International Travel; Shopping

Family: I have a son, Alexander, who recently graduated from Howard University and is pursuing a career in the Entertainment industry. My father, Robert Dunson, recently turned 89-years-old. I have one sibling, a sister Dr. Shelley Dunson Allen (an OB/GYN), and two wonderful nephews (Dwight Allen II, a Junior at University of Georgia who plays on the baseball team, and Nicholas Allen, a Senior at Woodward Academy in Atlanta, GA who plays baseball and is in the Honor Society).

97 2022 Fourth Quarter

Education: BA in History and Political Science – Creighton University; MS Public Policy and Management – Carnegie Mellon University; JD – Washington University in St. Louis

Company Name: Union Pacific Railroad Company

Industry: Railroad

Company CEO: Lance Fritz

Company Headquarters Location: Omaha, NE

Number of Employees: 31,000

Words you live by: Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it. –Maya Angelou

Who is your personal hero: My great grandfather

What book are you reading: The Black Count by Tom Reiss

What was your first job: Process Consultant at Anderson Consulting

Favorite charity: Women’s Fund of Omaha

Interests/Hobbies: Travel and reading

Family: husband – Aaron Conley; sons –Justin Conley 16 Jackson Conley 14

Without Honesty it is Hard to Give or Receive the Hard Feedback

The thing I am most passionate about in my career and personal life is being of service to others. Mentoring is one of the most significant ways that you can make a major difference in the life of others. Giving back by mentoring is something only you can do; no one else can provide the presence that is uniquely you. Your experience is a story that only you can tell. Your story provides others a roadmap of how it can be done and reassurance that they are not alone in their challenges. None of us got where we are on our own and it is a gift that multiplies. People who are mentored often see the immense value and reach out to do the same for others. Most importantly, your efforts can be life changing for someone that just needed a small amount of inspiration, encouragement, and support.

I have had several mentors in my life at various stages that have had a huge impact on my life. I cherish those relationships as they told me truths. Truths that changed my perspective and how I moved through the world. There was one that was a quiet, unassuming powerhouse that was dropped into my life right at a pivotal time in my career. We did not have long conversations, but she listened and then would drop a nugget of wisdom for me to sit with and work through. While each of those nuggets felt small at the time, they built on each other and changed my perception and understanding of the world I was operating in.

Vulnerability and honesty are the keys to a successful mentor relationship. I believe in sharing my experiences and lessons learned generously as my mentors have. You cannot be an effective role model or mentor without a relationship or exchange that is grounded in honesty. Without honesty it is hard to give or receive the hard feedback. I own my ups and downs and encourage others not to feel shame when they experience failure. I never want an upcoming professional to feel like they are alone in their challenges. We can only arm others with tools to overcome adversity if we first bare our own adversity.

I am grateful that I have been positioned to be able to create development and growth opportunities for upcoming talent. One of my greatest joys is seeing my mentees’ mindsets change which drives attitude and approach changes and eventually circumstance changes.

98 2022 Fourth Quarter

Nominations are open

At Profiles in Diversity Journal ®, we truly appreciate all the support given to us over the years by many organizations and businesses, large and small. We’re reaching out and asking for your continued support for our work and recognition of your organization’s own outstanding leadership, creativity, and inclusive culture. Please take this opportunity to nominate candidates for our Diversity Leader and Latino Leadership Awards.

Download nomination forms today! 2 023 A W ARD INTERNATIONAL Nominate Today! Nominate Today!
until Friday,
100 2022 Fourth Quarter
Strategies LLC.............................................................................................................................................................47
Torres LLP.................................................................................................................................................8,
Rose Fulbright..............................................................................................................................................................32,
Novavax, Inc.........................................................................................................................................................................9,
Partnership for Inclusion Leadership.....................................................................................................................................................73 Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler.....................................................................................................................................................74,
Point 32 Health.........................................................................................................................................Inside Front Cover,
Revolt....................................................................................................................................................................................................77 RWJ Barnabas Health...........................................................................................................................................................................78 Saxena White........................................................................................................................................................................................79 Segra.......................................................... .............97 Sonepar...............................................................................................................................................................................10,
& Cromwell LLP........................................................................................................................................................................82
Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso..........................................................................................................................83
Health Federation of Philadelphia.................................................................................................................................................20
Pacific Railroad......................................................................................................................................................................84,
United Rentals.......................................................................................................................................................................................33
Bank ....................................................................................................................................................................11,
River............................................................................................................................................................................................88 Withum............................................................................................................................................................................................89,
AARP..........................................................................................................................................................................................3, 37 Abbott
Advanced Micro Systems....................................................................................................................Inside Back Cover, 39, 40 Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP........................................................................................................................................25, 41, 42 Ally Financial.........................................................................................................................................................................................26 Axinn..........................................................
Corteva Agriscience........................................................................................................................................................................44, 45 Coston Consulting
Crimson Wealth
Davis Wright Tremaine
48 Dechert.................................................................................................................................................................................4, 27 DiCello
Enact Mortgage
50 Freddie Mac..............................................................................................................................................................7, 13, 29, 51 Givelify..................................................................................................................................................................................................52 Harman
Kasowitz Benson
55 Latham & Watkins
57 Levain Bakery........................................................................................................................................................................................58 LexShares..............................................................................................................................................................................................59 Mayer Brown LLP...................................................................................................................................................................................60 Morris, Manning & Martin LLP...............................................................................................................................................................94 Moss Adams LLP....................................................................................................................................................................................61 Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP...................................................................................................................................62, 63, 95 New American Funding...........................................................................................................................................16, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68 New York Life Insurance Company.................................................................................................................Back Cover, 31, 68 NorthEast
70 Norton
71, 96
85 WilmerHale......................................................................................................................................................................................86, 87 Wind


No one ever changed the world with the status quo. That’s why we foster a culture of diversity and respect – because the future of thought leadership depends on it.

Congratulations to our 2022 Black Leadership Award Winners. AMD is proud to have – Mark Wadlington and Pierre Maillard among this year’s award winners. For more information visit

To learn more about our commitment, visit: © 2022 New York Life Insurance Company, 51 Madison Avenue, New York, NY New York Life is an Equal Opportunity Employer – M/F/Veteran/Disability/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity TM
Our diversity of
makes for the best, most innovative teams.
York Life is proud of our richly diverse culture built on a foundation of inclusion.

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.