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Issue Price $80

Inside this issue To Women Everywhere: We Must Advocate for Ourselves How Companies Can Cast the Widest Net to Hire the Best and Most Diverse Talent





Worth Watching





Build a Culture of Equity and Inclusivity




Sephora Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Progress Report

Next issue: Black Leaders Worth Watching, Innovations in Diversity, and Diverse Organizations Worth Watching Awards



Member of the Global Diversity Council Executive Co-Sponsor of the Women’s Leadership Network Co-Chair of the Racial Equity Committee

for being recognized among Diversity Journal’s 2021 Women Worth Watching in Leadership. Your incredible impact is an inspiration to our company and beyond.



James Gorman DESIGNER



Elena Rector WEBMASTER


Profiles in Diversity Journal Gemini Towers #1 • 1991 Crocker Road, Suite 600 • Westlake, OH 44145 Tel: 440.892.0444 • Fax: 440.892.0737 SUBSCRIPTIONS

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REPRINTS: EDITORIAL: PHOTOS & ARTWORK: FOLLOW US AT: 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 23 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

There’s Good News Inside! Anniversaries are occasions for celebration and reflection, especially during these uncertain and challenging times. We joyfully celebrate the individuals and organizations that have taken the time to prioritize participation in this important issue of Profiles in Diversity Journal®. The awardees profiled in these pages are leaders who share their experiences, acknowledge their mentors and others who have influenced their lives and careers, and express gratitude for their opportunities and blessings. PDJ is celebrating the 20th Anniversary of Women Worth Watching® this year, and we especially appreciate the organizations that nominated the 103 high-achieving women we are honoring in this special issue. These remarkable women are examples of the hard work and courage needed to achieve goals and dreams. And I believe that women who are eager to build a career and raise a family will glean inspiration from each profile. I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge the magazine’s first editor, Katherine Sandlin. Her vision and dedication to the advancement of women in leadership helped launch this most prestigious and coveted award—Women Worth Watching. I also want to recognize the other past editors who crafted wonderful issues to highlight the achievements of women in leadership. In this issue, we also recognize the achievements of Diversity Team Award winners, who are responsible for leading the D&I efforts for their organizations. There is much to learn from their strategies and accomplishments, and inspiration to be found in their dedication. New in 2021, is the launch of PDJ’s very first Native American/Indigenous Leaders Worth Watching™ Award. We are proud to recognize these courageous professionals in this issue, and we look forward to honoring increasing numbers of these extraordinary leaders and showcasing their achievements year after year, as more organizations and individual leaders learn of this award. This anniversary issue is packed with inspirational messages, useful advice, and examples of courage. We encourage you to share the wisdom contained in the following pages with those who are launching new careers or looking to advance to the next level. Safe passage to all,

James R. Rector Publisher & Founder Since 1999

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Build a Culture of Equity and Inclusivity Donald Fan of Walmart lays out and discusses the key traits of a successful culture of equity (a level playing field, fair access, psychological safety, a strong sense of belonging, respect, and celebrating difference) and explains how to leverage Cultural Intelligence to build such a culture at work.


To Women Everywhere: We Must Advocate for Ourselves In this first of an upcoming series of articles, Bhavana Bartholf of Microsoft tells women to advocate for themselves and shares five teachings she had used to do just that: Believe in yourself; You always have a choice; Your experience is your journey; Live every day like it’s your last; and Be kind to yourself.


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Congratulations to INL’S

Women Worth Watching in Leadership

Jennifer Dobbs Eversull

Megan Kommers

Document Management Manager

Kathryn M. Jensen

Occupational Safety & Health Manager

Ning Kang

Cybercore Integration Center Analysis Department Manager

Power & Energy Systems Department Manager

You continually inspire us with your leadership and vision. Looking for a new opportunity? INL is where you belong!

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How Companies Can Cast the Widest Net to Hire the Best and Most Diverse Talent Vicky Thrasher of Oracle tells our readers why words matter when you’re reaching out to potential job candidates and explains the immense value of a workplace that offers flexibility and choices to employees. If you really want to attract the best talent, read this.


Sephora Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Progress Report George-Axelle Broussillon Matschinga of Sephora shares the progress the company has made recently in becoming even more diverse and inclusive in a number of areas, including product assortment, marketing, talent and an inclusive workplace, and the retail experience. The author also includes a link to the complete progress report.


1st Native American Indigenous Leaders Worth Watching Awards PDJ celebrates its first class of Native American/ Indigenous Leaders Worth Watching. We know that our readers will enjoy getting to know these dynamic and courageous leaders, and be inspired by their personal stories, words of advice, and professional successes.


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“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” — Alan W. Watts Sometimes we welcome change. But to be honest, most of the time, most of us find change uncomfortable—even upsetting. It’s only human to want to know what to expect— what lies ahead. Leaders don’t have that luxury—and they don’t ask to have it. When a new and unexpected situation is thrust upon them, their teams, their families, and their communities, they step up and quickly respond. There is often little time for considering alternatives. There is often no one with more and better information, who can offer advice or assurances regarding the outcome. And still leaders must decide and act. The willingness to shoulder that responsibility—and deal with possible unforeseen and sometimes unwelcome consequences—is surely the difference between leaders and the rest of us. They “plunge in … and join the dance.” They gather the best information they can. They consider the needs of those they lead. They study the situation, to the extent possible, and seek wise counsel. But, in the end, they must act—whether or not they “know for sure” what the next step should be. The individuals we honor in this, and every, issue of Profiles in Diversity Journal are leaders in every sense of the word. They are the ones who step up and ask for just this kind of responsibility. They want to help, to lead others, in difficult times, like the ones we have encountered over the past year and a half or so. They face uncertainty with courage and walk into an unknown future with these words from Mandy Hale front of mind: “When nothing is certain, anything is possible.” So, here’s to brave leaders. As always, thanks for reading.

Teresa Fausey Associate Editor

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20th Annual Women Worth Watching® in Leadership Awards We’re celebrating 20 years of honoring Women Worth Watching and showcasing the achievements of this year’s remarkable award winners. Check out their profiles and essays to get to know them better. And don’t miss our list of past Women Worth Watching who have become CEOs since appearing in our magazine.

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3rd Annual Diversity Team Awards PDJ Diversity Teams Award recognizes those who come together within an organization to ensure that diversity, inclusion, and equity are front and center at all times. They are the ones who develop strategies, create and manage initiatives, and most important, learn from both employees and the larger community. Read their team profiles and see why these teams can’t be beat.

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


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Kat Li is a principal in McKool Smith’s Austin office and one of the firm’s brightest stars. She focuses on patent and technology litigation and has been recognized as “Best Under 40” by the State Bar of Texas Asian Pacific Interest Section and “One to Watch for IP and Patent” by Best Lawyers. Kat is also a Fellow of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) and recognized among the 2020 “Nation’s Best” by Lawyers of Color. She is a graduate of The University of Texas School of Law and earned S.B. and M.Eng. degrees in materials science and engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.




Los Angeles


New York

Washington, D.C. Attorney Advertising. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

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Honoring Extraordinary Women in Leadership for 20 Years… and Looking Forward to 20 More


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Company and Executive 2021 Award Winners (company names in alphabetical order)

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP Liz Osborne Partner..................................................51

Atwater Capital Vania Schlogel Founder & Managing Partner.................59

Cohen Ziffer Frenchman & McKenna LLP Meredith Elkins Hiring Partner........................................67

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP Ann Tadajweski Partner..................................................52

Axinn Leslie C. Overton Partner and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer.................................60

Colgate-Palmolive Bawana Radhakrishnan Worldwide Director of Global Indirect Procurement & Digital Transformation...........................68

Advance Micro Devices (Shanghai) Co.Ltd Shirley Dong Senior Director, Systems Design Engineering...............................53

Advance Micro Devices Indrani Paul Fellow, Silicon Design Engineering...............................54

Best Best & Krieger LLP Danielle Sakai Chief Talent Officer................................61

Burns & Levinson LLP Laura L. Carroll Partner..................................................62

Omnicare, a CVS Health Company Kathleen Beitzel Vice President Professional and Clinical Services.............................69

Aetna, a CVS Health Company Jennifer Callahan Vice President Medicare Product & Implementation.....................70

Advance Micro Devices Kim M. Vo Corporate Vice President, Legal.............55

Burns & Levinson LLP Andrea L. Martin Co-Chair, Business Litigation & Dispute Resolution Group......................63

American Dental Association April Kates-Ellison Vice President, Member and Client Services................................56

Burns & Levinson LLP Robin M. Lynch Nardone Partner; Chair of the Divorce & Family Law Department...................................64

Amyris Daya V. Fields President of Pipette & Purecane............57

Catalyst, Inc. Svetlana Mostovsky Vice President, Development and Strategic Services..........................65

Dechert LLP Sabina Comis Partner..................................................73

Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Teri Nestel President & CEO....................................66

Dickinson Wright PLLC Jennifer Ko Craft Member.................................................74

AT&T Business Sarita Rao President, Integrated & Partner Solutions...................................58

CVS Health Dr. Jacquetta “Shea” Manigo Division Vice President..........................71

CVS Health Jennifer Nicholus Vice President Client Operations............72

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Company and Executive 2021 Award Winners (company names in alphabetical order)

Einhorn, Barbarito, Frost & Botwinick, PC Jhanice V. Domingo Partner, Board Member, Diversity Chair.......................................75

EMD Serono, Inc. Amy Mahery Senior Vice President, Head of Global Marketing Access and Pricing, EMD Serono, Inc.......................76

ESPN Tonya Harris Cornileus, PhD Vice President, Development, Inclusion and Wellness..........................77

The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. Tracey T. Travis Executive Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer........78

FedEx Express Auriel Echols Rawlings Asia Pacific, Middle East, India, and Africa – Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Advisor................................79


FUJIFILM Holdings America Corporation Judy Melillo Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary.................82 FUJIFILM Sonosite Amanda DePalma Vice President of Marketing...................83 Gibbons P.C. Jennifer Phillips Smith Director, Real Property Group................84 Glenn Agre Bergman & Fuentes LLP Olga Lucia Fuentes Founding Partner...................................85 Glenn Agre Bergman & Fuentes LLP Marissa E. Miller Founding Partner...................................86 Globality Sonia Mathai Chief Human Resources Officer.............87

FordHarrison LLP Geetha N. Adinata Partner..................................................80

Greenberg Traurig, P.A. Tracy L. Gerber Co-Chair of Greenberg Traurig’s Broker-Dealer Securities Litigation Practice and Co-Managing Shareholder of Greenberg Traurig’s West Palm Beach Office..........88

Frantz Ward LLP Christina E. Niro, Esq. Partner; Chair, Women's Initiative.................................81

Greenberg Traurig, LLP Sara K. Thompson Chair of Greenberg Traurig’s Pharmaceutical, Medical Device & Health Care Litigation Practice...........89

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Guaranteed Rate Companies Lizzie Garner Chief People Officer...............................90 HARMAN International Lori Lampman Vice President, Global Rewards, HR Technology & Analytics....................91 HARMAN International Katrin Schneider Senior Vice President, System Test & Validation.......................92 Haynes and Boone, LLP Megan Gess Partner..................................................93 Hoguet Newman Regal & Kenney, LLP Lejla Hadzic Associate..............................................94 Holwell Shuster & Goldberg LLP Denisha S. Bacchus Associate..............................................95 Holwell Shuster & Goldberg LLP Meredith Nelson Associate..............................................96 Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP Fara Tabatabai Partner..................................................97 Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP Emily Estela Cabrera Partner..................................................98


We aspire to create, improve and prolong life for people living with difficult-to-treat conditions like multiple sclerosis, cancer and infertility. Passion and curiosity fuel our mission to transform lives and make an impact on our communities.


Congratulations Amy! We applaud you for being a 2021 Women Worth Watching Award recipient! Your exceptional dedication to driving innovation and embracing equality will help build the next generation of women leaders.

EMD SERONO EMD Serono is the Healthcare business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany in the U.S. and Canada. © 2021 Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany or its affiliates. All Rights Reserved.

Amy Mahery Senior Vice President Head of the Global Business Franchise Neurology & Immunology

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Company and Executive 2021 Award Winners (company names in alphabetical order)

Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP Rudene Mercer Haynes Partner..................................................99

Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP Jennifer McDougall Partner................................................107

McDermott Will & Emery LLP Vernessa T. Pollard Partner; FDA Practice Leader...............116

Idaho National Laboratories Jennifer Dobbs Eversull Advanced Test Reactor (ATR) Complex Document Management Manager........................100

Kelley Kronenberg Barbara Repandis Chief Human Resources Officer...........108

McGuireWoods LLP Sabrina N. Conyers Partner................................................117

Idaho National Laboratories Kathryn M. Jensen Advanced Test Reactor (ATR) Occupational Safety & Health Manager...................................101 Idaho National Laboratories Dr. Ning Kang Department Manager, Power & Energy Systems....................102 Idaho National Laboratories Megan Kommers Analytic Department Manager, Cybercore Integration Center...............103 International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) Rachel Hodgdon President & CEO..................................104


Kelley Kronenberg Michelle Martinez Reyes Chief Relations Officer.........................109 Kelly Services Jocelyn D. Lincoln Chief Talent Officer and Head of Global Business Planning.......110 Krauss Shaknes Tallentire & Messeri LLP Justine A. Stringer, Esq. Associate............................................111 Latham & Watkins Yvette D. Valdez Partner................................................112 Lincoln Financial Group Elena L. French Senior Vice President, Corporate Marketing, Communications and Brand................113

Jones Walker LLP Lauren Courtney Mastio Partner................................................105

Mayer Brown LLP Keri Borders Partner................................................114

Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP Nefertiti J. Alexander Partner................................................106

Mayer Brown LLP Jennifer Keating Partner................................................115

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McKool Smith Kat Li Principal .............................................118 Microsoft Bhavana Bartholf Chief Digital and Transformation Officer, Microsoft Solutions..................119 Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP Emma Luevano Partner................................................120 Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP Karin Pagnanelli Partner................................................121 Moss Adams Dena Herbolich Partner; Professional Services National Practice Leader......................122 National Community Reinvestment Coalition, Community Development Fund, Inc. Marisa Calderon Executive Director, CDFI; and Chief of Community Finance & Mobility at NCRC.................................123

Congratulations, Crystal! C








Porzio congratulates Crystal West Edwards, principal in the firm’s Wealth Preservation practice, and all of the 2021 Women Worth Watching honorees! Crystal’s passion, dedication, and advocacy continue to inspire not only fellow Porzio members, but those in the communities and organizations she works with.

New Jersey

New York



Puerto Rico

WOMAN WORTH WATCHING Dickinson Wright congratulates our colleague

Jennifer Ko Craft

on her selection as a Woman Worth Watching. Ms. Craft specializes in IP and Entertainment/Sports Law. Thanks to Profiles in Diversity Journal for continuing to celebrate the achievements of women.




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Company and Executive 2021 Award Winners (company names in alphabetical order)

New American Funding Patty Arvielo Co-Founder and President ..................124

Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP Deborah Marcuse Managing Partner – Baltimore.............133

Torchy's Tacos Elizabeth Baxter Chief People Officer.............................141

Night Nurse Tami E. Regan Director, Chief Nursing Officer..............125

Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP Kate Mueting Partner; Discrimination & Harassment Practice Group Co-Chair..............................................134

Transfix Lily Shen CEO & President..................................142

OPTrust Satwant Pannu Director, Information Technology..........126 Oracle Corporation Traci Wade Senior Director, Diversity and Inclusion.......................................127 Perfect Company Miriam Kim COO & Founder....................................128 Porzio Bromberg & Newman, P.C. Crystal West Edwards, Esq. Principal..............................................129 RBC Wealth Management – U.S. Reva Shakkottai Senior Vice President; Branch Director/Financial Advisor........130 Republic Airways Ellen C.Ham Director of Labor Relations..................131 Robins Kaplan LLP Sharon Roberg-Perez Partner; Co-Chair, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee..........132


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Seward & Kissel LLP Danielle Lemberg Counsel...............................................135 Simplifya, LLC Katrina Skinner General Counsel & Chief Banking Officer...........................136 Sonepar USA Tammy Livers Senior Vice President, U.S. Sales Enablement & Customer Experience..........................137 Sullivan & Cromwell LLP Catherine M. Clarkin Partner, Co-Head of S&C’s Capital Markets Group.........................138 Teltech Giulia Porter Vice President of Marketing.................139 TLGG Katrin Zimmermann Managing Director...............................140

Ulmer & Berne LLP Jennifer Snyder Heis Partner................................................143 UnitedHealthcare Global Amy Shaw CEO....................................................144 Univision Communications Inc. Claudia Prado Senior Director, Corporate Social Responsibility............................145 Venable LLP Stacie E. Tobin Partner-in-Charge, Baltimore Office; Partner, Commercial Litigation Practice................................146 Visionworks of America Valerie Norvell Chief People Officer.............................147 Walmart, Inc. Amanda Whalen Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, Walmart International..........................148

By promoting a diverse and inclusive workforce, we better develop ideas and people Congratulations to Reva Shakkottai for being named one of the Profiles in Diversity Journal’s Women Worth Watching. At RBC Wealth Management, we recognize and value the many important contributions of women. This is why we promote an environment where women can be successful and deliver programs and tools to help them create the futures they want. Learn more about our commitment to diversity and inclusion and explore opportunities that match your values at

Reva Shakkottai Senior Vice President – Branch Director Senior Portfolio Manager – Portfolio Focus Financial Advisor © 2021 RBC Wealth Management, a division of RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Member NYSE/FINRA/SIPC. All rights reserved.

21-74-01941 (07/21)

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Company and Executive 2021 Award Winners (company names in alphabetical order)

Warshaw Burstein Kimberly C. Lau Partner & Chair Title IX/College Disciplinary Practice............................149 Wells Fargo Tami Hudson Chief Information Security Officer (CISO).........................150

WilmerHale Alyssa DaCunha Partner................................................151

Wisely Ushashi Chakraborty Vice President, Engineering.................153

WilmerHale Peggy Otum Partner and Co-Chair, Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Practices................152

Congratulations, Christina!

Your incredible dedication and energy is an inspiration to us all. From chairing the firm’s Women’s Initiative committee to helping bring the Gender Equity in the Legal Industry forum to Cleveland and hosting those events, to serving as an active board member for Catholic Charities and the Children’s Hunger Network, Christina has been a tireless leader and mentor, dedicated to client service, to building equity among female attorneys and to giving back. We celebrate this well-deserved award! FW170 WomenWorthWatching Ad_8.5x11_082020.indd 1


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8/9/21 11:26 AM

Congratulations, Elena! Lincoln Financial congratulates Elena French, Senior Vice President of Corporate Marketing, Communications and Brand, and all of the 2021 Women Worth Watching honorees. It’s your perseverance and leadership that continue to make a difference in the world and inspire people everywhere to take charge of their future. To learn more about Lincoln Financial, visit LFG-PDM21-ADV001 LCN-3178883-072720 Lincoln Financial Group is the marketing name for Lincoln National Corporation and its affiliates. ©2021 Lincoln National Corporation.

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Thank you to all the organizations participating in our 20th Anniversary Women Worth Watching® Issue



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Thank you to all the organizations participating in our 20th Anniversary Women Worth Watching® Issue

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Extending Nominations until Friday, October 8th

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 Black Leaders Worth Watching, Innovations in Diversity, and Diverse Organizations Worth Watching Awards.


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Download nomination forms today!

Innovations in Diversity



Worth Watching













Learn More

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Build a Culture of Equity and Inclusivity By Donald Fan, Senior Director, Global Office of Culture, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion for Walmart


n 2018, 20,000 Google employees walked out to protest the handling of sexual harassment claims in the workplace. That headline-grabbing protest and related appeals have extended into this year. We know Goggle pledges to strengthen its commitment to equity and inclusion, which helps the company build more helpful products for its users and the world. This case implies that without a supportive culture, equity will not be sustained and will not help retain the best talent in the workplace. After my previous articles on equity in the workplace pivoting on the rationale of equity, its implication, and programmatic practices, I believe it is worthwhile to discuss the cultural dimension of equity— building a culture of equity and inclusivity.


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Characters of a culture of equity and inclusivity A culture of equity and inclusivity exemplifies the value, purpose, policy, practice, and behavior that ensure that all people have fair and equitable support and opportunities to learn, grow, and advance, including, but not limited to, those who have been historically underrepresented based on race/ethnicity, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, socioeconomic status, geography, country of origin, or religion. Although technology may be pervasive in the post-pandemic and digital era, ultimately, a culture of equity and inclusivity will have the most imperative and formative impact on the business world. Some key traits of this culture include the following: • Having a level playing field for everyone

• Offering fair access, opportunity, resources to learn, development, advancement • Providing psychological safety, so all employees can bring their whole selves to work and contribute • Nurturing a strong sense of belonging, uniqueness, and fairness • Respecting the individual and treating each one with dignity • Celebrating difference and building on commonality This culture underlines empathy, humanity, and trust as a capstone of diversity, equity, and inclusion. It differentiates a genuinely diverse and inclusive organization from those that are not because it taps the benefits of a diverse workplace and ensures that a wide range of perspectives and experiences are heard, valued, and embraced.


A plurality of professionals (32%) surveyed by Korn Ferry said they plan to leave because they disliked the culture at their organization. We all heard that culture eats strategy for breakfast. No matter how robust our strategic plan is, if our people do not share an ethical culture, its efficacy will be held back because the people implementing the plan are the ones that make all the difference.

Leverage cultural intelligence (CQ) to build a culture of equity and inclusivity In the book Cultural Intelligence, professors Christopher Earley and Soon Ang introduced Cultural Intelligence, also known as Cultural Quotient (CQ). CQ refers to the skill and competence to relate and work effectively in culturally diverse situations. People with high cultural intelligence are attuned to the values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors of people from different cultures and backgrounds. Developing people with the skills and competences of cultural intelligence is vital in cultivating a culture of equity and inclusivity because that effort advances the cultural

tence, agility, creativity, resilience, and adaptability of today’s changing business and workforce. The four capabilities that stem from cultural intelligence: CQ Drive (Motivation), CQ Knowledge (Cognition), CQ Strategy (Meta-Cognition), and CQ Action (Behavior). CQ-Drive is our interest and confidence in functioning effectively in culturally diverse settings. It is the motivation to learn about and respond to people different from us. When we make an effort to learn about others, our minds start to open up, and differences become interesting and exciting. CQ-Drive includes intrinsic interest—deriving enjoyment from culturally diverse experiences; extrinsic interest—gaining benefits from culturally diverse backgrounds; self-efficacy—having the confidence to be effective in culturally diverse situations. To strengthen CQ Drive, we should do the following: remain curious and explore new experiences, such as engaging with people from different backgrounds and volunteering to collaborate with cross-functional teams and community-based organizations; take time to under-

stand and embrace the merits of differences and shared values; create a feedback loop and open channels for unique perspectives; and hold one another accountable for acting inclusively. A workplace culture of equity and inclusivity can only exist when there is psychological safety. In a psychologically safe setting, employees, regardless of status or identity, feel they can speak up, exchange thoughts, contribute, and take risks without fear of threats to their status or employment. When leaders and organizations model vulnerability, normalize risk-taking, or learn from failure, trust-based relationships are created. In this environment, underrepresented talent feels empowered to take the interpersonal risk of sharing their ideas and unique viewpoints. Psychological safety in the workplace serves as a CQ Drive, helping nurture a greater sense of belonging and support. CQ-Knowledge is our knowledge about how cultures and race/ ethnicity groups are similar and different. It is about knowing how culture in general shapes people’s behaviors, values, and 2021 Third Quarter


beliefs. Core cultural differences are invisible and they are often overlooked. CQ Knowledge helps to overcome cultural blind spots. With that, we can better explain and predict the responses of others, and thereby prevent confusion and anxiety in diverse settings. CQ Knowledge incorporates business know-how regarding economic and market systems; interpersonal know-how regarding values, social interaction norms, and religious beliefs; and socio-linguistics know-how regarding rules of languages and ways for expressing nonverbal behaviors. The language of a particular culture also influences how people think. To enrich CQ Knowledge, be purposeful in learning cultural differences to improve problem identification

and resolution, judgment, and risk assessment. By understanding other people’s intentions, actions, and viewpoints, CQ Knowledge tempers bias and stereotypes, promoting trustbased interpersonal relationships. It also helps close the gap between ingroup and out-group with freedom of cultural exchange, a sense of belonging, and purpose alignment. When everyone commits to learning from others and brings the entirety of one’s life experiences, we have so much more to offer each other. If we try hard enough, we can find the unfamiliar in the familiar. Effective leadership cultivates a deep understanding of who we are as individuals with different backgrounds. Knowing how we make decisions and why we make them the

way we do is critical. Recognizing our individual biases and blind spots is foundational. We must develop the ability to determine when these parts of ourselves get in the way of our capacity to lead from a place of transparency. Effective leadership leads with an open mind, authenticity, vulnerability, and courage. CQ-Strategy is how we make sense of culturally diverse experiences. It refers to higher-level thinking skills used to manage diversity: drawing on our knowledge and experience to anticipate and respond to cultural differences; being consciously alert and mentally flexible during exchanges; and reflecting on the accuracy of our assumptions, interpretations, and predictions, and then adjusting them as new informa-



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tion comes to hand. CQ Strategy involves awareness— knowing about our existing cultural knowledge, planning (strategizing before a culturally diverse encounter); and checking assumptions and adjusting mental maps when actual experiences differ from expectations. To enhance CQ Strategy, we can take on the concept Reflection-in-Action. It is the retrospective contemplation of practice, using analyzing, observing, and listening to solve problems. The focus is on gaining a new perspective—changing our views, values, and beliefs, rather than merely looking for a resolution. When possessing a strong CQ Strategy, we can draw on cultural understanding to solve complex problems. Organizations should think about what strategies and practices can enhance their employees’ cultural experience. Then, plan and offer various activities that enrich cultural learning and involvement, such as heritage month celebrations, religious holiday observances, E/BRG activities, reverse mentoring, sponsorship, cultural conversations, and more. Adopt findings from anthropology to understand why people differ in their beliefs and behaviors. That effort helps make invisible cultural elements visible and unconscious bias conscious at work. CQ-Action is our ability to adapt verbal and nonverbal behavior to make it appropriate for diverse cultures and people different from us. It involves having a flexible repertoire of behavioral responses that suit a variety of situations. If we are accustomed to thinking about these differences and their impact, this process can soon become instinctive and naturally feed into our planning. CQ Action involves modifying nonverbal behaviors (e.g., gestures, facial expressions) and verbal behaviors (e.g., accent, tone). Two thousand years ago, Aristotle introduced the seven causes of human action. He noted that all

Every leader and employee must be on board for a cohesive and meaningful culture to propagate. Great organizations and leaders commit to and invest in the corporate culture by intentionally integrating CQ development into leadership competence, learning programs, diversity, equity, inclusion strategy, E/BRG initiatives.

human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsion, habit, reason, passion, and desire. If we understand how the causes affect people in specific ways, we may better influence them and motivate them effectively. To improve CQ Action, we should question our assumptions about why things happen differently in different cultures and journal our cultural experiences and observations with success as well as frustration. That effort helps us address immediate problems and keeps us focused on improving our CQ in the long term. In an organization, the exercise of establishing cultural values for DEI is critical, but not enough. The real test is how leaders enact these values. People watch everything leaders do. If leaders are not exhibiting behaviors that reflect the established values, the values are meaningless. Leaders need to listen, invite input, and foster creative conflict. It is not enough just to hear people out—words without action breed cynicism and plant the seeds of future talent attrition. Leaders must make a conscious effort to create a culture where people do not feel like imposters or left out.

Conclusion Keep in mind that cultural intelligence development requires the head (knowledge and understanding), the body (actions), and the heart (confidence and commitment). Building a culture of equity and inclusivity is everyone’s business. Every leader and employee must be on board for a cohesive and meaningful culture to propagate. Great organizations and leaders commit to and invest in the corporate culture by intentionally integrating CQ development into leadership competence learning programs; diversity, equity, inclusion strategy; and E/BRG initiatives. They leverage allyship and role model inclusive behaviors to create a safe space, a sense of belonging, and continuous learning from one another. That is how we close the cultural gaps, attract and retain top talent, achieve innovative breakthroughs, and outperform the competition with high-performing teams. PDJ Donald Fan serves as Senior Director in the Global Office of Culture, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Walmart Inc. 2021 Third Quarter


To Women Everywhere: We must advocate for ourselves

By Bhavana Bartholf, Chief Digital & Transformation Officer for Microsoft Commercial Solutions Areas (Global)


ver have the feeling you are working as hard as you can and driving results, yet everyone around you seems to be getting ahead of you? Have a great job that you should be grateful for but have that voice inside of your head challenging you to aim bigger? Feel a sense of guilt as a caretaker/parent/spouse when you want to make time for yourself and have your career be one of your priorities? You are not alone. A lot of us


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have this experience throughout our careers. Throughout my career I have felt different experiences, from imposter syndrome, to struggling with loyalty and prioritizing myself, to asking for what matters to me and knowing that I am worth it. And there are days when I need to remind myself that I am—and we are—making progress. Everywhere we look today we continue to witness and experience women rising to new heights. From leading in the White House,

to competing in the Olympics, to launching a mission to Mars, to raising global and societal issues associated with climate change, to running global corporations, women are making it happen. Yet we still have a long way to go. The world witnessed this last year, when during the height of the pandemic many women chose to leave the workforce to take on extra childcare and caretaker responsibilities. In Nov 2020, Melinda Gates

published on LinkedIn: Mothers remain the fallback plan. Her quote sums it up: “Our economy is built on women’s unpaid labor.” When the world was in crisis, women around the globe STEPPED UP! And honestly, this wasn’t a surprise because women live their lives adapting, navigating, instilling hope and security, making decisions, and playing many roles. It’s who we are, and I would ask you all, WHAT can we do to make change happen? For systemic change to happen, we are going to need to support each other, work together, and be clear on what we need! It starts with each of us advocating for ourselves, knowing that we are worth it. I recently hit 20 years in my

quickly realized I wasn’t truly challenged and motivated because I had not been clear about what I needed and acknowledging that what I needed mattered to me. Over the last year, I have been on a journey of self-reflection—reigniting my sense of imagination and drive; continuing to build clarity on my brand, ambition, and needs; and most important, advocating for myself and being a voice for others. For me, learning how to advocate for myself started in childhood. As a little girl growing up in India in an environment where gender-specific roles and expectations prevailed, my grandfather taught me to

your story; it is what makes you, YOU. 4. Live every day like it’s your last: Stop waiting for tomorrow. Live your dreams today. 5. Be kind to yourself: Celebrate every milestone and give yourself grace. SIMPLY IMAGINE what would happen if we all empowered ourselves and each other, and believed what we thought we could? In the next few issues of Profiles in Diversity Journal, I’ll take a deep dive into these steps and share stories about how they have changed my life once I started advocating

...women live their lives adapting, navigating, instilling hope and security, making decisions, and playing many roles. It’s who we are, and I would ask you all, WHAT can we do to make change happen?

professional career; the added impact of the pandemic, and what was happening in the world, gave me time to pause and reflect. On the surface, it would seem as if I was in a great place in my career— working for amazing leaders at a company I was proud of, with an amazing team—life seemed great. But when I challenged myself to really reflect and be honest with myself, I realized somewhere along the way, I had lost my focus and drive regarding what mattered to me in my career; my ambition had taken a back seat. The story I had told myself was that what I was happy doing what the company needed of me, and I prided myself on being a loyal employee who could get the job done. But I

simply imagine what is possible by challenging the status quo. He taught me to be curious, listen and learn, and most important, always dream big. I recently began sharing five inspiring lessons I learned from my grandfather that have helped me in both my personal and professional journey. Together, we can do amazing things when we advocate for ourselves and each other! Here are five of his teachings that I practice: 1. Believe in yourself: You can’t BE what you can’t SEE. 2. You always have a choice: You don’t have to be anywhere you are not valued. 3. Your experience is your journey: Be proud to tell

for myself. We all have so much to contribute to our families, our workplaces, and the world. I look forward to connecting here and advocating for all.

Bhavana Bartholf is the Chief Digital & Transformation Officer for Microsoft Commercial Solutions Areas (Global) and a Profiles in Diversity Journal Woman Worth Watching in Leadership for 2021. This is the first article in her Advocating for Yourself series. Stay tuned for in-depth stories in upcoming issues of Profiles in Diversity Journal, where she will share with readers how she has applied lessons learned to work and life and how they have helped her grow, change, and inspire others.

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TO HIRE THE BEST AND MOST DIVERSE TALENT By Vickie Thrasher, Senior Vice President Human Resources–Organization and People Capability, Oracle


t may seem obvious that most employers want to recruit not only the most qualified job prospects, but also bring aboard employees that, as a group, mirror the diversity of the population at large. But to do so, HR professionals must reexamine talent acquisition practices from the past and, in many cases, revamp them so that job postings encourage a diverse range of people to apply. It’s simple: If you can’t get women or underrepresented minorities to even check out a job opening, your chances of fielding a diverse workforce are pretty slim. And the reality is that getting more candidates from different demographics will lead not only to a more diverse workforce, but also a stronger one.


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Words matter in job postings To cast the widest possible net for new hires, companies must take a hard look at the wording of job ads, not only for what they say outright, but also for what they may imply. In the past, many postings incorporated what we now recognize as “code words” that discourage certain segments of the population from applying. For example, terms such as “rock star” and “driven” connote a work environment that individuals—particularly those with childcare obligations—might avoid because they hint at a hyper-competitive environment that precludes flexible work hours or remote work. Even seemingly less loaded terms like “expert” and “superior

skillset” are problematic. Research has repeatedly shown that women tend to downplay their own skillsets, while men are more apt to “fake it till they make it.” So, if a job posting lists five required skills, a woman who feels she meets two requirements won’t apply, while a man with the exact same skills will forge ahead. That means more men may be hired over comparably skilled women simply because more men applied. Older job descriptions were often not worded in gender- or age-neutral terms. I remember some ads specifying the need for recent college graduates, which could be perceived as age bias, unless the role is specific to early career professionals. Look both at what your job listings say—and what they hint at.

Job postings should not just eschew coded language that encourages a certain group of candidates to apply, while implicitly excluding other demographics. They should also list positive attributes of the corporate environment. Saying that the hiring company welcomes diversity and prides itself on fostering an inclusive workplace will help reassure female and minority prospects that they will fit in. This can go even beyond the EEOC boilerplate that is typically appended to job listings. As my Oracle colleague Traci Wade notes, “Ads that state right up front that employees can ‘bring their full selves’ to the workplace will encourage more diverse people to apply.” Another tactic used to thwart discrimination is to scrub gender, race, and age identifiers from an applicant’s profile. Professional orchestras are turning to “blind auditions” that put applicants behind a screen, while they audition, so judges don’t know the person’s race, gender, or age. While that exact technique may not be feasible for all jobs, many companies do redact such identifiers, including names from candidate referrals before forwarding them to hiring managers. In addition, some companies use voice modification technology to mask the applicant’s identity during spoken interviews.

Job postings should not just eschew coded language

that encourages a certain group of candidates to apply, while implicitly excluding other demographics.

The value of a flexible workspace The pandemic has caused a disproportionate number of women to leave the workforce, so companies seeking experienced workers might want to make a special effort to welcome those people back into the employment fold. They can do this by sponsoring networking events and webinars that make it clear the company values experience and wants to bring people back to work, even if that means they work remotely full- or part-time. Companies can also offer programs, like Oracle’s Career Relaunch Program, which helps individuals re-enter the working world through personalized onboarding, mentorship, and internal community support. One small bright spot of the pandemic era is that companies now know that remote working works well for large subsets of their employee base. Breakthroughs in video conferencing and collaboration tools mean that many employees can be as productive—potentially more

productive—working outside the traditional office, especially if they are able to set their own hours around family-care duties. I remember one manager, early in my career, who told me to be at the office 15 minutes before the 8 a.m. start time and to be “properly” attired, meaning professional dress a step above what we consider business casual in the workplace. For me, that meant getting two young kids to school or daycare before even beginning my commute. There was zero flexibility, but I did it. I can only wonder how much more comfortable—and productive—I could have been had I been afforded the sort of work choices now enabled by technology and forwardthinking management. The good news is many companies that value hiring and nurturing talent have rejected that old-school mandatory in-office mentality. Workplace flexibility has become table stakes for companies that want to hire the best and most diverse talent, because the talent now absolutely demands it. PDJ

Vickie Thrasher currently serves as Oracle’s senior vice president of HR. In her current role, she leads Oracle’s Organization Talent Development, Diversity Compliance and Inclusion, Employment Practices, Oracle Women’s Leadership, Top Talent Development, HR Strategic Communications, and Organization Design and Insights. Vickie joined Oracle Corporation in 1996 as an HR consultant and in 2000, she was promoted to vice president of business HR for North America Sales. As Oracle experienced exceptional growth, she was given additional responsibility, ultimately responsible for Business HR for the Americas. She has directed and led a variety of major initiatives in the areas of Talent and Performance Management, as well as M&A integration. With more than two decades of HR experience, Vickie has led HR teams across a variety of industries, including manufacturing, health care, telecommunications, and information technology. Vickie attended Michigan State University earning a BA in Social Science, Labor and Industrial Relations and Saint Francis University of Pennsylvania earning a MA in Industrial Relations. She currently lives with her husband Greg, in the DC metropolitan area.

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Sephora Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Progress Report

By George-Axelle Broussillon Matschinga, Vice President of Diversity & Inclusion, Sephora


n June 2020, Sephora made several renewed commitments to bring longstanding values of the brand to life. We pledged to make the Sephora experience more inclusive and equitable, for our team members, clients, and the broader beauty community. To realize these commitments, we created a holistic strategy called the Sephora D&I Heart Journey, which is supported by 11 internal D&I task forces and a detailed action plan described in our Racial Bias in Retail Study. These efforts are intended to address bias across all areas of our organization, including marketing, merchandising, hiring, training, operations, and the in-store experience. While we recognize there is more work to be done, today, I am pleased to share an update on our progress over the past year: Product Assortment: As the first major retailer to sign the 15 Percent Pledge last year, Sephora made a


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long-term commitment to expanding our supply chain and product assortment of Black-owned brands in a holistic and sustainable way, to reflect the diversity in our larger beauty community across the United States. • In June 2020, Sephora carried eight Black-owned brands. By the end of 2021, we’ll more than double our assortment overall, including achieving the 15% benchmark in prestige hair care. • As of July, our expanded offering includes adwoa beauty, BREAD BEAUTY SUPPLY, Briogeo, Danessa Myricks Beauty, FENTY BEAUTY by Rihanna, FENTY SKIN, FORVR MOOD, Grace Eleyae, KNC Beauty, LYS Beauty, PAT McGRATH LABS, ROSE Ingleton MD, Shani Darden Skin Care, Sunday II Sunday, Topicals, Qhemet Biologics. This fall, we will launch several new Black-owned brands, including

but not limited to Fashion Fair and Hyper Skin. • Additionally, last year we adapted the 2021 Sephora Accelerate brand incubator program to focus exclusively on cultivating and launching BIPOC-owned brands at Sephora. This year’s program included 54 Thrones, Eadem, Glory, Hyper Skin, lmania Beauty, Kulfi Beauty, Ries and Topicals; this past March, we celebrated the launch of Topicals on Marketing: As part of our action plan presented in the Racial Bias in Retail Study commissioned by Sephora last January, we pledged to establish new guidelines that would help

Dear Sephora Commu


In June 2020, Sephora made several renewed commitments to bring long-standing values of the brand to life. We pledged to make the Sephora experienc e more inclusive and equitable, for our team members, clients and the broader beauty community. To realize these commitm ents, we created a holistic strategy named the Sephora D&I Heart Journey, supported by 11 internal D&I task forces and a detailed Action Plan — including marketing, merchand ising, hiring, training, operations and the in-store experienc e — to tackle bias across all aspects of our organizat ion. Today, we are proud to share an update on our progress over this past year and the work that is still underway to create an inclusive environment for all. Thank you for being part

of our journey,

George-Axelle Broussillon Matschinga Vice President of Diversity & Inclusion at Sephora


ensure our campaigns, social media, and marketing content included a diverse array of backgrounds, identities, ages, and body types. • Today, Black-owned brands are featured in 15% of Sephora social and digital content, up from 11% in June 2020. We have also implemented dedicated quarterly campaigns to drive awareness of Black-owned brands. • To broaden inclusion for Sephora’s LatinX clients, we have doubled the number of Spanish-language YouTube videos produced each month. To improve the accessibility of our content, we have also incorporated closed captioning on all Sephora-produced IGTV content.

Talent & Inclusive Workplaces: Last year, we committed to the Pull Up for Change movement to ensure diversity is reflected across every level of Sephora’s organization. • Since June 2020, Sephora has increased Black/African American representation in our leadership across our stores, distribution centers, and corporate offices from 6% to 9%. Our Black store director representation has increased from 6 to 11%. • As of July 2021, our workforce is made up of: o 64% employees of color (up from 63%, as reported Dec. 2020) o 16% Black or African American employees (up from 14%, as reported Dec. 2020)

experience more inclusive and welcoming for all clients and employees, both online and in our stores. • We created 20 new training modules focusing on antiracism, unconscious bias, and cultural allyship, required to be taken by all Sephora retail employees, including a digital series which trains all Sephora employees to recognize and mitigate unconscious biases. We also created Cultural Allyship for BIPOC Shoppers training, leveraging key findings of Sephora’s Racial Bias in Retail Study and Catalyst’s report, Allyship and Curiosity Drive Inclusion for People of Color at Work. This training has been delivered to all store directors in July, and will be cascaded to all beauty advisors.

To ensure we have structures that ensure inclusive and equal opportunities to join and advance at Sephora at all levels going forward, we implemented a refined hiring process and developed a new hiring toolkit to bring awareness of unconscious bias and recruit a diverse pipeline of talent. • To celebrate important holiday milestones for a wider range of cultures, we built mini campaigns, from Lunar New Year to Eid alFitr. We also featured more of our nonprofit partners in our content work to create space for new voices and organizations, like National Cares Mentoring Movement and National Black Justice Coalition. • Finally, we continue to cultivate one of the industry’s most diverse influencer groups through Sephora Squad, with the largest group yet this year of 73 members. This year, 79% of members self-identify as people of color (compared to 51% in 2020) and the number of BIPOC members has increased by 61% since its inception in 2019. Additionally, 22% of the 2021 Sephora Squad are Spanish Speaking, which has increased from 8 to 16 members since 2019.

o 83% female identifying (up from 82%, as reported in Dec. 2020) • To ensure we have structures that ensure inclusive and equal opportunities to join and advance at Sephora at all levels going forward, we implemented a refined hiring process and developed a new hiring toolkit to bring awareness of unconscious bias and recruit a diverse pipeline of talent; we launched a Talent Incubator program to develop the next generation of diverse leaders, which comprises mentoring and coaching support for 50 managers across our corporate, distribution centers, and stores. This summer, Sephora hired 43 interns, of which over 50% self-identify as underrepresented talent of color. Retail Experience: Sephora is committed to making our retail

Thank you for taking the time to read about our work and the efforts underway to ensure that all people feel they belong at Sephora. Although there is more work to be done, I am incredibly proud of how far we’ve come in just one year, and of the efforts of the Sephora D&I team, D&I task forces, leadership, and the broader organization. I am emboldened and energized by our progress, and I look forward to sharing updates in the future, as we continue this important work. To read the full Sephora Progress Report, please click here. George-Axelle Broussillon Matschinga, Vice President of Diversity & Inclusion, Sephora

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The 1st Native American Indigenous Leaders Worth Watching™ Awards

PDJ Salutes its Inaugural Class of Native American Indigenous Leaders Worth Watching™ Award Winners For more than two decades, Profiles in Diversity Journal has honored outstanding individuals who have blazed new paths, welcomed challenges, mentored others, advanced diversity and inclusion in the workplace and the community, and excelled in their chosen fields. Now, PDJ is honoring Native American Indigenous Leaders with our first-ever Native American Indigenous Leaders Worth Watching Awards. The 13 profiles that appear in this issue recognize and celebrate the hard work and impressive achievements of these Native American/Indigenous Leaders. Each award recipient has also provided us with the answers to some interesting questions and an essay that will give you, our readers, a chance to get to know these multitalented, and trailblazing individuals a little better. Welcome to PDJ’s first Native American Indigenous Leaders Worth Watching Awards.


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Chairman of the Board

Worth Watching




Dave Archambault Sr.

Education: Master’s degree, Penn State; Bachelor’s degree, Black Hills State University Company Name: American Indigenous Business Leaders (AIBL) Industry: Nonprofit Company CEO: Prairie Bighorn, Executive Director Company Headquarters Location: Missoula, Montana Family: Married to Elizabeth Star Yellow Wood Nelson for 53 years; they have seven children

Meet Dave Archambault Sr., AIBL’s Chairman of the Board Dave has worked tirelessly his entire life to better the lives of our Indigenous communities and to advocate for Indigenous education. Not only has Dave helped to better the conditions and quality of our tribal schools in the United States, he also continues to volunteer on the boards of many tribal organizations. He dedicates his time and wisdom to the next leaders, imparting all that he has learned from his diverse experiences. Dave is a tribal elder, and we regard him with the utmost respect. David Leon Archambault, Sr. was born on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, a Hunkpapa or Sitting Bull-flavored Lakota, and has received the Lakota name, Itazipo Wakinyan/Thunder Bow. He began his career at Little Wound School on the Pine Ridge reservation, where he was a teacher and coach. During that time, Dave was witness to the educational floundering of Indian students. He decided to leave his teaching post and attend Penn State to pursue his master’s degree and search for answers to a national Indian schooling dilemma. Although many of the reasons


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that schooling negatively impacts Indian students remain largely unchanged, Dave has continued his research and found several school models that develop each child’s talents and skills, and regularly present their merits. He was recently successful in getting South Dakota’s state legislature to pass a landmark bill that will fund three pilot schools. Known as the “Indian School Whisperer” and “Joe Bucking Horse,” Dave has been a voice for future generations, advocating empowerment schooling models for Indian learners of all ages. He has headed the American Indian

Higher Education Consortium, American Indian College Fund, and Sitting Bull College. He is an experienced Tribal councilman, school superintendent and principal, and is the chairman of the board of the American Indian Business Leaders organization. Dave sits on the following boards; American Indigenous Business Leaders organization (Chairman), Tribal Workman’s Compensation Fund, Board Member Rural Ethnic Initiative, Minnesota Education Equity Policy Council, American Indian Montessori Childcare Center, and Association of Controlled Tribal Schools.






Prairie Bighorn Blount Executive Director

Education: Bachelor’s degree, business, Rocky Mountain College; MBA, University of Montana Company Name: American Indigenous Business Leaders (AIBL) Industry: Nonprofit Company CEO: Prairie Bighorn Blount, Executive Director Company Headquarters Location: Missoula, Montana

Meet Prairie Bighorn Blount, AIBL’s Executive Director Prairie is one of the kindest, most welcoming leaders I have met. She has deep ties to her culture, yet is extremely understanding of others who may not have grown up with strong cultural ties. She is a master connector—she can meet someone and connect with them in a way I’ve rarely witnessed. I believe this is because she is a natural leader and because she is genuinely interested in learning about others. Second, she has the biggest heart. Working for an Indigenous youth advocacy organization sometimes means hearing hard stories and witnessing youth going through a particularly bad time. There have been a few occasions when students we work with have run out of food, money, or adult support. Prairie drops everything to find our students the resources they need to be okay. Third, she has led the American Indigenous Business Leaders for six years. When she came on board as the new ED, the organization was

at risk of being shut down due to a lack of funding. She was able to find $1 million in grants to create an inaugural program for Indigenous youth to get practical work experience. With this budget, she was also able to hire AIBL’s second employee, which is how I was hired. We now have 5 employees and are growing every day. Without her guidance and leadership, AIBL would not be what it is today. I cannot think of anyone better suited for this award than Prairie. She is a force to be reckoned with and the role model our younger generations need to see leading our communities. Prairie Bighorn grew up on the Northern Cheyenne reservation in eastern Montana and is an enrolled member of the Fort Peck Sioux Tribe. She graduated from Rocky Mountain College, with a bachelor’s degree in business, and from the University of Montana, with a master’s degree in business administration. While she was in college, she

was an active AIBL chapter member; she worked for the National AIBL office during her graduate studies. Before joining the AIBL team, she worked in Washington, DC, providing accounting and contract-management services to help support economic development within American Indian communities. She has also served as the comptroller for the Northern Cheyenne Tribe in Montana, and worked for an auditing firm specializing in governmental compliance. In 2011, she was a recipient of the National Center for American Indian Economic Development’s 40 Under 40 Award. This prestigious award recognizes 40 emerging American Indian leaders who have demonstrated leadership, initiative, and dedication, and made significant contributions in business and their communities. In her spare time, she enjoys running, snowboarding, reading, starting new businesses, and hanging out with her family.

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Senior Counsel

Worth Watching





Katie Brossy

Education: Bachelor of Arts, University of NebraskaLincoln; JD, Columbia Law School Company Name: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP Industry: Law Company CEO: Kim Koopersmith Company Headquarters Location: Number of Employees: 1,836 Your Location (if different from above): Washington, DC Words you live by: How can my actions and decisions I make today result in a sustainable and better world seven generations into the future? Who is your personal hero? My mom and my sister What book are you reading? The Harry Potter series, with my oldest son What was your first job: Gardening Favorite charity: Notah Begay III Foundation Interests: Tennis, yoga, Pilates, and reading Family: Jackson Brossy (husband), Evan Brossy (son, 7 years old), and Jacob Brossy (son, 3 years old)

Equality Honors the Past and Informs the Future When I was a young girl, I vividly remember stories my mother would tell me of her grandfather, the last Chief of the Second Rank of the Ponca Tribe, and of her mother who served on our Tribal Council, and their work on behalf of our Tribe. I also remember when our Tribe was going through the process of being federally restored in 1990. At the time, I did not quite grasp the significance of our Tribe having been terminated by the United States government in the 1960s and then restored by an Act of Congress. However, I saw the unrelenting and tireless work that our tribal leaders undertook to regain our status as a federally recognized tribe and I knew that I wanted to follow in their footsteps to work on behalf of native people and native issues. I was very fortunate to have strong role models and mentors growing up, most significantly my mother, a


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single mother who put herself through college and graduate school, and went on to become the executive director of the Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs. She always taught me and my sister that leadership and hard work starts at home. With that strong background and encouragement, I set out to be one of the first members of my Tribe to go to law school, which is ultimately what led me to choose to represent Tribal Nations on critical policy and legal issues. During my legal career, I have continued to be blessed to have amazing mentors who have helped shape, develop, and cultivate my legal career. The late Rodney Lewis from the Gila River Indian Community, and the first Native American to argue successfully before the United States Supreme Court, and Don Pongrace, the head of Akin’s American Indian Law and Policy group, have been instrumental

in supporting me and providing sound legal and career advice. Having been privileged to have such incredible mentors in my life, I try to pay it forward to support the next generation of Native business leaders and young Native attorneys. When I meet with young Natives, I emphasize that you have to put in the hard work, keep an open mind about career opportunities, and follow the path that is right for you. The young Natives I meet with are passionate, motivated, and driven to continue to fight for tribal sovereignty and racial justice; I feel confident that the next generation of Native business leaders and attorneys will carry on the important work of our ancestors. In the spirit of Ponca Chief Standing Bear, we must all strive to make the United States a place of equality that honors the past and informs the future.






Jason Hauter Partner

Education: Bachelor of Arts, University of Washington; Juris Doctor, University of New Mexico School of Law Company Name: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP Industry: Law Company CEO: Kim Koopersmith Company Headquarters Location: Number of Employees: 1800+ Your Location (if different from above): Washington, DC Who is your personal hero? I don’t have a personal hero, but I am inspired by many people who work to make the world a better place. What book are you reading? The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin What was your first job: Paper stuffer—inserting ads in a weekly small town newspaper Favorite charity: American Indian Law Center, Inc. Interests: Backcountry hiking, camping, and travel Family: My wife, Peggy, and two daughters, Emily and Isabella

The Advice that Set Me on an Incredible Career Path I never conceived of being a lawyer until my last year as an undergrad in 1998. I started thinking about what I was going to do after I graduated. I knew I wanted to pursue a post-graduate degree, but it was not until I had a conversation with Dr. Roger Grant at the University of Washington’s Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity that I began to think about law school. I told him that I was thinking of pursing a master’s degree or a doctorate. He looked at me skeptically, and then asked me what I really wanted to do after I finished my education. I knew I wanted to return to my tribal community to help in some way. I had only briefly lived there when I was a young kid and had not lived there since. Dr. Grant suggested that I consider law school as a more practical way I might help my community, rather

than pursuing a career in academia. After that conversation, I took the LSAT, enrolled at the University of New Mexico School Of Law, which has a strong Federal Indian law curriculum, and found that the legal profession suited me. My tribal community is the Gila River Indian Community, which is located outside Phoenix, Arizona. After law school, I was fortunate enough to be hired by Rod Lewis, who was the long-serving general counsel at the Community. I was even more fortunate to not only return to my roots, but also to discover that the Community was an emerging leader among Indian tribes in the area of economic development, and was strengthening its sovereignty by investing in its governmental institutions. Because the Community was so active in a variety of areas, I was immersed in many novel legal issues and part

of a legal team that helped craft creative solutions to achieve the Community’s goals and overcome challenges. The in-house legal office was staffed with experienced attorneys; the Community also retained a number of experienced outside counsel. These experienced lawyers helped mentor me as I learned how to be a lawyer. Representing the Community became a passion that remains to this day. I eventually joined Akin Gump, but I still represent the Community and also represent other Indian tribes to help achieve their goals and face their challenges. I am forever grateful for the sound advice Dr. Grant gave me in 1998, but I would not be where I am today without the mentorship of Rod Lewis and other attorneys who have influenced me during my nearly 20-year legal career.

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Education: Bachelor of Science summa cum laude, accounting, East Central University, Ada, Oklahoma Company Name: Ernst & Young LLP Industry: Public Accounting Company CEO: Carmine Di Sibio Company Headquarters Location: New York, New York Number of Employees: 300,000 Your Location (if different from above): Tulsa, Oklahoma Words you live by: Be curious, adventurous, and brave; Be kind, grateful and positive; Embrace the adventure of change; Create your own fun; Have wonder for the world; Determination and work ethic almost always win; The team/family is always more powerful and important than the individual. Who is your personal hero? My 5x great-grandfather Wabaunsee for leadership in unimaginable circumstances What book are you reading? Sooley by John Grisham and Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek What was your first job: Student employee at East Central University Foundation, Inc. Favorite charity: The University of Oklahoma Foundation, Inc. Interests: Reading, traveling, attending sporting events, gardening, and my two toy fox terriers Family: Parents, George and Lyndall; brother, Alan; and Toy Fox Terriers Riley (age 11) and Macy (age 9)

The Inestimable Value of Grit and Tenacity Over time, I have come to believe that grit and tenacity are the secret ingredients in success, however you may define it. I see it every day in my work in public accounting, a demanding career. Client service done right requires exceptional responsiveness, which often means long hours on a moment’s notice. A relatively small number of the people who begin careers in the field remain in the field long term. Interestingly, their decision to leave is not due to a lack of technical ability. When I reflect on my own life, these characteristics are not only the keys to my career success, but I believe, the reason for my very existence. I was born unexpectedly on an August summer day less than fifteen minutes after my mom arrived at the hospital, before my dad could park the car and enter the building. With me weighing in at 2 pounds, 13 ounces, my parents 38

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were advised to not get overly confident when assessing how I was doing; there were too many uncertainties, especially in the early days, for babies born at a rural hospital three months early. However, my determination to live was strong. I am certain the characteristic comes from my family—whether it is nurture or nature, I am not sure. I suspect it is both. My grandparents, Abe and Floyce Christian and G.C. and Ethel Holloway grew up in an era in Oklahoma where resources were short. My Grandpa Holloway, from whom my Potawatomi heritage comes, was a sharecropper. My Pappaw Christian was forced to quit school at only 12 years of age to run the family farm after his dad passed away. Only one of my grandparents was able to finish high school. My mom was the first in either family to finish college, declaring her intent as a child while

picking cotton on a particularly hot day. My pappaw was proud to make sure she achieved her dream. This background undoubtedly had an impact on my parents and the way they raised my brother, Alan, and me. We were taught to work hard, always do our best, never give up, and value education. I became an accountant and my brother, an attorney. In my work and life today, when I feel strongly that something should be done or an outcome obtained, I analyze, strategize, regroup, and try again until the result is achieved. It often involves courage, resolve, strength of character, and determination—that is to say, grit and tenacity. It is a powerful combination. The views expressed by the author are not necessarily those of Ernst & Young LLP or other members of the global EY organization.


Anita L. Holloway






Dana Miller Senior Manager, Personal SystemsNew Service Introductions

Education: Electronics Technician, United States Navy; BS, mechanical engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison Company Name: HP Inc. Industry: Technology Company CEO: Enrique Lores Company Headquarters Location: Palo Alto, California Number of Employees: ~50,000 Your Location (if different from above): Boise, Idaho Words you live by: When I left the house, my dad told me, “Be good now, Dana.” Since I was a good kid, I took it to mean “be good” as a man, husband, father, grandfather... From my mother, “Never stop learning.” Who is your personal hero? My mother; she challenged me to follow my own path and never stop learning. What book are you reading? Sea Stories: My Life in Special Operations by William H. McRaven What was your first job: Electronics Technician in the United States Navy Favorite charity: St. Anthony’s Catholic Church (Neopit, Wisconsin) on my reservation Interests: Hunting, fishing, golf, and woodworking Family: Valerie (wife), Kirk (son), Elise (daughter), Kyle (daughter-in-law), and Jordyn

Harness Your Unique Talents and Lead Fearlessly Early in my career, I spent too much time comparing myself to my peers, specifically looking at style differences and attempting to emulate theirs. I did the same with our management team. I thought that if I could learn to act, think, and communicate like they did, I could achieve success in my organization. In 2007, I was recalled to active duty and deployed to Kuwait. Our battalion was tasked with managing port operations in what was then the busiest military shipping port in the world. As a chief petty officer, I was the senior enlisted leader for a company of 31 sailors. Navy chiefs have a reputation for solving problems and getting things done. By the end of the deployment, I was considered a top performer. When the deployment ended, I struggled to re-integrate back into my civilian job at HP. I knew I was capable of more, but couldn’t figure out how to replicate the success I had in my

military job. About six months after returning to HP, my boss purchased the book, Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham & Donald O. Clifton. I’m not a reader, but once I started reading that book, I couldn’t stop. It taught me that I didn’t have to learn how to be like anyone else, I could use my own strengths to achieve success. This was exactly the message I needed! My transformation wasn’t immediate, and over time I had to give myself permission to “be myself” more and more. I also learned to take on assignments that played to my strengths. Within a year, I was promoted to my first management role. Being yourself at work isn’t a novel concept and although it sounds simple, it isn’t. Almost every person of color I’ve worked with has shared examples of what they have to check at the door when they come to work. The same was true for me, and in a

much smaller ways, it continues to be true today. I’ve held a variety of different management roles over the past 11 years. I think I’ve been successful in those roles because I’ve embraced the diversity on the teams I’ve led, harnessing the power of their unique talents, and fearlessly hiring folks with skill sets different from my own. I was honored to be nominated for this award, and with my selection, I am humbled. When I first learned the news, I shared it with my wife and jokingly told her, “I think I’m a little too old to be worth watching. I’m not a young buck strutting around the powwow grounds anymore.” Joking aside I hope that my selection encourages other Indigenous people to pursue careers in corporate America. There were kids that I attended school with that were smarter than me, so I know there is plenty of talent on the reservation.

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Research Scientist

Worth Watching




Tannia Lau Mair

Education: BS, biochemistry, New Mexico State University; PhD, molecular, cell, and developmental biology, University of California Santa Cruz Company Name: Eli Lilly and Company Industry: Pharmaceutical Company CEO: David A. Ricks Company Headquarters Location: Indianapolis, Indiana Number of Employees: 34,689 Your Location (if different from above): Santa Cruz, California Words you live by: People are people through other people. Who is your personal hero? My eldest brother, Joe Lau What book are you reading? The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race by Walter Isaacson What was your first job: Selling homemade yeast bread with my grandma Favorite charity: UC Santa Cruz STEM diversity program Interests: Exploring nature, trying different foods, gardening, playing soccer, surfing, watching live music, quality time with friends/family/cat, and creating art. Family: Diné (Navajo). I am of the Naakaii Dine’é (Mexican People) born for the Malaysian People, my maternal grandfather’s clan is Táchii’nii (RedRunning-Into-The-Water Clan) Nát’oh Din’é (Tobacco people), and my paternal grandfather’s clan is Malaysian.

STEM Outreach Programs Changed My Life My goal to build a research career focusing on drug discovery and finding effective therapies for diseases began as a child. These strong desires arose when I was eleven years old as I watched my mother battle stage four lymphoma. This diagnosis came shortly after she was released from three years of imprisonment for charges related to her struggles with alcohol dependence. During her illness, I became curious about the aggressiveness of cancer and why her body could not defeat it. In addition, my maternal Navajo family attempted to aid her with traditional medicinal herbs despite her doctor’s disagreement with the mixture of modern and Navajo treatment. Their disagreement sculpted


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my interest in biology and medicinal chemistry. Unfortunately, I watched her disease progress and finally take her life, as it was untreatable with modern approaches and traditional Navajo medicine. Nevertheless, I persevered through these life-challenging events. I broke through various barriers with the help of inspirational mentors, the assistance of STEM diversity outreach programs, and my natural curiosity and determination to create a better life for myself. I am the first in my family to earn a PhD and pursue my dreams as a research scientist at a world-renowned pharmaceutical company. My ability to recognize hardship, endurance, and preservation gives me diverse views about life and cultures valuable to sci-

entific research and the community. As an industry scientist, I hope to apply my unique experiences to inspire the next generation of diverse disadvantaged STEM students and show them that it is possible to achieve your dreams and find solutions for inevitable problems. STEM outreach programs have taken me beyond the reservation and the rural borderlands of New Mexico to discover a brighter future. They have helped me tremendously to explore my ideas and delve deeper into the world of scientific research. I am eternally grateful for those who put their heart and soul into these programs. They certainly changed my life, and I will continue to be intimately involved with these efforts.






Tasha N. Repp Partner and National Practice Leader–Tribal & Gaming

Education: BA, accounting and business administration, University of Washington Company Name: Moss Adams LLP Industry: Public Accounting and Advisory Firm Company CEO: Chris Schmidt Company Headquarters Location: Seattle, Washington Number of Employees: 3,400 Your Location (if different from above): Bellingham, Washington Words you live by: “There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.” – Mister Rogers Who is your personal hero? My parents What book are you reading? Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future by Elizabeth Kolbert What was your first job: Strawberry Field Picker Favorite charity: Native American Rights Fund Interests: Camping, hiking, skiing and enjoying good food and wine with family and friends Family: My husband, Cody, is the STAT nurse at our local hospital and we have two energetic young boys, Brogan (10) and Hudson (8).

Sharing Knowledge to Empower Others When I reflect on the teachings of my elders, one of the important lessons conveyed to me is to share your knowledge with others. For my Tribe, the Samish Indian Nation, that is important for ensuring my children and generations yet to come know and appreciate our Tribal culture and traditions, but in the business realm, this is equally important. Sharing knowledge empowers others and contributes to supporting the collective community. This philosophy is something I’ve embraced as part of my career. I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to spend the last 25 years working with Tribes across the country and learning best practices from them. This has allowed me to share this knowledge with my team, clients, and prospects to ensure they have the resources to thrive and learn from the mistakes and successes of others. More importantly, and more personally

rewarding to me, is that it has also allowed me to share my knowledge and experience with organizations advocating for Tribal interests, like the Native American Finance Officers Association (NAFOA). As a result of my commitment to educating others on Tribal financial matters, I was appointed by NAFOA to represent Tribal financial reporting interests on an advisory council to the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB). Another part of working to develop new indigenous business leaders is by spending time educating the generations coming up behind us. I’ve had the pleasure of engaging with Tribal youth at events focused on understanding personal financial matters and at several career events where I get to talk about the amazing work I get to do every day, the numerous career opportunities that exist in this space, and the need for increased representation of Tribal citizens in

our business ranks. As a member of Moss Adams’ Inclusion & Diversity Advisory Board, I also dedicate my time to fostering an inclusive and diverse culture where everyone feels they belong. The board oversees specific efforts in support of this mission, including recruiting and training programs, and supporting our employee-led Business Resource Groups (BRGs). I have also had the opportunity to serve as a member of the firm’s Racial Equity BRG Steering Committee, with the goal of attracting and developing people of color and empowering everyone to continue to advance cultural inclusion to better serve diverse clients. I recognize that I got where I am today as a result of those who came before me and thank all of those who spent time helping me on my journey. I am honored to continue paying it forward.

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Assistant Vice President; Business Development Officer

Worth Watching




Veronica R. Lane

Education: BA, accounting (minor: small business management & entrepreneurship), Fort Lewis College MBA, finance, University of Denver Company Name: Native American Bank, N.A. Industry: Financial Services Company CEO: Thomas Ogaard Company Headquarters Location: Denver, Colorado Number of Employees: 30 Words you live by: Never give up. Never settle. Who is your personal hero? My late maternal grandmother, Mary—she’s the strongest women I’ve ever known. What book are you reading? Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli Weiden and Contact by Carl Sagan What was your first job: Professionally: Investment Performance Analyst at R.V. Kuhns & Associates; Very first job ever: Summer worker at Twin Lakes Chapter House Favorite charity: Various organizations supporting Indigenous students and their post secondary education Interests: Traveling, fly fishing, hiking, beading, special effects makeup, and watching the Denver Broncos. Family: I’m the oldest of my six siblings and have a typical very large extended family.

My Ideals Led Me to My Current Career Throughout my academic and professional career, I have always been a numbers-oriented person and quite analytical, but never thought of a career in banking until I was introduced to the idea by a then friend, now also a colleague. Prior to working at Native American Bank, N.A. (NAB), I worked in finance roles within corporate America—mostly at companies with no real ties to Indian Country. But I always knew I wanted to go back to my people and work in my Indigenous community. This was always a goal of mine, since the first day I left my home in the Navajo Nation to start my undergraduate studies in Colorado. After I finished my master’s program at the University of Denver (DU), which required


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working full-time and being a full-time student during the evenings, I was hired by NAB as a Commercial Credit Analyst III. I quickly realized I could utilize all of my strengths and education in this new commercial banking role—especially my undergraduate accounting degree and my analytical skills. NAB, the only nationally Native-owned community development bank in the country, was created to meet financing needs and support economic development within Indian Country. Needless to say, I was ecstatic to finally be in a position where all of my professional experience, education, and skills were being put to use for the heart work I get to do within my community. I started out my professional

career only knowing that one day I was going to work for my people and give back to my community through my service, and I held fast on to that belief no matter where my life and career took me. I always knew my experiences were building blocks. I was continuously learning and developing my skills in hopes that, one day, all of my work would provide me the opportunity to help make a difference within Indian Country and be a good leader. Throughout my career, I never focused on a specific industry or position, but rather where I could perform at my optimal level, while also doing good work for my relatives. These are the ideals that led me to my current career path and really loving what I do every single day!






Brandee Jarski Kowalzyk Partner

Education: JD, Georgia State University; BA, Minot State University Company Name: Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, LLP Industry: Law Company CEO: James K. Lehman, Managing Partner Company Headquarters Location: Columbia, South Carolina Number of Employees: 800+ attorneys Your Location (if different from above): Atlanta, Georgia Words you live by: “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” –Anais Nin Who is your personal hero? Ruth Bader Ginsberg What book are you reading? The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich What was your first job: Washing dishes at a small-town diner in the Wyoming town I grew up in Favorite charity: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women USA and CURE ( Interests: Attending my kids’ sporting events, reading, and creative writing Family: My husband is Noel Hillman. I have two biological children: Jake (13) and Sophie (11), as well as three teenage stepchildren.

Make Courageous Decisions and Say Yes to Opportunity The best advice I ever received was inscribed on a card given to me when I was admitted to law school in 2002. The words of wisdom came from Anais Nin: “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” I guess the friend who gave me the card considered it courageous for me to resign from my “safe” job in publishing and enroll in law school. In hindsight, I can see now that I have always made the “courageous” decisions when they came packaged as an opportunity. When I was 24 years old and working at my entry-level job in publishing in California, I accepted an unexpected promotion that required me to relocate to Atlanta, a city I had never even considered visiting and one where I did not know a soul. It felt like an obvious choice at the time, but twenty years later, I can recognize it for the courageous leap of faith it was.

With the perspective that comes with age and experience, the courageous decisions I have made in my legal career have been easier to recognize in real time. While I was a second-year associate, still feeling far out of my league at my big-firm job, I was given the opportunity to participate in a trial with the senior partner on my team. Suddenly, I was on my feet in a courtroom, examining witnesses and arguing motions with no safety net. The trial went well, and I was on to the next opportunity, and the next. My most intimidating opportunity came when I was first asked to speak at a large legal conference. I had agreed to give the speech eight months in advance—when the conference was so still far in the future I was confident I’d feel ready by the time it arrived. Turns out, there is no better cure for nerves than over-preparation. Now I am asked to speak once or twice a year, to

audiences of varying sizes, and I find myself truly looking forward to these opportunities. I am the chair of my firm’s Recruiting Committee and have long been a member of our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, where I’ve served as a steering committee member. I consider it an integral part of my job to mentor young law students and associates. They will all agree that I come with tons of unsolicited advice. But, without a doubt, the advice I pass on without fail is to encourage them to be the kind of people who say yes to opportunities, even when (maybe ESPECIALLY when) they are scary. Say yes to the client dinner where you won’t know anyone. Say yes to the speaking opportunity. Say yes to the challenging expert deposition. Be one of those people who rise to the occasions, especially the BIG occasions.

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Nike N7 General Manager & Visionary

Worth Watching




Sam McCracken

Company Name: Nike Industry: Sports Company CEO: John Donahoe Company Headquarters Location: Beaverton, Oregon Number of Employees: 76,000 Words you live by: Don’t be afraid to take healthy risks. Who is your personal hero? My father figure, Joe Day What was your first job: Forklift operator Favorite charity: Nike N7 Fund Interests: Coaching basketball Family: My wife

I Didn’t Choose My Career Path—My Career Path Chose Me I am from the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in Montana and an enrolled member of the Fort Peck Sioux and Assiniboine Tribes. My mom was a single mother, and my uncle, who was my father figure, was a rancher. Both showed me the value of hard work and resiliency. My mom, who went to boarding school and then joined the United States Air Force, had a very strong desire for me to help my community. In 1980, I began coaching basketball at a nearby school and continued coaching when I moved to the Bay Area. It was through basketball that I began to see how impactful sport was on kids, particularly those in my community. While coaching, I also became a certified forklift operator. A friend who worked at Nike invited me to interview at one of their distribution centers in Oregon, and I was hired in 1997. At that time, I had no idea what


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my future would look like. While working at the distribution center, I was asked to help revitalize Nike’s Native American Network, and so, in addition to my job, I became the chairman of the network. With just a high school diploma, I had come from humble beginnings, but I was determined to make a difference. In 2005, I received a call from Nike’s Sport Research Team. They were working on a sneaker that could alleviate the impact of neuropathy, a complication from diabetes resulting in the loss of feeling in your feet. Because my community has a high rate of diabetes, I had seen this firsthand. The research team did foot scans across Tribal communities and then, designed a new sneaker called the Air Native. My whole life changed with the creation of that shoe. As an Indigenous person, I

wanted to make sure my values were incorporated in Nike’s company culture and products; that’s how we started Nike N7. The N stands for Native and the 7 represents the belief we hold that we must consider the impact of our decisions on seven generations. With the creation of N7, we wanted to create a foundation for future generations to lead happier and healthier lives. More than 15 years later, the N7 collection continues. We’ve also created the N7 Fund. Since 2009, we have awarded more than $8 million in grants to more than 270 community organizations that work with Native American youth. Not bad for a kid from the reservation in Montana! Thanks to the values my family instilled in me, my work on Nike N7 has enabled me to be of service to the Indigenous community. It’s beyond what I could have ever imagined.






Heather Taylor Funding Manager

Company Name: Synchrony Industry: Financial Services Company CEO: Brian Doubles Company Headquarters Location: Stamford, Connecticut Number of Employees: 16,500 globally Your Location (if different from above): Rapid City, South Dakota Words you live by: Don’t let other people’s expectations and opinions define or affect you. Who is your personal hero? I don’t have a personal hero, but I am inspired by authentic leaders and all who have supported and inspired me. What book are you reading? Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes What was your first job: Waitress Favorite charity: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) Interests: Knitting/Crocheting, reading, and spending time with family & friends Family: My husband, Rich, and our 3 dogs (Sophie, Gibby & Chipper)

Have the Courage to Be the One to Lay the Path for Others The best advice I ever received was to keep being my authentic self—I could have a successful career and keep my core Native American Values. I am an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe (Lakota) in South Dakota, and I was taught to be proud of who I am, where I come from, and to always be proud to be Native American. I’ve always been told I needed to choose between living in the Non-Native world or the Native world. This played a major part in my career and in my personal life. If I chose the Non-Native world, I would be abandoning my culture. This thinking led me to bring less than my whole self to work every day for a long time. I held back and didn’t take the initiative I should have to further my career. I was told that, if I succeeded, I would be choosing not to be

Native American. I had a conversation with a Lakota Elder, who could see that I was struggling with this sense of having to choose. She reminded me that you can be BOTH—I didn’t have to choose. She said, “You need to have the courage to be the one to lay the path for others—help them become better versions of themselves, while still showing them that they can be proud of who they are. If your intent is to help others by sharing what you have learned along the way, then you are still being Lakota. You are showing the Lakota values of courage, humility, and caring. You can be successful and still be humble.” That advice really changed things for me and helped me find a way to balance being Native American and having a career. I found it was not as difficult as

I thought it would be, and that’s due to the sense of inclusion that we have here at Synchrony. Mentors have been pivotal in my career, to have someone who can give you the advice and guidance you need to grow professionally. The best thing I have gained from my mentors is learning to take feedback: To overcome the fear of criticism, of failing; to see feedback as a better way to do something or to better myself. Now I proactively seek out feedback and found it’s a great way to build relationships. I give back by helping others learn to find their paths—to grow professionally and gain confidence while still being genuinely and authentically themselves. I go out of my way to make sure others see the potential in themselves and know that they have the support they need to be successful.

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Spirit Keeper

Worth Watching





Barbara Dumont-Hill

Education: No formal education after high school, but loads of life experience Company Name: Consultant for many companies Your Location (if different from above): Ottawa, Ontario, Canada Words you live by: Mino Piimadiziwin which is Algonquin for “Living your life in the good way.” This phrase applies to everything in my life. We choose how we behave in relation to adversity in our lives and our environment, and in relation to other human beings. Mino Piimadiziwin is my core value. Who is your personal hero? My father, Ernest; he lived his life with courage, strength, honesty and integrity. What book are you reading? Five Little Indians by Michelle Good What was your first job: Washing dishes at our small town diner at age 11; I have worked steadily from then on. Favorite charity: The Ottawa Mission because it works so hard to feed the spirit and bodies of our community’s most disadvantaged Interests: Reading, gardening, puzzles, and being acutely aware of our natural world wherever I am. Family: Married to Larry for over 45 years; mother to a son who is also married with a beautiful daughter; I am also a birth mother of a wonderful young woman.

Touching Lives and Hearts from the Red Road I was born on the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg Indian Reserve in Quebec. I am the tenth of 13 children, born to courageous Algonquin parents and descended from a long line of Anishinabeg. I am Turtle Clan and have been following the Red Road for more than 35 years. Shortly after I was born, my mother was diagnosed with tuberculosis and sent to the TB sanitorium in Hull, Quebec. The federally appointed Indian agent came to my father and told him that my brother and I would be adopted out, while my older siblings would be sent to residential school. To keep our family together, and with the help of an American, we left our reserve to settle in a small town in West


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Quebec. Our family was the only Native inhabitants in the community. This American aided my father with employment, while three townspeople had to step forward to provide support after residents petitioned not to have us settle there. This was all taking place in traditional Algonquin territory. Growing up in that town was challenging for all of us. I was made to feel less valued than the White townspeople and I have since faced racism, both overt and covert, almost every day of my life. It is this experience that has allowed me to connect with many diverse members of our society, hear their stories, and hopefully feed their wounded spirits. I have been told by

so many people that whenever I speak, I find a way into their hearts. It is my mission to educate individuals about Native people— our history, culture, spirituality, and land stewardship—in order to get back to a relationship based on equality with the broader population. I am focused on supporting Native women and youth because they are impacted still by colonialbased laws and policies. And they are our future. We all need to respect our Mother Earth. If we respect the earth, birds, fish, plants, insects, and animals, we will respect all human beings. We need to remember that the earth and all the gifts the Creator put here for us can survive without us—but we cannot survive without any of them.

Please visit both of our websites to see the most up to date articles and awards information.

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Honoring Extraordinary Women in Leadership for 20 Years… and Looking Forward to 20 More 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. This year, PDJ is especially proud to be celebrating the 20th anniversary of Women Worth Watching—the magazine’s first “Worth Watching” award. Women Worth Watching was the brainchild of the magazine’s first editor, Katherine Sandlin. Her vision and dedication to the advancement of women in leadership was instrumental in launching this prestigious and coveted award. Over the past two decades, more than 2,000 talented and hard-working women in leadership have been showcased in the pages of this publication, and Women Worth Watching has become an important part of the Profiles in Diversity Journal legacy.


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The 103 profiles that appear in this issue recognize and celebrate the achievements of our twentieth class of Women Worth Watching in Leadership. This class of women who lead is just as impressive as the very first class. They are still blazing new trails, achieving lofty goals, and lifting others as they climb. We are very proud to present their profiles to our readers in this twentieth anniversary year. We are also proud and pleased to present here a list of 34 of our past Women Worth Watching award recipients who have risen to the role of CEO. In addition to providing our readers with biographical information, this year’s award recipients have also written essays in which they share their educational, work, and life experiences; demonstrate the value of mentors— and of mentoring others; express their gratitude for opportunities and advice they have received; and voice their hopes for the future. It is an opportunity for our readers to learn from them and get to know each of these trailblazing individuals a little better. Welcome to PDJ’s very special Women Worth Watching Awards anniversary edition.

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Before these women were CEOs, we knew they were Women Worth Watching® NAME




Mary T. Barra

General Motors



Lynne Doughtie




Ursula Burns




Ellen Kullman




Lockheed Martin






Key Bank



Archer Daniels Midland



Hershey Company



Alliant Energy



Deborah Gillis




Ilene H. Lang




Marillyn Hewson Lynn L. Elsenhans Beth Mooney Patricia Woertz Michele Buck Patricia Kampling

Karen S. Lynch

CVS Health



Frances Allen

Checkers & Rally’s Drive-In Restaurants



Alex Johnston

360 Concussion Care



JND Legal Administration

2014, 2017


Lori Singleton

Arizona Forward



Rachel Taylor




March of Dimes






Jennifer M. Keough

Stacey D. Stewart Maggie Chan Jones Dr. Rhonda Meadows

Ayin Health Solutions



Jennifer Sherman

Federal Signal



Rita Johnson-Mills

Nightingale Partners



Joyce Aiko McCulloch

Ai Inclusion



Carrie Young

Unravel My Travels



Sharon Rossi

Food Science Corporation



Kathleen Gibson

Southwestern Medical Foundation



Mary Tuuk Kuras

Grand Rapids Symphony



Task Rabbit



Heidi Shyu Inc.



Sock Enterprises Inc.






Pivot Global Partners






United Healthcare Global



Stacy Brown-Philpot Heidi Shyu Karen Sock Helena Foulkes Cynthia Hardy Young Judy Marks Amy Shaw


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Liz Osborne PARTNER

Education: PGDL & LPC, Nottingham Law School, England; BA (Hons), psychology, University of Exeter Company Name: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP Industry: Law

Company CEO: Kim Koopersmith

Company Headquarters Location: Washington, DC Number of Employees: 1,700+

Your Location (if different from above): London, England Words you live by: Every cloud has a silver lining.

Personal Philosophy: Treat people as you would like to be treated yourself. What book are you reading: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens What was your first job: Cleaner in a hotel when I was 14 Favorite charity: My Black Dog (a mental health charity) Interests: Tennis, travel, and karaoke

Family: Husband, Christian, and three children—Lola (11), Fletcher (8), and Cameron (2)

Diversity—from Nice to Have to Need to Have


he shift in mindset over the last few years, from diversity being a “nice to have” to diversity being recognized as a “need to have,” is increasingly evident. It is hard to argue against the fact that organizations are better places if they are filled with people from different walks of life, with varying experiences and perspectives. Moreover, clients are increasingly focused on it. So, what part can we all play in continuing to increase diversity in the workplace? To my mind there are four key areas to focus on: 1. Promotion: Until diverse candidates have a seat at the table in decision-making processes, it is hard to see how genuine change will happen and, for now, it remains the case that diverse representation in leadership roles is sadly lacking in most organizations. In order to accelerate that change, current leaders must seek to address gender—and other—inequality by identifying diverse future leaders and ensuring professional growth is possible for all in order to facilitate future promotion and representation through all levels of leadership. 2. Retention: Similarly, organizations must focus on retaining talent. The legal profession has admirable gender equality at the junior level, yet consistently fails to retain women as they move through to partnership. The team I am part of in London has seven partners; three of us are women.

We are all mothers. I talk about my children (often) to the associates in my team, many of whom are also women. I talk about the school run, bedtime theatrics, forgetting to order school uniforms in time, and feeding my toddler biscuits in front of the TV to keep her quiet when I’m stuck on conference calls. I am honest and open about how the “juggle” can be exhausting, but also make it clear that I wouldn’t have it any other way. I hope that, in some small way, I am a positive role model for those women who choose to have both children and a career. 3. Sponsors: For those of you in leadership positions, be good sponsors. Identify the individuals on your teams who may not naturally find their way through because they don’t fit a traditional stereotype. Go out of your way to put those people forward for opportunities they might not otherwise be given or take for themselves. For those of you building your career, identify people who will get behind you and be ready to ask for their help in achieving your career goals. 4. Mentors: We all need sounding boards, whatever our level of seniority. Finding people, whether in or out of work, with whom you can share experiences and chew through problems is invaluable. Understanding what has worked well (and less well) for others can help make your own path a little easier. 2021 Third Quarter


Ann Tadajweski

PARTNER, FIRMWIDE MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE MEMBER Education: JD, Georgetown University Law Center; BA cum laude, Dartmouth College Company Name: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP Industry: Law Company CEO: Kim Koopersmith Company Headquarters Location: Washington, DC Number of Employees: 1,700+ Your Location (if different from above): New York, New York

Words you live by: Appreciate the gifts I have been given, and work hard to share those gifts with others. Personal Philosophy: Live with integrity, resilience, and laughter; and make every minute count! What book are you reading: Noise: a Flaw in Human Judgment by Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony, and Cass R. Sunstein What was your first job: Lifeguard at the local pool at 15 Favorite charity: Ronald McDonald House; Bowery Mission Interests: Cooking, reading, yoga, hiking, and most of all, family Family: Husband of 20 years and two wonderful children

Seek Opportunity in the Challenges We Face


e women have long faced unique challenges in pursuing our career dreams, including the barriers presented by societal expectations, the limitations of the glass ceiling, and the pressures of “having it all.” I grew up in an environment in which women weren’t expected to pursue professional careers and academic counselors discouraged pursuing a challenging path because the rewards, in their words, would be “wasted.” However, was blessed with a supportive family and generous mentors, sponsors, and role models who encouraged me to make the most of the opportunities and the challenges that would come my way. The pandemic has brought new pressures for women, disproportionately increasing their burdens. At the same time, it has shined a light on the daily challenges we face and given us new opportunities to connect and lead. It has forced us to rethink so many things in our lives, and how we approach our work and interact with each other. Given the physical distances separating us, it’s caused me to be more intentional and proactive


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in all of my interactions. Communication is more important now than ever. The intentionality with which we’re reaching out has opened doors to more candid and meaningful conversations with team members and clients. It’s important to develop those avenues, not only to support current learning and training opportunities, but to set the groundwork for improvements in the way we interact and work together going forward. Many of the lessons we’ve learned will continue to provide value as we move forward in the new normal. Part of the ongoing discussion has been to seek opportunity in the challenges we face. The resilience we’ve mined in pivoting to working remotely and meeting demands, both personal and professional, in new ways, will serve us well as we meet new challenges. It has reminded us to avoid letting the goal of perfection be the enemy of the completion of a job well done. We can take what we’ve learned in this challenging environment, and build upon it to better support and develop women as future leaders as we move forward.

Shirley Dong


Education: Bachelor’s degree, electronic engineering and automation control Company Name: Advanced Micro Devices Industry: Semiconductors Company CEO: Lisa Su

Company Headquarters Location: Santa Clara, California Number of Employees: 12,600

Your Location (if different from above): Shanghai, China Words you live by: Open, honest, empathy, collaboration

Personal Philosophy: Remain true to your original aspiration.

What book are you reading: Trillion Dollar Coach by Eric Schmidt What was your first job: Firmware developer for a local company Favorite charity: Red Cross

Interests: Travel, sports, and reading

Family: Husband, one son, and one puppy dog

Leadership Is a Lonely Job


he best advice I have received came ten years ago during an offsite leadership discussion; it was this: “Leadership is a lonely job.” I was a newly promoted senior manager, and I had just been through a tough transition period for this expanded job scope, both in mindset and working style. I was taking on larger team responsibility, dealing with broader stakeholders, attending more and more day and night meetings, and more frequently traveling internationally. I often woke up at midnight and asked myself, “Was my decision today correct? Is there anything I missed in the plan? Can I do better?” It sounded a little sad when I first heard this advice, but it touched my heart immediately. I felt I was totally unleashed. I realized that the struggle I was experiencing is the journey for people who choose to be leaders. Over the past ten years, I tried to interpret this advice again and again. I believe it means commitment. We, as leaders, see the need, define the goal, make the plan, and decide independently. We must use our heart to feel, use our mind to praise, put ourselves in others’ shoes, and think through every aspect to make a thorough plan

to support the decisions we have made. We also need to be well prepared for whatever consequences arise—good or bad—for the project, the organization, the people who follow us, and ourselves. We are on our own as leaders; no one else can be blamed if the result is not as we expected. It also means persistence. The goal or destination we want is not always easily accepted by our leaders, peers, or even our subordinates, because there are a thousand Hamlets in a thousand people’s eyes. Our words may sound crazy to them, our ideas may be disagreed with, and our plan may be questioned. We must follow our own heart, stay true to our original aspiration, and influence people from time to time, to prove ourselves and reach our destination. Do not give up! Resilience is one of the most important characteristics that successful women leaders have. Someday, what we have insisted on will embrace us in return. It is my luck and honor to work in such a great company and grow my leadership career over the past 14 years. I have enjoyed this journey very much, and I hope every woman will lean in, appreciate what life has given to us, and shine in this world.

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Indrani Paul


Education: PhD, Georgia Institute of Technology Company Name: Advanced Micro Devices Industry: Semiconductors Company CEO: Lisa Su

Company Headquarters Location: Santa Clara, California Number of Employees: 12,600

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

Words you live by: Where there is a will, there is a way.

Personal Philosophy: Nothing is unachievable if you set your heart on it What book are you reading: The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod

What was your first job: Platform design engineering, Dell, Inc. Favorite charity: Vibha (Charity for children in India and USA)

Interests: Music, cooking, travel, and watching shows about space and black holes Family: Husband and 2 daughters (ages 13 and 7)

There Is Nothing You Cannot Achieve


would like to thank Profiles in Diversity Journal for giving me this prestigious award. This means a lot to me as it resonates with the values instilled by my parents from early childhood— there is nothing you cannot achieve, whether you are a girl or a boy, if you set your heart on it. My interest in engineering was fueled by my father’s experience as an engineer bringing the phone network to underserved parts of India, and my hands-on experience fixing electronics during vacations in my uncle’s workshop. As an engineer at AMD, I design next-generation, power-efficient, high-performance computer processors. Working on advances, which have been so important in powering discoveries in science, health, and education, has been a fulfilling journey for me. As I reflect, one thing I would say is that you sometimes have to make a choice in your career: Do you continue to work on challenges that you are comfortable with or do you run towards the problems that are new and difficult, but whose solutions may have a groundbreaking impact? You need to step out of the comfort zone, grasp the opportunities (problems) that come your way, and believe in yourself.


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I believe that passion and persistence are key in solving even the toughest problems. There have been times in my career when I have been stuck with deadlines seemingly impossible to meet. While it is not necessarily a magic formula, what I can say is, be patient. Persistence goes a long way in opening doors for you—technical and organizational. While a drive for success is important, it is also key to realize that being successful requires respecting diverse viewpoints, being inclusive, and ultimately, integrating these to strengthen each solution. As women, balancing personal life with professional life is a constant conflict many of us face. I think the key is not to be hard on yourself and to be flexible. There will be times when we are up against important deadlines and we have to lean on our spouses and families for support, as I have often done with my husband. That is OK. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, but you do have to come up with a plan that helps you find the right balance between work and family, and to not be too hard on yourself. Be passionate and purposeful; do not be afraid to meet problems head on.

Kim M. Vo


Education: BS & MS, materials science and engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); JD, The University of Texas School of Law Company Name: Advanced Micro Devices Industry: Semiconductors Company CEO: Lisa Su Company Headquarters Location: Santa Clara, California Number of Employees: 12,600 Your Location (if different from above): Austin, Texas Words you live by: “Failures are made only by those who fail to dare, not by those who dare to fail.” – Lester B. Pearson Personal Philosophy: Treat people with kindness. Everyone is struggling with something. What book are you reading: I read several books at a time; I’m currently rereading How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie and A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean. What was your first job: Database administrator for a shipping company Favorite charity: I do not have a favorite. Interests: Tennis and cooking Family: Husband and 2 daughters

Multidisciplinary Problem Solving—A Rewarding Career Working with engineers, I am often asked why I gave up a promising technical career to become an attorney. I explain it is because I enjoy solving multidisciplinary challenges. Working as an inhouse attorney for a technology company, I must understand and consider the legal, business, and technical fields when proposing a solution. I developed a passion for math and science in high school, when I learned that these subjects allowed me to understand how things worked. As a teenager, I asked to attend an engineering camp as a birthday present. At camp, competing in (and winning) a robot design competition cemented my desire to major in engineering. A year later, I started studying engineering at MIT. During college I tried various jobs that were valuable in teaching me which careers I did not want to pursue—computer programmer or an engineer in academia. As I narrowed my options, I questioned leaving engineering, especially when I discovered that I had a talent and interest in strategic thinking. Although a student athlete, I was never the star athlete. In high school, I was confused when a teacher nominated me for an athletic award. At the time, I presumed it was because of my top grades

on the written physical education tests. In college when I broke my hand at practice, I realized what that teacher saw in me. While training my replacement I discovered I had unique abilities to read the field and strategize. While watching the remaining season from the sidelines, I knew I wanted a career where I could leverage these abilities. However, I was still interested in understanding and improving technology. As I entered the workforce, I expected my career to lead me to work on the business side of an engineering company and possibly pursue my MBA. As an engineer, I was fortunate to land a stint in my company’s large law department. Writing patents and helping with contract negotiations, I was able to learn about technology, but had to think in new ways. I had to consider the business goals, the technology, and the laws. The puzzle became more difficult to solve; hence, more rewarding. Today, I work with teams from engineering and business to strategize, negotiate, and overcome challenges, so our company can help bring innovative products into people’s lives—from computers to helping with COVID19 research. The challenges keep growing and getting more interesting to tackle. I am glad I found this rewarding career.

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April Kates-Ellison

VICE PRESIDENT, MEMBER AND CLIENT SERVICES Education: Master of Science, DePaul University; Bachelor of Science, University of Illinois at Chicago Company Name: American Dental Association Industry: Dental Healthcare Association Arena Company CEO: Dr. Kathleen O’Loughlin

Company Headquarters Location: Chicago, Illinois Number of Employees: 401

Words you live by: It’s possible.

Personal Philosophy: If I have been granted talents and opportunities, I need to reach back and across to help move others forward. What book are you reading: Taking People with You: the Only Way to Make Big Things Happen by David Novak What was your first job: Proofreader for telephone book ad placements Favorite charity: Personal religious institution

Interests: Reading, walking, DJ-ing, and golfing

Family: Husband, mother, and an extended network of family and friends

Using My Value and Leadership for Good


ne of the most valuable lessons that I have learned is to never let anyone determine my value. While I have met a host of supporters along my personal and professional leadership journeys, I have also met those who have attempted to put me in boxes or align a narrative to accommodate their respective thinking of me. And unfortunately, race and gender have sometimes been at the center of my most disconcerting experiences. I recognize that constructive criticism can be beneficial, but I also know that automatically adopting other’s thoughts of you as truth is a dangerous habit. My mother once said, “Listen to other’s opinions and feedback, use what you need to help you grow, and discard the rest.” These words, coupled with emotional intelligence education, intentional self-care, and supportive networks have been instrumental to my leadership sustainability. My personal experiences have shaped my leadership style and motivated me to focus heavily on bringing out the best in others. I have learned that, in most cases, if you support individuals and teams with 1) a clear vision, 2) the right leadership, and


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3) the right training they will rise to the occasion. I strive to have those three building blocks be the foundation of my professional leadership legacy. While this has been my professional leadership approach, I also recognized the need to extend my leadership reach beyond my everyday job to support those in my community. I’ve always believed that. As a result, I launched the Next Steps Initiative, which is centered on advancing the next generation of leaders, particularly those from underrepresented groups. The inaugural class of 10 launched in late 2020 and culminated in a 2021 session that allowed five finalists to pitch a business or self-growth idea to a group of potential sponsors for either monetary or mentorship support. The participant’s leadership evolution was amazing and confirmed for me that developing the next generation of leaders within my community is part of my broader purpose. I move forward on my professional and personal leadership journeys excited to make a difference and give back, while learning and growing along the way.

Daya V. Fields

PRESIDENT OF PIPETTE & PURECANE Education: MBA, marketing and strategy, MIT; Graduate Certificate Program Coursework, eCommerce, digital strategy and online marketing, NYU Company Name: Amyris, Inc. Industry: Biotech Company CEO: John Melo Company Headquarters Location: Emeryville, California Number of Employees: 750 Your Location (if different from above): Greater Seattle Area Words you live by: “The future depends on what you do today.” – Mahatma Gandhi Personal Philosophy: Choose those that choose you. What book are you reading: Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World by Anand Giridharadas and Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World—and Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling What was your first job: Undergraduate summer intern at Gillette headquarters in South Boston through the Inroads Internship Organization Favorite charity: HomesFirst.Org - a Washington State nonprofit corporation with a mission to provide affordable, decent housing for low-income people in Thurston County Interests: 3-day weekends and road trips throughout the Pacific Northwest! Family: A family of 5, with 3 children, including a set of twins

How the Pandemic Caused Me to Change My Leadership Style


s a leader whose goal is to motivate, mentor, and drive teams and businesses to thrive, it’s been my greatest challenge to guide employees during a pandemic. Being empathetic and present, and helping employees grow was of the utmost importance in my approach, and I wanted to make sure I was providing guidance and inspiration throughout this time. Though these are fundamentals of my managing style, over the past year they were executed with much more intention, care, and concern. For my team (and so many others), working from home has been a tremendous adjustment, particularly for new team members who were hired during the pandemic. They’ve had to onboard and develop business relationships all online, without the opportunity for day-to-day interactions that help one get acclimated and build relationships in an office environment. The simple things were missing: grabbing coffee with a coworker, having a team lunch or an in-person meeting. As someone who was also hired and onboarded during the pandemic, I empathize and relate. What’s helped me, which bleeds into my leadership style and ability to be a mentor, is focusing on my purpose and longer-term goals. If I’m feeling overwhelmed with Zoom fatigue or missing that in-person interaction, I shift my focus back to why I’m here, and why I joined Amyris. I was brought

in to drive momentum and growth, and get clean products to families who want to change their lifestyles and make better choices. This has been the key to my career projection; it keeps me focused on my overall vision as an integral part of the Executive Leadership Team and on the vision I have for myself and my teams. Year after year I notice that one success begets another. One initiative I implemented last year was a “wins every week” internal culture to inspire continuous improvement and excellence. There’s been so much turbulence outside of work this past year I made it a priority to foster stability. I encourage my employees to find ways to operate in harmony, take a family-first approach, mitigate changes, and maintain stability. I also encourage my employees (and myself!) to set boundaries. Are there going to be exceptions when they’ll have to handle business outside those boundaries? Of course. But that’s the exception and not the rule. At the end of the day, I want to leave a positive impact on my team and community. I want my employees to trust in me, knowing I’ll always support, uplift, and guide them. We’ve all felt the impact of the past year, and as a leader, I’m proud of the support and encouragement I’ve provided during this time and the collective accomplishments, learning, and insights that have resulted.

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Sarita Rao


Education: MBA, Northwestern University–Kellogg School of Management; BComm, DePaul University Company Name: AT&T

Industry: Telecommunications Company CEO: John Stankey

Company Headquarters Location: Dallas, Texas Number of Employees: 200,000+

Personal Philosophy: Always be curious.

What book are you reading: Dare to Lead by Brené Brown What was your first job: Wholesale sales, AT&T Favorite charity: Common Threads

Interests: Avid traveler, wine lover, giving back, and thanking people Family: Nothing is more important; make (quality) time for family.

The Pandemic Showed Us How Resilient and Agile We Can Be


hange is a catalyst for growth. Sometimes you can prepare for it, and sometimes it is thrust upon you. One of the most challenging years to date was 2020. It accelerated change for everyone, personally and professionally. As a leader, I took it as an opportunity to grow and evolve, for myself and my team. In a world focused on technological advancement and automation, the pandemic reemphasized the importance of people. It forced teams to get to know their peers on a more personal level—we were essentially welcoming each other into our homes through video conferencing. The leadership team not only communicated that it was acceptable for pets, children, and partners to be co-stars on calls, but even encouraged it. If we think about it, this would never happen in an office environment. We would never put our families on speakerphone if they called in the middle of a meeting. This was a shift in our culture, with the understanding that our people are multifaceted, that further humanized the workplace. There were many additional stressors that people faced outside work. Taking care of and protecting aging parents, children shifting to virtual schooling, having the entire household at home 24x7, and on the opposite end of the spectrum, for singles being home by yourself 24x7. We provided


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a number of resources that supported our team members’ personal lives, such as flexible work hours, recommended educational applications for kids, and staycation suggestions. In a company traditionally focused on building rapport across teams and professional development, we found ourselves extending our culture to families through sidewalk chalk and Tik Tok contests. I also had to be intentional in personally connecting with my team. Previously, I would walk the office and engage in the water cooler conversations. I replaced this with “Howdy” calls and virtual coffee meetings. It was important to stay connected, even if virtually. We even tried new things to bring the team together, such as virtual cheese tastings, wine pairings, cooking classes, concerts, and museum tours. I look forward to continuing some of these elements as we go back into the office, as it helped build rapport and lasting connections with our global teams. The pandemic showed how resilient and agile people can be. It allowed me an opportunity to grow as a leader, and I am forever further connected to those I work with. The most important piece is that no matter if we are virtual, in the office, or a hybrid, an engaged team is better equipped to exceed business expectations.

Vania Schlogel



Education: Bachelor’s degree summa cum laude, economics, UCLA Company Name: Atwater Capital Industry: Financial services

Company CEO: Vania Schlogel

Company Headquarters Location: Los Angeles, California Number of Employees: 7

Words you live by: Don’t let perfect get in the way of good. Personal Philosophy: Water seeks its own level.

What book are you reading: Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner What was your first job: Cashier at Teriyaki Time in Boise, Idaho Favorite charity: TAAF (The Asian American Foundation) Interests: Basketball, gardening, and rescue dogs

Family: Esther Son (partner), Don & Selah Schlogel (parents), and Shawn Schlogel (brother)

The Gift of Perspective


f I had received an education,” my mother would often begin, followed by suggestions that she would excel at math (she is indeed very quick at arithmetic in her head) or understand how to use a computer and email. But the truth is, I do not know if my mother ever graduated high school, only that she emigrated from South Korea to the United States in her early twenties and worked to give my brother and me the opportunities she never had. In my freshman year, I was able to attend a local private school because my mother took a job in the cafeteria, affording my family not only additional income we sorely needed, but discounted tuition. As a shy 15-year-old, I would ask her to meet me in the back employee parking lot when school let out rather than bring her car to the front where my friends all met their parents. With the hindsight of adulthood, I now realize I felt ashamed that my mother was the school lunch lady, when I should have been proud that my mother loved me enough to work at the cafeteria during the day and as a waitress at night just so I could receive the best education she could give me. Throughout my early career and even now,

when others comment on my work ethic, I have always shrugged at the notion. After all, how could anything I did in front of a computer compare to busing tables or lifting heavy boxes of frozen foods for $6 an hour? My mother gave me a gift—not just the gift of education, shelter, food, and love as I grew up; she gave me the gift of perspective. Although I now navigate this world with a college degree, polished English, and career accolades, I am also keenly aware that there is someone out there now working much harder than I for far less, just like my mother did. I am aware that often this disparity has nothing to do with talent or intelligence, but rather, the fickleness of opportunity in this world, and how and when it presents itself. With this perspective comes great responsibility, but also a desire to help build a world in which opportunity is less an unseen foe, and more a beloved and reliable friend. I believe in a world of equitable opportunity because I have experienced how transformational this has been to my own family in one short generation. I believe this transformation has the power to shape entire societies to become more loving, happier, and healthier.

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Leslie C. Overton

PARTNER AND CHIEF DIVERSITY & INCLUSION OFFICER Education: JD, University of Michigan; BA, University of Pennsylvania Company Name: Axinn Industry: Law Company CEO: Matthew Becker, Managing Partner Company Headquarters Location: New York, New York Number of Employees: 162 Your Location (if different from above): Washington, DC

Words you live by: My mother’s advice: “You almost always have more options than you think.” Personal Philosophy: Micah 6:8: “[D]o justice…love kindness, and…walk humbly with your God.” What book are you reading: Everything Inside: Stories by Edwidge Danticat

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: Genealogy, live theatre, and African-American literature Family: Husband, Spencer Overton, and sons, Sterling (19) and Langston (15)

I Live My Passion Every Day


am passionate about diversity and inclusion in the workplace and society. I know from my own family history that diversity and inclusion can be transformative. My maternal grandmother, who grew up picking cotton in the Mississippi Delta, had big dreams, despite the extremely limited professional opportunities available to most African-Americans during Jim Crow. She actually wanted to be a doctor; that was not practical for a poor Black woman from the South at the time, so she chose nursing. She settled in my hometown, Detroit, Michigan, and enrolled in nurse anesthetist training. Thereafter, she obtained a position and became the first Black nurse anesthetist in the city. She was dedicated to her career, became a department supervisor, and worked until she was 70. Thanks to her successful career, she was able to comfortably provide for her children, live in a beautiful home, and help support her husband’s dreams. (My grandfather was a dermatologist at a time when many Black people could not afford such medical services.) I think about how she must have inspired other Black women to believe that they, too, could thrive in specialized, predominantly white fields. Seeing her journey gave me greater confidence to become a trailblazer myself, as one of a relatively small number of Black women in the antitrust field and the first to ever serve as a deputy assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice’s


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Antitrust Division. As an antitrust lawyer, I believe that robust competition among companies benefits consumers through lower prices, greater innovation, and higher quality. I am of the strong opinion that when individuals from diverse backgrounds are able to compete in the marketplace for talent, without discriminatory barriers placed on their ability to be hired or promoted, the teams and companies they join perform better. Racism and other forms of discrimination, in my view, suppress competition, in addition to causing other pernicious harms. I am extremely fortunate to be able to pursue my passion as Axinn’s new chief diversity & inclusion officer, while also continuing to practice antitrust law. I look forward to working with our colleagues to help ensure that we are attracting outstanding attorneys from a diverse range of backgrounds, and that all of our lawyers are well positioned for success and advancement. Because studies show diverse teams perform better, I believe my work as CDIO will strengthen the firm’s ability to offer best-of-breed representation and earn business from new and existing clients. I expect my training as an antitrust lawyer, and my understanding of competition and barriers to entry, will help me in my new role. I am grateful for the opportunity to combine my passions for diversity/ inclusion and antitrust to do this important work.

Danielle Sakai


Education: BA, history, law & society, University of California, Riverside; JD, Loyola Law School Company Name: Best Best & Krieger LLP Industry: Law

Company CEO: Managing Partner Eric Garner Company Headquarters Location: n/a Number of Employees: 381

Your Location (if different from above): Irvine, California

Words you live by: You learn as much from when you don’t succeed as when you do. Personal Philosophy: Give credit where credit is due.

What book are you reading: Kanye West Owes Me $300 by Jensen Karp

What was your first job: A babysitter when I was 11; grocery bagger at Bristol Farms at 15 Favorite charity: Girl Scouts

Interests: Mentoring girls through Girl Scouts, travel, trying new food, and dogs Family: Husband of 18 years, Yuji; 2 daughters, Sarah, 13, and Leah, 8

What the Pandemic Has Taught Us about Work


he pandemic has caused a seismic shift in our zeitgeist, especially in the legal industry. Most law firms tend to have traditional outlooks on the workplace (i.e., everyone must work in an office, meetings need to be faceto-face, things only get done when people are in-person, etc.). The pandemic challenged all preconceived notions when it forced the world to work remotely, including older professionals in more established positions who were forced into it. What transpired was the realization that people can be very productive while working from home. Over the next five years, employers will realize that they can continue to offer more flexibility, while receiving a quality work product. People will spend less time sitting in traffic and be happy to have the time back in their day to be more productive in other areas of their lives, including work. Fewer people in traffic also means a reduced global footprint, and anyone can just as work just as effectively via Zoom, rather than trekking to the office. The flexibility to work from home also allows us to have people in the workforce who may otherwise have “dropped out.” Now that we

have learned that people can be connected in nontraditional ways, we do not have to lose talent because they need additional flexibility or an alternative path. Another thing I hope will evolve out of the pandemic in the next five years is that employers will embrace the humanity of those who work for them. Prior to 2020, working parents were often taught that they needed to keep parenthood and work separate, and it is “not professional” to talk about family or leave work to tend to children. The pandemic dropped us into each other’s homes and personalized us as people. We were exposed to each other’s lives and shared the struggle of parenthood. We were more productive because we were in our element and allowed to be ourselves without the parental guilt that plagues many of us. If the workplace evolves to allow more people to work from home over the next five years, I hope the extra time we receive will be considered a gift allocated toward finding balance in our lives rather than more work. The time should be put into family, the community, local charities, and other work to help us all be more fulfilled people and members of society.

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Laura L. Carroll PARTNER

Education: BA with highest honors, University of California Santa Barbara; MA, Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences; JD cum laude, Harvard Law School Company Name: Burns & Levinson LLP Industry: Law

Company CEO: David Rosenblatt and Paul Mastrocola, Co-Managing Partners Company Headquarters Location: Boston, Massachusetts Number of Employees: 250

Words you live by: Just do it (I was saying that before Nike adopted as its catchphrase).

Personal Philosophy: Be nice to everyone on the way up because you might meet them again on the way down. What book are you reading: All the Devils Are Here by Louise Penny What was your first job: Cashier at a hardware store

Favorite charity: Charlestown Mothers Association, a nonprofit in my neighborhood

Interests: Running, travel, politics, family, reading, knitting, and staying curious and connected Family: Three children, all in their 20s, and large extended family

How I See the Pandemic Changing the World of Work


hile one cannot minimize the suffering and tragedy of the COVID-19 pandemic, we can and should acknowledge its profound impact on the professional workplace. When I began practicing law more than 40 years ago, there were few women with young children— many women felt they had to choose between career and children. When I adopted my first child in the early 1990s, I felt that I was expected to continue my job seamlessly, despite the fact that I was now also raising a child. Undeterred, I adopted a second child four years later, and then gave birth to a third three years after that. Interestingly, my clients always thought that this was quite exciting, while I was called upon to respond to expressions of concern and “Can she still do her job?” queries by my (now former) employers. What a breath of fresh air when I joined Burns & Levinson 20 years ago, with three young children in tow, and no one blinked an eye. What does this have to do with the pandemic? While my current firm is very family-friendly, the pandemic has caused many more people to


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realize that they want to lead a holistic, rather than compartmentalized, life. Mothers have been impacted more by the pandemic, as many added remote schooling duties to their already full plates. In more traditional families, the COVID lockdown months gave many men a firsthand look at what was involved on the home front. My firm, which I consider enlightened on family issues, has been clear that there would be no pressure to return to the office until schools and daycare are fully open, and that, even then, people could adopt whatever combination of home/hybrid/in-the-office situation that worked best for them. While I am the first one to admit that I get more work done in an office setting, the expectation that employees will be in the office five days a week, with in-person face-time, is now likely a thing of the past. Instead, people will have the latitude to attend to their personal lives, as long as work ultimately gets done, wherever one is located. In other words, no needs to sneak out of the office to catch your child’s soccer game, hoping no one will notice you left early.


Education: JD, Suffolk University; BS, Boston College Company Name: Burns & Levinson LLP Industry: Law

Company CEO: David Rosenblatt and Paul Mastrocola, Co-Managing Partners Company Headquarters Location: Boston, Massachusetts Number of Employees: 250

Words you live by: Energy and a good attitude are contagious.

Personal Philosophy: The most challenging moments are the most rewarding. What book are you reading: Becoming by Michelle Obama What was your first job: Swim coach Favorite charity: St. Cecilia Parish

Interests: Travel, lake life, swimming, and cycling Family: Husband Adam, daughter (9) and son (6)

How the Pandemic Changed My Leadership Style


hen the pandemic shutdown began in March 2020, at first I tried to recreate my office life at home—shut doors, silence on the other end of the phone line, and a desk space far away from my living space. In my attempt to recreate that office “quiet zone,” I ended up working out of my family’s storage space in the unfinished part of the basement. Needless to say, spending my time in a dark and dingy basement was not exactly an ideal way to boost my mood during working hours or promote excellent work. It became apparent very quickly that pandemic work from home had to shift along with my leadership style. I embraced the “home” piece of working from home and, as the co-chair of our firm’s Business Litigation Group, encouraged my colleagues to do so as well. That meant hearing a dog or child interrupt a call with a bark or a question. Or scheduling a meeting around a team member’s family dinner

or allowing myself and others to take calls outside, from a playground or in line for school pick up. Litigation by its nature is a 24-7 job and we must be available for our clients whenever an issue comes up, but COVID-19 changed the need for everyone’s “walls” to be up at all times. We know each other better as a result and that makes for stronger client and work relationships, which is something good that has come out of such a difficult time. Most importantly, the pandemic helped me break down my own walls and barriers, and develop a new way of leading with a true focus on meeting people where they are emotionally. Effective leadership comes from empathy—acknowledging that you understand what the other person is going through and working with them to be their best self in that place, to get the best results. This style has allowed me to be more engaged with my colleagues and to meet them on a deeper emotional level to achieve success together as a team.

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Education: BA, Middlebury College; JD, Suffolk University Law School Company Name: Burns & Levinson LLP Industry: Law

Company CEO: David Rosenblatt and Paul Mastrocola, Co-Managing Partners Company Headquarters Location: Boston, Massachusetts Number of Employees: 250

Words you live by: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Personal Philosophy: Live and let live.

What book are you reading: Every Note Played by Lisa Genova What was your first job: Grocery store clerk

Favorite charity: It is a tie between the MSPCA and the Martin Richard Foundation. Interests: Animal welfare and hockey (watching, not playing)

Family: I cherish my family and am blessed to be rich in love. I am married, have a son and a stepson, three siblings, parents who are approaching 55 years of marriage, and many close nieces and nephews.

...I strive to understand that everyone comes with different experiences and perspectives, to listen to and learn from those I work with and for, and to mesh different styles and comforts with standards necessary to provide top client service.

The Best Advice I Ever Received Was “Wear Comfortable Shoes”


am sure you are asking yourself what wearing comfortable shoes has to do with succeeding as a woman in a law firm. Of course, there is the obvious: When you are wearing comfortable shoes, especially in court, you are not distracted and can focus on the job you are there to do. But, to me, the advice to wear comfortable shoes is about much more than footwear. What it really means is that you should be yourself—be comfortable in who you are and stop doing things solely because you think you will impress other people or appear a certain way. I have had the privilege of working with many different women (and men) with many different styles in how they approached their work, how they handled adversity, the passions they pursued,


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and in their choice of shoes. Rather than model myself after any of these dynamic women, I saw the success each achieved while still being quite different—and being themselves. And so, I became comfortable with myself and finally heeded the advice I had received. In so doing, I have also been able to recognize that what makes me comfortable is not what makes everyone else comfortable. In my role as chair of a practice group in a major law firm, I strive to understand that everyone comes with different experiences and perspectives, to listen to and learn from those I work with and for, and to mesh different styles and comforts with standards necessary to provide top client service. And, I wear comfortable shoes.

Svetlana Mostovsky


Education: Bachelor and Master of Arts from CUNY, Brooklyn College Company Name: Catalyst, Inc. Industry: Not-for-Profit

Company CEO: Lorraine Hariton

Company Headquarters Location: New York, New York Number of Employees: 105

Words you live by: When you think positive, good things happen. What book are you reading: Longbourn by Jo Baker

What was your first job: Food shopping for the elderly and homebound Favorite charity: ChildFund.

The Best Advice I Ever Received


ttracted to the mission, I came to Catalyst a little over 20 years ago with the goals of contributing, in some small way, to the great work the organization was doing and to hone my administrative skills. I was a recent college grad, unsure of what I wanted to do with my life, but firm in my desire to work for an organization that had a strong sense of purpose and contributed to the greater good. At Catalyst, I was struck by the number of exceedingly smart and accomplished women. I was surrounded by more women role models and mentors than I could have ever hoped for. Yet the advice of my very first manager is still something I always remember: “Be comfortable with ambiguity, because individuals who roll with the punches are the ones who rise to the top no matter what changes are taking place—and when you make a mistake, learn and move on quickly; don’t beat yourself up over mistakes, especially when they present an opportunity to learn valuable lessons.”

She acknowledged that this is sometimes the hardest advice for women to follow, and I find that to be true. I also learned the importance of building on one’s strengths rather than weakness; developing expertise in an area, yet being open and flexible to take on new challenges and opportunities; and nurturing coworker relationships. My years in the development function have led me to take on various aspects of fundraising, which allowed me to realize that I love making the big asks and working with companies and individuals on investments that create the biggest impact through their donations. At the same time, I fully acknowledge that my most important partners in a successful outcome are my colleagues. I’ve never been afraid to ask others for help or admit when I don’t know something, which is often. I’ve found that if you are honest about what you don’t know, you’ll often be surprised by people’s generosity in offering their time and their willingness to help.

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Teri Nestel

PRESIDENT & CEO Education: I attended the University of Arkansas, where I studied Business Administration. My real education came in applying what I learned in college— mostly from traveling; engaging with lots of people who were very different from me; and experiencing loss and failure—learning to self-correct and keep moving forward. Company Name: Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Industry: Nonprofit Company CEO: Teri Nestel Company Headquarters Location: Salt Lake City, Utah Number of Employees: 170 Words you live by: Never let fear decide your fate. Personal Philosophy: I am guided by my core values around family, meaningful work/ service to others, and an optimistic mindset. What book are you reading: The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander; Bring Me the Rhinoceros by Jim Tarrant What was your first job: Pizza making Favorite charity: Is it biased of me to say Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals? Family: Husband, Dan, two adult children, three grandchildren, and two very large and very furry Great Pyrenees

2020—a Year I Will Never Forget


he year started as the best of times—Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals had just celebrated the most successful year ever, raising more than $444 million in critical funds for children’s hospitals. We were soaring into 2020 with a massive wind in our sails and high hopes for another great year of changing kids’ health to change the future. It quickly shifted to the worst of times when, in February 2020, our CEO passed away unexpectedly from a tragic cycling accident. And at that moment, I moved from thinking about the tasks we needed to accomplish to caring for our people. We needed to come together and share our experiences, talk about what had happened, and what our beloved CEO meant to each of us. It turned out to be the beginning of the healing process for everyone. Little did we know what the near future would hold. A month later, the pandemic began spreading into the United States. The stay-at-home orders started to take hold. Two days into working from home, we experienced a 5.1 magnitude earthquake very close to our corporate headquarters. We had to quickly begin making big decisions that would significantly impact our ability to achieve


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our mission. I leaned heavily on my colleagues on the executive team, our senior leadership team, and our board and network members. Together we gathered the best information possible to help us make good decisions. We canceled our annual conferences and began planning virtual activities. Many of our major multimillion-dollar fundraising campaigns were canceled or postponed. We quickly moved to virtual or digital platforms for many of our efforts. And we all learned to conduct our work on Zoom. As I reflect now on how my leadership style changed, I learned to adapt quickly, get comfortable with uncertainty, and still be fully present in the moment. Frequent communication with our organization projected calmness and reassurance for everyone concerned, which in turn, maintained enough stability to keep our organization going during the pandemic year. From the beginning, I shifted from worrying about the pandemic’s impact on our fundraising to the well-being of our employees, hospitals, and partners. Through all of this, I reaffirmed that caring about others in times of crisis is what really binds us together and, interestingly, moves business forward.

Meredith Elkins HIRING PARTNER

Education: JD, University of Texas School of Law; BA, University of Southern California Company Name: Cohen Ziffer Frenchman & McKenna LLP Industry: Law (Insurance Recovery) Company CEO: n/a

Company Headquarters Location: New York, New York Number of Employees: 30

Words you live by: No asky, no getty.

Personal Philosophy: It’s easy to be passionate about work with the right people on your team. What book are you reading: Fair Play by Eve Rodsky

What was your first job: Kids’ shoes sales associate at Nordstrom Favorite charity: Genesis Women’s Shelter in Dallas, Texas

Interests: Broadway shows, trying new restaurants, and hiking with our dogs Family: My wife, Lauren, and our two dogs

Post-Pandemic—the Hard Work Is Only Just Beginning


here is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed fault lines in who our society and our government deem “essential,” valuable, and worthy of health and stability. The disparate impact of COVID on people of color and lower-income communities has shed light on deep inequalities that many Americans have suffered for centuries. While shockwaves from the pandemic will stick with our society for years to come, we also have an opportunity to learn and grow from its revelations. To do this, we have to ask ourselves some hard questions. First, how do we as individuals and businesses work to see our values reflected in society at large? If we were heartbroken to learn that Americans of color are four to five times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID, what will we do differently to move toward health equity in the United States? How can we use our resources to give underserved communities a fighting shot against future public health crises? And pandemic aside, how do companies retain people from traditionally underprivileged communities and prove they actually value diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging? Next, why did women (particularly women of color) leave the workforce in such higher numbers than men? How do we create workplaces and homes where women can continue to excel in their careers during a childcare emergency, and are not

forced to choose between being successful at work or at home? Women want to work in an environment where they are respected, appreciated, challenged, and offered equal opportunities. We also want to have a support system, both at home and in the office. Post-pandemic, I hope we continue to see increased flexibility in work schedules and locations to allow parents, women especially, to do both well. Finally, how do we increase the quality of our personal connections after Zoom is no longer our only means of face time? After the past year, we know our relationships with family, coworkers, and clients are critical to both professional success and overall well-being. Personally, I plan to continue holding frequent videoconferences and calls with my clients, as the shift to remote work has allowed them to feel more connected to their legal teams and their cases. Someone who may not have previously traveled for a hearing can now watch it remotely, see their attorney in action, and hear their adversary’s and the judge’s impressions of the case. That familiarity leads to lawyers and clients working more closely together and feeling like a unified team. Of course, asking these questions is only the first step. While the pandemic has made it easier to have conversations about what needs to improve, the hard work is only just beginning. 2021 Third Quarter


Bawana Radhakrishnan WORLDWIDE DIRECTOR OF GLOBAL INDIRECT PROCUREMENT & DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION Education: MBA, Marketing, University of Mumbai; Bachelor of Commerce, University of Mumbai Company Name: Colgate-Palmolive Industry: Consumer Goods Company CEO: Noel Wallace Company Headquarters Location: New York, New York Number of Employees: 34,000 Words you live by: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi Personal Philosophy: I am responsible for my destiny and for the decisions that I make. And it is these decisions that have gotten me where I am today. Said another way, I am the owner of my own destiny. What book are you reading: The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway; there is something about the human spirit that speaks to me. What was your first job: It was in sales—selling outdoor publicity. It’s where I learned the importance of building trust in business. People don’t buy products, they buy trusted promises and solutions. Favorite charity: The World Wildlife Fund and several women empowerment programs across the United States and India Interests: Music, food, and travel; the three combined connect me with different cultures and help shape my view of the world. Family: Family has a profound impact on my life; it has shaped my values and belief system.

I quit my “American accent” and told myself to be proud of who I am. I decided to believe in the value I bring and the unique contributions I can make. If I have the confidence in myself, others will see it and value me, regardless of the way I speak.

Deciding to Be My Authentic Self Changed Everything


arly in my career, I migrated from India to the Midwestern United States. From the beginning, in many social and professional settings, I began to perceive a bias—the feeling that regardless of my educational credentials or my ideas and skillset, the color of my skin and my non-American accent created a stronger impression of my knowledge and intelligence. Naturally I could not do much about the color of my skin, but I decided I needed to sound like my American colleagues to “fit in.” As you may know, most Indians raised in urban cities speak fluent English. In my family, English is the primary language. It is my native tongue, and it is the language I use when I think and write. In my attempt to fit in, I decided to put on what I considered to be an American accent. The result? I found


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myself having to translate my thoughts in my head from English to American every time I spoke. Over time, I realized this started impacting my confidence, making me second guess anything I said before I expressed it. About three years into what had become a personally trying time for me, I had the opportunity to switch roles and join a new company. That was when I made one of the best decisions in my life. I quit my “American accent” and told myself to be proud of who I am. I decided to believe in the value I bring and the unique contributions I can make. If I have the confidence in myself, others will see it and value me, regardless of the way I speak. Had I not had the courage and confidence to be my authentic self, I do not believe I would be where I am today.

Kathleen Beitzel


Education: BS, pharmacy, Ohio State University Company Name: Omnicare, a CVSHealth Company Industry: Long-term care pharmacy Company CEO: Jim Love, President Omnicare; Karen Lynch CEO CVS Company Headquarters Location: Woonsocket, Rhode Island Number of Employees: Omnicare–7,000; CVS–300,000+ Your Location (if different from above): Van Buren, Ohio Words you live by: Slow down to speed up. Personal Philosophy: “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” – Max Planck What book are you reading: The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore (for the 3rd time—highly recommend!) What was your first job: Pharmacy clerk (at the family store, so shelf cleaner, bow maker, etc.) Favorite charity: Honor Flight

Interests: Traveling, spending time with family, reading, and woodworking Family: Married to my best friend Todd; 2 adult children Dr. Megan Early (Keenan Reese), Matthew Early (Devon Early), and 2 bonus adult children, Elena Beitzel and Nicholas Beitzel (Boston Siferd)

We Are Breaking through that Glass Ceiling


hank you Profiles in Diversity Journal for this award and for highlighting women in leadership! I am honored to be recognized, as this award is demonstrating that the glass ceiling is breaking all over the country. I am privileged to work for a Fortune 4 company led by a strong woman, Karen Lynch. Her leadership team is increasingly diverse and filled with talented and amazing women. While some women may still bump up against the glass ceiling, there are more and more examples every year of instances where talented and deserving women are breaking through. I was blessed with supportive parents who encouraged and expected the same from my sister and me as they did from my brothers. I did not even realize there was a glass ceiling until I really started down a leadership path. I have also had many strong mentors in the past who, regardless of gender, have encouraged me to push forward and expect as much from myself as they expected from me. At one point, I realized my glass ceiling

was there because I put it there. Why, how, and when I put it there is irrelevant, but realizing that I controlled it was a turning point for me. Turning that realization into action was a fun and rewarding journey. I want my daughter and all women to know that they control their future. To paraphrase amazing advice my daughter received from one of her mentors at graduation: “You don’t have to be the loudest or an extrovert to be heard. Be you, and go break the glass ceiling!” Take advantage of the mentors in your life and learn from them. Ask them questions, and you will be helping them every bit as much as they are helping you. While I am thrilled with so many examples of woman in leadership positions this year, I look forward to the day that it’s not the exception, but the new normal. My advice to future generations of woman is this: “Don’t be satisfied with examples of the glass ceiling being broken. Keep pushing until the term is removed from our lexicon and you truly believe the sky is the limit!”

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Jennifer Callahan

VICE PRESIDENT, MEDICARE PRODUCT AND IMPLEMENTATION Education: MBA, MBA, NC State University; Bachelor of Science, Fordham University Company Name: Aetna, a CVSHealth Company Industry: Health care

Company CEO: Karen Lynch

Company Headquarters Location: Woonsocket, Rhode Island Number of Employees: 300,000+

Your Location (if different from above): Waxhaw, North Carolina Words you live by: Every day is an opportunity to do better.

Personal Philosophy: Every problem has a solution and difficult problems need a mix of patience, creativity, and perseverance to solve. What book are you reading: Dare to Lead by Brené Brown

What was your first job: Administrative assistant in a law office Favorite charity: Girls on the Run

Interests: Running, reading, and spending time with my beautiful family

Family: Fortunate to have a wonderful, supportive husband and three amazing children

How Opportunity Shaped My Career Journey


pportunity is a tricky word. It’s the one constant that presented itself at every step along my career path. But opportunity took different forms for me. The ability to recognize it and act upon it proved critical in leading me to where I am today. I started college in the pre-med program. I failed and failed fast. Working two part-time jobs simply became too much for me, while handling the academic demands of a pre-med major. After a disastrous first semester, I decided to major in the one subject where I had achieved high grades—philosophy. The next summer, I took a part-time job as an administrative assistant at a start-up technology consulting company. Although I was surrounded exclusively by males, I was fortunate because they did not see “a girl” or “a secretary,” they saw a young person who was bright, willing to help, and eager to learn. One day, one of the senior developers asked me, “Why philosophy?” I explained that I simply loved logic. After I rambled a bit about Plato’s Republic and Kantian ethics, he smiled at me and asked, “Why don’t you work with logic and get a paycheck?” He pointed to his computer and said, “A light bulb can only be on or off, right?” I quietly responded, “Yes.” He continued, “Well,


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that’s all a computer is, a series of on and off switches; if you understand on and off, you can program a computer.” Opportunity had sneaked up on me. He took the time to teach me how to become a software developer, while I earned a degree in computer science, which in turn helped jump-start my career as a software developer immediately out of college. About eight years later, another opportunity presented itself in a quiet way. I worked for a leader who appreciated my technical skills and inquisitive nature. Amused by my intellectual curiosity, he offered to teach me health care economics, start to finish, if I continued to quickly produce the reports he requested. After a year of mentoring, he moved on and the company needed someone to replace him. He said, “I have just the woman you need.” And at just 26 years old, I was given my first P&L to run, managing over $2.7 billion in revenue. Pure intellectual curiosity fueled my opportunity and it paid off tremendously. Opportunities do not always present themselves in obvious ways. The most important opportunities afforded to me came from failure and simple curiosity. But being open to opportunity is what made all the difference in my career journey, and if I could offer any career advice, it would be to remain as open to opportunity as you can.

Dr. Jacquetta “Shea” Manigo


Education: BS, University of Florida; PharmD, Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC); MBA, The Citadel Company Name: CVS Health Industry: Health care

Company CEO: Karen Lynch

Company Headquarters Location: Woonsocket, Rhode Island Number of Employees: 300,000

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

Words you live by: “You don’t get what you want in life, you get what you intend.” – Oprah Winfrey Personal Philosophy: “Your legacy is every life you’ve touched.” – Maya Angelou What book are you reading: A Promised Land by Barack Obama

What was your first job: It was in Atlanta, where I worked during the summer at a movie theater. Favorite charity: MUSC Foundation

Interests: SEC Football, traveling with my family, and riding my Peloton.

Family: Husband, two sons (21 & 10), and a host of siblings, nieces, and nephews.

Leading Is Serving


was born in a rural town in South Carolina. When I was 4 years old, my mother, at the age of 43, died from heart failure. My oldest brother and his wife reared two of my siblings and me. They brought meaning to the phrase “it takes a village.” That defining moment was the impetus for me to pursue a career in health care. I wanted to help save the lives of others’ loved ones. When I was in high school, an administrator called me into his office. He told me I had a perfect GPA and could be the first black valedictorian in the history of my high school. He also told me our community was rooting for me. It was the first time I felt a sense of responsibility for a cause larger than myself. I emerged from his office enlightened and even more determined. We did it. Upon graduation, I attended the University of Florida. I didn’t feel a strong community for minorities who wanted to pursue careers in health care; I decided to lean in. Along with a few close friends, we chartered a minority pre-health organization. Recently, I was reunited with the chapter president, who shared with me that it had won chapter of the year—over 25 years later. I’m a firm believer that your legacy is what you do for others. After college, life happened. I had my oldest son and shortly thereafter lost a sister in a

murder-suicide. I enrolled in pharmacy school at the Medical University of South Carolina as one of the few students with a child. I earned a PharmD and an MBA as a single mom. My community made it possible. I got married two weeks before my pharmacy school graduation. Our second son, who was born with a heart defect, had open heart surgery at the age of three. I remember how powerless my husband and I felt and how we trusted our son’s care to the doctors and pharmacists. It was another defining moment that amplified my passion for the field of health care. While I was building my family, my career was also accelerating. Leading is serving, and there is nothing an empowered team that feels a sense of community can’t achieve. I am thankful for the connected leaders who invested in me—who challenged me. My commitment is to reciprocate, to share my leadership lessons, to make purposeful and passionate use of my platform, to shatter ceilings, and to open doors. I honor my mother’s legacy through my family, community involvement, philanthropy, and work. Like my experience some decades ago, I purposely connect with others to help them emerge more enlightened, inspired, and determined.

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Jennifer Nicholus

VICE PRESIDENT, CLIENT OPERATIONS Education: BA, economics, English literature, St. Mary’s College (Indiana); MBA, organizational behavior, Lake Forest Graduate School of Management Company Name: CVS Health Industry: Health care Company CEO: Karen Lynch Company Headquarters Location: Woonsocket, Rhode Island Number of Employees: 300,000 Your Location (if different from above): Northbrook, Illinois Words you live by: Treat others as you wish to be treated. Work hard and be nice to others. Personal Philosophy: “Gratitude is not only the greatest of all virtues, but the parent of others.” – Cicero What book are you reading: The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson What was your first job: The summer between 7th and 8th grade, I was bussing tables at a local café. Favorite charity: Haven House in Hammond, Indiana Interests: I enjoy traveling, college football, concerts, reading, and fitness—I try and work out every day Family: I’m the mom of three wonderful children—a daughter, 16, and twin 12-year-old boys; we also have a big, black Labrador named Blue.

The Brave Leader Imagines—and Drives—Extraordinary Change


hroughout my career, I have had the opportunity to participate in and lead transformative work. It is those opportunities that make up my proudest professional accomplishments, as well as some of my biggest “wish I had done that differently” moments. To me transformation is reining in the change that is happening continually as organizations naturally evolve and using that momentum to drive profound differences in the way we do business and service our customers. The brave leader makes note of the opportunity and has the ability not only to imagine extraordinary change, but also to drive it. Further, transformative work can come in a variety of forms, from technology-driven innovation to shifting the tectonic plates of established organizations to meet market needs. These opportunities to create something entirely new are what truly invigorate me. Solving the unsolvable problem or leading teams through the fog of a yet-to-be-defined strategy are the milestones in my career that make all of the hours and sacrifice worthwhile. There is both an art and a science to driving transformative initiatives. Transformation


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requires enough structure to enable people to work swiftly and in harmony, but it must also allow enough room for creativity. Having a team with diverse backgrounds further enables us to achieve great things together, as our differences drive each of us past our boundaries. As I’ve grown in my career, it is equally energizing to support my team members as they grow their own transformational leadership skills, as it has been to advance my own. A person who runs towards the problem and is not afraid to make and learn from mistakes is a rare find. I’ve intentionally sought out mentoring relationships with those individuals, particularly those of diverse backgrounds. And I’ve learned as much from them as from the experiences I’ve shared. It’s been fulfilling to watch these individuals grow their careers and lead their own teams. I believe in “lift as you climb” and in creating an environment that is conducive to not only learning and growth, but also allowing others to thrive and shine. I’m grateful to look back on a career full of thrilling outcomes and working with high performing, diverse teams.

Sabina Comis TAX AND REGULATORY PARTNER; CO-CHAIR OF DECHERT’S GLOBAL WOMEN’S INITIATIVE; COMANAGING PARTNER OF DECHERT’S PARIS OFFICE Education: LLB, The London School of Economics and Political Science; LLM, University of Cambridge, The College of Law, London Company Name: Dechert LLP Industry: Law

Company CEO: Henry N. Nassau

Company Headquarters Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania & New York, New York Number of Employees: Approximately 2,000

Your Location (if different from above): Paris, France Words you live by: “La vita è adesso” (Life is now.)

Personal Philosophy: Watch how you treat people on your way up because you may meet them on your way down. What book are you reading: La Force des Choses by Simone de Beauvoir What was your first job: Serving coffee at Nestlé’s headquarters (age 14)

Favorite charity: Babyloan, a social business founded by Arnaud Poissonnier Interests: Italian painters, French literature Family: Two girls (ages 4 and 9)

Enabling Women to Become Tomorrow’s Leaders


s a tax lawyer working at the heart of the asset management industry, I have long advocated for the advancement of women in law, in finance, and in business. I run an initiative for women in the investment funds and banking sectors and participate in a Rothschild-led, Women in Business network that helps women develop careers in asset management. Within Dechert, I co-lead our Global Women’s Initiative, an award-winning gender diversity program designed to help women advance and prepare them for leadership. What these groups have in common is a membership cohort of achievers—women with talent and ideas who choose to get together to support each other in business, not to bemoan the glass ceiling or rail about injustice. My own initiative is a series of networking events. Each event involves an activity—the most recent was a private view of an exhibition at Christie’s auction house in Paris—and is framed around a discussion point concerning women in the industry. We are inclusive in our membership, welcoming talented individuals who work as bankers, advisers, or lawyers—people from all backgrounds working across the entire spectrum of asset management. Our members

appreciate the chance to grow together by learning from each other. I believe very strongly that women offer an approach to business that is different and valuable. One of my roles at Dechert is building bridges— finding the right people, putting together the right team, and designing a structure or strategy to achieve an objective. This is in my DNA, it’s what I do. My role is similar in leading women’s initiatives—providing energy and drive, helping instill confidence, and giving people the courage to take on daunting tasks or convincing them they can be both self-reliant and successful, and still do things their way. Ultimately, my vision of leadership is about guiding people, helping them to think a problem through and navigate around the obstacles. We share this same vision at Dechert’s Global Women’s Initiative. Mentoring, professional development, and training on topics such as communication, management, leadership, and client relations lie at the core of our agenda. Our goal is that women will choose to stay at the firm and thrive within it, enabling them to become its leaders tomorrow.

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Jennifer Ko Craft MEMBER

Education: JD, University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law; MBA, University of Arizona, Eller College of Management Company Name: Dickinson Wright PLLC Industry: Law Company CEO: Michael C. Hammer Company Headquarters Location: Troy, Michigan Number of Employees: 900 Your Location (if different from above): Las Vegas, Nevada Words you live by: If your intention is good and it aligns with your goals, you’ve won. Personal Philosophy: I am not the product of my circumstances. Rather, I consciously choose whether something or someone can affect me, and I decide the lens with which I see and how to react. What book are you reading: A Promised Land by Barack Obama; Atomic Habits by James Clear What was your first job: File clerk / runner at a law firm Favorite charity: Shaquille O’Neal Foundation Interests: Pilates, knitting and crochet, arts and crafts with my daughter, and playing Roblox with my son Family: Husband, Chris; daughter, Charlotte; and son, Sawyer

A 16-year-old with a passion for makeup can become a billionaire. Established brands try to compete, but can’t. This is what excites me about the law; you never know when an idea can propel you into success.

The Spark that Started it All


always knew I wanted to be an attorney. Always. While getting my MBA, as well as my JD, I quickly realized I wanted to be a trademark attorney specifically. I landed a position as a summer associate, then ultimately associate general counsel, at Agassi Enterprises in 1999, back at the height of Andre Agassi’s epic comeback, and my love for IP and sports/entertainment law was born. It was the spark that started it all. The experience I gained, while working for Andre Agassi, along with other athletes like Shaquille O’Neal, launched my career in sports and entertainment. But, it was my love for IP and my desire to specialize that drew me into private practice. Having worked in-house with talent directly, and then honing my IP skills, I realized that no one was valuing talent as a brand, not even talent. When you see the name Shaq, Kardashian, or Stallone, a clear and powerful message is conveyed, akin to


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corporate brands like Nike or Apple. I realized that entertainment attorneys only dabbled in IP and IP attorneys only dabbled in entertainment. I am an expert of both. I apply my IP expertise to assist clients in the sports and entertainment space to monetize, protect, and enforce their personal brand, as you would a traditional brand. I help clients recognize the assets they have developed, and build a portfolio of those assets and create value in their name. As more and more celebrities became influencers, and influencers became celebrities, social media has become the ultimate equalizer. A 16-year-old with a passion for makeup can become a billionaire. Established brands try to compete, but can’t. This is what excites me about the law; you never know when an idea can propel you into success.


Education: BA, Boston College; JD, Seton Hall Law School Company Name: Einhorn Barbarito Frost & Botwinick, P.C. Industry: Law Company CEO: N/A Company Headquarters Location: Denville, New Jersey Number of Employees: 63 Words you live by: Ask WHY often and, when necessary, don’t be afraid to ask WHY NOT. Personal Philosophy: In times of conflict, do your best to be kind anyway. As my 12-year-old daughter wisely says, “You’ll never regret being kind.” What book are you reading: I read My Daily Bread every morning; I’m rereading Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success by Adam Grant and The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz & Janet Mills What was your first job: Herman’s World of Sporting Goods Customer Service (high school); United Nations Development Programme Human Resources Intern (college) Favorite charity: United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF USA), which provides a global support system for children all over the world Interests: Travelling the world with family and friends Family: Proud daughter of immigrants, 1 of 3 Sisters, Gisel’s mom (best job in the world)

Fight for the Things You Care about and Keep a Grateful Heart


y family immigrated to the United States in the 1980’s during the People’s Power Revolution in the Philippines. I was nine years old, and my two sisters were ten and eight. My sisters and I were born and raised in the Philippines, had a strict Catholic upbringing, navigated a new life together in America at young ages, and all three of us attended high school and college all together—Mother Seton Regional High School (an all-girls high school in New Jersey) and Boston College. On May 4, 2021, my family experienced the greatest heartbreak of our lives. After her 18-month battle with pancreatic cancer, my beloved older sister passed away at age 45. I found out that I received this award three days after my sister passed away. It is only fitting that I share the best advice that my older sister ever gave me: “Keep a grateful heart always.” She said this often to our family especially during her last few months in hospice care. She stressed to us that no matter the challenge, the obstacle, the suffering—in her case, the mental, emotional, and physical anguish related to cancer—that we should nonetheless keep a grateful heart. I have thought about this every day since my

sister’s untimely death, and for me, it has changed the way that I now view life and all its struggles. This past year especially, life has turned upside down for many of us—the coronavirus pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement, anti-Asian attacks, and more. It seems nearly impossible to “keep a grateful heart” with all the injustice we face from racism to sexism, from homophobia to xenophobia. But what I have learned is that, although difficult at times, it is not impossible. And when we start all things with a grateful heart, we become even better and stronger advocates for what matters to us most. A grateful heart at our core allows us to have a better understanding of people and humanity— that at the end of the day, we all want the same things for ourselves and our loved ones. When we start with a grateful heart, our problem solving is much stronger and we can “fight for the things that you care about but do it in a way that will lead others to join you,” as one of my SHEros Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wisely said. We become better leaders because we lead with love, not fear, focusing on common ground and realizing that life is not (should not be) a zero-sum game.

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Education: BS, neuroscience, Trinity College Company Name: EMD Serono, Inc. (biopharmaceutical business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, in the U.S. and Canada) Industry: Biopharmaceutical

Company CEO: Belen Garijo

Company Headquarters Location: Darmstadt, Germany

Number of Employees: 1,500, EMD Serono; 58,000, Merck KGaA Darmstadt, Germany

Your Location (if different from above): Rockland, Massachusetts Words you live by: “Use your intelligence in a positive way, to cultivate the warmheartedness that can be the catalyst of constructive change.” – the 14th Dalai Lama Personal Philosophy: We are all here to learn and grow. Be forgiving of others and yourself. What book are you reading: So You Want to Talk about Race by Ijeoma Oluo What was your first job: Waitress at an ice cream shop Favorite charity: empowerHER

Interests: Pilates, Health and fitness, cooking, entertaining, traveling

Family: Husband of 16 years, David; daughter, Payton (13); and son Hunter (11)

Stay Open, Curious, and Committed to Your Values


ometimes you don’t know the moment your life is going to change. At 22 years old, I found myself in the US Airways lounge being interviewed by a rather intimidating 6’6” South African for a position at a pharmaceutical company. I was in my senior year in college and had thought that, once I graduated, I would work as an EMT to save money for medical school. I planned to be a physician. In fact, I can’t recall ever considering anything else for a career. But that plan came to an abrupt halt when a neuroscience alum suggested I submit my resume to the company she was working for. I figured it would bring me that much closer to being able to afford medical school; I never thought I’d fall in love with the work. It was between me and one other candidate. The imposing regional director looked up from my resume and noted that he too had played rugby. He had been a forward. I was currently the fullback on my college team. That seemed to have sealed the deal. He knew that I had what it would take to succeed. I always loved science. At a young age, I would become completely absorbed by a medically related TV show. When I wasn’t doing that, I was running around the woods behind my house being endlessly fascinated by the animals, bugs, and


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trees around me. I was curious about the workings of living things and had a deep desire to learn more and use that learning to help people. I never thought I’d end up in biopharma. In fact, I sometimes joke that biopharma chose me rather than the other way around. However, once I arrived, I found endless opportunities to learn, grow, and advance, while remaining true to my passion for science and helping people—specifically, improving patient outcomes, which I get to do every day. I’ve also been able to mentor other women coming up in the organization and am a passionate advocate for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. From working on first-in-class pipeline assets, and shaping clinical trial designs and commercialization strategies, to running patient ambassador programs for people living with chronic disease, I look back on that moment in the airport as a blessing. I never thought it would lead me to the realization of my calling. By remaining true to my passion for people and science, I can help inspire others to remain true to their hearts and, by doing so, help build a better world for all of us. By remaining open, curious, and committed to your values, there is no limit to how far you can go.


Education: PhD & MEd, human resource & organization development, University of Georgia; BS, broadcast telecommunications, University of Florida Company Name: ESPN, Inc.

Industry: Sports Media & Entertainment Company CEO: Jimmy Pitaro

Company Headquarters Location: Bristol, Connecticut Number of Employees: 5,000

Personal Philosophy: I want the world to know I’m here, and I care. What book are you reading: Think Again by Adam Grant

What was your first job: Middle grades teacher in Miami, Florida Favorite charity: Feeding America

Interests: Reading, writing/blogging, traveling, DEI, personal development, and sports Family: son, Lamon Cornileus; daughter, India Cornileus; and son, Tyrone Cornileus, Jr.

The Importance of Saying “Yes”


am the daughter of educators. My parents and grandparents instilled in me the importance of a good education. As I was completing my undergraduate degree at the University of Florida, College of Journalism, I was undecided about my career aspirations. A friend of mine suggested I consider teaching for a year until I was more certain of the path I wanted to take. I had sworn I’d never teach, not because I didn’t value the profession, but because I saw firsthand how demanding the role could be for not a lot of money. But, I decided to pursue it anyway. I was hired to teach middle-grade students in an inner-city school in Miami, Florida. My students were Black/African American, Puerto Rican, and children of immigrants from Cuba, Haiti, Columbia, and the Dominican Republic. And they were poor. One afternoon midway through the school year, I paused the lesson and had a conversation with my students. By then, I had developed a caring relationship with them, and I had gotten to know their parents through many conversations. That afternoon I asked my students what they aspired to be when they grew up. As is typical of 11-year-olds, the boys wanted to be firemen, police officers, and professional athletes. The girls wanted to own beauty salons, or become dancers or actresses.

Then I arrived at the last student, Anneris. I can still see her face. She was smart, beautiful, and reserved; and she was popular among her peers. When I asked Anneris what she wanted to be, she said quietly, “I want to be a doctor.” She said it as though she was embarrassed to have a dream so big, considering she was a child of immigrants surrounded by poverty in her community. I was overcome with compassion. I looked into the faces of my students, and I knew in that moment, I was not there by chance. I was supposed to be there. My students had the same dreams as any child their age, but I knew they would face more hurdles as black and brown children growing up in a poor, under-resourced school and community. That experience impacted me profoundly. I wasn’t sure about my future career path, but I knew whatever I did, it would involve helping people to believe in themselves, remove psychosocial and structural barriers, and accomplish their goals and dreams. I knew I wanted to help create a more equitable society. I’ve built a career doing this very work inside corporate systems and in society at large. My career as a talent development and diversity, equity, and inclusion leader is rewarding, and it all began when I said, “Yes,” to a teaching position in inner-city Miami.

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Tracey T. Travis EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT OF FINANCE AND CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER Education: Bachelor of Science, industrial engineering, University of Pittsburgh; MBA, finance and operations management, Columbia University Company Name: The Estée Lauder Companies Industry: Luxury Beauty & Fashion/Consumer Goods Company CEO: Fabrizio Freda, President and Chief Executive Officer Company Headquarters Location: New York, New York Number of Employees: 48,000 Words you live by: Embrace new challenges as opportunities to learn and grow. With great power comes great responsibility. Personal Philosophy: I focus on spending time where I believe that I can make the most impact. I’m passionate about ensuring that we continue to pay it forward, and mentor and coach young talent and minorities to reach their full potential. I hope to inspire others to have the confidence that they can achieve their potential, and do it with passion, discipline, and integrity.” What book are you reading: The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson What was your first job: I began my career at General Motors as an engineer. Favorite charity: I serve as a director on the Board of Lincoln Center Theater in New York and am passionate about its belief that the arts are “not for the privileged few, but for the many.” Interests: I enjoy the theater, jazz concerts, reading, and tennis. Family: My husband, Richard, and my two beautiful daughters, Alexandria and Adrienne

Using Your Seat at the Table to Drive Progress in Equality


hroughout my career, I’ve understood that when you have a seat at the table— whether on a board or certainly on the executive team—it is vital to ensure that you are challenging what are perceived as conventional “norms” and continuing to push to achieve Inclusion, Diversity & Equity. This means holding leaders accountable and asking the right questions, even when the answers might be difficult: What strategies are in place? Where are there gaps? What are the tangible results and numbers that reflect progress? When I was just starting out in my career, there was the focus on affirmative action. Since then, we’ve progressed to diversity, to inclusion, and to equity. Now, the next step is belonging. It’s about how we actually create an organization where everyone feels valued, because they should be. That is ultimately what equality is about. We have continued to make progress, but we have much, much more to do. It is incumbent upon leaders, as well as companies, to use their seats at the table to make a difference and move the needle toward equality. At The


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Estée Lauder Companies, we recently established a formal mentorship program for Black employees in the United States, matching every participant to a leadership-level sponsor or mentor. We created a new Equity and Engagement Center of Excellence, a capability that underscores the company’s core values and commitments to build greater equity and representation in every aspect of its business, from employees to consumers. We also announced our strategy on women’s equality. In 2017, I cofounded the Women’s Leadership Network to support women as they build their careers at the company. These are among the kinds of programs that companies need to establish, coupled with looking closely at human resources processes and measuring progress, to drive results. As I reflect on the incredibly challenging events of the last 18 months, there has been progress, including the requirement for more disclosure from companies regarding representation at various levels throughout their workforces. Looking to the future, it’s imperative for every one of us to use our seats at the table to keep the pressure and focus on continuing to make a difference.

Auriel Echols Rawlings ASIA PACIFIC, MIDDLE EAST, & AFRICA DIVERSITY, EQUITY & INCLUSION ADVISOR Education: BS, communications, public relations, University of Tennessee–Knoxville; MBA, University of Phoenix Company Name: FedEx Industry: Transportation Company CEO: Fredrick W. Smith Company Headquarters Location: Memphis, Tennessee Number of Employees: 600,000 Your Location (if different from above): Dubai, United Arab Emirates Words you live by: “Make the impossible possible. Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” – Helen Keller Personal Philosophy: Create your own success...bring your “A-Game” and always be ready! Prepare, position, present. What book are you reading: Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. by Brené Brown What was your first job: Website developer at 15 years old Favorite charity: Girl Scouts of America; Girls Inc. of Memphis; St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Interests: Family time, cooking, traveling, and investing in the lives of others Family: son, My husband, Zach, and children, Princeton, Colin, and Zariah

People Are at the Center of Everything I Do


teve Jobs, one of the greatest business minds of the 21st century, said, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion isn’t something I just do, it is not a title I hold, but rather, it is my life’s passion packaged uniquely and perfectly in a corporate role. As a young girl, growing up in a historical community in Memphis, Tennessee, called Orange Mound, I knew that I wanted to be a successful business woman in a renowned organization. What better place to make my mark than with FedEx, a thriving world-class organization that has always been, and still is, very prominent in my community. Making an impact has always been an underlying theme in my life. I have always been passionate about standing true, even if it meant alone, to the values that respected unique thinking and different perspectives, in an effort for everyone to feel included and heard. My geographic scope covers 103 countries and territories and 40,000 team members across the Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa, and I am passionate about celebrating the rich dimensions of our team members. But more important, I am committed to doing the work needed to surpass simplistic broadmindedness. My aim is not only to

change perspectives, but also unconscious biases and behaviors, and expose others to a kind of thinking that embraces the minute variances in us all. There are always opportunities for growth, change, and impact that demand we respond with action; each day, it’s important to put our people first and climb to new heights by exemplifying caring, learning, order, and results. If I were tasked with summing up my passion in one word, on the surface it would be purpose; but, I’ve never been a live-on-the-surface type of woman. As I dig deeper and look inward, people have always been at the center of my love for what I do. I believe people are forced to live their truths so boldly, because some have gone unheard for so long. I am passionate about listening for the still voices. And as leaders, we must amplify those voices beyond traditions and quiet norms. Challenge the norms and break barriers. Be willing to go where no one has gone before and don’t be afraid. Diversity & Inclusion is the right thing to do as it makes good business sense. Our actions and non-actions have a ripple effect on the lives of others, like that of a pebble hitting the ocean. Our passion: being the pebble for everyone we encounter. Our job: throwing the pebble boldly and without fear. Our purpose: making sure the ripples never stop impacting the world.

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Geetha N. Adinata PARTNER

Education: JD, University of Florida; BA, Northwestern University Company Name: FordHarrison LLP Industry: Law Company CEO: Allen J. McKenna Company Headquarters Location: Atlanta, Georgia Number of Employees: 257 Your Location (if different from above): Los Angeles, California Words you live by: You can have it all, but you can’t have it all at once. Personal Philosophy: Live with an attitude of gratitude. Setbacks and challenges are a part of life. Life is about choices. You choose whether to sink or swim. What book are you reading: Eat a Peach: A Memoir by David Chang What was your first job: Americorps; I helped develop curriculum at an underserved school in Boston. Favorite charity: Project Hope, raising funds for COVID disaster relief in India. The situation is a catastrophe. Interests: L.A. Dodger baseball, running (well, more like jogging), chilling at the beach, and food writing and books by chefs Family: Married, with a 5.5-year-old son, 4-year-old daughter, and 6-year-old dog, Conan O’Brien, a ruby King Charles Spaniel from Ireland

Representation Matters


s a child of immigrants and a woman of color who achieved partnership at Ford Harrison, I believe I am a clear example of what can happen when you have strong sponsorship and mentorship by a leader who looks like you. Representation matters. My law firm mentor, who was also a child of immigrants and a woman of color, made me believe that I could follow in her footsteps, and she actively supported me so I could. I am passionate about diversity and inclusion both personally and professionally, and I want to make sure that diverse lawyers who follow me will benefit from the same sponsorship I received and will thrive at our law firm. Some of the best advice I have ever received is this: “To whom much has been given, much is expected.” Also, never forget my roots. I am keenly aware of the numerous unique opportunities I have as a woman of color in the United States because of the personal sacrifice and toil of my immigrant parents who came to this country from India with $8.00 to their name. I will never have to make the same sacrifices my parents did, and I feel a duty to pay it forward by helping others achieve the same opportunities.


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After law school, I joined Americorps, where I developed a curriculum for an underserved school in Boston that had a large population of recently arrived immigrants. During my time in Americorps, I was exposed to inequalities in access to education, which further solidified my resolve to advocate for immigrants. The advice I received, and my own keen awareness of the opportunities I had, motivated me to pursue immigration law as a career. It continues to focus my daily work, and imbue my professional life as a business immigration lawyer with higher purpose, meaning, and drive. I have spent my entire legal career at Ford Harrison, including seven years as partner and head of Immigration Practice. As head of Immigration Practice, my work directly supports our clients in their efforts to hire and integrate the best and the brightest foreign talent—many of whom are people of color—into the fabric of American business and society. I have zealously advocated for them through years of intensely restrictive immigration policies and rules. This work has resulted in a fulfilling career, knowing I am doing my part to extend the same opportunities I have to others.

Christina E. Niro, Esq.

PARTNER; CHAIR, FRANTZ WARD WOMEN’S INITIATIVE Education: JD cum laude, Case Western Reserve University; BA summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, Honors College, Denison University Company Name: Frantz Ward LLP Industry: Law

Company CEO: Christopher G. Keim, Esq. (Managing Partner) Company Headquarters Location: Cleveland, Ohio Number of Employees: 110

Words you live by: The early bird gets the worm.

Personal Philosophy: Never settle for mediocrity.

What book are you reading: The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind by Daniel J. Siegel, MD & Tina Payne Bryson, PhD What was your first job: Babysitter

Favorite charity: Children’s Hunger Alliance; Catholic Charities; and The City Mission (Cleveland, Ohio) Interests: Hiking, gardening, and cooking

Family: Husband, F. Jason Kreiner; daughter, Madeleine (6)

...the most crucial wisdom she has imparted, which I have used throughout my education and professional life, has been very simple: Be the most prepared person in the room. Or as Thomas Edison is believed to have said, “There is no substitution for hard work.

I Can Do Anything, Momma I have learned many life lessons over the years from my mother who is, like her only child and “mini-me,” a stubborn, tireless, perfectionist. But the most crucial wisdom she has imparted, which I have used throughout my education and professional life, has been very simple: Be the most prepared person in the room. Or as Thomas Edison is believed to have said, “There is no substitution for hard work.” I’ve found this advice particularly useful as a relatively new and young female partner at a private law firm—a space where men continue to disproportionately dominate. Although I receive substantial support from my male colleagues, many of whom I count as friends, at times I find myself questioning whether certain barriers can be overcome through hard work alone. In these moments, I think of my personal heroes

(my mother included) whose hard work is their hallmark, including Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a woman who tied for first place at Columbia Law School, yet struggled to find employment as an attorney due to her gender and marital status; Marie Curie, who was only permitted to share the Nobel Prize for physics with her husband for work they jointly completed after a complaint was made that she had been improperly omitted; and Clara Barton, a distant relation who founded the Red Cross and led it for more than 20 years. What gives me the most pride, however, as well as profound hope, is to see these traits of hard work and resilience in my own daughter and “minime,” who often repeats in her little voice the words I’ve said to her a hundred times: “I can do anything, Momma.”

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Judy Melillo

VICE PRESIDENT, GENERAL COUNSEL & SECRETARY Education: JD summa cum laude & class valedictorian, Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University; BA magna cum laude, political science, Boston College Company Name: FUJIFILM Holdings America Corporation

Industry: Document solutions, digital imaging, medical imaging, cosmetics, regenerative medicine, stem cells biologics Company CEO: Tetsuya Iwasaki Company Headquarters Location: Valhalla, New York Number of Employees: 6,500 in Fujifilm’s North America region

Words you live by: If you don’t get the results you are looking for, try something new; never accept the status quo. Personal Philosophy: Create your own definition of success (and keep redefining it). What book are you reading: The Alice Network by Kate Quinn What was your first job: Paper girl Favorite charity: American Heart Association (Go Red) & Sanctuary for Families Interests: Travel & photography (of course!) Family: Husband, Mike; two teenage boys, Michael & Ryan; and incredibly supportive parents and siblings

Employers Must Take Immediate and Meaningful Action to Turn the Tide


y first job was in a male-dominated field. I was just twelve when I snagged a paper route and became a very committed carrier. Sure, it was traditionally a job for boys, but the world was changing. Slowly. Later, my mother, who returned to school and entered the accounting field when I left for college, advised me to pursue a career as a doctor, lawyer, or CPA. She believed that one of those professions might allow me to take a break to raise a family if I chose to—and re-enter the workforce when I was ready. Unfortunately, too few companies have policies that enable women (or men) to balance work and care-giving responsibilities. A gap in a resume after a woman has dedicated herself to raising children or helping elderly parents can still be a red flag to many employers. This lack of support is driving women out of the workforce and COVID-19 has exacerbated the problem. Prior to the pandemic, women made up more than 50 percent of the country’s workforce. But since the pandemic, 400,000 more women than men have left the workforce. As daycare centers closed and remote learning became the norm, many women had to leave their jobs. By Septem-


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ber 2020, 80 percent of the 1.1 million people who had exited the workforce were women. Employers must take immediate and meaningful action to turn the tide. Some companies are offering returnships that allow people to come back to a job that requires similar experience. They brush up their skills, get paid modestly, and if successful, receive a job offer at market rate. But employers must do much more to lure women back, including work/life flexibility and expanded childcare assistance. My own trajectory has been a learning experience in life/work balance. I took maternity leave twice, but never a long hiatus. I left a big law firm for a corporate job, so I could have more balance. I also turned down a promotion that would have demanded more time, because I needed to be present at home. The lesson: Careers are not always linear and that’s okay. I like to think the world has evolved since my days as a “paper girl.” Women have proven we can succeed at jobs traditionally held by men. And those temporary shifts in direction—whether raising children or volunteering for the Peace Corps—bring fresh perspectives that employers should value.

Amanda DePalma


Education: BS, marketing & MBA, University of Florida Company Name: FUJIFILM Sonosite Industry: Healthcare / Medical Industry Company CEO: Jun Higuchi Company Headquarters Location: Bothell, Washington Number of Employees: 900 Words you live by: “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” – Walt Disney Personal Philosophy: Family first, which has really been reinforced this year. I come from a large family and I can’t wait to see everyone again this summer! What book are you reading: The Midnight Library by Matt Haig What was your first job: I was babysitting regularly at the age of 11 but my first official job was at a picture framing studio when I was 15. Favorite charity: ArmorUp for Life started by a dear friend who is a 2-time cancer survivor and has now dedicated her career to helping patients Prepare, Present and Prevail® with their health. Interests: Running, hiking, and traveling with my family Family: Husband and two sons who are 10 and 13

Our Collective Responsibility to Drive Meaningful Change


y passion to mentor women and promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace stems from my first days entering the workforce nearly 25 years ago. It feels like just yesterday I was eagerly starting my career as an associate product manager in the medtech sector. But after several months in the role, I remember feeling alone and a bit misunderstood as one of the only females on the marketing team. A woman enjoying a successful career in marketing and product management is not uncommon. However, female representation in senior leadership roles for medtech companies is. Despite countless studies proving that diversity is great for a company’s performance and for connecting with its customers, the lack of diversity in the workplace still remains a major problem. As leaders, it’s our collective responsibility to deliver change by backing our vision for a diverse workforce with meaningful actions. Over the course of my career, I have been fortunate to work for leaders and companies that understand the value of diverse teams and have been committed to establishing resources and programs to support D&I. FUJIFILM Sonosite recently initiated Women in

Sonosite (WINS), a program designed to empower driven diverse individuals. Each month we host a webinar where speakers share advice and rising diverse leaders within the company are recognized. The company also recently formed a Diversity and Inclusion council. My goal to help women goes beyond my work at FUJIFILM Sonosite too. In 2010, I joined several of my former Guidant colleagues in their efforts to launch MedtechWomen, a nonprofit designed to highlight, connect, educate, and inspire women in medtech. To date, we’ve hosted 42 events highlighting diverse, talented women. Our annual MedtechVision conference has sold out every year, with more than 200 attendees. I’m also proud of the work the leadership team and I are doing at AdvaMed Women’s Executive Network (WEN), an industry-wide initiative aimed at creating a better future for medtech through diversity, specifically by elevating women leaders. So many of my accomplishments arose as a result of the commitment of my mentors, and it’s my duty to pay it forward for women of the next generation. If today’s leaders support building a diverse pipeline of talent, we will succeed in creating a more inclusive future. What a wonderful COLLECTIVE opportunity we have in front of us!

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Jennifer Phillips Smith

DIRECTOR, REAL PROPERTY GROUP Education: JD, Seton Hall University, School of Law; BS, Georgetown University Company Name: Gibbons P.C. Industry: Law, Real Estate Company CEO: Patrick C. Dunican Jr., Chairman & Managing Director Company Headquarters Location: Newark, New Jersey Number of Employees: 300 Your Location (if different from above): Red Bank, New Jersey Words you live by: “It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent.” – Madeleine Albright Personal Philosophy: “Men and women for others.” – Fr. Pedro Arrupe What book are you reading: Learning to Pray by James Martin, SJ; A Promised Land by Barack Obama What was your first job: Food & Beverage Server, which taught me the critical skill of multitasking Favorite charity: Boys & Girls Club of Monmouth County Interests: Running, cycling, yoga, hiking, and spending time at the beach Family: I have three children and a tight-knit family.

Helping Communities Face Change


come from a family of elected officials who discussed municipal council meetings and zoning applications around the dinner table. My father and grandfather both served as mayor of my hometown. By sitting through many local meetings as a child, I learned that change, although inevitable, can take many forms. It can be welcomed, necessary, or demanded. It can also face contempt or cause backlash and fear. Sometimes, one proposed change stirs all these feelings within a community. I thus learned from an early age about the importance of being involved in local government and about building consensus, so that communities can face change together. Those early lessons fueled a desire to work at the intersection of law and community development. During summer break between my junior and senior years at Georgetown University, I came home to intern for a not-for-profit community development organization in New Brunswick, New Jersey. There, I helped with the planning and construction of a hotel, a children’s research hospital, and a school. I saw the role that attorneys played in the redevelopment process, and I realized that my interests in economic development and local


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politics could be married through the pursuit of redevelopment law. I applied to law school specifically to become a redevelopment attorney. During the last 13 years at Gibbons, I have assisted clients with obtaining the necessary state, county, and municipal approvals they needed to construct new projects. My clients’ projects are transformational, and by their very nature, complicated. They have resurrected contaminated brownfields and transformed vacant blocks into mixed-use communities. They have built high-rise residential buildings in downtown Newark, market-rate housing in Atlantic City, new hotels in Asbury Park, and homes across the state. My clients’ projects have brought and will continue to bring economic investment, affordable housing, community open space, and improved transportation and infrastructure to communities throughout New Jersey. I am fortunate that my career continues to allow me to participate in the local government process. And—perhaps to the dismay of my own children—I am still discussing zoning applications around the dinner table.

Olga Lucia Fuentes-Skinner FOUNDING PARTNER

Education: JD, UCLA School of Law; BA/BS, Boston University Company Name: Glenn Agre Bergman & Fuentes LLP Industry: Law

Company CEO: Andrew Glenn (Managing Partner)

Company Headquarters Location: New York, New York Number of Employees: 20

Words you live by: “Be the change you want see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi Personal Philosophy: Do unto others as you’d have done to you.

What book are you reading: My Year Abroad by Chang-Rae Lee

What was your first job: Department store cashier in high school Favorite charity: RAICES

Interests: Social justice, fiction, puzzles and Boston sports

Family: Proud Colombian immigrant; married, with two children and a dog

We Dared to Build a Different Kind of Law Firm


hen I started my law career at a “Big Law” firm in New York City in 2001, I was the lone Latina in my year, and one of the only Latinas in a massive worldwide firm. I looked around and saw almost no Latina women in law firm partnerships anywhere in the city. Indeed, all minority groups were massively underrepresented in these ranks. As I approach my 20th year of practicing law, I see that we have made some progress in diversifying our profession. There are many diverse attorneys in the associate ranks all over the city, providing firms with a richness of experience and culture that was so lacking when I started out. But I also notice that there is still so much more to be done. Latinas like me are still very much the exception, and not the rule, in the associate ranks—and certainly in law firm partnerships. Look around and you will see very few minority partners in major New York law firms, and almost no minority named partners. And so, as I approached my third decade in practice, I chose to be the change I wanted to see. In February, six colleagues and I started our own law firm: Glenn Agre Bergman & Fuentes—a new

kind of firm with a mandate of diversity, equity, and inclusion built into our DNA from the start. Three of our founding partners are women, one of us is a Latina, and that Latina has her name right on the door. As far as I know, this is unprecedented in Big Law. Twenty years ago it would have meant the world to me to see someone like myself found a major New York City law firm. It would have meant there was a path to that particular success. Today, it means the world to me to be able to pave that way for others. We’ve been in business only a few months, and already I’ve had diverse attorneys comment on how happy it made them to see my Latina surname be part of the firm’s name. It makes me so proud to tell them that it is not just window dressing. At Glenn Agre Bergman & Fuentes, the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion drive every decision we make, from who we hire at every level, to which business development initiatives we support, to which vendors we patronize. We have dared to build a different kind of law firm. To quote a favorite line from Hamilton, I hope “tomorrow there’ll be more of us.”

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Education: BA, Northwestern University; JD, NYU School of Law Company Name: Glenn Agre Bergman & Fuentes LLP Industry: Law

Company CEO: Andrew Glenn (Managing Partner)

Company Headquarters Location: New York, New York Number of Employees: 20

Words you live by: Do not fear change. See change as an opportunity.

Personal Philosophy: You do not have to follow the path of those before you. Make your own. What book are you reading: The Choice by Dr. Edith Eva Eger What was your first job: Cashier at a grocery store Favorite charity: Bright Pink

Interests: Travel, Peloton, and New York Jets football Family: Married, with two children

Success Was Right There Waiting for Me


f you had told me during law school that I’d be running a law firm—let alone a law firm I cofounded—at the age of 38, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. But with the launch of Glenn Agre Bergman & Fuentes LLP in February, I’m doing just that. Throughout law school and my early professional career, I understood the typical path of a law firm lawyer, and what is generally necessary to succeed. But no one told me that my current position could ever become a reality. No one ever said, flat out, that I could shatter the glass ceiling (or, better yet, construct my own building without a roof) if I wanted to. But with a solid work ethic, a knack for relationship building, a passion for leadership, and unwavering hustle, I quickly learned my future success was right there, waiting for me to grab it. As a founding partner of a newly launched law firm, and a mom of two girls under the age of 5, some might assume I can never come up for air. And while that may seem true on some days, I


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strive to remain grounded and true to who I am at heart—a driven, yet fundamentally fair and kind person—which has only helped me excel, both as a mom and a lawyer. I aim to inspire other women and show them that they can truly “have it all,” in whatever way, shape, or form they want that to take. Looking forward, I am excited about the future of our firm. I will continue to play a key role in our hiring and recruiting efforts of both legal and non-legal staff, and will work to ensure that Glenn Agre is a diverse and inclusive firm. Mentoring will always be a passion of mine, and it’s important to me to make my office a safe space, with my door always open to listen to concerns, give practical advice, and make change happen for the better. I have no doubt there is a next generation of lawyers harvesting the same aspirations and passions I’ve always had, and I look forward to watching their stories unfold, and helping in any way I can.

Sonia Mathai


Company Name: Globality, Inc. Industry: Information Technology Company CEO: Joel Hyatt Company Headquarters Location: Menlo Park, California

How to Build a Culture of Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace


t’s one thing for companies to talk about diversity and inclusion, but it’s another to truly put those words into practice and build a global organization where people from all backgrounds can work collaboratively and feel that everybody is treated equally and fairly. Carrying that mission forward is the crux of my professional—and personal—philosophy. To remain competitive today, companies must resemble their customer bases, which means ensuring they have different perspectives around the table. It means going to new places to find talent from diverse backgrounds. If a company can spot potential, then investing in building skills will pay dividends in the long term. But it takes conviction to focus resources and encourage employees to commit to these initiatives. At Globality, we are an innovation-based global technology company where those diverse perspectives are needed to solve complex problems. Without different ideas and approaches, we would not be where we are today. But improving diversity and inclusion means going beyond simple demographic numbers. Organizations should prioritize building a culture that ensures that people can be their authentic selves, have connection to a purpose, and believe their voices are valued. Of course, that leads to the practical elements of inclusion that all companies should implement—fair pay and promotion practices, unbiased recruiting practices, and reduced workplace microaggressions. The inevitable result of this is that people from different backgrounds feel a much stronger long-term connection to the company, which improves employee retention and productivity.

Fostering this kind of culture requires leadership from the top. If senior leaders speak authentically about why it is important to the company’s collective success and identity, they can move not only resources but also hearts and minds. Leaders also need to clearly articulate the business imperative and emphasize that a company’s collective success is defined by improving diversity and building a better culture. The business case is proven by the strong data that show diverse companies perform better. Continuously taking the organizational pulse will reveal where feelings on belonging may be strong or need improvement. Leaders should address any challenges head-on by forming employee networks for people with shared experiences to collaborate, communicate, build communities, and advocate for their needs. It is not about putting the burden of thought on these groups, but using them as trusted allies in the betterment of the overall organization. Beyond the corporate walls, organizations should speak up on issues they are passionate about and support diverse and inclusive values. Employees and customers care about these things, so businesses need to have a wider purpose they can communicate clearly and live up to. By focusing on these areas and continuously reevaluating actions, companies can ensure they are putting diversity and inclusion at the heart of their everyday purpose and mission. My overriding passion is upholding these practices and building a diverse and inclusive workplace at Globality in support of our broader mission to level the playing field in global services sourcing by enabling more diverse companies to compete for and win business. 2021 Third Quarter


Tracy L. Gerber CO-CHAIR, BROKER-DEALER SECURITIES LITIGATION PRACTICE & CO-MANAGING SHAREHOLDER, WEST PALM BEACH OFFICE Education: JD with honors, University of Florida Levin College of Law; BA, history, Tulane University Company Name: Greenberg Traurig, LLP Industry: Law Company CEO: Brian Duffy Company Headquarters Location: N/A Number of Employees: 4,217 Your Location (if different from above): West Palm Beach, Florida Words you live by: Define success on your own terms, achieve it by your own rules, and build a life you’re proud to live. Personal Philosophy: Be your authentic self, act with integrity, be passionate about your work and pay it forward. What book are you reading: Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth What was your first job: Dog washer at a veterinarian’s office (I was 11 years old.) Favorite charity: Suncoast Foundation Interests: Cooking, Mahjong, movies, and travel Family: I have been married to my husband Jonathan for 26 years and we have three daughters: Kyra (24), Celia (22) and Morgan (18).

My Nontraditional Path to Success in Big Law


rowing up, I watched my mother blaze a trail as a successful businesswoman, while managing the demands of being a single parent. Seeing this strong role model, I knew that I wanted both personal and professional success—and believed this was 100 percent possible. It turns out that I would also blaze a trail by achieving success through a nontraditional path in Big Law. Following a high-risk pregnancy, I took a break from law practice to care for my growing family, even though I knew it would be difficult to get back into law firm life. When I was ready to return, I convinced the partner at Greenberg Traurig who would become my mentor to give me the opportunity to prove that I could deliver everything expected of a Big Law associate—and more—if he hired me on a part-time, flexible schedule. At the time, flexible work schedules for attorneys were rarely an option, and not viewed as a way to achieve partnership and other success in law, but I was determined to achieve this even as my three young daughters were growing and thriving. It wasn’t easy. I knew long-term success would require me to prove my value as a thought


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leader and business generator. I worked to develop our firm’s national arbitrator database and established protocols for our practice group’s method of arbitrator selection. When I returned to full-time practice, my mentor gave me opportunities to develop and expand relationships with key clients and put me on cases to showcase and develop my skills as a trial lawyer. As my trial schedule increased, my husband’s support was instrumental, allowing me to expand my practice on a national level. As I succeeded, I knew the best way to pay it forward was to help other women with the same goals achieve them. As co-chair of Greenberg Traurig’s Broker Dealer Securities Litigation Practice and co-managing shareholder of the West Palm Beach office, I have a strong commitment to mentoring, sponsoring, and advocating for women attorneys throughout their careers, as they develop their business and brand. I use every opportunity to showcase them where it matters most—in new business pitches and on trial teams—because I know how important this is to their career development and how much this will help them in their path forward as they live truly balanced lives.

Sara K. Thompson CHAIR, PHARMACEUTICAL, MEDICAL DEVICE & HEALTH CARE LITIGATION PRACTICE Education: JD cum laude, Boston University School of Law; BA cum laude, Florida State University Company Name: Greenberg Traurig, LLP Industry: Law

Company CEO: Brian Duffy

Company Headquarters Location: N/A Number of Employees: 4,217

Your Location (if different from above): Atlanta, Georgia Words you live by: “Nevertheless, she persisted.”

Personal Philosophy: The keys to success are good ideas, hard work, and the willingness to try, fail, and get back up and dust yourself off to try again. What book are you reading: Furious Hours by Casey Cep

What was your first job: I worked retail in a hotel gift shop in Orlando, Florida, when I was 16. Favorite charity: Feeding America; Hunger is such an important (and preventable) problem. Interests: Cooking, travel, and tournament poker

Family: I have a wonderful husband, Dave, and I’m an only child. My parents live in the North Georgia mountains.

How to Own and Steer Your Career


emale litigators still often have to work much harder than their male counterparts to succeed. Gender bias can be frustrating and demoralizing, particularly for younger lawyers, but I have come to find a hidden upside of being underestimated and overlooked due to my gender. I have faced down unfair assumptions about my capabilities and strengths when at a table full of men, and it taught me several important things: Put in the work. While it is frustrating to see “grunt work” left to female team members, this presents opportunities to show their skills and become indispensable. Often the attorney who knows the documents becomes the most important person on the team. The work nobody else wants to do is where opportunity lies and how you force your seat at the table. This extends to firm leadership, marketing, speaking, publishing, and other tasks that can seem thankless. But honing your presentation style by speaking at conferences is great preparation for oral argument, and writing a pitch is an excellent way to impress future clients. Turning the work nobody else wanted into your opportunity to shine helps build your public profile and establish yourself as a future rainmaker and leader. Use gender bias to your advantage. It may sound counterintuitive, but being underestimated presents real advantages. When I was a

young associate taking depositions of experts in male-dominated fields, I frequently obtained great concessions by letting them presume I was out of my depth and making them let their guard down for the “dumb girl.” It both fueled my drive and showed that being underestimated can be powerful. There are few things sweeter than surprising the men in the courtroom by being the one to get the best result. Pay it forward. I never forget that I was fortunate to learn from some tremendous women, and I am committed to giving back to those I work with. I want every associate on our team to be a better lawyer and to help them succeed with encouragement and support. I know from experience that it makes a difference to have someone in your corner. I try to check in with those I mentor, both formally and informally, to make sure they are getting the opportunities they want. But I also encourage them to dream big and work for their lofty goals. Too often, women let their careers develop and come along for the journey, rather than deciding where they want the journey to go. Owning and steering your career trajectory is so important and something I try to teach to younger lawyers. Every generation of women can improve the profession for the next, and I consider that an important personal responsibility.

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Lizzie Garner


Education: Bachelor of Science, political science, Purdue University Northwest Company Name: Guaranteed Rate Companies Industry: Financial Services

Company CEO: Victor Ciardelli

Company Headquarters Location: Chicago, Illinois Number of Employees: More than 11,000

Words you live by: Focus on your highest and best use—that can change daily, but whatever your highest and best use is at that time, do it! What book are you reading: Dare to Lead by Brené Brown, for the second time.

What was your first job: The mall—The Buckle, to be exact. Retail prepares you for a life of juggling competing priorities. Favorite charity: The Guaranteed Rate Foundation

Interests: Spending time with family, traveling, and staying active Family: I live in Chicago with my husband and son.

My Passion for People Feeds My Success


have always known I was a “people person.” From the time I was kid, I knew I wanted to work with people. However, I didn’t know exactly what that meant. I knew I loved talking to others, hearing their stories, forging connections, and bringing groups together to share experiences and opportunities. All of that came easy to me, but when someone would ask, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I never had a solid answer. I just knew I had a passion for people, and that if I could work with others by teaching, helping, and connecting them, I would be successful and most important, fulfilled. I joined Guaranteed Rate in 2012, and since then, have been able to use my passion for people to support and help grow employees’ careers, while helping the organization defy expectations to become one of the largest retail mortgage lenders in the country. I have seen the strong connection between fulfilled employees and company success, and I’ve been fortunate to work with the organization’s leadership to achieve both. While not many people grow up saying they want to be in the mortgage industry, I have seen the tremendous career opportunities it presents—particularly for women. And while this is true across the entire industry, it is especially true at Guaranteed Rate. In my role as executive vice president, I have helped provide our employees with the tools and support they need to build successful careers and maintain a healthy balance. We have built national training curriculums that drive career growth and comprehensive onboarding experi-


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ences that promote employee success, and created a thriving corporate culture that feeds into a fulfilled and talented workforce. What continues to fuel and drive my career is seeing people achieve their highest and best use. Through my work at Guaranteed Rate, I have been able to provide our employees with the guidance and tools they need to do just that. When someone comes to me or a group I lead for help, I value that they trust us to help them navigate their next steps. Above all, we prioritize helping them explore their strengths and maximize their abilities. I have seen this play out time and time again at Guaranteed Rate, particularly within our multiple specialized employee resource groups for the women, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color), and LGBTQ+ employees within our organizations. We created these groups to provide employees with additional safe spaces to explore their career development. For example, in 2018, we established the Guaranteed Rate Organization of Women (GROW) with the goal of increasing the number of women in the mortgage industry, while championing women within our organization to succeed, exchange ideas and empower each other. Through GROW, we have created a safe space from women to create connections and mentorship, and helping them navigate their careers and reach their full potential. By using my passion for people, I have not only built a rewarding, exciting and successful career for myself, but also I have helped others achieve the same.

Lori Lampman


Education: Bachelor of Science, finance & business administration, Sacred Heart University Company Name: HARMAN International Industry: Automotive Technology Company CEO: Michael Mauser Company Headquarters Location: Stamford, Connecticut Number of Employees: 30,000+ Words you live by: Work hard, try your best, and always be true to yourself. Personal Philosophy: Honesty and integrity are key. It’s important to do the right thing, even when it’s the hard thing to do. Always follow your conscience and act in an ethical manner. What book are you reading: An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917–1963 by Robert Dallek What was your first job: My first job ever was as an office assistant at a small publishing company. My first role within my professional career path was a human resources assistant. Favorite charity: My favorite charity is the Stamford YMCA. I’m on the organization’s board, and I get immense gratification from donating my time and resources to this worthwhile cause, which provides for and nurtures children, teens, and others within the Stamford community. Interests: I enjoy running and fitness, reading, and relaxing on the beach. Family: Family means the world to me. Everything I do centers around them. I can only do what I do because of their help and encouragement. This support system has allowed me to be successful personally and professionally.

More Women in Leadership Is Turning the Bias Tide


hile many U.S. businesses have made promising strides in promoting gender equality in the workplace, we still have a long way to go. Even today, women are faced with gender bias from the moment the job search begins to navigating day-to-day experiences at work. Self-imposed biases limit the potential of many talented women before the interview process even starts. According to LinkedIn data, women often are hesitant to apply for a role despite being qualified, feeling that they must meet all criteria, while men are more likely to apply confidently, even though they typically only meet about 60 percent of qualifications. When women submit their resumes and receive interest, the interview process poses additional gender-related barriers they must overcome. To earn a position, women must highlight and promote their accomplishments during an interview, but research shows that seven in ten women would rather downplay their accomplishments than promote them. Women also must be conscious of how they’re perceived by remaining confident in their ability to do the job without seeming overly self-assured. Unfortunately, how individuals that possess strong leadership skills are seen by colleagues often varies based on gender, creating an unfair double standard that begins in the interview process and persists on the job. Other common forms of unconscious (and conscious)

bias that arise during the hiring process include the tendency of interviewers to connect more easily with individuals that are demographically similar to themselves. To compensate for this gap, women must be more thoughtful about how they market themselves during interviews. More important, companies must teach their leaders to recognize and address unconscious bias before it negatively impacts critical business decisions. Since beginning my career, I’ve seen the workplace environment improve for women, but we have a lot of work ahead to achieve true gender equality. McKinsey reports that men still account for 79 percent of C-suite leadership. Women are being evaluated and selected by male-dominated leadership teams who are often hesitant to take risks on women, particularly those of child-bearing age. I’ve frequently been the only woman at my level in a room full of men. But the tide is turning. As more women are achieving executive status, they’re bringing with them a desire to grow and promote other women through allyship, mentorship, and sponsorship. Watching the strong women I work with in HR sponsor others, develop future female leaders, and attract more women to the profession has been encouraging. Women’s collective ability to identify and eliminate deeply ingrained biases and lift one another up makes me hopeful that, if we continue to work together with people of all genders, gender bias across disciplines will eventually be a thing of the past.

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Katrin Schneider

SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, SYSTEM TEST & VALIDATION Education: BS, electrical engineering, Munich University of Applied Sciences Company Name: HARMAN International Industry: Automotive Technology Company CEO: Michael Mauser Company Headquarters Location: Stamford, Connecticut Number of Employees: 30,000+ Your Location (if different from above): Garching bei München, Germany Words you live by: Enjoy that life is training you day by day, and learn from it. Personal Philosophy: Always challenge yourself first. Then, challenge your teams. What book are you reading: Principles of Effective Management by Fredmund Malik Favorite charity: My favorite charity, where I dedicate my time and resources, is a local German organization similar to the Red Cross, which supports children with mental and physical disabilities. Interests: I love to cook, and I enjoy hiking and running.

Family: Family plays the most important role in my life. They are my built-in mentors, and they are the people I can talk to about anything, have fun with, and laugh with, especially while I’m cooking a big meal.

The Sky Can Truly Be the Limit


uilding diverse teams is key to corporate success, as research shows that companies with above-average diversity produce more revenue from innovation (45%). I’m fortunate to work for a company that has fostered an open environment where all employees have a voice and help each other grow professionally. But HARMAN’s leadership team also recognizes that the battle to eliminate unconscious bias is an ongoing journey requiring continuous effort. That’s why HARMAN’s employee resource groups, especially those that support minorities, are incredibly valuable, as they give employees an ongoing opportunity to be heard and engaged. I’ve seen firsthand the positive impact these groups can have by assuming leadership roles in both the well-established HARMAN Women’s Network (HWN) and the company’s newly-formed DE&I Council. HWN has been fundamental in empowering female employees to challenge the gender bias that is so prevalent in STEM fields. The DE&I Council is working on setting measurable goals to ensure that all employees feel valued and that HARMAN’s workforce reflects the diversity of the many regions in which we operate worldwide.


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While formal mentorships and other resources offered by employee resource groups are incredibly important, informal support systems are also key to promoting the success of women in the workplace. For instance, when I noticed my male peers presenting more frequently than their female counterparts at meetings, I mentored female engineers to prepare them to undertake more customer responsibility. Mentorship and sponsorship are critical parts of finally abolishing the glass ceiling for good. While companies should continue to further their own DE&I efforts to level the playing field and develop promising talent, in order to break through the glass ceiling, women must, first and foremost, fight for and believe in themselves. It’s not always easy, but I’ve personally found it helpful to remain positive while assessing how to overcome a workplace barrier. I advise myself and my teams to speak up, take advantage of corporate resources, learn from coworkers’ differences, and push boundaries! For women who actively take these steps to further their professional development, the sky is truly the limit.

Megan Gess PARTNER

Education: BA cum laude, University of California, Davis; JD cum laude, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, Order of the Coif Company Name: Haynes and Boone Industry: Law

Company CEO: Taylor Wilson

Company Headquarters Location: Dallas, Texas Number of Employees: 575

Your Location (if different from above): Costa Mesa, California

Words you live by: Anything is achievable through hard work and determination. Personal Philosophy: Same

What book are you reading: Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry & Jean Greaves What was your first job: Assistant Preschool Teacher (at age 14) Favorite charity: Team Kids

Interests: Hiking and reading

Family: Husband, Brent; daughters, Emily, Natalie, and Lily; and sons, James and John

I get to help my clients achieve their goals, find creative solutions to complex problems, and work with interesting and accomplished people every day.

What Matters Most Is Happy Clients


love being an Merger & Acquisitions lawyer. I get to help my clients achieve their goals, find creative solutions to complex problems, and work with interesting and accomplished people every day. I am hired by founders and entrepreneurs looking to build their businesses and prepare for liquidity transactions. I am honored to be a valued member of their team, and use my skills and experience as an M&A lawyer to navigate successful transactions. I am challenged and excited to test my knowledge and assist my clients in finding practical and targeted solutions to the various issues that arise over the course of a transaction. And, the best part is that I get to spend my days working with successful founders and entrepreneurs that have spent years passionately building and scaling their businesses. They are truly inspiring! My clients work in a commercial environment, and my job is to understand both their pain points

and their end game, and then to give advice regarding the risks involved and possible solutions. I could never do my job well without a team of outstanding colleagues and the support of my family. My family grounds me and gives me perspective that I use daily in my conversations with clients and my negotiations with opposing counsel. What matters to me most is having happy clients at the end of a transaction. Here is a recent testimonial from a client: “It was an absolute pleasure working with you. We could not have dreamed of a better partner to navigate through this energy-intensive process. Your team, in general, and you in particular, have been nothing short of amazing. Not only did you consistently demonstrate sharp expertise on the legal front, it also felt like you always had our best interests at heart—two key factors to power through in such a high-stakes context.”

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Lejla Hadzic ASSOCIATE

Education: BA, Yale University; MA & JD, Georgetown University Company Name: Hoguet Newman Regal & Kenney LLP Industry: Law

Company CEO: N/A

Company Headquarters Location: New York, New York Number of Employees: 32

Words you live by: Find passion in what you do.

Personal Philosophy: Be true to yourself and your values.

What book are you reading: An American Marriage by Tayari Jones What was your first job: Tutoring our neighbor’s daughter

Favorite charity: Karam Foundation for Refugee Children and Families Interests: Travel, art, yoga, and social justice Family: First.

The Adaptations We Made this Year Can Continue to Serve Us


hroughout the past year, the transition to remote work has been challenging for many of us, but the need to stay connected and carry on with our work has made us adapt incredibly quickly. We’ve learned how to embrace technology in a way we had not before, despite its widespread availability. Technologies brought our clients closer when travel was not possible, and enabled us to connect with our colleagues in often less formal ways. I believe the changes we have made over the past year will present new opportunities for us in the next five years, and beyond. In my practice of litigation, we have adapted to remote depositions of witnesses, remote video court hearings and mediations, and even remote international arbitrations. Remote work and video court have presented opportunities to expand practices and reach clients in ways we were not able to before. It also reminded us how interconnected we are and highlighted the importance of finding ways to be there for our clients. Even as we start returning to the office and eagerly welcome reconnecting with our colleagues and clients in person, I think we will continue to embrace remote work by transitioning into a more hybrid model, where remote access and remote connections will


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remain par for the course. Although technology fueled the remote workforce throughout the pandemic, it also presented challenges. It brought up ethical issues about client confidentiality, cybersecurity, questions of professional etiquette when accessing proceedings remotely, and disparities in the accessibility to technology. Moving forward, we will need to address these issues and ensure that access to technology does not create a more permanent division between those accessing legal services and the workforce. Additionally, the pandemic has exacerbated in some instances the need to maintain delineation between work and home. Especially for those who must balance work with caretaking (and it tends to overwhelmingly be women who bear the burden of caretaking for their family, elderly parents, and children), these delineations will only continue to gain importance. As we “return to normal,” I think it’s imperative that the adaptations we have made over the past year continue to serve us. Continuing to have a more flexible outlook towards office work will be important, particularly to ensure that burnout, and a return to normal, does not lead to another exit of women from the workforce.

Denisha S. Bacchus ASSOCIATE


Education: BA, Columbia University; JD, Yale Law School Company Name: Holwell Shuster & Goldberg LLP Industry: Law

Company CEO: N/A

Company Headquarters Location: New York, New York Number of Employees: 84

Words you live by: Practice radical self-love.

Personal Philosophy: Strive to be the person that your best friends know you to be, and that you want your future daughter to become. What book are you reading: How Long ‘Til Black Future Month by N.K. Jemisin; The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran What was your first job: Math tutor (middle school)

Favorite charity: National Police Accountability Project

Interests: Hiking, reading, and hanging out with friends/family/goddaughter Family: Single mother (Guyanese immigrant), 2 siblings, and 1 goddaughter

Stop Negotiating Against Yourself


he best advice I ever received was from a professor who—when I was in the depths of impostor syndrome and self-doubt, and considering withdrawing my application to a coveted clerkship—demanded that I stop negotiating against myself. People who find you unqualified will happily say no to you throughout your life, he explained; you should never take yourself out of the running by doing it for them. I found the idea of a fully preventable rejection terrifying and embarrassing. But he had never steered me wrong before. So, I sucked it up, attended the interview, and got the clerkship. That professor has since become a mentor and friend. And I revisit his advice every time I’m faced with a challenge I’m inclined to shrink away from, an assignment I feel I’m too junior to take on, or an adversary who has more experience than I do. I remind myself that negotiating against myself only gives others an advantage. I remind myself that my colleagues, my bosses, or even something ethereal will tell me no when I stretch too far—so in the meanwhile, I might as well tell myself yes. I try to pass this advice along as often as possible, especially to women—particularly black women and other women of color. There are innumerable sex- and race-based biases in the

legal profession, ranging from expectations about who can dominate a courtroom (and what form that domination must take) to what the beauty industry says it means to look like a professional. And I would never diminish the role those factors play in professional success. But among the things we can control are our own internalized biases—the way we discount ourselves before the race starts, while certain of our counterparts step up without ever questioning their qualifications. So just DO the thing. If you fail, you fail. (It happens to all of us, and in the grand scheme of things, I promise it won’t be nearly as devastating as you fear.) But if you say no, you never even get a shot at success. When you do step up, do it in a way that feels authentic. You don’t have to mirror macho stereotypes to be successful. That part is easier said than done, but try to remember: being nice and cracking jokes can be more effective than being sour and combative, just like being cautious can pay off in ways that raising your hand to speak first won’t. If your work and leadership style are disarming to others, then so be it. Being authentic will just make it easier for someone coming up behind you. And it’ll make your success that much sweeter.

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Meredith Nelson ASSOCIATE

Education: BS, University of Tulsa; JD, New York University School of Law Company Name: Holwell Shuster & Goldberg LLP Industry: Law

Company CEO: N/A

Company Headquarters Location: New York, New York Number of Employees: 84

Words you live by: Surround yourself with people who encourage you to be better. Personal Philosophy: Be generous with everyone, including yourself. What book are you reading: The Future Is History by Masha Gessen

What was your first job: Minor league baseball park concession vendor Favorite charity: One Fair Wage

Interests: Baseball, fantasy novels, and tending to my growing vegetable garden

It Doesn’t Mean They Don’t Belong


spent most of my first year of law school convinced I did not belong there. My peers seemed worldly and well-connected. I had spent little time outside of my hometown in Oklahoma and was still trying to master the basics of surviving in New York City. When the time came for my school’s on-campus interviewing event for law firm jobs, I was terrified that all of my interviewers would immediately know I was an outsider. After a long day of meeting with attorneys from various firms, I walked into one of my last interviews—with a firm I was certain was out of my league. Nervous and flustered, I sat down in the chair facing my interviewer and the first words out of my mouth were, “I’m not sure I really have the grades for this firm.” My interviewer looked at me, puzzled, then picked up my transcript and scanned it while I sat in quiet embarrassment. “Well,” he said, “you do. Never go into an interview and say you don’t think you’re qualified. Would you like to start again?” I said yes, and we continued on. Later that day, I received a voicemail from him telling me that—despite my efforts to convince him otherwise—he wanted to invite me back for a second round of interviews. The advice my interviewer gave me was valuable, and his reassurance was appreciated. But his


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example was far more important. After interviewing dozens of candidates that day, he could have easily written me off, noted “not confident” on his evaluation form, and moved on to the next person. Instead, he looked past my interviewing faux pas—recognizing that it was likely the result of my background and not a reflection on my abilities— and put in the effort to meet me where I was and assess me as a whole person. Now that I am more often on the interviewing side of the table, I think about his example often. Some candidates have not gone to the best schools. They may not have any lawyers or other professionals in their families. They may lack the poise and self-assurance that comes from knowing they belong in this profession. That does not mean they don’t belong. If the legal community truly wants to diversify its ranks, then we must constantly evaluate our own methodologies to correct for individual and institutional biases that disadvantage these candidates. We must consider whether the interviewing techniques we rely on give all applicants the opportunity to demonstrate their strengths. And we must be honest with ourselves and others when we fall short. These are critical first steps towards achieving our diversity and inclusion goals.

Fara Tabatabai PARTNER

Education: JD, Fordham University School of Law; BA, University of British Columbia Company Name: Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP Industry: Law

Company CEO: Theodore V.H. Mayer (Managing Partner) Company Headquarters Location: New York, New York Number of Employees: 215 attorneys

Words you live by: Measure twice, cut once.

Personal Philosophy: Everything in moderation—including moderation. What book are you reading: Five Points by Tyler Anbinder

What was your first job: Making pizzas in my parents’ restaurant. Favorite charity: Doctors Without Borders

Interests: Travel to places where they make good wine or chocolate, pop culture, and world-history podcasts Family: I’ve been married for nine years to another lawyer. We have two boys, ages six and two.

We’re Still All in this Together


s we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, companies can build on the lessons of the pandemic workplace by offering three things: more flexibility, more communication, and more empathy. First, the experience of the past year has proved that flexible working arrangements do not have a negative effect on productivity. Allowing employees to work from home as needed, for a specified number of days per week, or to schedule their days to balance work and home responsibilities, increases goodwill, prevents burnout, and makes employees feel trusted and valued. Offering the flexibility to work from home does not necessarily mean full-time remote working. There are tangible and intangible benefits to being in the office on a regular basis, and companies should continue to encourage in-person days as well. Being in the office allows for impromptu conversations that build trust and camaraderie, and for junior employees, in-person interactions are often critical for mentoring and on-thejob learning. So long as employees are available when needed, companies should embrace policies that allow employees to balance work and family needs. Such policies are likely to be key recruitment and retention tools going forward. Particularly in a year that has resulted in women being forced to leave the workforce in droves, holding on to talented women will require more flexible policies. Second, the pandemic has demonstrated the importance of regular communication between management

and employees. At the beginning of the pandemic, our managing partner began sending out a weekly “State of the Firm” message to all employees. During the period that the world seemed to be spiraling out of control, those simple messages were crucial, not only to communicate information about how the firm expected everyone to handle working during lockdown, but also to help everyone feel connected to the business and their colleagues. More than a year later, the State of the Firm emails continue, and the message that they communicate continues to be critical: that leadership is transparent about what it is doing and that we are all in this together. That message is as welcome now as it was a year ago. Finally, companies should continue to show empathy to their workers, even after the immediate crisis of the pandemic has passed. There is tremendous benefit in demonstrating that companies value their employees and are willing to be in a dialogue about what employees need. During the pandemic, many companies listened when employees discussed what they needed to make their home office situation better, and responded to concerns about lost mentoring and team-building opportunities by boosting mentorship programs and planning virtual events. Envisioning what the post-pandemic workplace will look like should be a collaborative process that builds on the experiences of the past year with the goal of creating a better working environment for everyone.

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Emily Estela Cabrera PARTNER

Education: JD, University of California at Berkeley School of Law; AB, Harvard University Company Name: Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP Industry: Law

Company CEO: Wally Martinez, Managing Partner

Company Headquarters Location: Washington, DC Number of Employees: 1,777

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

Words you live by: “Our goal is to be a better person each day” – My mother Personal Philosophy: Always do the right thing, the right way. What book are you reading: Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

What was your first job: My first real job was in high school. I worked in the HR department at Bell Atlantic. Favorite charity: Prep for Prep

Interests: Cooking, dancing, and hosting family gatherings

Family: Husband John, and daughter, Tatiana (who is almost 7)

Think Like a Partner


s a young associate, I was advised to “think like a partner.” As I reflect on my career thus far, having now become a partner at Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, I realize just how poignant that advice really was, and how it shaped my approach to my own career. When I say that associates should “think like a partner,” that does not mean to act pretentious or arrogant, but instead refers to adopting an ownership or growth mindset over your career. First, take ownership over your own career, and speak up and advocate for yourself. As the product of an immigrant family, I was taught to put my head down and focus simply on doing good work. My parents did not want me to make waves or assert myself too much, and they thought that my merits would speak for themselves. However, a successful career in the legal field also requires proactive participation, leadership and self-determination. Being proactive means not only becoming a better advocate for yourself, but also a better advocate for your clients by anticipating their needs and offering proactive solutions to their problems, rather than waiting for a more senior attorney to


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provide direction. Second, thinking like a partner means investing in the collective success of your colleagues, clients, and the firm as a whole, because you care about the overall success of the endeavor and have a personal stake in growing the business. Internalizing this idea also results in a natural shift to focusing on mentoring the more junior lawyers in the firm. Because successful firms attract and retain exceptional talent, focusing on the wellbeing and career trajectories of the attorneys around you creates a team mentality and a stronger law firm. Shifting to this growth mindset early in my career has allowed me to incorporate these important ideas into my own practice, contributed to my success, and allows me to pay it forward and serve as a mentor to other young lawyers. And finally, when you think like a partner, you make the most of every resource and opportunity presented, whether from an educational or networking standpoint. Looking back over my career to this point, I now realize that training myself to “think like a partner” helped me to become one.

Rudene Mercer Haynes PARTNER

Education: JD, The University of Texas School of Law; BA, mathematics, University of Virginia Company Name: Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP Industry: Law

Company CEO: Wally Martinez, Managing Partner

Company Headquarters Location: Washington, DC Number of Employees: 1,900

Words you live by: What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.

Personal Philosophy: I want to leave the world a better place than I found it.

What book are you reading: Broken by Jenny Lawson; Long Time Coming by Michael E. Dyson What was your first job: Underwriting intern at State Farm Insurance Company

Favorite charity: Children’s Museum, YWCA, VCU Massey Cancer Center, and SisterFund Interests: ethnic food, travel, Mirror exercise, pretending not to like my family pet bunny, and s’mores

Family: Husband Ricard,o (Pastor), budding gymnast, Rachel (8), and future engineer, Rabbie (14)

Don’t Be Afraid to Take an Unorthodox Approach to Your Career


wish I could say that I’ve known since birth that I wanted to be a lawyer, but that wouldn’t be at all truthful (at six, I wanted to be an astronaut). In addition to my love of the universe and all of its mysteries, I have always been fascinated with mathematics, and in particular algebra. For me, math seemed like a giant puzzle waiting to be solved, and if you focused your efforts and invested the time, you could arrive at the right answer eventually. I also loved the idea of being a teacher. I cannot tell you how many of my dolls were “taught” math by me on Saturday mornings, with me dutifully instructing at the miniature chalk board my mom bought for me one Christmas. So it would only make sense to combine my two loves: math and teaching, and become a math teacher. Well, as most folks who know me would attest, I’m not particularly orthodox in my approach about anything, so the fact that I ended up as a corporate finance lawyer comes as no big surprise. (I actually decided to sit for the LSAT exam while

studying abroad in Spain my next to last semester before graduating early from UVA. Really. Again, unorthodox.) At the end of the day, I love solving difficult problems, and my practice affords me the opportunity to do that every single day, from counseling my clients regarding transactions that make home ownership possible for millions of people, to making critical decisions serving as a member of my firm’s Executive Committee, to helping my community by serving on boards of life-transforming nonprofits. During my two decades of practice, I have been fortunate to be able to sit at tables (both literally and virtually) at the firm and in my community where I could advocate for issues that I am incredibly passionate about: diversity and equity. Most recently, I have been involved in initiatives focused on health disparities and on ways the black faith community and the medical community can work together to ensure health equity for the most vulnerable populations in our community.

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Education: BA, general studies, University of Idaho Company Name: Idaho National Laboratory Industry: Energy

Company CEO: Dr. John Wagner (Laboratory Director) Company Headquarters Location: Idaho Falls, Idaho Number of Employees: 5,200

Your Location (if different from above): Advanced Test Reactor Complex

Words you live by: “Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.” – Oprah Winfrey Personal Philosophy: Lead with compassion and authenticity. What book are you reading: Dare to Lead by Brené Brown

What was your first job: Sales associate at a hometown clothing store Favorite charity: United Way

Interests: Books, travel, and coffee

Family: Two children (18 and 21) and two pugs

Creating a Truly Collaborative Organization


am most passionate about creating a positive work environment, where people can feel respected and valued, and collaboration is encouraged and inclusion is pivotal, rather than placing the focus on competition and individual achievement. I believe in an organization that shares its successes and failures openly. One area in which I have been able to implement my passion for creating a positive work environment at the Advanced Test Reactor is chairing the Employee Health Committee. Including individuals from every organization across the complex, the focus of the committee is employee professional development and retention. In 2020, the committee focused much of its efforts on boosting the morale of the essential staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, while building a connection between the staff who work at the reactor and the telecommuting staff. These efforts included weekly contests and questions that encouraged staff members to submit personal information to share with their colleagues about their lives. The committee also facilitated appreciation gifts from the telecommuting staff to the essential workers around the holidays. Further, the commit-


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tee presents opportunities for both essential and telecommuting staff to connect and learn through engaging and educational online presentations. These efforts help build a truly collaborative environment, comprising individuals who provide support for one another, offering compassion, kindness, and engagement for all. Team member support can take many forms, including sharing knowledge or bouncing ideas off one another to find the best approach to solving a problem or finishing a task. At the Advanced Test Reactor, Intent Based Leadership is a core value that managers and staff embrace: People are empowered to make decisions at every level. Mistakes are expected and forgiven. From the beginner to the seasoned veteran, every individual, regardless of position, uses his or her skills to contribute to the overall success of the group, and that success is shared equally among team members. Through this approach, team members gain confidence to do their work, ask questions, feel a true connection to others within the team, and are empowered to take an innovative approach to their work every day.

Kathryn M. Jensen ADVANCED TEST REACTOR (ATR) OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH MANAGER Education: MS, industrial hygiene, Montana Tech Company Name: Idaho National Laboratory Industry: Energy

Company CEO: Dr. John Wagner (Laboratory Director) Company Headquarters Location: Idaho Falls, Idaho Number of Employees: 5,200

Words you live by: Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful. Personal Philosophy: Integrity is always doing the right thing, even when no one is watching. What book are you reading: Turn the Ship Around by David Marquet

What was your first job: Environmental scientist supporting Yucca Mountain Favorite charity: Primary Children’s Hospital

Interests: Skiing, hiking, mountain biking, road biking, reading, gardening, and spending time with family Family: Two children, two grandsons, granddaughter on the way, and one cat

The Importance of the Choices We Make


s I pondered the things that brought me to this specific time in my life, I thought of all the choices I have made. I have had a wide range of emotions related to some of my choices and their outcomes. While at times I would like to go back in time and replay a decision, hoping for a different outcome, I know each decision brought me right here. So many parts of life are about taking baby steps through it, but occasionally we are required to take giant leaps of faith to achieve something we never thought was possible. That is how I feel about my current position. I am the occupational safety and health manager at the Advanced Test Reactor (ATR), a facility at Idaho National Laboratory. I can honestly say that I never thought I would be a manager. I was perfectly happy working as an individual contributor at a truly unique facility. I am a certified industrial hygienist and a certified safety professional, and I was able to provide expertise to operations and maintenance to solve issues as they arose and facilitate work processes at ATR. I studied jobs and job sites and determined the safest, most practical ways to get things accomplished. I had found my perfect job. My boss at the time, a friend and mentor,

declared his intention to retire. When he asked if I would be interested in taking his place, I emphatically replied that I would not. He reminded me that by taking his place I would maintain control of my own destiny. If I relinquished that control, someone else would have the power to drive my destiny, and I might not like where their direction would take me. From there, my decision was easy. I didn’t want the fate of my career to be directed by someone else. I also felt a sense of obligation to my work group, so I decided to pursue the management position. I figured out quickly that if I continued to treat people the way I always wanted to be treated, everything worked out. The people who work with me understand that their concerns are truly heard. They may not always like my decisions, but they have confidence that their concerns are given true consideration. Life is about making choices. Life is about taking risks. Life is about measuring and evaluating the outcomes and making sure the risks taken are worth it. I hope that I can serve as a role model for the next generation of women coming into the workforce. I want to show them you do not have to change who you are to manage. By staying true to your values and treating everyone with dignity and respect, you will be a success. 2021 Third Quarter


Dr. Ning Kang


Education: PhD, University of Kentucky

Company Name: Idaho National Laboratory Industry: Energy

Company CEO: Dr. John Wagner (Laboratory Director) Company Headquarters Location: Idaho Falls, Idaho Number of Employees: 5,200

Words you live by: Lead by example and with empathy.

Personal Philosophy: Always be open-minded and be ready for new ideas and criticism. What book are you reading: Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown

What was your first job: Senior R&D engineer at ABB U.S. Corporate Research Center Favorite charity: Chicago Coalition for the Homeless Interests: Music and travel

Family: Just my spouse and myself

When We Lead with Empathy, Our Teams Respond in Kind


started my career about 11 years ago as an R&D power systems engineer. Before I joined Idaho National Laboratory (INL), I had carried out various roles as a team member, a project leader, and a mentor. I have experienced many ups and downs during my career. Despite my best efforts and passion for my work and organizations, there were times when I felt discouraged, disappointed, and even hurt when my leaders were not supportive, equitable, empathetic, and were displaying exclusive behaviors. I understand how a toxic environment can be harmful for individuals, as well as for the organization at large. I have also experienced how leading by example and with empathy helps a team truly integrate and bring out the enthusiasm and innovations of every team member. When I became a department manager at INL about two years ago, I knew the gravity of the role and the responsibilities I would carry for the people in my department. I started my first day with an empathetic attitude and with an attitude that I can learn from everyone. I have dedicated myself


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to building a work environment that is transparent, inclusive, equitable, and trusting, and where all efforts are appreciated regardless of the outcome. What I have learned is that when we are empathetic leaders, team members will respond in kind. They can give credit to each other, support each other, and bring their best selves to work each day. They are passionate, innovative, and successful when they feel they belong to a group that is working toward a common goal. I constantly remind myself that all team members, from interns and junior researchers to senior researchers, are people with different backgrounds and perspectives who play important roles in the success of our work. I have never been afraid of admitting my own mistakes, and consider making such admissions a strength and an opportunity for growth. By practicing these values and beliefs, team members understand that although we all make mistakes, what’s important is that we face them with a positive attitude and learn from them.

Megan Kommers

ANALYTIC DEPARTMENT MANAGER, CYBERCORE INTEGRATION CENTER Education: MS, environmental science and policy, Johns Hopkins University; BS, environmental science, Allegheny College Company Name: Idaho National Laboratory Industry: Energy

Company CEO: Dr. John Wagner (Laboratory Director) Company Headquarters Location: Idaho Falls, Idaho Number of Employees: 5,200

Words you live by: Know your core capabilities; apply them to take risks and explore new endeavors. Personal Philosophy: If you see a gap or issue, don’t just point it out, propose a solution. What book are you reading: Think Again by Adam Grant

What was your first job: Research assistant to a history professor Favorite charity: Natural Resources Defense Council Interests: Gardening, hiking, cooking, and skiing

Family: Husband, Jay; Daughters, Ailsa (9) and Marin (6)

Change: How Can We Do Better?


hange. For some, the word evokes thoughts of uncertainty or forced navigation of the unknown. For me, change— specifically, organizational change— serves as a driving factor. I see change as a positive force under which an organization or team can think outside the box with respect to how they accomplish their mission and work together. By embracing the opportunities that arise from imagining how we can improve upon existing organizational models and processes, we free ourselves of constraints and complacency, disregarding notions of “this is how it’s always been done” and collectively adopting an approach of “how can we do better?” Throughout my career, I have led or supported a number of initiatives focused on change, ranging from organizational strategy development, to smaller efforts focused on building teams to accomplish focused tasks or outcomes. Along the way, I have adopted key principles that I build upon with each new endeavor I undertake. First, when initiating a new effort, large or small, go beyond acknowledging differences of opinion or thought and actively seek out diverse perspectives to incorporate in the end product. Whether working within a collaborative partnership or assembling multidisciplinary teams focused on

researching and developing a cutting-edge solution, inputs derived from diverse educational, professional, or personal experiences ultimately create richer and more impactful results. Second, when working toward an end goal, accept that the first solution might not be completely successful and may either require course corrections on the path to implementation or revision after completion. Once success is attained (however it has been defined), be sure to revisit the effort regularly to ensure it continues to be meaningful. Finally, be patient and persistent. Not all efforts to initiate a new process or initiative will be quickly adopted or gain momentum. Believe not only in the benefits it can afford your organization or team, but also the power of your own capabilities to bring it to fruition. And keep pushing forward. The potential and possibility of enacting change to positively affect an organization and the people supporting it truly drives me as a leader. Regardless of the size of the effort, time duration, or area of focus, change-oriented initiatives require planning beyond near-term goals and identifying the innovations we need to invest in now to be able to meet the challenges of the future. Reach beyond the norm, try something new, and always ask, “How can we do better?”

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Education: BA, Tufts University

Company Name: International WELL Building Institute Industry: Real Estate

Company CEO: Rachel Hodgdon

Company Headquarters Location: New York, New York Number of Employees: 100

Words you live by: Build the Bigger Product. Be the Bigger Person.

Personal Philosophy: Always be winning for good.

What book are you reading: The Messy Middle by Scott Melsky

What was your first job: Camp counselor and instructor at figure skating camp Favorite charity: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Interests: Architecture and design, yoga, and beachcombing Family: Married to Marisa, November 2020

Career Success Is Not a Zero-Sum Game


entorship plays a vital role in professional development. Good mentors will use their personal experience and sectorspecific knowledge to help today’s mentees become tomorrow’s leaders and influencers. Back in 2015, when I was working at the U.S. Green Building Council, I had the honor of hosting the Women in Green breakfast at the annual Greenbuild Conference & Expo. I wanted to use my role as convener to speak frankly about mentoring. On the one hand, I benefited from tremendous support and sponsorship early in my career, when people recognized my potential, reached out, and gave me opportunities to succeed. On the other, a number of negative experiences dismayed me—especially when some women in leadership roles had not only failed to extend a helping hand, but had actually attempted to undermine my progress. It was devastating for me to realize that these women leaders, with titles and salaries to match, seemed to be viewing other women not as collaborators, but as competition. One very senior female executive actually went so far as to advise my then (male) boss to fire me, claiming “no school facilities officer will ever take her seriously.” Reflecting on my experience, I accept that what I learned through these encounters, although painful, was also valuable. Over time, I’ve been able to better understand the dynamics at play in those


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scenarios. I can see the fear—driven by the notion of scarcity—that my success would detract from the success of other women. That by improving my chances, they believed they would be limiting theirs. That sponsoring me could take away their opportunity for a seat at the table. This doesn’t need to be true. At the International WELL Building Institute, we’re working to reverse this trend of personal competition, to lift each other up as collaborators and partners, and to demonstrate that there’s enough space for all. I’m even prouder that we have a culture—not specifically tethered to gender—of helping one another. Collaboration is baked into our business model. Our budgets and plans are integrated; we work together and we win together. Because success is shared, rather than hoarded and coveted, there’s room for everyone to grow. We practice a strengths-based leadership model that allows individuals to progress along less conventional pathways. With this culture deeply embedded, we are discovering that it has a momentum all its own. I’m proud and privileged to help women by providing mentorship and sponsorship, and encouraging them to do the same. It’s not a zero-sum game. If women establish themselves as mentors, they have the opportunity to elevate their own success, as well as that of their colleagues and companies. It’s a steep climb, but well worth it.

Lauren Courtney Mastio PARTNER

Education: BS summa cum laude, human and organizational development and political science, Vanderbilt University; JD, Vanderbilt University Law School Company Name: Jones Walker LLP Industry: Law & legal services Company CEO: Bill Hines

Company Headquarters Location: New Orleans, Louisiana Number of Employees: 500+

Words you live by: Work hard, play hard.

Personal Philosophy: Choose work that you are passionate about doing and always be prepared. By following this, I love what I do and continue to achieve excellent results. What book are you reading: Humanity at Work by Pierre Battah What was your first job: Internship at Christie’s

Favorite charity: New Orleans Hispanic Heritage Foundation (NOHHF) Interests: Traveling and cooking

Family: Husband, Stewart, and two daughters, Maddie (9) and Ellie (4)

The Pandemic Helped Me Rediscover the Importance of Connection


he COVID-19 pandemic radically changed almost every facet of our lives throughout the past year. In March 2020, our offices at Jones Walker quickly transitioned to a work-from-home model, and although my tasks as an attorney were not drastically different, my day-today routines, and those of my colleagues, were. I started to experience more and more crossover between my professional and personal lives—working in a makeshift home “office” and holding virtual conversations with family, friends, and colleagues. Cell phones became the preferred method of communication, and the boundary between work and home became nonexistent. There were no longer “normal business hours,” and it was not long before the “new normal” included making and receiving work calls at all hours, seven days a week. I knew that other attorneys and staff were likely experiencing this, too, and I wanted to make sure I struck a happy balance by respecting the boundaries of work and rest hours, as well as maintaining open lines of communication during a very unpredictable time. This prompted me to reflect on my communication style as a mentor to young attorneys and as a leader within the firm. I started calling my fellow partners, associates,

and staff members with whom I work regularly— during traditional business hours—just to “check in” to foster a sense of togetherness and community. This enabled everyone to obtain a better understanding of what was and was not working for others, and everyone became very comfortable communicating openly about the challenges we were facing. I also made sure that the mentoring and development of our next generation of leaders remained a top priority. I work with an extraordinary group of people, and throughout the past year, I have seen an incredible level of dedication to our legal work and to deepening our working relationships firm-wide, despite most of our meetings and activities being virtual. Among the many life lessons the pandemic has provided me, I have rediscovered the importance of meaningful connections that we must have with our families, friends, coworkers, and beyond. Lawyers often have the reputation of putting their heads down and working tirelessly, but we cannot lose sight of the people around us. Through demonstrating a thoughtful and supportive leadership style, and fostering working relationships with open communication, we can produce better work and lead happier lives, even amid a pandemic.

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Nefertiti J. Alexander PARTNER

Education: JD, Harvard Law School (Co-Executive Editor, Harvard Negotiation Law Review; BA cum laude, New York University Company Name: Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP Industry: Law Company CEO: Marc E. Kasowitz, Managing Partner Company Headquarters Location: New York, New York Number of Employees: 385 Words you live by: To whom much is given, much will be required. – Luke 12:48 Personal Philosophy: Aim to give wisely, and never give up. 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; Community Capacity Development (CCD), which focuses on successful violence interruption and community empowerment, and employs human and healing justice models for achieving justice, safety, and the well-being of the communities it serves. Interests: Poetry, snorkeling, dancing, and nature walks Family: Proud mom of a boy and girl

Always Remember, There Are Many Paths to Success


ne of my proudest professional accomplishments was achieved when I was named partner at my firm. 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. When I was growing up, my family frequently depended on government assistance for food and housing. However, my parents, who believed in the value of education, worked very hard to provide my five siblings and me with a quality education, while protecting us from the gun violence and drugs that plagued the 1980s. Following the advice of my concerned 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 that 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 New York City and in countries around the world, I learned the importance of mentorship. My first instrumental mentor, my dance director, was one of the people who encouraged and helped me apply to New York University (NYU). At NYU, my sociology professor, another key mentor, encouraged me to apply to Harvard Law School.


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Throughout my legal career, I’ve had several lawfirm mentors and sponsors, including at my present firm, as well as 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 conduct 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 members of 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.

Jennifer McDougall PARTNER

Education: JD, Columbia Law School (Submissions Editor, Columbia Business Law Review); BA, College of the Holy Cross Company Name: Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP Industry: Law

Company CEO: Marc E. Kasowitz, Managing Partner

Company Headquarters Location: New York, New York Number of Employees: 385

Words you live by: Eat the frog, which means to stop procrastinating and just do it!

Personal Philosophy: There is not always a right answer, and sometimes strategy and execution matter more than getting the answer “right.” What book are you reading: Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley

What was your first job: Receptionist at St. Patrick’s Nursing Home in the Bronx, New York Favorite charity: Bundles of Joy New York; Legal Services of the Hudson Valley Interests: Reading, The Office, and our dog, Waffles

Family: My husband, Mark, and our two children, Dashiell (7) and Cora (5)

Tips for Juggling Work and Home (It Really Can Be Done)


n the day I gave birth to my son, who is now 7 years old, a critical ruling came down in one of my cases, granting our client a hard-fought win in defeating a summary judgment motion. I read the decision on my phone while my son was in the nursery, processed the decision, sent a couple of emails about it, and then put my phone away when it was time to be with my son again. While this was an extreme example of juggling motherhood and work, like most working mothers, I have always been comfortable navigating these two separate spheres. Of course, prior to the pandemic, I had a physical dividing line between home and office; my kids attended school in person and I was fortunate to have good childcare. However, during the pandemic, my children shifted among no school, remote learning, and in-person school. I worked from home and faced regular interruptions. Once I was on a conference call and forgot to hit the mute button when I was loudly breaking up a fight between my otherwise normally wellbehaved kids. Although these challenges are not new to many women lawyers, I needed new tools to manage the disruption caused by the pandemic. I recognize my tips may not address the challenges

experienced by many other working mothers, as there is no one-size-fits-all. However, I hope these tips will help you in some way, as they’ve helped me navigate a difficult year: First, manage others’ expectations, while adjusting your own. As attorneys, our goal is always to push our cases or deals forward as effectively as possible. At the same time, we need to be realistic about what we can accomplish each day with our families, while continuing to push as hard as we can for our clients. Second, learn to delegate and ask for help. Some working mothers think they have to do it all by themselves and that asking for help is a sign of weakness. However, I’ve found that working collaboratively with my colleagues not only relieves some of my stress, but also often leads to better outcomes for my clients. The same is true in our personal lives. Third, let go of perfection. It doesn’t exist and you cannot achieve it. Instead, do your best and accept that you may occasionally disappoint some people. I believe that when we come out of the pandemic that most of us will have become better at juggling our work and home lives.

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Barbara Repandis

CHIEF HUMAN RESOURCES OFFICER Education: MBA, HR management; BA, business journalism and communications; Executive Certification, HR Management; and SPHR Certification Company Name: Kelley Kronenberg Industry: Law

Company CEO: Michael Fichtel

Company Headquarters Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida Number of Employees: 394

Words you live by: We rise by lifting others.

Personal Philosophy: “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.” –Vince Lombardi What book are you reading: The Fred Factor: How Passion in Your Work and Life Can Turn the Ordinary into the Extraordinary by Mark Sanborn What was your first job: Barista at Dunkin Donuts

Favorite charity: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Interests: Reading, and spending time with my family and my little Shih Tzu

Family: I have a 7-year-old son named Angelos, and my family is from Greece!

Another driver of my professional passion is my team members, who inspire me every day with their passion for our goals, and mutual respect and trust for one another, which fuels each of us daily.

Happy Employees Are also Good for Business


hat ignites my professional passion is the ability to affect people’s lives. I was fascinated by the business world from a young age. At the same time, I have always wanted to help people and know that my work somehow positively impact their lives. Human Resources gave me the opportunity to achieve both of my goals, and I feel very fortunate to be one of those people who can sincerely say, “I love my job and love going to work.” There is nothing more fulfilling than having the ability to help people reach their full potential—to help


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them reach their professional goals. At the same time, it gives me so much joy to know that through our people-centric programs and initiatives, we are also positively affecting their day-to-day lives by enhancing their employee experience. The byproduct happens to be that happy employees are good for business. Another driver of my professional passion is my team members, who inspire me every day with their passion for our goals, and mutual respect and trust for one another, which fuels each of us daily.


Education: MBA, Nova Southeastern University; BA, Florida International University, Honor College; AA, Miami Dade College, Honors College Company Name: Kelley Kronenberg Industry: Law Company CEO: Michael Fichtel Company Headquarters Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida Number of Employees: 394 Words you live by: Choice is a superpower, with great power comes great responsibility. Personal Philosophy: Learn from your failures so you can achieve more successes along your journey. What book are you reading: The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba by Chanel Cleeton What was your first job: My first job was in telemarketing during summer while in high school. Favorite charity: I do not have just one favorite charity... I am involved with many benefitting children, youth, women, and much more. Interests: I love the ocean and the river. The beach is my happy place. I enjoy swimming, snorkeling, boating, and all things water. I love travelling the world, history, and watching movies of all eras. Family: My parents arrived in the United States in the Freedom Flights from Cuba when they were small children. I am the oldest of four sisters and have a large, wonderful family. I share my home with my teenage son, Madden, my long-term fiancé, Art, and his college-age sons, Carlos and Chris.

There is always some element of gender and racial bias in the world, but talent can trump it if you’re “best in class” at what you do. I have found that if you find good mentors and sponsors along your career path, it also helps you navigate the politics and career roads much more effectively.

Invest in Yourself, Your Craft, and Your Relationships


eing a woman in business has its own unique set of challenges. Sometimes the challenges shift, depending on age. And sometimes challenges shift, depending on personal life chapters. Regardless of their background, executives should focus on performance, growth, and development on both personal and professional levels to be able to stay competitive and lead in their fields. Whether you are the financial head of a household, a sole or single parent, or caretaker to others, you will have to find creative ways to juggle time and locations, and sometimes to find resourc-

es and family to help manage responsibilities and overall performance. There is always some element of gender and racial bias in the world, but talent can trump it if you’re “best in class” at what you do. I have found that if you find good mentors and sponsors along your career path, it also helps you navigate the politics and career roads much more effectively. Invest time in developing your skills, your network, your relationships, your craft, and your emotional intelligence. Sometimes timing, patience, and the unknown are working in your favor without you being consciously aware of it.

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Jocelyn D. Lincoln

CHIEF TALENT OFFICER & HEAD OF GLOBAL BUSINESS PLANNING Education: BA, advertising, Michigan State University; MBA, marketing, University of Detroit-Mercy Company Name: Kelly Industry: Workforce Solutions/Staffing Company CEO: Peter Quigley Company Headquarters Location: Troy, Michigan Number of Employees: 7,000 Words you live by: “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” – Stephen R. Covey Personal Philosophy: I believe I can learn something from everything. Each person can teach me something new—even if it’s simply what NOT to do, or how to behave, or even what I aspire to. Each situation presents an opportunity to challenge my own thinking or preconceived ideas and opinions. I can be a catalyst for change by living the adage: “When you know better, you do better.” – Maya Angelou What book are you reading: Just as I am: A Memoir by Cicely Tyson What was your first job: My first job was in college working in the Holden Hall (my dormitory’s) cafeteria. I washed dishes, and huge pots and pans, but really wanted the coveted job of checking student IDs and punching the meal cards! The job didn’t have to wear the dreaded uniform! Favorite charity: The Pretty Brown Girl Foundation Interests: I have a servant’s heart, and my passion is mentoring young girls, volunteering and being active with my church, and serving on a variety of ministries (including previously leading the Marriage Ministry with my husband). I am a Peloton aficionado, closing in on 1,000 completed rides this year—very much developing in my journey to fitness. Family: The youngest of 6 children, I have 2 brothers and 3 sisters. I am married (26 years) and my husband served in the Persian Gulf War and graduated from Wayne State University with a BA in finance. My daughter, a rising senior at the University of Michigan, will graduate with a BS in neuropsychology. We have a 6-year-old Shih Tzu named Delilah Belle.

The Skill of Resilience: When Life Doesn’t Go as Planned


remember the day so clearly—a beautiful Saturday in June. The summer morning started off quite unremarkably simply because it was completely ordinary. Little did I know by the evening my entire life would never look the same. I’ve been asked many times over the past two years what I learned from the experience of a house fire. The lessons are so profound and life altering. Quite honestly, as another year passes, I’m reminded that I’m still learning. Life AFTER the fire taught me lessons that cross the professional, emotional, spiritual, financial, and even the physical. The most important lesson was this: I can learn something from everything. Life is a series of “how-to’s” moving forward, despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles: facing the ugliness of the aftermath; being kind and patient with others, recognizing you have no idea what they are dealing with; the unexpected and overwhelming kindness of others; confronting your worst fears; dealing with guilt; grieving lost “things” and a way of life; and marveling in the beauty of what is now—a new reality filled with possibilities; recognizing that life is truly a gift; how temporary everything really is; being thankful; being present; expressing gratitude; having a plan; and making sure your business is always handled. I learned to apply these lessons to my professional


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life. As leaders, we’re often faced and dealing with, the aftermath of what happens when things don’t go as planned. It’s never a matter of if, but more about when, because inevitably, setbacks, failures, missteps, and crises happen. Leaders know that you can’t always control what happens, only how you respond. What actions you take? How will you build a solution and keep your team focused on their mission when everything is crumbling or looks quite bleak. You learn how to step up and step in. You realize that you must create a safe space where each person feels he or she can be vulnerable. You’re responsible for creating a vision for the future that your teams will buy into because they know they can trust you. My day on the fateful Saturday in June didn’t end at all as I imagined. And I wouldn’t change a thing. I emerged stronger and with clarity of purpose. I learned what resilience is. 7 Skills of Resilience (by Katherine King, PsyD): 1. Cultivate a belief in your ability to cope 2. Stay connected with sources of support 3. Talk about what you’re going through 4. Be helpful to others 5. Activate positive emotion 6. Cultivate an attitude of survivorship 7. Seek meaning

Justine A. Stringer, Esq. ASSOCIATE

Education: JD, New York Law School; BS, New Mexico State University Company Name: Krauss Shaknes Tallentire & Messeri LLP Industry: Law

Company CEO: N/A

Company Headquarters Location: New York, New York Number of Employees: 10

Words you live by: If you can believe it, you can achieve it.

Personal Philosophy: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou What book are you reading: Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid What was your first job: Snack bar at hometown ski mountain Favorite charity: The Humane Society of New York Interests: Tennis, golf, skiing, and cooking

Family: I live in New York City with my husband, Tom Hashagen, and our dog, Sam.

The Power of Admitting that I Don’t Have All the Answers


he best advice I received as a young, budding attorney was to never pretend to know the answer. While this advice may seem obvious—and it is—throughout my career, I have witnessed many people, often women (including myself), not following this advice out of embarrassment and fear of looking stupid. As women in the workplace, particularly in industries dominated by men, there is the everpresent feeling of having to prove ourselves on a daily basis. Constantly having to prove you have just as much of a right to be there as anyone else often leads women to feel as though each and every move is a test, and that any misstep somehow carries more weight than the missteps of our male counterparts. This leads us to be on high alert and feel as though we can never admit that we may not always have all the answers. As a result, we miss out on countless opportunities—to learn, to be vulnerable, and, perhaps most important, to show

other women that it is perfectly acceptable to say, “I do not know, but I will find out.” There is so much strength and power in being authentic and not pretending. We are fortunate to be living in a time when every answer is at our fingertips—all we have to do is have the courage and humility to admit where we lack the knowledge and then go out and seek the information. By doing this, we not only learn more, but we inspire others around us to do the same, and to keep getting better and better, each and every day. Since I have started heeding this advice, I have found that people not only respect me for admitting what I do not know, but they find me reliable and trust that when I do have the answer, it is the right one. I no longer live in fear of not being perfect and knowing it all because now, the only person I am competing against is me, and I know she will never let me down.

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Yvette D. Valdez PARTNER

Education: JD, Columbia University School of Law, Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar; BA magna cum laude, Emory University Company Name: Latham & Watkins LLP Industry: Law

Company CEO: Richard Trobman, Chair and Managing Partner Company Headquarters Location: N/A Number of Employees: 5,400

Your Location (if different from above): New York, New York Words you live by: Amor, Alegria y Abrazos

Personal Philosophy: It doesn’t get easier, you get stronger.

What book are you reading: Of Women and Salt by Gabriela Garcia What was your first job: Movie rental store Favorite charity: RAICES

Interests: Sewing, Ashtanga yoga, travel, and spending time with my little humans

Family: I live in New York City with my husband, Tom Hashagen, and our dog, Sam.

My Story Is All about Opportunity


grew up with my parents constantly reminding me that my greatest opportunity was being born in America. It was only years later that I could truly appreciate the values instilled in me growing up in a classic immigrant household. These values, coupled with the opportunity I was given, powerfully shaped who I am. My mom arrived in this country as a political refugee from Cuba, with only the clothes on her back. My mother never graduated from college, working as a school bus driver to support her family, instead of pursuing higher education. My dad left a tumultuous political situation in Peru where his life was in danger, and entered the United States on a student visa. He later enlisted in the army and fought in the Vietnam War, thereby gaining U.S. residency. They sacrificed everything for a better life in the United States, and they told their children to make the most of every opportunity the country had to offer. I knew I had a duty to honor the opportunities that my parents had given me. College had been out of reach for them, but they wanted college for their kids. So when I went, I pushed myself in every way I could and I got straight A’s. In addition to my parents having instilled the value of hard work in me early on, it was just part of my character to constantly push. Growing up, I was always questioning, especially my grandfather,


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with whom I spoke extensively about the revolution and the rule of law in Cuba. I was opinionated and outspoken. I pushed. When I was eight, my grandfather declared, “You like to argue. You stand for your principles. You care about justice. You’re going to be lawyer.” I didn’t even know what a lawyer was. But he was right. A career as a lawyer turned out to be the perfect blend of my desire to take advantage of all the opportunity I was given, my interest in fairness and principle, and my natural inclination to always push forward. Today, I work with emerging companies, financial institutions, and investment managers on complex regulatory challenges in the development of bespoke financial digital asset technologies, and on domestic and cross-border cutting-edge fintech initiatives in the derivatives markets. It’s a relatively new area of law that is dynamic and largely uncharted. I also use my legal skills on a pro bono basis to help those in the same position as my parents and grandparents—those seeking opportunity and safety in America—to achieve it. In all of this legal work, the core qualities that motivate me come into play—the desire to embrace opportunity, the need to establish and argue for key principles, and the drive to always push forward.

Elena L. French SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, CORPORATE MARKETING, COMMUNICATIONS AND BRAND Education: BA, political communications, The George Washington University Company Name: Lincoln Financial Group Industry: Insurance/Financial Services Company CEO: Dennis R. Glass

Company Headquarters Location: Radnor, Pennsylvania Number of Employees: 12,000

Words you live by: Patience, perseverance, perspective—one of them is always the right choice. Personal Philosophy: We have one amazing opportunity to get this life thing right and to enjoy the experience. I make it my daily mission. What book are you reading: Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown What was your first job: Ladies department worker at Stuart’s Department Store in Pawtucket, Rhode Island Favorite charity: Make-A-Wish Foundation Interests: Sewing, Traveling to lesser-known places, exploring foods from different cultures, gardening and shoe shopping! Family: Partner, Mike; children, Conrad (18) and Logan (15); and cats Scarlett and Charlie

Sometimes Work Is Not the Most Important Thing


arly in my career, my Type-A personality played out with me coming into work early, leaving late, rarely taking vacations or metime, always over-delivering and doing my best to delight my customers and partners. You’ve met people like me at work…. Maybe you ARE people like me—never getting tired, endless energy, always raising your hand and saying yes. Then I got pregnant with my first child and, after a wonderfully uneventful pregnancy, my son was born. And he came into this world as quite a mess. Severe torticollis, which meant his neck was bent at an odd angle; his right foot was on backwards and pressed up against his leg; he was missing a right hip socket; his left elbow was permanently dislocated; he was severely hearing impaired; and he had minor heart issues. Overnight, what I thought would be a sleepless, yet blissful, maternity leave turned into almost-daily visits to medical specialists to determine what was going on, and what we could begin to fix. I had a new full-time job. When it came time to return to the office, I was a mess. I knew I wouldn’t be able to be “on” 18 hours a day, and I knew I would have to take a good bit of time off to continue our medical journey. In a panic, I scheduled time with my depart-

ment head, who was also an amazing mentor and sponsor, and shared my concerns, believing that there was a chance I might actually lose my job. I will never forget what she said, “Elena, you are an exceptional employee. We already know that. Now it’s time to be an exceptional mom. Sometimes work is the most important thing in the world… there’s a crisis or a deadline or an important meeting to plan for… but most of the time it’s not. Most of the time being there for the baseball game, school play, and even doctor visits will be the most important thing. And that’s okay.” Fast forward 18 years, and I can say with confidence that I have lived that advice and shared it with hundreds of people I have led, mentored, and met in professional settings. Those who know me will tell you that I’m still one of the hardest and most effective workers around, and I’ve never missed an important doctor appointment, baseball game, or school play. In the last month, my 18-year-old son, who for all intents and purposes is a perfectly normal teenager, underwent his 17th surgery, a total knee replacement. And I was promoted to lead a corporate marketing organization for a Fortune 200 company.

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Keri Borders PARTNER

Education: JD, University of California Hastings; BA, UCLA Company Name: Mayer Brown LLP Industry: Law

Company CEO: N/A

Company Headquarters Location: N/A Number of Employees: 1,685

Your Location (if different from above): Los Angeles, California

Words you live by: You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start from where you are at and change the ending. Personal Philosophy: Be kind.

What book are you reading: A Wild and Precious Life: A Memoir by Edie Windsor What was your first job: Hostess at a restaurant Favorite charity: Planned Parenthood

Interests: Hiking, reading, and exploring. Family: 11-year- old son

Remember that Your Career Path Is Long


he best advice I received as a young lawyer was that I should view my legal career as a marathon, not a sprint. I didn’t appreciate how true this was at first because I thought that it was simply advice to not work too many hours to avoid being burned out. And, of course, that matters. Finding my own work-life balance was certainly part of it, but now I realize that the analogy of the marathon applies to so much more than just the pace of your work. It also means that you have to look at the entire, long path in front of you and realize that it is not all going to be straight, nor is it going to be the same. I learned that I need to be patient and to develop foundational skills at the beginning so that I could be prepared for twists and turns along the path. And that what was successful for me in the beginning of my career might not always work for me. Accepting that fact and being open to change has made all of the difference. For example, in 2011, I saw an opportunity in a burgeoning field (food false-advertising litigation) and decided to completely re-invent my legal practice (from being


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an entertainment lawyer). It was scary essentially starting over and whether this practice area would be a growth area—and whether I would be successful in it—was completely uncertain. But recognizing that even if it wasn’t, there would be other opportunities for me gave me the courage to take a chance. If I hadn’t taken that chance, I would not have ended up at Mayer Brown LLP, working with people I love. And I would not be doing the challenging and intellectually stimulating work that makes me excited to get out of bed every morning and get to work. The other piece of this advice that has served me well is that relationship building is the key to success, because your past is always with you. The connections that I made through past work, including those who were on the other side during litigation, have proved invaluable over time. It really is a small world and your reputation and how you treat others matters. I benefit in small and large ways every day by remembering that.

Jennifer Keating PARTNER

Education: JD, University of Chicago Law School; BA, Cornell University Company Name: Mayer Brown LLP Industry: Law

Company CEO: N/A

Company Headquarters Location: N/A Number of Employees: 1,685

Your Location (if different from above): Chicago, Illinois Personal Philosophy: Don’t take yourself too seriously.

What book are you reading: Less by Andrew Sean Greer

What was your first job: Working at a record store at the local mall Favorite charity: The Nature Conservancy

Interests: Sewing, reading, watching my kids’ sports teams, and happy hours (real ones, not virtual!)

Management Lessons from the Pandemic


ne of the many work-related challenges presented by the pandemic has been learning to effectively manage teams during a time of uncertainty. My management style is low-key; my role is often simply being available, listening, and providing guidance, support, and feedback. This works well when everyone is in the office, but it can be less effective in a remote environment. So I have had to adjust. In particular, the past year has been a valuable reminder of the importance of the following: • Communication. When we transitioned to remote work, it was immediately clear that more frequent and more candid communication was needed—in part to share information but also to foster engagement. I tried various approaches—conference calls, email check-ins, and virtual happy hours. Not everything worked, and at times the interactions seemed awkward or forced (the co-leader of my group and I moderated so many Zoom calls that we had a running joke that we were co-hosts of a morning show). But we soon realized that the mode of communication didn’t matter. Calls, Zoom meetings, texts, and emails were all fine; the key was keeping in touch. We’ve become accustomed to more frequent, proactive contact and intend to keep it up, even as we plan a broader return to the office.

• Empathy. We’ve learned that remote work and virtual collaboration are possible without diminishing quality or efficiency (which is wonderful). But remote work also tends to blur the boundaries between work and home. As many have noted, there seems to be no clear end to the work day, and some colleagues have struggled with balancing the demands of the job with family responsibilities. I now spend more time listening and asking questions to better understand colleagues’ concerns, as well as sharing my own experiences dealing with personal challenges during this time. One goal is to make it easier for people to ask for advice or help. We all worry about rising burnout rates and want to help our lawyers find a reasonable balance. • Never taking your teams for granted. The professionalism of our lawyers, and the way they have adapted to the challenges posed by the pandemic, has been astonishing. In the best of times, with every resource at our disposal, practicing law at a large firm can be incredibly demanding. Yet our lawyers shifted to remote work without missing a beat. This has given me not only a renewed appreciation for the strength of our firm’s culture, but also a resolve to ensure that our team members are rewarded for their contributions and that they know that they are valued.

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Vernessa T. Pollard


Education: BA, Howard University; JD, Temple University School of Law Company Name: McDermott Will & Emery LLP Industry: Law

Company CEO: Ira Coleman, Chairman

Company Headquarters Location: Chicago, Illinois

Number of Employees: 1,300 attorneys; 2,100 non-attorney employees Your Location (if different from above): Washington, DC Words you live by: Lift as you climb.

Personal Philosophy: Time is the most valuable resource. Take it when you need it. Be generous with it, but don’t waste it. What book are you reading: FDA Code of Federal Regulations–Title 2–Food and Drugs What was your first job: Waffle cone maker at TCBY (yogurt shop) Favorite charity: MedTech Color

Interests: Collecting and experiencing art that celebrates and explores the black diaspora Family: Husband, Joseph; children, Jadon (16), Julian (14), and Mekhi (21); and a village of parents, cousins, aunts, uncles, and close friends

Remember to Keep Lifting Others as You Climb


am passionate about helping others to unlock their potential and achieve their goals. My passion comes from the fact that I have had great mentors, sponsors, and coaches throughout my life. These individuals have instilled three lessons that inform my approach to life, work, and relationships. The first lesson came from my parents, who immigrated to America to create more opportunities for our family. They taught me the importance of sacrifice and courage. They faced challenges from overcoming prejudice to working to maintain their cultural identity, while adjusting to new cultural norms. They sacrificed many of their individual ambitions to create greater opportunities for our family. They instilled in me the lesson that personal sacrifices are often necessary to build strong teams. They taught me the importance of being courageous in the face of challenges, even when the risks are high and the outcomes uncertain. As a lawyer, that translates into a willingness to state a well-reasoned and thoughtful opinion and stand by it, even if when it is unpopular. As a leader, it means making personal investments in the growth and development of individual team members, and being aware and accountable for how my actions and choices affect the team. The second lesson is the importance of having professional reference points and role models. As a


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black woman, I am often the only person who looks like me in many rooms I enter and spaces I occupy. Being or feeling different can be isolating and demoralizing. We should not underestimate the impact of seeing people with similar backgrounds who serve as a template for what is possible. I had two such reference points at critical stages in my development. Their presence and interest fueled my belief that a legal career was an option for me. First, the father of my childhood best friend was a lawyer. He talked to me about his professional journey in a way that made it seem attainable. The second was an adjunct professor in college, who was also the general counsel of a major corporation. She introduced me to the concept of regulatory law, and in so many ways, became the template for my current career. These early experiences emphasized the importance of building communities of people of color and allies who invest in each other’s success and well-being. The final lesson is that there are no shortcuts or substitutes for hard work. Success takes time, grit, patience, and planning. To some extent, we all want immediate results, immediate rewards, and immediate acknowledgment for our efforts. I have found, however, the most impactful leaders are working when no one is watching, constantly perfecting their skills and lifting others as they climb.

Sabrina N. Conyers PARTNER

Education: BA, Morgan State University; JD, Columbia Law School; LLM, taxation, New York University School of Law Company Name: McGuireWoods LLP Industry: Law

Company CEO: Jonathan P. Harmon, Chairman

Company Headquarters Location: Richmond, Virginia Number of Employees: 1,914

Your Location (if different from above): Charlotte, North Carolina Words you live by: Always be a blessing.

Personal Philosophy: Giving my personal best is the least I can do. What was your first job: Cashier at CVS Pharmacy Favorite charity: LitWorld International, Inc.

Interests: Yoga, spinning, and singing praise & worship

Family: Husband, Justin Conyers; children: Najla and Justin

It is my hope that, over the next five years as the impact of the pandemic fades, we will retain our connectedness, continue to value and esteem our peers and colleagues as more than just workers, and go on caring about the happenings in each other’s lives.

Working Apart Has Brought Us Closer Together


he pandemic has caused the world to be much more connected. It is no longer acceptable that women and men are expected to compartmentalize their work, their home, and their personal lives. It is no longer accepted that diverse people have to carry the weight of social unrest and continue to do their jobs without impact, acknowledgment, and allyship. Over the past year and a half, many aspects of our lives have become more integrated and merged for the better. Pre-pandemic, the struggles of motherhood, raising children, having a family, vacationing, personal interests, and the pains of social unrest were all kept close to our individual vests. But after almost a year and a half of working from home, and not being able to separate the professional from the personal from the social, I really felt like

the barriers and walls between our lives began to come down. I learned more about my colleagues and shared more of my life with them. I met their spouses drifting in the background, their children who barged into conference calls, and discovered their personal interests in wellness check in discussions. We learned about each other’s lives (including the effects of police brutality for some and the importance of patriotism for others). The last year and a half was spent peeling back each other’s layers, and becoming more intimate and understanding of each other’s lives. It is my hope that, over the next five years as the impact of the pandemic fades, we will retain our connectedness, continue to value and esteem our peers and colleagues as more than just workers, and go on caring about the happenings in each other’s lives.

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Kat Li

PRINCIPAL Education: JD with honors, The University of Texas School of Law; MEng, materials science and engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; SB, materials science and engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Company Name: McKool Smith Industry: Law Company CEO: Mike McKool Company Headquarters Location: Dallas, Texas Number of Employees: 300 Your Location (if different from above): Austin, Texas Words you live by: Just Do It. Personal Philosophy: Never fear. What book are you reading: Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner What was your first job: Office staff at KD College Prep Favorite charity: Texas Appleseed and The Settlement Home for Children Interests: My kids; I love being their mom and unexpectedly spending so much time with them this past year has been really special. Family: Kat lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and their two children.

Blurring Work and Home Can Be a Good Thing


he COVID-19 pandemic is a turning point for our country and the rest of the world; the unimaginable loss of life has forced all of us to pause and reflect on how we work, how we live, and the power of human connection. All of these lessons learned will inform the future of work in five, ten, and even thirty years. The pandemic has forever changed our understanding of the relationship between where we work and how we work. Moving forward, there will be increased workplace flexibility in terms of both location and time. People will be empowered to approach their work through the lens of maximum productivity, as measured by results. People will be able to work wherever they work best, whether it is at the office or at home, in the morning or in the evening. When people can work at their optimal times and in their optimal environments, their professional and personal priorities are better aligned. This alignment fosters not only increases in productivity, but also employee engagement. We will have the ability to design our work lives to fit into our whole lives, including our families, friends, and hobbies. Work flexibility also increases opportunity by allowing employers to be more inclusive and


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eliminating barriers to access, such as the size of the conference room or the cost of flights and hotels. Decreasing the need for constant, in-person availability and access will make work less about face-time, and more about results and quality work product. This does not mean that the office will disappear, because we were also reminded of the value of being present together, in-person, as a team, or a family. The office will become a place for teams to collaborate, not simply for individuals to do their work. The design of office spaces will evolve and change so that they can encourage creativity, connection, and cooperation. Hopefully, the number of meetings will also be reduced, but their value, efficiency, and meaningfulness will be increased. During this past year, the line between home and work was blurred. As a result, our children learned how to work virtually alongside us, and our colleagues met our family members, even the four-legged ones, as they walked in and out of the backgrounds of our meetings. My hope is that this paves the path forward for bringing our whole selves to work, which I know will change the professional advancement of women in the workplace.

Bhavana Bartholf


Education: BS, integrated manufacturing systems engineer, North Carolina State University; Post-graduate diploma, software technology management, PSG Institute of Management; BS, applied sciences (triple major: physics, math, and manufacturing processes), PSG College of Technology, India Company Name: Microsoft Industry: Technology Company CEO: Satya Nadella Company Headquarters Location: Redmond, Washington Number of Employees: 144,000 Your Location (if different from above): Charlotte, North Carolina Words you live by: Simply Imagine. Personal Philosophy: Live every day like it’s your last. What book are you reading: I spend more time reading young adult literature with my children. I love Marvel and DC Comics, and Rick Riordan. What was your first job: In college, I was an intern for ABB. Favorite charity: The Gift of Adoption (I am on the Board) Interests: Cooking, community service, entertaining friends & family, and dancing (I’m literally always the first person on the dance floor. Family: Husband, Matt Bartholf, and three adopted children

Simply Imagine. Simply Transform. Simply Be.


oday, as chief digital officer of Microsoft Commercial Solutions Areas (Global), I’m passionate about doing more in the future to empower women and girls to rise to their full potential. We’re at a critical juncture in the world, and I believe we have a distance to go. But systemic change is possible, and it starts with each one of us. I developed this belief early. As a little girl growing up in India in an environment where gender specific roles and expectations prevailed, my grandfather taught me to Simply Imagine what is possible by challenging the status quo. He taught me to be curious, listen and learn, and most important, always dream big. It is hard to distill a lifetime of life lessons that we have learned from our elders; here is a link to an article that shares information I have been sharing with women and others to give them courage and hope: 2021 | Simply Imagine | LinkedIn Today, I believe the following four key steps can advance women well beyond the current status quo: 1. Representation matters. We need more women on boards making a difference in corporate America. I recently was honored to join WEX Inc. as a board director. I accepted this position in part because of the company’s CEO, Melissa D. Smith.

2. Mentoring and encouraging others opens doors. It’s imperative that women open doors for other women, and that means making ourselves available for mentoring and guidance—giving women insights, hope, and the inspiration to believe in themselves. 3. Future skilling makes it real. We simply need more women in the workforce, and that starts with taking concrete steps to prepare our youth through future-skilling. 4. Advocating for ourselves. The biggest challenge facing women today is they don’t advocate for themselves. What are the barriers, and how can we help women understand their value and make self-advocacy happen? For more on this topic, please see my in-depth article in this issue of Profiles in Diversity Journal. Women with the right mentorship should feel empowered to SIMPLY IMAGINE what’s possible. Women have the power to SIMPLY TRANSFORM the workplace at all levels, in all roles, across the planet. And women, given the right opportunities and in the right environments, can SIMPLY BE their authentic selves at work so they can shine. Thank you, Diversity Journal, for naming me a Woman Worth Watching 2021. I look forward to seeing what we all can do, together! 2021 Third Quarter


Emma Luevano PARTNER

Education: JD, Stanford Law School; BA, Stanford University Company Name: Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP Industry: Law

Company CEO: Lucia Coyoca, David Steinberg, Greg Hessinger Company Headquarters Location: Los Angeles, California Number of Employees: 300

Words you live by: The Golden Rule rules.

Personal Philosophy: Live like a loving God is watching. What was your first job: Bank teller

Favorite charity: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Los Angeles Food Bank, OneJustice, RAICES, Mexican-American Bar Foundation Interests: Horror movies, travel, and chocolate

Family: My husband, my parents, my stepsons, my family in Mexico, and my 5 cats (Puma, Boots, Rufus, Fuzzleton (Big Head), and Mouse)

The Great Advice that Completely Changed My Career Path


hen I was a child, I watched Ordinary People and became convinced that I was going to live my life like Judd Hirsh’s psychiatrist character. Of course, living in a low-income, Mexican-immigrant community in Southeast Los Angeles, I did not know any psychiatrists. But, that character spoke to me, deeply. For the next decade, I focused on being a good student to get into college and medical school, and then start fixing psyches. By the time I started Stanford undergrad at the age of 17, I still had not met any psychiatrists, but I remained convinced that that would be my life-long profession. In my first quarter, I foolishly decided to take chemistry with the crazy pre-med students and an upper-level psychology class. I got C’s in both, derailing my confidence and pushing me to the brink of quitting school. Fortunately, like I suspect


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most loving Mexican parents say to their struggling Mexican-American kids, my parents looked at me and said, “Si se puede, mija.” You cannot hear those words and quit. How could I possibly let them down like that? So, I kept luchando. During my sophomore year at Stanford, I took a clinical course in psychology. After a few weeks, the senior who ran the course took me aside and said, “Um, you might want to reconsider pursuing psychology. You listen well, but you are trying to fix people and their problems . . . . You might be better suited for something else, maybe law?” I had to admit that what he said rang true. Although I cried and cursed that senior’s name for days, and although I for the life of me will never remember his name or what he looked like, I will forever be grateful to him for telling me what a terrible psychiatrist I would become. That fateful day changed my life . . . for the better.

Karin Pagnanelli PARTNER

Education: JD, Southwestern Law School; BA, California State University, Long Beach Company Name: Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP Industry: Law

Company CEO: Lucia Coyoca, David Steinberg, Greg Hessinger Company Headquarters Location: Los Angeles, California Number of Employees: 300

Words you live by: If you can be anything, be kind.

Personal Philosophy: Try never to be too busy or too tired to be a mentor. What book are you reading: Untamed by Glendon Doyle

What was your first job: Pioneer Chicken at age 15. I became assistant manager at age 17. Favorite charity: Alliance for Children’s Rights

Interests: Helping young women achieve their goals and gardening

Family: I have been married for 38 years to a true partner. We have three children. At the time I started law school, all of my children were under the age of 6.

I have gladly dedicated thousands of hours to helping the next generation of female lawyers become the legal leaders of the future. Watching the successes of my mentees has brought me some of my proudest moments.

My Love of the Law Is Met with My Passion for Service


am and have been fiercely committed to purposeful mentoring—ensuring in particular, that smart female lawyers have every opportunity to break through the glass ceiling. I have gladly dedicated thousands of hours to helping the

next generation of female lawyers become the legal leaders of the future. Watching the successes of my mentees has brought me some of my proudest moments.

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Dena Herbolich

PARTNER; PROFESSIONAL SERVICES NATIONAL PRACTICE LEADER Education: BS, accounting, University of Arizona Company Name: Moss Adams Industry: Public Accounting and Advisory Company CEO: Chris Schmidt Company Headquarters Location: Seattle, Washington Number of Employees: 3,000 Words you live by: If it’s not challenging, it’s probably not worth doing; but if it’s too hard, you may be doing it wrong. Personal Philosophy: It’s evolving. What book are you reading: The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah and The Person You Mean to Be by Dolly Chugh What was your first job: Babysitting, of course! But my first real job was at a frozen yogurt and Mexican food shop in the local mall Favorite charity: Food Lifeline Interests: I love to hike, ski, read, travel and try great food Family: Husband and twin sons. I also have wonderful parents, brother, nieces, nephew, aunts, uncles, cousins, and in-laws.

Talking Earns Promotions, but Listening Makes Good Leaders


remember a sense of pride in ownership when I became a partner at Moss Adams in 2012. It was amazing to think back on how well the firm prepared me for the new role; giving me leadership opportunities and responsibility throughout my career. I have been taught a leader must understand the fundamentals of his or her business and great leaders understand business is more than just the numbers; it’s the people, culture, and strategy. Leaders exist at all levels and in all disciplines in an organization. Understanding how you and your team drive success can inform your decisions and style. At Moss Adams, we talk a lot about personal brand when we mentor our women managers. People are known for their brand, and we think of brand in terms of the intersection of strengths and confidence. If you understand your strengths and the value you bring, you will be more authentic in your communication and will instill confidence in the people around you—a client, prospect, colleague, or supervisor. Another aspect of leadership we continually challenge ourselves with is the Growth Mindset. Our industry is changing rapidly; we have increasing demand for services and more competition for talent than ever before. In order to be a profession


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of choice, CPA firms must rethink how we operate. Moss Adams is investing heavily in innovation and transformation in all aspects of our practice, from equity to technology and sales to recruiting. There is no stone left unturned in our evaluation. For me personally, I am focusing my energy on furthering an inclusive and equitable workplace. I was a beneficiary of our women’s advancement initiative many years ago, and like many businesses, we find ourselves with a successful group of women leaders, but we have limited representation from marginalized communities in our leadership ranks. In developing people who have a different background from me, is my desire to be a better listener. I was taught early on to speak up, to question, to promote myself, and to be vocal to be heard. Talking skills led me to early promotions, but listening skills are more important as a leader. Making the switch has been a challenge for me, but if it’s not challenging it’s probably not worth doing. Dena Herbolich is the National Practice Leader for Moss Adams’ Professional Services Practice and serves on the firm’s Inclusion and Diversity Advisory Board. She is an executive sponsor for our LGBTQ+ Business Resource Group.

Marisa Calderon EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CDFI; CHIEF OF COMMUNITY FINANCE & MOBILITY AT NCRC Education: BA, University of California, Berkeley Company Name: National Community Reinvestment Coalition, Community Development Fund, Inc. Industry: Financial services (vis., affordable homeownership and small business development) Company CEO: N/A Company Headquarters Location: Washington, DC Number of Employees: Fewer than 10 Your Location (if different from above): San Diego, California Words you live by: Trust, but verify. Personal Philosophy: Seek first to be of service to others. What book are you reading: Separated: Inside an American Tragedy by Jacob Soboroff, an eye-opening and essential record of U.S. child separation policy What was your first job: Doing every task behind the counter at a Little Caesars pizzeria Favorite charity: Home Start, an organization that helps provide a safe, stable, nurturing environment for women and children escaping domestic violence Interests: I enjoy traveling and the outdoors, especially hiking, camping, and enjoying our parks and open spaces. Family: Husband, Chris, daughter, Artemis, and son, Connor

Advice I Wish I’d Received Earlier in My Career


hether you’re mentoring younger professionals or simply reflecting on your own career, the question often comes up: What business lesson or career advice do you wish you had learned or received earlier in life? For me, it’s recognizing the importance of building relationships in your personal-professional network—and capitalizing on them. I’m not talking about commoditizing relationships or making them more transactional; there’s a difference. To me, capitalizing on these relationships means staying connected, and not just when you’re looking for a new job or need a professional reference; it means going beyond just friendship and includes showing what you can offer to others in your network or professional circles without seeking anything in return. When we don’t do this, as I realize was my case earlier in my career, it makes it more difficult—especially for Black, Latino, and women workers—to develop social capital. And this is the real shame, because capitalizing on these relationships is useful, not just for landing a new job or climbing your way up the corporate ladder, but also for serving

as sounding boards and amplifying each other’s accomplishments. Capitalizing on relationships means forming symbiotic connections with smart, driven people with whom you share similar interests. It also means offering yourself as a mentor and guiding people through professional and personal milestones who might not otherwise achieve those goals. This is something I wish I’d learned earlier, as it would’ve made career transitions easier. I would say I took more of an organic career path, almost accidentally falling into the financial services sector. Ultimately, I was able to learn this lesson further along in my professional endeavors (better late than never), during my tenure as executive director of a trade association with tens of thousands of members all across the country. Then, last fall I began a new role where I thought I could make an even larger impact on affordable homeownership and bridging our nation’s racial wealth gap. How’d I land this new position? It came thanks to a personal relationship that has spanned nearly a decade.

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Patty Arvielo


Education: N/A

Company Name: New American Funding Industry: Financial Services

Company CEO: Rick Arvielo

Company Headquarters Location: Tustin, California Number of Employees: 4900+

Words you live by: If you see it, you can be it.

Personal Philosophy: Always take responsibility for yourself.

What book are you reading: I have recently been reading articles focused on the social justice issues we are facing in this country, and what we can do to bring about meaningful change for those who need it most. What was your first job: Clerical position at TransUnion Credit Favorite charity: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County

Interests: Traveling and spending time with my friends and family

Family: My husband, Rick, daughter, Tara, and my two sons, Trevor and Dominic

Using My Success to Help the Next Generation Succeed


hrough hard work, ingenuity, creativity, and dedication, we have built New American Funding into a true leader in the mortgage industry. I have long believed in giving back and supporting the next generation, and our success is allowing me to do that now in ways I never have before. My focus today is on uplifting women in the mortgage industry and outside it, helping shape the next generation of public leaders, and continuing to expand the empowerment of women and minorities. I have recently taken a much more active and tangible role in supporting Hispanic-owned companies. Earlier this year, I acquired a 50 percent majority stake in #WeAllGrow Latina, a community of thriving Latina creators, makers, and entrepreneurs, to boost the group’s mission of supporting and uplifting Latinas. The community includes more than 11,000 Latinas who are embracing entrepreneurship and building their own businesses. The community’s philosophy is “When one grows, we all grow,” and that is something I believe as well. Now is the right


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time to step up and support their mission and help other Latinas find success like I have. That’s also why I invested in Encantos, a Hispanic-owned company that helps children learn the skills they need to thrive in the 21st century. The company’s offerings focus on bilingual education in learning skills like communication and collaboration, literacy skills like civics and STEAM, and life skills like leadership and social intelligence. Being a part of Encantos allows me to support the development of the leaders of tomorrow. Supporting the next generation of leaders is also why I was thrilled to be invited to take a seat on the Leadership Council at Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership, which focuses on grooming the next generation of public leaders. I am proud of the role I am playing with each of these organizations, but I view these actions as the first steps in a larger philanthropic mission that will only grow in the next several years. I’ve been very fortunate in my career and I’m ready to use my position to help others find the same kind of success.

Tami E. Regan, RN, CHT-CNO


Education: University of Miami

Company Name: Night Nurse Inc. Industry: Healthcare

Company CEO: Stuart Pologe

Company Headquarters Location: Framingham, Massachusetts Number of Employees: 125+

Words you live by: “Say what you mean, mean what you say; don’t say it mean.” – Sarah Getoff

Personal Philosophy: Provide the highest level of quality healthcare I would want for myself, my own family, and friends. (i.e., “Treat others the way you would want to be treated.” Literally.) What book are you reading: Conversations With McCartney by Paul Du Noyer

What was your first job: Counter Clerk at Anton’s Dry Cleaners, Framingham, Massachusetts

Favorite charity: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Dana Farber Hospital’s Jimmy Fund Clinic- in Boston, Massachusetts Interests: Baking, gourmet cooking, classic movies, The Beatles and Beatles memorabilia, photography, and Cape Cod

Nursing Isn’t Just My Career—It’s My Way of Life


hen asked what ignites my professional passion, the answer is clear; It’s a deep caring for others. To me, this is congruent with being a nurse. Most nurses innately believe that we are here to help humanity. Nursing isn’t just my career; it’s my way of life. I’m always thinking about health care—how I can be of help to others. I carry aspirin and Benadryl in my purse to be a Good Samaritan in the event anyone has a heart attack or severe allergic reaction. I’m also always happy to jump on the phone and provide triage in a jiffy. I’m informed, prepared, and excited to provide care at any moment. Overnights included. I’m driven by caring, not by obligation. My nursing journey began in the late 1970s. Although I’ve always had a passion for helping others, I didn’t know early on which career path to choose. I initially studied to become a teacher. One day, when my dad and I were together, he was driving and heard a radio ad about nursing. He suggested a nursing career. It was the perfect suggestion and perfect timing. My younger brother had recently been diagnosed with type-1 diabetes. I wanted to learn more to be supportive, and knew for certain then that nursing was my calling. Becoming a nurse allowed me to extend my ability to help many others, far beyond family and friends. I’ve had the great opportunity to practice nursing in multiple specialty areas throughout my career, from pediatrics and ICU to radiology

and internal medicine. But my passion was really ignited in 1996 when my daughter, Julia, passed away at 34 days of age, from late onset Group B Strep meningitis. Tragically, everything in her health care response that could go wrong, did go wrong. In September 1999, I cofounded Night Nurse to honor Julia. I was determined that, on my watch, I would do whatever it took to prevent any family ever having to experience the pain of losing a child. As Night Nurse’s chief nursing officer (CNO), I am responsible for patient care on a broad level. I’m honored to lead an outstanding team of 125+ triage nurses who have delivered millions of good patient outcomes over 21 years. Every day, I ensure we give the highest-level quality care to every patient. I enjoy mentoring our regional nurse managers and talking with RNs who consult me. I find it personally and professionally rewarding to be on-call and approachable, to coach, support, inspire nurses, and offer immediate solutions for issues. My nursing career has provided me with decades of fulfillment. I’m very fortunate that my work is my passion, and my energy is restored every day. I’m grateful to our nurses for our company’s success, and for the enormous trust the medical community at large placed in me, to help patients in every way I can.

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Satwant Pannu DIRECTOR, IT

Education: BA, English literature, Glasgow University Company Name: OPTrust

Industry: Pensions (we are too unique to be bundled into Financial Services!) Company CEO: Peter Lindley

Company Headquarters Location: Toronto, Canada Number of Employees: 320

Words you live by: The next chapter is the most exciting because there’s still much more to learn! Personal Philosophy: Be your authentic self with lashings of empathy. Enable diversity of thought by listening to learn.

What book are you reading: A Song for the Dark Times by Ian Rankin and re-reading Margaret Thatcher The Downing Street Years by Margaret Thatcher (my hero!) What was your first job: Office clerk at Digby Brown Solicitors in Glasgow, Scotland Favorite charity: Doctors Without Borders

Interests: Reading, gardening, and renaissance art

Family: Husband, 3 adult sons, mum, and 2 brothers

Enabling Diversity of Thought Is the First Step


he COVID-19 pandemic will be looked back on by future generations as the catalytic agent that transformed how we have lived in the 21st century. The world has changed forever. Never have we needed to leverage creative ideas as much as we do now to re-frame our lives and our workplaces as we start to prepare for the future. Encouraging and nurturing diverse opinions is the only way to ensure we recreate an inclusive, optimal, and fair society for everyone. Working from home has turned into living at work for many. Women continue to evolve as key contributors in the workplace, whilst juggling their careers with the nurturing and caring roles they fulfill in the home. The traits and values inherent to both these domains are no longer exclusive. We’ve all heard of the “bringing your whole self to work” ideology. This tenet has been thoroughly vetted by the work-from-home practice many of us have had imposed on us over the last year and a half. Seeing a parent contributing in a virtual meeting while responding to a restless child has afforded us a privileged glimpse into a part of people’s lives that was previously private. I believe this firsthand perspective has made us more empathetic, supportive leaders. When joining someone in a virtual meeting, the customary “How are you?” is offered


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with genuine sincerity when we understand there is so much more at play behind the scenes. We recognize that people are simultaneously juggling many balls to meet all their obligations. Technology has proven that it is an enabler and is opening international opportunities for organizations looking for people and for individuals in the job market. Organizations now need to look at their people policies to ensure they’re positioned to not only recruit the best talent, but also to retain people in an evolving workplace that is now truly global. I’ve been very fortunate to have spent 20 years at an organization, that at its core, has always placed its most valuable asset—its people—first. We don’t claim to always get it right, but we actively work to ensure our people feel supported, enabled, and valued—and we’re open to course correct as needed. OPTrust is genuinely committed to supporting and promoting women in leadership, not solely because of their gender, but because it consciously recognizes the talent, expertise, and contributions of the women we have on our team. The OPTrust ethos resonates personally with me, and the excellent leaders I’ve had the privilege to work with during my tenure have helped make me the leader I am today.

Traci Wade

SENIOR DIRECTOR, DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION Education: Studied communications, American University Company Name: Oracle Industry: Technology

Company CEO: Safra Catz

Company Headquarters Location: Austin, Texas Number of Employees: 135,000

Your Location (if different from above): Maryland

Words you live by: “The time is always right, to what is right” – Martin Luther King

Personal Philosophy: I believe it is important to always to make space for all voices to be heard. What book are you reading: You Are the Best Thing: Vulnerability, Shame, Resilience and the Black Experience by Tarana Burke and Brené Brown What was your first job: Nursery aide, District of Columbia’s Summer Youth Employment Favorite charity: No Kid Hungry Interests: Travel and exploration

Family: Married, with 2 sons, 17 and 24

What Ignites My Professional Passion?


world where all individuals are treated equitably, where people feel safe to be authentically who they are, and where you are not judged by your race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or disability. All of these fuel my passion to create awareness and build programs on the value of diversity and inclusion. My family has a long history of being community activists, especially during the civil rights movements. I see myself incorporating that rich legacy and commitment into my role as a diversity and inclusion leader. I am inspired by those that came before me to continue to do the work I lead in corporate America and nurture a culture of inclusion, where differences are embraced and seen as our superpower. In order to understand and accept each other’s differences, we need to offer environments in which people can ask questions and learn without judgment—creating a penalty-free zone that encourages a culture of learning. Allies can

be incredibly important in bringing attention to marginalized communities when their voices are not heard. Being an active ally requires us to ask ourselves specific questions: Are you being an active listener? Are you being open-minded to learn and understand? Are you advocating for others if a situation is not right? Great allies have courageous, uncomfortable conversations, advocate for others, and speak up in times of need. True allyship is a culture of inclusion and understanding through action, not just words. I am heartened by the idea of building on the successes we have already achieved and the new opportunities we have to embed diversity and inclusion within our culture. And although I love advocating for diversity and inclusion, I am mindful that I have to take time for myself to recharge and re-energize, so that I can continue to support people in the best possible way. Motivating a discovery mindset culture that seeks to learn and appreciate our differences, inspires me every day to continue my work.

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Miriam Kim


Education: BS, electrical engineering & MS, engineering management, Stanford University Company Name: Perfect Company

Industry: Hospitality, Restaurant, Technology Company CEO: Mike Wallace

Company Headquarters Location: Vancouver, Washington Number of Employees: 14

Words you live by: The best things in life aren’t things.

Personal Philosophy: Fully participate; Never compromise integrity; Practice compassion What book are you reading: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

What was your first job: Working at YMCA as a secretary (15 years old) Favorite charity: Smile Train

Interests: Piano, tennis, Korean cooking, and Apollo, my pug Family: Mike (husband), Alex (son), and Sydney (daughter)

You Can Create a Beautiful Life


y parents moved from Seoul, Korea in 1975, when I was just 12 years old. When my mother enrolled me in school, I didn’t know a single word of English. I remember that first day of school—scared, curious, and excited all at the same time. Some days I came home crying. Before long, though, I was speaking enough English to make friends and enjoy school. Now, whenever I’m faced with a new, challenging situation, I look back at the 12-year-old me and smile. I know I’ll figure it out, and things will turn out all right. Like many fellow immigrants, my story is filled with challenges that have helped shape me into the person I am today. Were it not for my mother and father’s drive and grit, their entrepreneurial spirit, and ability to put me through college, I have no doubt that my life would have followed a different path. Most important, it was in watching my parents make the sacrifice of leaving their home, their family, and everything familiar, and rebuilding everything in the United States that gave me the inspiration to excel in my own endeavors. Immigrants like my parents come to the United States with a dream for a better life for


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their children. This dream, and their ardent desire to achieve it, enables them to face trials and tribulations that come with living in a foreign country. Perhaps that is why immigrants are some of the hardest working, bravest, and boldest people we are lucky to call our neighbors, colleagues, and friends. I’m reminded of my experience and the values of the immigrant community when I watch my gardener. He is a Mexican immigrant who has overcome personal challenges and built a booming business from the ground up. Rain or shine, he is the happiest and hardest working person I know. He reminds me of what’s important: Work hard, but don’t forget to enjoy life. I am proud of my life’s work and to do what I do as COO & founder of Perfect Company. I’ve enjoyed career roles across numerous industries, worked with incredibly talented people, and on a personal level, am proud to raise my children with a similar approach to how my parents raised me; they showed me that drive and commitment through hard times can help a person create a beautiful life. That has certainly been the case for me.

Crystal West Edwards, Esq. PRINCIPAL

Education: JD, Penn State University Dickinson School of Law Company Name: Porzio, Bromberg & Newman, P.C. Industry: Law

Company CEO: Vito Gagliardi, Jr.

Company Headquarters Location: Morristown, New Jersey

Words you live by: “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” – Stephan Covey Personal Philosophy: Live life with no regrets.

What book are you reading: Becoming by Michelle Obama (again!)

What was your first job: Medical office assistant at Mecklenberg Ear, Nose & Throat Favorite charity: Equal Justice Initiative

Closing the Wealth Gap One Family at a Time


am a first-generation lawyer who is passionate about educating the African American community about how to close the wealth gap and build generational wealth, one family at a time. The matriarchs of my family were medical professionals. My maternal grandmother was a nurse, as were her three daughters. Her oldest grandchild, my brother and one of the most influential advisors in my life, is a physician. Growing up around this bunch, I knew one thing was for sure. I wanted no part of the health care field! As a baby lawyer, just starting to open my eyes to what it meant to see and analyze a fact pattern in real life, I noticed that one health crisis could bankrupt a family. This realization shaped my work as a lawyer, advocate, and community educator. I may not wear a lab coat or scrubs, but access to resources available to assist with health care costs is an essential component of my daily work. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, I would speak one night a week at a local senior center, church, or community group to educate families on the

importance of planning. Whether the topic was estate planning, long-term care planning, or asset protection, the complexion of the audience told its own story. It became clear that wealth preservation and generational wealth were not well-known or understood concepts in many communities. I have been known to say the pandemic is a gift and a curse. One of the many gifts is the ability to have a wider reach with the same effort. In a post-COVID world, the work must continue, just differently. Access to information is no longer limited to those who can travel to a specified location. The reach is more widespread. This passion is reignited whenever I meet an African American law student or a freshly minted lawyer who is interested in the work and has the bedside manner necessary to spread the word in our community. This passion gets reignited whenever I work with a family to break the cycles of their past that otherwise would have impeded their goal of building generational wealth.

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Reva Shakkottai

SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT; BRANCH DIRECTOR/FINANCIAL ADVISOR Education: MBA, UCLA Anderson School of Management; Bachelor of Science, business administration, University of Southern California Company Name: RBC Wealth Management Industry: Financial Services

Company CEO: Michael Armstrong

Company Headquarters Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota Number of Employees: 13,000 in the U.S.

Your Location (if different from above): Los Angeles, California

Words you live by: Be brief, be brilliant, be gone.

Personal Philosophy: Relationships are everything. Strong relationships are central to what I do and enable me to better serve clients and navigate through challenging issues. What book are you reading: Vivid Vision: A Remarkable Tool for Aligning Your Business around a Shared Vision of the Future by Cameron Herold What was your first job: Selling Girl Scout cookies Favorite charity: Wayfinder Family Services

Interests: Tennis, pickleball, golf, hiking, skiing, and boxing

Focus on People and the Rest Follows


he COVID-19 pandemic caused a social, financial, and psychological upheaval that disrupted life as we knew it. I was leading under circumstances I never imagined. Pre-pandemic, leaders were expected to remain steady in the face of a crisis. However, in the early days of the pandemic, it was evident that leadership required me continually to adapt to change. My new style of leadership is centered on quick decision-making, transparency, and empathy. Make quick decisions with imperfect information One of the challenges of leadership during the pandemic was that we did not have all the answers, but needed to move the team forward and provide exceptional service to our clients. I could not hunker down and cling to what was known in the past. Everything felt very different. When you don’t have all the facts, there is a natural tendency to delay decision-making until the information becomes clearer. I had to be decisive and take action based on imperfect information. I could not solve everything and please everyone, but I could act urgently with the flexibility to revisit those decisions. From the onset, I recognized that mistakes are inevitable, and how I responded to missteps was important. When I made mistakes, I acknowledged them, course corrected, and moved forward. Communicate with transparency With so much uncertainty around us, we do not want our leaders holding back information. It was important to be open and share what I knew and be honest about


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what I didn’t know without sugar coating. This meant communicating bad news accurately. I was clear about separating fact from opinion. For example, when I had to deliver a disappointing message, I would also speak about what I anticipated and what it could mean. In the absence of facts, my team seemed comforted that I had thought through several scenarios and provided some possibilities. Start every difficult conversation with empathy It is important for leaders to address the human side of the pandemic. In a work setting, we only see a fraction of what is happening in a person’s life. People were facing very different fears and concerns. Some struggled to work, Zoom-school children and live in the same space. Some had worries about the health and safety of family members. Many people were emotionally, physically, or financially stressed. Empathy is more than putting yourself in their shoes. Empathy is focusing on the well-being of colleagues and clients. This means allowing people to express their concerns and be heard without judgment. Focus on people and the rest follows. The pandemic gave me an opportunity to revisit what I value in a leader. It was a time to remember who you are and why you do this job. I chose to lean into relationships. The tendency, especially when you don’t see each other face-to-face and are stretched with work and family obligations, is to let relationships lapse for lack of time. But you have to lean in and nurture your relationships because that is what allows you to endure the challenges of the pandemic.

Ellen C. Ham


Education: JD with honors, University of Florida College of Law; BA with honors, University of Florida Company Name: Republic Airways Industry: Airline

Company CEO: Bryan Bedford

Company Headquarters Location: Indianapolis, Indiana Number of Employees: 6,000

Words you live by: Don’t jump right to interpreting someone’s actions or words as bad intentions; always assume good intentions first. Personal Philosophy: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” –Theodore Roosevelt, The Man in the Arena What book are you reading: Finding Meaning: The Sixth State of Grief by David Kessler; A Radical Awakening by Dr. Shefali; Irena’s War by James D. Shipman What was your first job: At age 16, I worked at a local grocery store (Value King) nights and weekends. Favorite charity: Tapestri, whose mission is to end violence and oppression in immigrant and refugee communities Interests: Reading, WW II history, and travel

Family: I am one of six children and aunt to fourteen nieces and nephews.

We All Have a Responsibility to Pay it Forward


am passionate about meeting the responsibility we have to pay it forward—to make a difference in the lives and careers of others. What I have achieved in my professional life is due in part to my own hard work. But overwhelmingly, it is due to the kindness and compassion of others willing to mentor me, vouch for me, and allow me a seat at the table. It is also due in great part to my parents—their love, support, and belief that I could do whatever I set my mind to. A few years into my legal career, the events of September 11, 2001 occurred. At that time, I was a young associate working at a Miami-based firm. The feelings following that tragic day were fear and uncertainty. But I knew that as long as I could take care of myself, I would be okay, and that life in the

United States would go on. And, it did. I became a non-equity partner in seven years. Three years later, I became an equity partner. I had made it. But, I started to look outside myself; it was not just me anymore. I helped support my mother and I had associates who depended on me. I started to focus on mentoring and supporting associates and younger partners. Then, in March 2020, the pandemic hit. And this time, I had others to consider. What would happen to those I had mentored and to the new attorneys? I knew what we had to do: put one foot in front of the other; go to work each day or work from home; communicate often; and support each other. We banded together even while apart. Just like before, life would go on. And, it has.

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Sharon Roberg-Perez PARTNER

Education: BA, Wellesley College; PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; JD, University of St. Thomas School of Law Company Name: Robins Kaplan LLP Industry: Law

Company CEO: Ronald Schutz

Company Headquarters Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota Number of Employees: >450

Words you live by: It never hurts to be generous.

Personal Philosophy: Fall down seven times. Stand up eight.

What book are you reading: The Properties of Perpetual Light by Julian Aguon What was your first job: Hostess at a steak house

Favorite charity: Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota

Interests: Reading, cooking, walking, gardening, yoga, and an unhealthy fondness for British police procedurals Family: Husband (of almost 25 years), teen-aged sons (2), and spoiled pets (4)

I Get to Make a Real Difference in People’s Lives


he biggest influences on my career choices have been my parents. I am a life-long learner, and I need to know that the way I spend my days makes a tangible difference in others’ lives. My mother was a teacher. Even while she worked full time and raised three kids, she always made time for service. One of my earliest memories is of her volunteering at refugee camps toward the end of the Vietnam War. My father worked as a wildlife biologist. He then had a long career in the tourism industry. Before he retired, he turned his attention to public interest work, serving both in the Guam Economic Development Authority and the Guam Visitor’s Bureau. Although he retired almost 20 years ago, you wouldn’t know it. He earned a PhD when he was 76 years old, and now teaches at the University of Guam. My parents’ influence is reflected in both of my major career choices. Like my father, my first career was as a biologist. My work as a developmental molecular neurobiologist and my graduate and post-doctoral research focused on one unifying question: “How do you build a nervous system?” At a genetic and cellular level, what makes one neuron different from another? When I left academ-


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ic science, I headed to law school and intended to go into public interest law. But I didn’t want to cast aside more than a decade of scientific training. I found the perfect balance at Robins Kaplan. On the one hand, I get to litigate hard-fought medical-device and biotechnology patent cases. I constantly get to learn about new technologies that have real-world impact. On the other hand, Robins Kaplan has a long history of ensuring that everyone has access to justice. In contrast to most large law firms, our firm features active plaintiff-side civil rights, mass tort, and catastrophic injury practices, alongside practices like mine. The firm also puts a strong emphasis on pro bono work. I’ve been able to represent asylum applicants, ensuring that they can stay in this country and raise their families. I’ve worked with children who are receiving social services, and have twice been able to help siblings stay together. And I was part of a team that made sure that an incarcerated transgender woman received medically necessary treatment. Every day, I get to interact with friends and colleagues who are driven, intellectually curious, and talented advocates. I could not ask for a better professional home.

Deborah K. Marcuse


Education: BA cum laude, Yale College; PhD, Duke; JD, Yale Law School Company Name: Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP Industry: Law

Company CEO: David W. Sanford (Chairman)

Company Headquarters Location: New York, New York Number of Employees: 89

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

Words you live by: “Watch the donut, not the hole” – Burl Ives (The Donut Song) Personal Philosophy: “Fight the Power!” – Public Enemy (Fight the Power) What book are you reading: Heavy by Kiese Laymon

What was your first job: Cashier, Common Concerns Bookstore, Washington D.C. (age 8) Favorite charity: Backyard Basecamp, Inc.

Interests: Organic urban gardening; Hanns Eisler Nail Salon (H.E.N.S.); uninterrupted sleep

Family: Spouse, Jason David Boughton; children, Karin Zidane and Jude Francis Eda Boughton

The Choice is Yours


n July 2014, I was ten weeks pregnant with my second child, six years out of law school, and seven months into my first stint as a managing partner. Swamped with case work, administrative responsibilities, and near-constant headaches and nausea, I felt both exceptionally precarious and incredibly fortunate. I am the sole wage earner for my family. My salary now is just less than a first-year BigLaw associate’s, and almost four times the median household income in my city. I am a cisgender White woman, an only child gifted with privilege from birth. The fancy schools my parents paid for amplified that privilege and opened the doors to my career. I work for a law firm that is nationally recognized for bringing gender discrimination cases on behalf of women lawyers, many of them mothers. As a litigator and a manager, I define a functioning workplace as one hospitable to human life. Yet my own choices about how to work and live have at times sent a different message. I can see it in the blog post I wrote six years ago, a pseudonymous meditation on “Lawyering While Pregnant,” seeded with strategic invocations of “my usual 12-hour days,” my full-time caregiver spouse, and how much I loved my job. Delicately balancing what felt like risk on all sides, I recounted disclosing my pregnancy early to explain away my comparative lack of productivity: “I don’t want

to give the appearance of having simply decided that I prefer a forty-hour week, something all of us at my firm are regularly reminded that we have not signed up for.” On the surface, I called out the war between work and human life; beneath it, the narrative seethed with my compulsion to affirm that, for me, work came first. Litigating employment discrimination cases, I frequently observe that people from historically underrepresented groups who assume positions of power often do so at least in part by covertly reproducing or reinforcing some of the same stereotypes we may overtly disclaim and resist. As I type this essay (three weeks late, sorry!) on my sofa underneath my snuggling six-year-old daughter, half-dreading the looming post-pandemic return to office life, I recognize the costs of my own ambivalent performance of work-life imbalance. See, for example, the barrage of trivial work emails sent from the hospital bed where I lay with my hours-old daughter the day I gave birth. I regret the covert but legible message those emails carried; I renounce it. There may be good intentions and even linguistic precision when we call bias “unconscious” or “implicit,” but I increasingly resist these terms. To combat stereotypes and bias in our work and our lives we must make the unconscious conscious, the implicit explicit. 2021 Third Quarter



Education: Bachelor of Journalism, University of Nebraska; Juris Doctor, University of Iowa College of Law Company Name: Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP Industry: Law Company CEO: David W. Sanford (Chairman) Company Headquarters Location: New York, New York Number of Employees: 89 Your Location (if different from above): Washington, DC Words you live by: Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Personal Philosophy: Build community. What book are you reading: Caste by Isabel Wilkerson (My firm sent everyone a copy.) What was your first job: I carried out groceries at Hy-Vee Grocery in Sheldon, Iowa. Favorite charity: National Women’s Law Center Interests: Listening to books and podcasts, walking with friends, spending time on water, and dining outside with my family Family: Spouse, My husband, Greg Roth, and I have a 16-month-old daughter, Josie.

We All Must Be the Feminists Who Work to “Take Care of This”


represent employees who experience gender discrimination, and several years ago one client who was surprised to be encountering bias at work said to me with disappointment, “I thought the feminists took care of this already.” I explained that while we have certainly made progress, there is a long way to go and we all need to be “the feminists who work to take care of this.” Every day in my work, I talk with women who are doing this work. They are shattering glass ceilings. They are mentoring and supporting the women behind them. They are shedding light on the myth that a woman cannot have a successful career if she is also a successful parent. They are amplifying the voices of other women and people of color. They are raising their hands to call out discrimination and harassment. They are questioning the unfair distribution of institutional opportunities. They are challenging gendered criticisms that require women to walk a tightrope (criticisms also


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highlighted by my daughter’s copy of My First Book of Feminism: “Strong is Not Bossy and Smart is Not Shrill”). They are doing so through internal channels and, when necessary, through legal channels. And they are moving on to have highly successful careers after lodging legal challenges. They are also advocating for institutional solutions to address institutional biases. They are helping their companies and firms become educated on how to identify and counteract biases. They are advocating for changes in the law, and we are seeing a groundswell of support for federal and state laws protecting pregnant workers, addressing gender pay disparities, and holding companies accountable for discrimination and harassment. It is because of them that I remain optimistic. We still have a very long way to go, but every day more and more people join together, as we all work to “take care of this.”

Danielle Lemberg COUNSEL

Education: BA, William E. Macaulay Honors College, Baruch College; JD, University of Pennsylvania Law School Company Name: Seward & Kissel LLP Industry: Law

Company CEO: N/A

Company Headquarters Location: New York, New York Number of Employees: 277

What book are you reading: Dear Girls by Ali Wong and Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss What was your first job: Intern for New York State Assemblywoman Interests: Organizing via Home Edit and Marie Kondo

It’s Time to Emphasize Results-Based Work Product


his past January, my family somehow hit the jackpot: our toddler son brought Covid-19 back to us from daycare. He was fine (thankfully!), but my husband was down for the count. As my equal partner in home and childcare lay on the couch entirely wiped, I was in over my head with documents, emails, and phone calls, trying to close a very large transaction. My son (now in quarantine with us for the next two weeks) was doing his best to climb into my lap, so he could take over “keyboard duties.” Around me were unpacked boxes for our move the very next day. And, I was 20 weeks pregnant. I don’t know if I have ever before or since experienced a more “working mom” moment. Women are often praised with the phrase “I don’t know how you do it all!?” But the truth is, we can’t, and we don’t, and something inevitably drops. And although we come out on the other side, we may not do it in the way that matches our ambitions or our high expectations for ourselves. As the founder of the Women’s Initiative at Seward & Kissel, I frequently struggle to find solutions to

these issues. I ask, what can change to make it easier for smart, hard-working female attorneys to stay and succeed at the firm? The answer is not lowering standards or accepting from female staff something different than we expect from our male colleagues. After all, my professional fulfillment and accomplishments stem from providing excellent and responsive service to our clients in helping them accomplish their goals. The solution has to be creative, inclusive, and culture-changing. A kernel of progress is achieved by flexible work arrangements that the pandemic, at the very least, demonstrated improve productivity and responsiveness. But the long-term solution, I would argue, is found in a workplace that emphasizes practical, results-based work product (over face-time or superfluous meetings), and supports innovative means of business development (that may be more in line with the interests and natural networks of women attorneys). I am proud to be counsel at Seward & Kissel, an industry leader in these efforts.

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Education: BA, history (minor Spanish), Metropolitan State University; JD, University of Denver Sturm College of Law Company Name: Simplifya, LLC

Industry: Regulation & Financial Technology Company CEO: Marion Mariathasan

Company Headquarters Location: Denver, Colorado Number of Employees: 25

Words you live by: “Leap and the net will appear.” – John Burroughs Personal Philosophy: Always be kinder than you feel.

What book are you reading: The Murmur of Bees by Sofia Segovia What was your first job: An associate at a children’s clothing store Favorite charity: Colorado Poverty Law Project

Interests: Amateur gardening, yoga, hiking, and Spain Family: My daughters: Maggie, Sophia, and Araceli

Learning Keeps Things Exciting


have been fortunate to work on many interesting and complex legal projects, with endless learning opportunities, throughout my career, which has fueled my professional passion in ways big and small. The nature of the matter has never been as important as whether the role I might be able to play would be challenging and expose me to new areas that I could learn from and build upon. When I was much younger, I guided whitewater rafting trips in Alaska and taught English in Mexico City. I didn’t take these jobs because I thought the skills I learned may be applicable to any specific career, but what I learned has absolutely served me. I learned to work in male dominated professions, and I learned how to work smart and find paths forward no matter how stressful the situation. By the time I practiced law, I had the confidence to take on difficult cases and learn new areas of the law so that I could zealously advocate for my clients.


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Continuous learning helps create new perspectives that lead to novel legal solutions. Nowhere has this been more apparent than when working and servicing my clients in the cannabis industry. Each day requires out-of-the-box thinking, which can’t happen unless I am consistently learning new skills and new ways to provide professional services to my clients. I am really proud of my reputation as one of the country’s leading experts on cannabis banking law and complex hemp/CBD regulatory and compliance frameworks. Becoming an expert took a considerable amount of time, but most important, it took a willingness to learn—and to keep learning—in order to successfully service an emerging industry like cannabis where the rules are constantly changing. Learning keeps things exciting, and keeping my career engaging helps me stay in the game.

Tammy Livers

SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, U.S. SALES ENABLEMENT & CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE Education: BA, Walsh University; MA, Cleveland State University Company Name: Sonepar USA

Industry: Electrical Products Distribution

Company CEO: Philippe Delpeche, Parent Company Paris France; Rob Taylor, President North America Company Headquarters Location: Paris, France; Charleston, South Carolina Number of Employees: 45,000+, globally;10,000+, North America

Your Location (if different from above): Charleston South Carolina Words you live by: Trust. Empathy. Credibility.

Personal Philosophy: Helping others succeed is my true passion.

What book are you reading: Rethink: Smashing the Myths of Women in Business by Andi Simon

What was your first job: Working at an electric utility company selling power generation contracts Favorite charity: Ronald McDonald House Interests: Boating, reading, and exercise

Family: Husband (Logan); and sons (Walker–6, Justin–26, and Logan Jr.–29)

Pioneers Need Enablers and Promoters


want people to be where they want to be in their career. That’s the thought that guides me through my daily interactions with my staff, mentees, and anyone else I meet. Don’t sell yourself short because you don’t see yourself reflected at that company, or in that field, or in that job. People are often surprised that I’ve reached an executive level within an industry historically dominated by men. I realize it’s statistically less common, but I’m not such an anomaly. I know some very talented women in the supply and distribution industry who have achieved great career success, but not without effort. Growing your career where there’s an ingrained, specific profile, takes seeking out mentors and allies, and wedging yourself into circles where “inviting you” may slip their minds. To the next generation, I suggest changing your lens. If you don’t see yourself represented in a company or field you’re interested in, put yourself in the frame. That company most likely really needs you. Whether it’s my industry or another, companies are looking for fresh, diverse talent to carry them into the future. I can tell you that as a senior leader, (surprise!) I don’t know everything. So I cut across genera-

tions, levels, ethnicities, and social circles to help me accomplish my goals. To encourage others to be their own advocates in their pursuit of career ambitions, I mentor. I helped found, and serve as an executive sponsor for, the Women’s ERG here at Sonepar USA, and participate in as many panel discussions as I can where the topic is diversity, equity, and inclusion. This is where I want to spend my time. Pioneers need enablers and promoters, and it gives me great personal satisfaction to be the wind in the sails of organizational change. Right now, I am working with our Inclusion, Diversity, Equity Action Council (IDEA), of which I am a member, to better promote inclusion and belonging at Sonepar USA across our internal and external channels of communication. Like many companies, conversations about inclusion, and the steps needed to accelerate its existence, are very visceral and present. I’m trying to learn from everyone I can how to help. I think companies need to recognize where they are and start from there. Be authentic, be urgent in your efforts, and keep plugging away. I want people to be where they want to be in their career.

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Education: JD, Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law; BA, American University Company Name: Sullivan & Cromwell LLP Industry: Law

Company CEO: Joseph Shenker

Company Headquarters Location: New York, New York Number of Employees: 875 lawyers

Words you live by: Try new things. Challenge yourself. Choose to be happy. Personal Philosophy: I always strive to be my best in all I do.

What book are you reading: Tools of Titans by Timothy Ferris

What was your first job: Summer Associate at S&C (first legal job)

Favorite charity: The TEAK Fellowship, an organization that helps talented students from low-income families achieve their potential Interests: Spending quality time with my family, reading, travel, and golf Family: Husband, Shane; daughter, Julia (3); and our Shih Tzu, Sophie

A simple suggestion made years ago to “speak up” is perhaps the most impactful career advice I ever received and it continues to guide me today.

The Best Advice I Ever Received? Speak Up


simple suggestion made years ago to “speak up” is perhaps the most impactful career advice I ever received and it continues to guide me today. My reluctance to share my opinion was grounded in a lack of legal experience and, if I’m honest, being somewhat intimidated by my surroundings. I recognized, though, that I knew a lot more than I was giving myself credit for and I could add value to the discussion. So, as a junior lawyer, I began to speak up with increasing confidence. However, I needed to find my authentic voice; the conventional wisdom that tells young women to be more aggressive, more like a man, did not work for me. Being comfortable led me to being


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more confident, more earnest, and frankly, more effective. Over time, I recognized that the importance of speaking up extended well beyond my substantive contributions as a lawyer, and that I could use my voice to advocate for myself and others. Ultimately, for me, this has been key to succeeding as a lawyer and leader. I share this advice with many female lawyers beginning their legal careers, who may be reluctant to trust their own voice and authority to express their view. And over the years, I have watched with admiration, as many of these women later commanded meetings, became role models for younger female lawyers, and advocated passionately—not only for clients but for themselves and others.

Giulia Porter


Education: Bachelor’s degree, marketing & Master’s degree, management (MSM), Merrimack College Company Name: TelTech

Industry: Mobile apps, software, telecom Company CEO: Patrick Falzon

Company Headquarters Location: New York, New York Number of Employees: 60–100

Your Location (if different from above): Boston, Massachusetts

Words you live by: The best leaders are those who bring others with them. Personal Philosophy: Actions speak the loudest.

What book are you reading: Principles by Ray Dalio What was your first job: Dog groomer Favorite charity: ASPCA

Interests: Gardening, hiking, and cooking

Family: Loving and supportive husband, Kevin, and a 1-year-old puppy, Ruby

From this uncommon upbringing, I learned the meaning of hard work and resilience—skills that I believe are required to be a female professional, and to advocate for myself and other women in tech.

My Parents’ Bravery Sparked My Professional Passion


rowing up as a fisherman’s daughter on Cape Cod taught me a lot about professional passion and entrepreneurial spirit. When my parents were in their 30s, they risked their entire life savings to build what is now a multimillion dollar offshore fishing business. For the past 30 years, my dad has made the harrowing trek out to the middle of the Atlantic Ocean in unrelenting pursuit of professional success five days a week. Recently, he pivoted to leading the fishing industry in adopting ropeless fishing technology to help reduce whale entanglement deaths

in the United States. I source my professional passion through my admiration of my parents’ bravery to start a business (let alone one of the most dangerous out there!), the commitment my dad shows daily, and his continued dedication to innovation in one of the most physically challenging industries in the world. From this uncommon upbringing, I learned the meaning of hard work and resilience—skills that I believe are required to be a female professional, and to advocate for myself and other women in tech.

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Education: Master’s degree, Esade Universidad Ramon Llull Barcelona Company Name: TLGG Consulting Industry: Professional Services

Company CEO: Christoph Bornschein

Company Headquarters Location: Berlin, Germany Number of Employees: 220

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

Words you live by: Give it a try; you can always apologize later.

Personal Philosophy: I am always aiming to find and create places where the magic happens. What book are you reading: Critical evaluation of the Green Party in Germany (in German) What was your first job: Flight attendant Favorite charity: Zonta Club

Interests: Art, politics, boxing, and transatlantic matters Family: Unconditional love.

Leveling the Playing Field at Work


hroughout my life, I’ve had a passion for creating and working in equity- and equality-driven environments. True equality in the workplace is defined not just by representation, but also by valuing people and perspectives from diverse physical and intellectual backgrounds. This mindset is required to create an optimal work environment that empowers and rewards each employee, as well as to optimize work itself, as it enables you to get the best out of every team member. A large part of “leveling the playing field” is simply inviting and encouraging individuals to be their authentic selves. People have different needs, including in their capacity as employees. Therefore, equity requires a commitment to adaptability, knowing there isn’t a cookie-cutter approach to supporting diverse members of a team. Unfortunately, the pandemic has further set us back from a gender and ethnicity equity perspective; its challenges manifested in ways that were disproportionately borne by women and minority groups. This has highlighted the systematic inequalities common to established work environments and workplace dynamics. As a German in the United States, I’ve had


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significant exposure to a wide breadth of approaches to organizational hierarchies. This has given me unique insight on how different tools, infrastructures, philosophies, and cultures can be leveraged to increase equity within organizations. I have identified a number of ways organizations can drive equity and equality in the workplace: 1. Focus on changing the system and culture, rather than siloing DE&I responsibilities into narrowly defined roles or positions. 2. Make DE&I part of everyone’s job and integrate that into your KPI or OKR structures, quarterly and annual reviews and general agenda setting 3. Normalize talking about equality and equity in the workplace. Finding a shared language that invites individual and collective reflection on a neutral level is valuable; we are currently using the Value Match Methodology. 4. New technologies can be leveraged to help drive more equity. For example, the “Play to Earn” approach that emerged in the Philippines during the pandemic, which allowed day-to-day service workers to deviate to a new NFT and crypto currency-based work solution, is fascinating. Novel approaches can help democratize “knowledge” work moving forward.


Education: Bachelor of Arts, integrated marketing communications, Wichita State University Company Name: Torchy’s Tacos Industry: Restaurant Company CEO: G.J. Hart Company Headquarters Location: Austin, Texas Number of Employees: 5,000+ Words you live by: “Everything starts and ends with people.” & “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou Personal Philosophy: There are no shortcuts to life, just hard work and pivotal moments. & “Love is the only answer, regardless of the question.” – Dr. Prem Jagyasi What book are you reading: Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth What was your first job: My first job was at the Limited in a mall in Kansas. Favorite charity: Make-A-Wish Foundation and Phoenix House Interests: Catching up on Super Hero movies with my 6-year-old son, painting, listening to music, and cooking and creating new dishes Family: I have a 6-year-old son named Aidan, a boyfriend named Chris, and his 10-year-old son, Brayden, as well as a mom and a dad, and two brothers.

The Pandemic Taught Me to be Flexible and Focus on People


ur people are the foundation of our company and the heart of everything we do. And while I’ve always had a people-first mindset, I knew I needed to put our people first during the pandemic and show them they are top of mind in every decision we make. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, I knew there were some difficult decisions to be made that would impact our people. Like many other companies, we ultimately had to furlough some team members. But my strategy early on was to figure out how to keep the most people we could. After many long nights of strategizing and going through every possible scenario, I’m proud to say I was able to find a way to keep all HQ team members, or bring them back in a matter of weeks. During such a difficult time, I recognized that it was vital to try to keep or bring back as many of our people as possible in order to keep morale high, minimize disruption and fear, and allow us to continue to grow the brand, while other companies were at a standstill or were furloughing masses of people. The pandemic caused me to adapt to a new “normal” and, as a result, every day I make my best effort to be flexible and prepared to wear a

different hat in order to figure out what is best for Torchy’s and our people. During this last year I learned an important lesson: simplicity is key and the focus should always be what makes a difference to the person I am talking to in that moment, while knowing that I have to balance what’s best for the entire company. This is a hard lesson to learn because making a decision to be present is a hard skill to master in a time when so much was unknown. But in those difficult times, people want to be heard, be helped, and be given the support they need to feel confident in the role they are given in support our overall mission. Now, having endured a global pandemic, I am confident more than ever that if our brand was able to survive this, we can get through anything. While my job is constantly requiring me to navigate difficult situations, I handle them with more assurance than before, knowing that in the midst of challenging times, people are looking to leaders to show compassion and support. It has been and will continue to be very important to me that I offer our people these things and resonate with every member of the team, even as we move forward into a new post-pandemic world. 2021 Third Quarter


Lily Shen


Education: BS, dual major, finance and management & organizational behavior, NYU Stern School of Business; Executive Education Program in Strategy & Organization, Stanford University Graduate School of Business; Executive Education Program: Women’s Leadership– Innovation Strategies, Harvard Business School Company Name: Transfix

Industry: Freight logistics Company CEO: Lily Shen

Company Headquarters Location: New York City, New York Number of Employees: 200

Words you live by: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. Real, enduring change, happens one step at a time.” – Winston Churchill Personal Philosophy: There are many paths to success.

What book are you reading: Noise by Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony and Cass R. Sunstein What was your first job: I worked at a law firm, filing papers. Favorite charity: Room to Read

Interests: Yoga and scuba diving

Define Your Success and Empower Others to Do the Same


’ve gotten so much amazing advice over the years, but a few concepts have truly impacted my professional philosophy and journey. The first is to take bets—on yourself and others. Confidence breeds confidence, and conviction is contagious, so believe in yourself and your abilities, and make sure you inspire that feeling in the people around you. And with bets come challenges. Embrace them! I’ve learned the most from the biggest challenges I’ve faced in my life. They’ve brought out my strength and creativity, and have helped me learn about myself and others. Be curious and constantly learning. It’s crucial to hone your ability to gather input quickly and figure out how to translate your insights into improvements. Surround yourself with people who want to continuously learn—within your function, your company, and across industries. At the end of the day, people who love to learn are often also


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people who love to teach—a quality that is incredibly important, especially in a growing organization. Then take stock of all the ways you’ve grown and contributed, and don’t be afraid to tell your story. This is one that I’ve had to work on over the years. Growing up, I learned that if you keep your head down and work hard, you’ll be recognized and rewarded for your efforts. That’s not always the case, however. Advocate for yourself, and find sponsors and mentors who will support you along the way. Challenge yourself to get out of your comfort zone and identify opportunities to share your story. Be vocal about your successes—and even your failures. And, just as important, help others do the same by finding ways to support them in their career journeys. With this mindset, you can define your success and empower others to do the same.

Jennifer Snyder Heis PARTNER

Education: BA, Kenyon College; JD, Emory University School of Law Company Name: Ulmer & Berne LLP Industry: Law

Company CEO: Scott P. Kadish

Company Headquarters Location: Cleveland, Ohio Number of Employees: 314

Your Location (if different from above): Cincinnati, Ohio

Words you live by: Be grateful for what you have, not wishful for what others have. Personal Philosophy: Mean what you say and your words will be valuable. What book are you reading: Flyaway by Kathleen Jennings

What was your first job: Coaching swimming for kids age 8 and younger

Favorite charity: A Matter of 50 Meters, which is building a new 50-meter pool and expanding aquatic sports opportunities at all levels in Mason, Ohio Interests: Cooking, traveling, and spending time watching my kids do what they love

Family: My husband, Ken, and I have three children: Quinn (13), Corbin (10), and Rorie (5).

Everyone Needs to Help Put an End to the Glass Ceiling


oming out of law school, I never gave any thought to a “glass ceiling.” Having been raised by parents who conveyed to me that I could do anything I wanted, I had not encountered obstacles created by gender bias. Even after a few years of being mistaken for the court reporter or the paralegal, of being called “hysterical” while speaking, in a perfectly calm voice, words my adversary did not want to hear, I did not perceive true obstacles to advancement as a result of gender. Now 20 years into my career, the glass ceiling is a stark reality. The statistics in the legal profession are stagnant. According to the American Bar Association’s Committee on Women in the Profession, despite more than 20 years of women and men graduating in even numbers, roughly a third of law firm partners are women and only about 20 percent of law firm management positions are held by women. In thinking about advice I have been given by other women, and that I too have given to women, about overcoming bias or advancing one’s career, much of it is focused on women changing. Don’t volunteer to take notes at the meeting, show your dedication by being available to the people you work for at all times, and don’t talk too much about your children because people will think that you are not dedicated to your career. But such advice

ignores the simple fact that everyone will need to participate in making meaningful changes that put an end to the glass ceiling. Perhaps a better tack would be to encourage honest, frequent conversations between attorneys and their supervisors about opportunities and advancement. Such conversations, if conducted with a focus on avoiding inherent biases, would lead to more realistic staffing decisions and opportunities being awarded on merit and interest rather than preconceived notions about personal commitments, which tend to stall women’s progress up the ladder. In addition, we have to continue to support each other by celebrating successes and building supportive professional relationships. Both are invaluable to advancement. Celebrating successes increases visibility and can lead to the next client or the next connection that advances one’s career. In short, celebrating a success sets a person up for the next challenge that will lead to growth. Your professional network includes the people who will help you celebrate successes and also support you in myriad other ways—with opportunities, business referrals, and simple friendship. I am enormously grateful for the wonderful friendships formed over the course of my career. Encouraging women to build and maintain these networks will be key to increased parity in the profession. 2021 Third Quarter


Amy Shaw CEO

Education: BA, economics, St. Olaf College Company Name: UnitedHealthcare Global Industry: Health care

Company CEO: Andrew Witty (UnitedHealth Group)

Company Headquarters Location: Minnetonka, Minnesota Number of Employees: 360,000

Words you live by: Use your ears and lips in the proportion they were given to you. Personal Philosophy: Don’t fight gravity.

What book are you reading: I have been trying to work my way through Devil in the White City by Erik Larson What was your first job: My first “real” job was as an auditor with Ernst & Young. Favorite charity: Anything dog related

Interests: Cooking, and spending times with friends and family

The more women feel comfortable pushing the bias—whether unconscious or overt—out, and speaking up for themselves, the more women we will see leading companies, sitting at top positions in our government, and changing our world.

Speak Up and Push the Bias Out


hen I first began my professional career in the early 1990s, I struggled with many of the typical insecurities women often have in a predominately male world. Gender equality in the workplace was a fairly new concept that the men with whom I worked were trying to grapple with. They most certainly had biases, even though they didn’t necessarily understand or know it. I was often told I was an asset to the organization because I “captured the attention of the audience when I walked into the room.” That comment, while meant to be flattering, spoke nothing about what I brought to the table from an intellectual or professional standpoint. I specifically remember being told that I should make sure to smile during a meeting. That still stings. The focus was more about what was on my face, not what was in my brain.


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Luckily, I was able to overcome their bias, or perhaps just persevere. I would not allow myself to accept it. I was lucky enough to have confidence in my abilities to speak up against it. I used it to fuel my drive and determination. The tide has shifted, albeit slightly, since I began my career journey 30 years ago. My advice to women working their way up in any profession is simple: Speak up. Ask for what you want. Don’t assume others will offer it to you. If you want a promotion and have performed well in your role, tell someone. And if you don’t get it, ask why. Then work hard to address the feedback and ask again. The more women feel comfortable pushing the bias—whether unconscious or overt—out, and speaking up for themselves, the more women we will see leading companies, sitting at top positions in our government, and changing our world.

Claudia Prado


Education: MBA, Florida International University; BA, Florida International University Company Name: Univision Communications Inc. Industry: Mass Media and Entertainment Company CEO: Wade Davis

Company Headquarters Location: Miami, Florida Number of Employees: 3,000+

Words you live by: Every big success is a series of little accomplishments. Personal Philosophy: Be the best version of yourself.

What book are you reading: Start with Why by Simon Sinek


What was your first job: Production coordinator, Univision 23 WLTV Favorite charity: No Kid Hungry

Interests: Running, traveling, and spending time with my family Family: Albert and my little Blue!

I Was One of Them


hen people ask me what ignites my professional passion, I always say, “I was one of them.” Back in 2006, my family immigrated to the United States. As many immigrants, they came looking for a better life for their children. For me, as a teenager, the move was a big adjustment. The abrupt change felt like being born again, but this time I was 15 years old. I can’t even imagine how it must have felt for my parents, gambling with their future and betting on making a living to raise their two daughters. Leaving everything we knew behind and adapting to a completely different world was one of the biggest challenges of our lives. My first academic experience in the United States was high school. Being the daughter of immigrants, and being an immigrant myself, meant that there was no room for failure. I grew up with this pressure that I needed to make my parents’ sacrifices worth it. Although I had all this passion and eagerness to study and become a professional, I didn’t know where to start. I remember asking a school advisor for guidance. “I have 800 students, and I have to focus on the ones I know are going to make it” was her discouraging answer. According to her, an ESL (English as a Second Language) student wasn’t part of the

group that was going to “make it.” After I graduated high school, I ended up going to community college for the first two years and then transferring to a university, where I attained my undergrad and graduate degrees. While in school, I learned about a work-study program at the largest Spanish television network in the country. There, I was introduced to the corporate social responsibility world. To say that I fell in love with the work the company was doing to empower the Hispanic community is an understatement. For the past decade, I have been leading purpose-driven programs to help Latinos attain a higher level of education, have access to affordable health care, learn the path to citizenship, and participate in democracy. Every day, I’m inspired by the stories of those who, like me and my family, have come to this country pursuing a dream but have no one to show them the right path. Knowing first-hand the struggles these families go through allows me to understand and address their needs, because I was that person looking for guidance, that teenager making family decisions, that student who didn’t know how to go to college, that child who helped her parents file their taxes and apply for citizenship, and that go-between who translated every doctor’s visit and piece of mail that came to our house.

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Stacie E. Tobin PARTNER-IN-CHARGE, BALTIMORE OFFICE; PARTNER, COMMERCIAL LITIGATION PRACTICE Education: JD with honors, University of Maryland School of Law; BA, Mount Holyoke College Company Name: Venable LLP Industry: Law

Company CEO: Stuart P. Ingis

Company Headquarters Location: Washington, DC Number of Employees: 1,520

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

Words you live by: Sometimes you gotta take one of those monsters you dream up and rough them up a little, just to remind everybody who’s boss. Personal Philosophy: Keep going.

What book are you reading: Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell


What was your first job: Swim coach and lifeguard Favorite charity: Special Olympics

Interests: Live music, novels, and scuba diving

Family: Husband, two step sons, lots of nieces and nephews, two goddaughters, two parents, two siblings, and two cats!

My Pandemic Experience Made Me a Better Leader


he pandemic has caused me to make more time for personal conversations with my colleagues; the isolation and stress we experienced as a result of the pandemic made me realize how important our in-person interactions are. As the person appointed to lead our office of 400 people, I was challenged to recreate an office culture that was no longer defined by being physically present in the same space, but would help us get through an unprecedented period of stress, personal loss, and uncertainty. To do that, I sought to create a dialogue that was personal, positive, inclusive, and affirming. I worked to become more intentional about making time and space for personal interaction, even via Zoom. I had to share more of myself in my work relationships and be willing to talk about the challenges the pandemic and quarantine had created for me, and how I was dealing with them (and admitting when I was not dealing with them well).


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I took the “water cooler” chatter to the group, letting people know what I was doing with my non-work time and asking about what they were doing—what shows or movies they liked, what cooking successes they had had—and joking about our respective diet failures. As I shared more about myself, my colleagues became open to telling me more about what was going on with them, which became critical during the most stressful periods of the pandemic and allowed us to feel connected to one another, even when we were only seeing one another through screens. It also allowed me to make leadership decisions based on what people were experiencing at the time, not on how we have operated traditionally. This experience has taught me how to be more empathetic, flexible, inventive, and appreciative. I hope that I can retain what I have learned going forward, even when we have returned to a new “normal.”

Valerie Norvell


Education: BA, Miami University (Oxford, Ohio) Company Name: Visionworks Industry: Optical

Company CEO: Pete Bridgman

Company Headquarters Location: San Antonio, Texas Number of Employees: 6,800

Your Location (if different from above): Cincinnati, Ohio

Words you live by: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky Personal Philosophy: Work hard, play harder, love hardest.

What book are you reading: Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink What was your first job: Landscaping Favorite charity: ASPCA

Interests: Volunteering, hiking, and horseback riding

Family: Husband (Mark), two sons (Carter, 15 and Gavin, 9)

I Am their #1 Champion


remember feeling like an imposter as I sat in a college class at the young age of 16. The daughter of a landscaper and a nonprofit teacher, excelling in academics wasn’t something I was proud of; it was something I hid. As a young girl of minimal financial means, growing up in a conservative town left me believing I should keep my head down and stay to myself. But there was one problem. I wasn’t born with a quiet voice or small dreams; I’ve always been a dreamer, a worker, and a big voice. I remember how it felt to try and make myself small. Being anything other than who we’re fully born to be is exhausting, never sustainable, and it’s the truth that fuels my passion for Visionwork’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion movement. I ALWAYS want to be a megaphone for voices that have made themselves small, when really, they should be the loudest. Starting at the age of 10, I helped my dad at his landscaping job. After several years of working alongside him, I became the recipient of someone else’s megaphone. A woman whose lawn we cared for used her resources to help me attend college, a gift of generosity and belief. Mrs. Dean leveraged her position to elevate me, a young girl whose only defining characteristic was hard work, to a better place. That contribution still motivates me today and is

why I’m wildly passionate about making every associate feel seen, valued, and elevated. I want them to be ALL they are—people who are worthy of an investment. Their humanity makes them worthy, and it’s my job to create a space where that belief is nourished and resourced. Women still face workplace dynamics unique only to us. And while we can navigate them, it takes tremendous effort and focus. The American corporate structure is a space for ingenuity, growth, and achievement, AND it still favors some more than others. Change happens most powerfully through relationships, intentional movements, and safe spaces that promote women’s development and allow for authenticity and vulnerability. Seeing our associates engage in our Women In Leadership Business Resource Group reminds me of this truth. Each woman has a unique story of hard work, triumphs, and failures. When given the space to embrace all they are and want to be, their collective power is palpable. They remind me how it felt when Mrs. Dean empowered me, and that feeling reminds me of who I want to be for them—an advocate, ally, and their #1 champion—because ALL women, ALL associates, ALL humans deserve to be who they fully are and valued enough to have the resources they need to achieve all their hopes and dreams.

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Amanda Whalen


Education: BA, Princeton University; MBA, MIT Sloan School of Management Company Name: Walmart Industry: Retail

Company CEO: Doug McMillon

Company Headquarters Location: Bentonville, Arkansas Number of Employees: 2.3 Million

What book are you reading: Measure What Matters by John Doerr What was your first job: Entrance gate attendant at the city pool Favorite charity: Cancer Challenge

Interests: Travel, cooking, and spending time with family

Family: Husband, Mike (married 22 years); children Devon (19), Elizabeth (16), and James (12)

The People Who Have Taught Me How to Lead “Don’t wait for feedback that comes in the form of a formal review or discussion,” a mentor once told me. “When you give me a draft of something and I send it back to you covered in red pen, that’s feedback. When I send it back and say this is in good shape, that’s feedback.” That advice—that feedback—has shaped the way I think about learning and development my entire career. Insightful, useful feedback is everywhere if your eyes are open to it. When I think of the best learning experiences I’ve had, of the best training I’ve received, I don’t think of classrooms or coaching sessions. I think of the people I’ve worked with. I think of the busy leader who always found the time to write thank-you notes for great work because “building a great work environment isn’t an addition to your job. It is your job.” I think of the person who created such clarity in goals that the leader of a frontline team in a back office function told us, “This is the first time I understand not only where we’re headed as a company, but exactly what my team needs to accomplish in order for us to get there.” And I think of the one who created such a force field of positive energy


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in the office that the team really believed they could do anything. And as much as I’ve learned from leaders, I’ve learned from my peers and team members as well. I’m inspired by the team member who always speaks up when he or she spots a potential issue, even and especially when no one else has. When I’m trying to bring a team together, I’m aiming for the happy cohesion I’ve seen some of my coworkers instill through silly awards ceremonies and upbeat messages in Zoom chats. I’ve even learned about learning—about curiosity—from the person whose book recommendations are always as good as her fun facts, and about innovation, from the two perennially finding new ways to improve our workflow with AI and automation. These people, and others like them, have taught me how to lead. We can and must think of ourselves as both learners and teachers— looking everywhere for feedback, being open-minded to the many forms it takes, and creating space for our teams to learn from each other. If we wait for a formal conversation, we’ll miss out on the best opportunities to grow.

Kimberly C. Lau


Education: BA, Syracuse University; JD, Syracuse University College of Law Company Name: Warshaw Burstein, LLP Industry: Law

Company CEO: Frederick Cummings, Managing Partner Company Headquarters Location: New York, New York Number of Employees: 88

Words you live by: Don’t underestimate the power of perseverance and grit. Personal Philosophy: It’s all about the long game.

What book are you reading: Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama What was your first job: Hostess/greeter at an Italian family restaurant in Hawaii Favorite charity: Susan G. Komen Foundation Interests: Painting, baking & travel

Family: Married to Foster Oakley; Daughter, Maya

The Power of Perseverance and Grit


ight out of law school, I was hired at a white shoe boutique law firm in Manhattan as a first-year litigation associate in 2006. Then the financial crisis of 2008 struck the nation. I lost my job along with the safety net that came with it. I either had to find a new job or leave New York; I had no family in the New York area having been born and raised in Hawaii. Being just two years out of law school, I couldn’t fathom leaving New York yet. Not like this. I decided I wasn’t done with New York. I tirelessly searched for a new job, but the economy had been hit hard and the legal field was no exception. I quickly realized that I had to start making concessions about my next “dream job” if I was going to survive here in the big city. I worked on document review/temp projects until I secured a litigation associate position at a solo law practice in Queens, New York. It didn’t pay well, there were no employee benefits, and my supervisor was very

challenging to work for. The experience demanded a high degree of self-sufficiency and efficiency, which ended up serving me well in my next position, when I eventually transitioned to a slightly bigger firm in Manhattan. At my next firm, I was looking for opportunities for upward mobility. A mentor advised me that it was not enough to be good at what I did; I had to start bringing in business if I ever hoped to ascend to partnership. Through creative thinking, dedication, and capitalizing on the right opportunities, I developed my own niche practice in Title IX and college discipline. I then parlayed my experience and practice into a partnership position with my current firm, where my practice has continued to develop and grow. It took grit and perseverance to overcome the challenges I faced in 2008 and it has paid dividends.

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Tami Hudson

CHIEF INFORMATION SECURITY OFFICER (CISO) Education: BS, Georgia Tech; MBA, Duke University Company Name: Wells Fargo Industry: Financial Services Company CEO: Charles Scharf Company Headquarters Location: San Francisco, California Number of Employees: 258,700 Your Location (if different from above): Charlotte, North Carolina Words you live by: Integrity is the blueprint of true character. Personal Philosophy: Create a vision so big that it’s impossible to achieve it alone, and in doing that, always remember where your strength comes from. (Joshua 1:9) What book are you reading: Forged in Crisis: The Making of Five Courageous Leaders by Nancy Koehn What was your first job: Retail: The Limited Favorite charity: Black Girls Code Interests: Spending time with husband and children watching the latest Netflix movies, participating at church, and running/working out Family: Husband, Tim, and children Whitney, Roman, and Payton

The Key Ingredient in the Secret Sauce of Our Identity


hroughout my career, I’ve been purposeful about being a kinetic leader—one focused on proactively addressing the most complex problems in order to drive transformational change, yield business growth, and lead an agile team. That type of leadership style has allowed me to tear myself away from routine thinking and behavior. And during the pandemic that leadership style allowed me to pivot even further to not only drive solutions and success, but also to drive a different level of conversation—based not only on corporate values and goals, but on personal ones as well—with my team, colleagues, and technology / business partners. I think traditional leadership—or even pre-pandemic leadership—conversations tended to be more formal, static, and sometimes even opaque. The pandemic, however, ushered in an opportunity to more naturally elevate conversations; manufactured scripts gave way to authentic communications and expected responses yielded to genuine reactions. As a result of the shared a global crisis, my leadership style shifted and I became a leader that drives an even more sincere and palpable culture of belonging and inclusion for those around me. And that culture became contagious. Not because it was being measured, but because it was


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modeled. I was able to not only create an environment where others felt comfortable with being transparent about who they were and what was important to them, but also where there was an expectation that I would continue to be transparent— even more transparent than I had been in the past. For me this meant several things: communicating less over email and more through in-person or video interaction, participating in more personal engagement with my team and others, allowing myself to be a bit vulnerable, and inviting conversations about our differences—how those differences are sources of strength and the secret sauce of our identity, both individually and within the team. Further, I formally implemented upward feedback across the team, so that there is transparency in not only identifying and maintaining our strengths, but also in building areas of growth and development. Each of these things created a deeper level of trust, established a precedent that spread throughout the organization, and elevated the level of team devotion. Equally worth noting, however, is that through discipline, openness to feedback, and a sincere dedication to transparency and inclusion, I became the type of kinetic leader that was needed—not only for the business, but for those around me.

Alyssa DaCunha PARTNER

Education: JD, George Mason University School of Law; BA, International Affairs, The George Washington University Company Name: WilmerHale Industry: Law

Company CEO: Susan Murley and Robert Novick, Co-Managing Partners

Company Headquarters Location: Boston, Massachusetts & Washington, DC Number of Employees: 1,931

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

Personal Philosophy: “Leave it all on the field.” – Vince Lombardi

What book are you reading: Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth What was your first job: Neighborhood pharmacy

Interests: Hiking, cooking, and hosting backyard BBQs

Family: Husband, three kids (6, 4, and 1), plus our dog and cat; it’s a full house!

It can be hard to say goodbye to your kids to get on that plane or go to the office, but it is much easier if you are passionate about your work and if you are continually learning and being challenged.

Find Work You Love and Opportunities Will Follow


arly in my career, I received valuable advice that has shaped the rest of my career: Focus on finding work and projects you love, and the opportunities will follow. Doing work you love is all the more important if you are a working parent. It can be hard to say goodbye to your kids to get on that plane or go to the office, but it is much easier if you are passionate about your work and if you are continually learning and being challenged. I was fortunate to start my legal career at a firm—and in a city—that has never lacked for interesting work and opportunities. From my very first days at my law firm, the common thread running through my work has been handling issues that arise at the juncture of law and policy, and often in the glare of the media spotlight.

This is true of most of the investigations we work on, but nothing illustrates this more than congressional investigations. These inquiries can unfold quickly and call for a strategic response that is fundamentally different from the approach required in court or in the boardroom. Companies and executives will often find themselves in crisis mode as they determine how to best to respond, especially when they are called to testify in the middle of a still-unfolding situation. This is where we are able to jump in and really make a difference on behalf of our clients. We are grateful to our clients for trusting us with their greatest challenges and for giving us the opportunity to walk with them through these moments of crisis. It’s an honor and a privilege, and it is not something that we take for granted.

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Peggy Otum PARTNER; CO-CHAIR, ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, AND NATURAL RESOURCES PRACTICES Education: JD, Howard University School of Law; BSc, psychology, University of Toronto Company Name: WilmerHale Industry: Law Company CEO: Susan Murley and Robert Novick, Co-Managing Partners Company Headquarters Location: Boston, Massachusetts & Washington, DC Number of Employees: 1,931 Your Location (if different from above): San Francisco, California 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.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson Personal Philosophy: “Always do what you are afraid to do.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson 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: Spending time with my family, quiet time outdoors, and cooking traditional Nigerian and Haitian meals Family: My incredible husband, Andrew, who is in-house counsel for Google, and my two extraordinary daughters, Claire (12) and Chloe (8)

Leading at a Historic Moment


joined WilmerHale’s San Francisco office, and became the Co-Chair of the Firm’s Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources practice, a mere four months before the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns began. Although I had met all of my team members in person before the lockdown, those relationships were still very new. Like many other law firm leaders, the pandemic has caused me to reflect on my own leadership style and to adapt to the virtual setting in which we found ourselves interacting with our colleagues. Over the course of the pandemic, I have found that the leadership qualities that were important before we went into lockdown have been the same qualities that have helped my team weather these trying times. Communicating thoughtfully has been chief among them. Clear and honest conversations have been so important over the course of the year. They have helped us avoid misunderstandings and build trust in each other. Open communication has also accelerated my understanding of the different working styles on my team. Without a concerted effort to get to know each team member on a personal level, this learning curve would have been a lot flatter.


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The pandemic has also provided opportunities to extend trust to team members who stepped up to take on more responsibility on urgent client matters. We were able to find ways to efficiently integrate team members from across the country and provide support and empowerment to each of them, allowing them to expertly assist our clients in navigating difficult and novel legal issues. Leading teams and clients through a crisis like COVID-19 also demanded faster decision-making and a rapid embrace of change. Paying greater attention to how my team and clients were taking care of themselves, and leading on that front by improving my own sleep and exercise habits, helped us maintain the balance needed to perform at a high level over a sustained period of time, while juggling even more family and other commitments than any of us are accustomed to handling. I feel truly privileged to have had the ability to work through the pandemic, surrounded (at least virtually) by terrific colleagues and clients. I am committed to carrying forward the leadership values that have helped us through this historic moment in time.


Education: MS, computer science, North Dakota State University; Bachelor of Technology, computer science engineering, West Bengal University of Technology Company Name: Wisely

Industry: Restaurant Technology Company CEO: Mike Vichich

Company Headquarters Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan Number of Employees: 70+

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

Words you live by: “In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer”– Albert Camus Personal Philosophy: “When criticized, consider the source” – Unknown What book are you reading: An Elegant Puzzle by Will Larson What was your first job: Teaching Assistant, NDSU

Favorite charity: Various coding organizations for underrepresented kids Interests: Technology, food, comedy, and travel

Family: I live with my husband, Richard, in San Francisco, California.

For many years, I tried hard to fit in with everyone else. However, over the course of time, and with the help of supportive peers and mentors, I realized that there is much value to be found in different perspectives and stories. There is no need to fit a template.

You Can Be Yourself and Still Find Commonality with Others


ne particular challenge that every person goes through in some shape or form is being comfortable with our own true self—especially as an immigrant woman of color who started her career in the tech industry, which is largely male dominated. Also, as someone who was doing improv and stand-up comedy on the side, I often found myself in rooms where I looked, spoke, and even expressed myself differently from others. For many years, I tried hard to fit in with everyone else. However, over the course of time, and with the help of supportive peers and mentors, I

realized that there is much value to be found in different perspectives and stories. There is no need to fit a template. I worked on building my confidence to ultimately be comfortable in my own skin. Also, I learned that developing an ability to find commonality with others is the crux to building relationships, no matter how different the other person is. This became instrumental in how I connected with folks, whether talking to a group while doing stand-up or building trust with engineers on my team, even if they had completely different cultural backgrounds to me.

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The 3rd Annual






Celebrating this Year’s Very Impressive Diversity Teams PDJ is proud to honor Diversity Teams—groups of dedicated individuals who come together to develop the strategies, create the programs, launch and manage the initiatives, and reach out to all employees to ensure that diversity, inclusion, and equity remain central to the growth of an open and welcoming workplace. The 16 Diversity Teams Award winners we showcase in the following pages use their talents to reach out to an ever-expanding variety of potential hires, vendors, clients, and communities. Diversity, inclusion, and equity are central to everything they do. For many Team members, who at one time or another have felt excluded or ignored because they belonged to a particular gender, or ethnic or cultural group, making diversity a reality is a personal imperative. This year’s Award recipients are also teaching company leaders and hiring managers to recognize and confront their own biases. Most important, they are cultivating workplaces that invite all employees to bring their authentic selves to work every day. We invite you to get to know these extraordinary Diversity Teams. You may discover ideas and strategies you can use to help create a more open, welcoming, and successful workplace. And we know you’ll be inspired their enthusiasm and commitment.


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Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP



Diversity Team Name: Firmwide D&I Council Diversity Team Leader(s): Kim Koopersmith and Nimesh Patel

What Makes this Diversity Team Stand Out


n 2020, Akin Gump restructured its longstanding Firmwide D&I Council (FW Council), which is now led by Chairperson Kim Koopersmith, along with Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Nimesh Patel, and includes several key firm leaders. This composition ensures that some of the firm’s most senior leaders are engaged in leading its D&I efforts. The FW Council and the firm-wide D&I team work together closely to execute the firm’s D&I strategy. Under the leadership of the FW Council and the D&I team, Akin Gump faced the twin pandemics of the coronavirus and racial injustice. At the outset of the pandemic, when we pivoted to working from home, we were able to rely on the firm’s existing Agile Work Program to smoothly transition to working remotely and ensuring client service at the highest levels. In response to the demands placed on parents and caregivers now working at home, we executed communication from our chairperson highlighting the challenges faced by caregivers. We also provided guidance to practice-group leaders and to partners generally to ensure flexibility and understanding for the additional demands on caregivers. We also held regular check-ins with attorneys and staff, regardless of their caregiving responsibilities, to stay connected and help identify potential issues. In 2020, Americans also finally recognized and acknowledged systemic racism in a way we hadn’t before. At Akin Gump, our FW Council and D&I team led a response to the long-overdue reckoning on racial justice that included making public statements and providing support to racial justice efforts outside the firm, as well as significantly enhancing our existing D&I efforts. This included launching an implicit bias/inclusive leadership initiative and establishing a racial justice steering committee; donating $100,000 each to the NAACP Legal


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Defense and Educational Fund and the Equal Justice Initiative; providing immediate access to antiracism books and resources for all employees; hosting an impressive number of speakers who addressed race and D&I (including Mo Cowan, Ibram X. Kendi, John Yang, Lupe Martinez, and Sharice Davids); holding a firm-wide town hall; declaring Juneteenth a firm holiday and organizing topical programming to recognize the day; enhancing focus on our D&I efforts; and creating, with other firms, the Law Firm Antiracism Alliance. We have some strong results to show for these efforts, such as a partnership that is 25 percent women and 14 percent partners of color. Additionally, our partner promotions over the past five years have been 37 percent women and 25 percent attorneys of color. There is much more to do, but we are honored to share the following recognitions and awards our efforts have earned to date: • Six of the last seven years on The American Lawyer’s A-List • Fourteen consecutive perfect scores on Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index • 2020 Diversity & Flexibility Alliance Flex Impact Award • From Yale Law Women: 2021 honorable mention for LGBTQ+ representation and health and wellness; 2020 top firm for working mothers and family planning; and 2019 Top Ten Family Friendly Law Firms • 2020 Diversity Lab’s Mansfield 3.0 Certified Plus certification • 2020 MCCA Thomas L. Sager Award national finalist • 2019 NAPABA Law Firm Diversity Award








EY Diversity Team Name: EY D&I Teams Diversity Team Leader(s): Karyn Twaronite

What Makes this Diversity Team Stand Out


t EY, diversity and inclusiveness (D&I) is embedded into everything we say and do, and part of how we conduct business every day. Championing it is a collective effort, and the firm’s global D&I team of more than 80 people leads programming; employee resource groups (or Professional Networks) l research, learning, and training; communications; and other initiatives. The team consists of two core and critical groups—the D&I Center of Excellence (COE) and the field Diversity and Inclusiveness Leader (DIL) teams. The COE team develops the D&I strategy, which is significantly influenced by the priorities and commitments of senior leadership. Execution of the strategy is the responsibility of the field DIL and their teams. These initiatives and materials are then put into our people’s hands—in every region; the work of the field DIL’s helps spread the importance of inclusion across our global organization and builds on our culture of belonging. Over the past year, as many of our people experienced feelings of uncertainty and stress, the D&I teams’ work became even more important. Across the global EY organization, they quickly evolved D&I efforts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and social crises. This included leading the charge in promoting inclusive leadership practices, providing digital tools, offering resources, and helping facilitate connection points specifically for those disproportionately impacted by world events. The teams led the creation of EY’s Global Social Equity Task Force, which works to develop and prioritize cohesive global actions specifically addressing

inequity and discrimination, including racism. The effort is sponsored by EY’s Global Chairman and CEO, and includes EY leaders from a wide range of backgrounds, spanning geographies, service lines, and functions. In the United States, the team supported the firm’s efforts to address racism, bias, and discrimination. EY US made several antiracism commitments to drive strategic change in our firm, in our communities, and through public policy. In addition, with the increased focus on D&I transparency, and to continue holding ourselves more publicly accountable and consistently measure ourselves against our own ambition, the U.S. team drove the launch of its inaugural EY DEI transparency report: Pathways to Progress, which focuses on our DEI journey in the United States and highlights our commitment, initiatives, statistics, and impact to date, along with the experiences of our people. The initiatives and programs created by the D&I teams are consistently recognized by third-party organizations and awards, including these: • EY has been named to DiversityInc’s Top 50 Hall of Fame for the past three years, after being named the #1 Company for Diversity in 2017 • FORTUNE magazine and Great Place to Work Institute have named EY a Best Workplace for 23 consecutive years • In 2021, EY was named to the Financial Times’ Diversity Leaders list

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Greenberg Traurig, LLP



Diversity Team Name: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Team Diversity Team Leader(s): GT’s Executive Committee and Shareholder and Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer Nikki Lewis Simon

What Makes this Diversity Team Stand Out


uilding on its already strong program, in 2020 Greenberg Traurig (GT) doubled its commitment to a more equal world with its Social, Racial and Economic Justice Plan. Our DE&I team expanded programming by launching several new Social, Racial, and Economic Justice Action Plan initiatives, including the following: • Committed $5 million over five years to address the causes and effects of systemic racism • Joined in creating the Law Firm Anti-Racism Alliance • Observes the Juneteenth holiday in the United States • Sponsored GTDRIVES for Social Justice “Day of Giving,” raising $100K+ for 30+ social justicefocused nonprofits • Incentivizes and rewards associates by considering billable hours for diversity and inclusion-related work • Launched the GT Justice Initiative involving attorneys firm-wide to augment GT’s current justice-oriented pro bono work • Launched the GT Listening Tour for business staff As part of GT’s Social, Racial and Economic Justice Plan, the firm launched its Social Justice Action Academy (SJAA), which includes the following: Equality Toolkit: Provides education, resources, and information to equip the GT community to be leaders within the firm. Courageous Conversations: This series of internal and external programs shares personal experiences with social injustice and racism, as well as new offerings to impact positive change. Webinars and Trainings: Our internal SJAA library includes curated webinars and training sessions that focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion topics.


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GTDRIVES: Dynamic Dialogues: This podcast informs business leaders, in-house counsel, and others about developments in diversity, equity, and inclusion. Listening Tour: Launched the virtual a listening tour for business staff in offices worldwide. We wanted to hear directly from employees about DE&I topics. Law Student Recruitment: Sponsored or participated in several programs to increase diversity in the legal industry or address many of the associated challenges. Affinity Groups: GT Affinity Groups proved to be essential support systems for their members as attorneys adapted to working remotely. Ranking & Accolades In 2020, GT attorneys received more than 170 diversity awards, hosted or participated in 150+ events, and received and responded to 100+ surveys. The firm was also recognized in the following ways: • “Top Chief Diversity Officer,” Chief Diversity Officer Nikki Lewis Simon, The National Diversity Council, 2020 • MANSFIELD 3.0 Certified by The Diversity Lab, Sept. 2020 • Diversity, Women’s & LGBT Scorecards, The American Lawyer/National Law Journal, 2020 placements: 3 No. 1: Number of African American Partners and Attorneys; Latino Attorneys Overall 3 No. 2: Latino Partners; LGBT Partners 3 No. 4: Minority Attorneys 3 No. 5: Asian American Partners 3 No. 6, Female Partners Overall • Score of 100%, Corporate Equality Index, Human Rights Campaign Foundation, 2017-2018, 2020-2021 and Equidad MX LGBTQ+ Survey, 2020








HCA Houston Healthcare Diversity Team Name: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council Diversity Team Leader(s): Sherri Neal, Chief Diversity Officer

What Makes this Diversity Team Stand Out


CA Houston Healthcare is the leading provider of health care in the Greater Houston area, where excellent trained physicians, nurses and allied health professionals treat almost a million patients every year and provide over $2 billion in charity care annually. Our comprehensive network includes 13 hospitals, 10 outpatient surgery centers, 11 freestanding emergency centers and a dozen freestanding diagnostic imaging facilities. We consider it our privilege to serve a diverse patient population and employ a diverse workforce of 15,000 colleagues. We have intentionally renewed and expanded our focus on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) through a comprehensive approach focused on six key areas: patients, colleagues, suppliers, boards, community partnerships, and sustainability. Each of these six areas is critical and interconnected with the others, reflecting a holistic approach aligned with our organizational goals. Through this commitment, HCA Houston Healthcare is advancing health equity and ensuring access to services for all patients, providing an inclusive culture where colleagues can thrive, promoting the inclusion of diverse businesses within our supplier base, ensuring our boards of trustees reflect the diversity of the communities we serve, and building healthier communities through strategic partnerships and environmental stewardship. HCA Houston Healthcare’s DEI achievements have included the following: • Recognized as an Outstanding Diverse Organization by Houston Business Journal. • Launched eight employee colleague networks (Women’s, Hispanic/Latinx, Young Professionals, Veteran, The Voice Black Colleague Network, Asian, LGBTQ, and Health and Wellness).These employee-led groups work to strengthen our DEI culture by facilitating connection, collaboration, and celebration among colleagues. The networks allow employees to share ideas, build relationships, and unlock possibilities for career development, mentorship, and

community engagement. • Relaunched our Diversity Council with a focus on goals related to patient care and health equity, colleague inclusion, belonging, representation and advancement, supplier diversity, board representation, and community engagement, with representation from all hospitals and a variety of functional areas, tenure, and leadership levels across diversity dimensions. • Created goals for reducing turnover among our colleagues of color, increasing employee engagement for colleagues of color, and increasing representation of women and people of color among leadership and board representation. • Hosted Conscious Inclusion Training for all senior leaders and above, with a goal of providing training for all directors and above during 2021. • Launching a formal mentorship program in 2021. • Performed outreach in underserved communities of color, with a focus on school districts and mentorship programs at local historically black colleges and universities—including Prairie View University and Texas Southern University—to boost access to care and career development opportunities. • Colleague volunteer activity and donations supported more than 220 charitable organizations. • More than $10 million dollars in Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) spend during 2020. At HCA Houston Healthcare, above all else, we are committed to the care and improvement of human life. Our commitment to cultivating a diverse and inclusive company is not passive; it is active. We are more dedicated than ever to fostering an engaged, equitable, and inclusive culture for our patients, our colleagues, and our communities.

2021 Third Quarter



Interpublic Group



Diversity Team Name: Global DEI Group Diversity Team Leader(s): Heide Gardner

What Makes this Diversity Team Stand Out


nterpublic Group (IPG) is a global network of marketing communications and services agencies. For many years, we have been recognized for specific programs and received credentialing from organizations such as Diversity Best Practices, American Advertising Federation, Diversity Journal, (Global Innovation finalist), LinkedIn, Women in Communications (UK), Bloomberg Gender Equality Index, and Human Rights Campaign. The Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Group (DEI Group) earned IPG its reputation as a leader in the ad industry, and for being ahead of the curve on the complex issues of race and intersectionality—our CEO first engaged directly with employees on racial equity in 2015. Despite its record of accomplishment, the team has never been singled out for recognition and has bypassed awards submissions for the past few years to focus inward. During 2020, the team guided our global and U.S. CEOs, who were expected to maintain progress with key metrics regardless of business headwinds. Decision-making checklists were created to ensure furloughs and layoffs did not have unintended consequences for Black talent. Mentored by our chief diversity and inclusion officer (CDIO), CEOs had confidential safe spaces to process events with their peers and one-on-one private coaching sessions with her. People of color, nontraditional families, LGBTQ+ employees, people with disabilities, and others had unmet needs from the many generic resources that circulated to address COVID-19 issues of engagement, virtual work, and well-being. IPG’s DEI group worked to fill those critical gaps. Our DEI Group curated resource hubs and designed bespoke tool kits and learning experiences on


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topics such as inclusive meetings, subtle acts of exclusion, micro-aggressions, the increase in intimate partner violence, mental health, and other issues that focused on marginalized, underrepresented, or at-risk groups. A new internal website,, was opened to the public, expanding their impact beyond IPG. The team also recognized the need and made available culturally competent clinicians and support for more diverse range of families as they tried to manage flexibility, child and elder care. In addition to its COVID-19-related DEI strategy, the team maintained a normal cadence of newsletters, communications, corporate events, and business resource group (BRG) coordination and support. The team programmed or coordinated more than 50 individual webinars, live streams, and initiatives on top of its dayto-day role in overseeing data, analytics, compliance, and IPG’s annual Climate for Inclusion survey. The team also took on the preparation, moderation, and policy follow up for 17 listening sessions for thousands of employees in the United States, the UK, and Canada. IPG adopted the team’s recommendations for a Juneteenth holiday, making bail payments for employees unfairly arrested while protesting, and a formal election day off. Throughout 2020, IPG’s CEO and COO ensured DEI themes were included in all weekly communications and town halls tied to navigating COVID-19. Another transformative measure proposed by the department and adopted by leadership was full disclosure of our EEO-1 report data by race/ethnicity, gender, and level. IPG became the first industry holding company to do so, causing a ripple effect throughout the ad industry.








Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP Diversity Team Name: Kasowitz Diversity & Inclusion Committee and Women’s Initiatives Committee Diversity Team Leader(s): Cochairs Hector Torres & Cindy Caranella Kelly (Kasowitz Diversity & Inclusion Committee)

What Makes this Diversity Team Stand Out


asowitz has long been a leader in promoting diverse attorneys to partnership and leadership positions. From 2020 to 2021, 44.4 percent of partner promotions were minorities and 33.3 percent were women. Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Committee Co-chaired by cofounding partner Hector Torres and partner Cindy Caranella Kelly, our Diversity & Inclusion Committee has been instrumental in cultivating an environment in which diverse attorneys are supported in their pursuit of their professional goals; in establishing mentorship and pipeline programs; and in increasing the recruitment of diverse attorneys. • Professional Development Our D&I Committee hosts a Diversity Speaker Series that brings distinguished speakers to provide guidance to our diverse attorneys. The Committee hosted Jean Lee, CEO of MCCA, to discuss diversity in the law and initiatives to create an inclusive environment. The Committee also hosted an powerful discussion on Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me, engaging all firm employees in meaningful discussions about race and allyship. • Mentorship/Pipeline Initiatives One of our most impactful pipeline initiatives is participating in the LCLD 1L Scholars Program, which strengthens the legal pipeline by expanding the opportunities for diverse first-year law students. Kasowitz hired a diverse 1L as a summer associate for 2020-2021. Through our pro bono work, partnering with the Justice Resource Center’s MENTOR program, we work with and coach students from John Dewey High School (one of the 100 most diverse schools in NYS) in moot court and mock trial competitions, and expose them to legal careers. We accompany students on court visits and bring them to the firm to hear from our founding partner, Hector Torres, about how he excelled and became one of the country’s top Hispanic litigators.

We also partnered with La Unidad Latina Foundation and its “Y Tu También” College Readiness program, and held a college application workshop to prepare minority high school students for college. • Recruiting Led by the D&I Committee, Kasowitz has significantly increased its financial commitment to and attendance at law school events hosted by the Black Law Students Association. The firm has also been expanding its relationship with Howard University School of Law and hired a Howard law student as a 2019 summer associate. • Women’s Initiatives Committee Kasowitz’s Women’s Initiatives Committee focuses on efforts to assist the firm’s women lawyers with career building, business development, and mentoring. The committee hosts roundtables for women attorneys to provide insight on how women attorneys can achieve success. Recent roundtables discussed legal careers beyond law firms, excelling in leadership roles, and business development during the pandemic. The committee also hosted an inspiring discussion on Stories from Trailblazing Women Lawyers: Lives in the Law by Jill Norgren. Diversity Awards • Ranked by The American Lawyer as a top 20 diverse law firm in the U.S. • Ranked fifth place on The American Lawyer’s list of firms with highest percentage of AfricanAmerican lawyers • Shortlisted for Chambers USA Diversity and Inclusion Award: Corporate Social Responsibility Program of the Year • California Minority Counsel Program’s Drucilla Stender Ramey Majority-Owned Law Firm Award • Ranked 11th in Law360’s Best Law Firms for Minority Attorneys at midsized firms

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Kelley Kronenberg Attorneys at Law



Diversity Team Name: Kelley Kronenberg’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee Diversity Team Leader(s): Michelle Martinez Reyes

What Makes this Diversity Team Stand Out


elley Kronenberg has made hiring diverse candidates at all levels a priority in its recruiting efforts. At the firm, diversity and inclusion is supported and embraced not only by the human resources department, but also by all the principal shareholders. CEO and Principal Partner Michael Fichtel has joined the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD), which is leading the nationwide effort to increase diversity among lawyers throughout Fortune 500 companies and top-tier law firm members. Michael has committed to participate in the LCLD’s leadership summit to propel diversity, and the firm will be sharing its diversity pledge with LCLD members. The Diversity and Inclusion Committee is involved in promoting internal and external campaigns through social media and events to propel recruiting and attracting diverse candidates with the assistance of the human resources department. Kelley Kronenberg’s Human Resources department is led by gender and racially diverse executives who support the Diversity and Inclusion Committee’s efforts to propel firm-wide and community-based diversity initiatives. Half of the C-suite consists of minorities and women. The firm also monitors and keeps current records of gender and ethnic diversity, which is proudly disclosed on the firm’s website. We support diversity-based events and celebrate holidays from various cultural and religious backgrounds to educate and spread a message of inclusion in workplace. Our summer internship program


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recruits diverse law students to work in various practice areas in different departments. The firm has established internal leadership and self-improvement training programs for all its employees, including programs relating to unconscious bias. At Kelley Kronenberg, diversity and inclusion is not just an initiative or a program; it is an investment from the very senior principal shareholders to the newest person in the door. We believe that committing to the cause of inclusiveness internally will ultimately effect change externally for the benefit of the legal community at large. Businesses that take the initiative to increase the diversity of their management teams, across all dimensions of diversity and with the right enabling factors in place, perform better. Diverse leadership propels business success by finding unconventional solutions to problems and generates better ideas, some of which are likely to become winning products and services in the marketplace. As a result, these organizations outperform their peers financially. Changing the makeup of the leadership team in terms of national origins, industry backgrounds, gender balance, career paths, ages, and educational focus can bring a fresh perspective. Increasing the diversity of leadership teams leads to more innovation and improved financial performance. People with different backgrounds and experiences often see the same problem in different ways and come up with different solutions, increasing the odds that one of those solutions will be a success.








Mediavine Diversity Team Name: People Ops Department Diversity Team Leader(s): Matt Richenthal

What Makes this Diversity Team Stand Out


iversity, equity, and inclusion have always been a focal point for Mediavine. However, the tragic events in spring 2020 ignited new commitments from our leadership team. Mediavine Cofounder Steve Marsi wrote a blog post that unequivocally stated the company stance: We Stand With You. This rallying cry evolved into a movement for Mediavine. Since then, we have developed We Stand With You PSAs, cultivated safe spaces for team members to connect, led important conversations, and launched new company initiatives related to DEI. Town hall meetings were initiated to explore how we could sensitively serve and support the POC and LGTBQIA+ communities. Each town hall was exclusively dedicated to Mediavine employees who self-identify as members of those communities. Through these conversations, we crystallized new company standards, including the following: • New regulations for the Mediavine publisher terms of service to prohibit LGBTQIA+ hate speech on their platforms • Adding optional pronoun offerings to Mediavine employee email signatures and to our People Operations system to ensure we’re addressing our employees in their preferred ways • Updating our People Operations policies and procedures to protect trans employees’ privacy regarding protected information • Redesigning our website to shine light on our devotion to DEI in a more overt way • Implementing a four-segment—required for all employees—Traliant training course that addresses Diversity, Inclusion & Sensitivity; Microaggressions in the Workplace; Preventing Discrimination & Harassment; and Unconscious Bias • Creating Slack community channels as safe spaces for diverse groups

• Launching The Belonging Project video, an internal reflection of Mediavine values created by Mediavine employees for Mediavine employees • Launching our Diversity & Inclusion at Mediavine video, an external reflection of Mediavine values visible to the general public Additionally, we administered two employee surveys—The Trust Index™ Survey and Best Places to Work survey by Quantum Workplace—at the beginning of 2021 to gauge employee satisfaction and better understand our employees’ wants and needs. The surveys yielded the following results: • 99% of employees say Mediavine is a great place to work compared to 59% of a typical U.S.based company • 100% of employees say people here are treated fairly regardless of race • 100% of employees say people care about each other at Mediavine • 100% of employees say when someone joins Mediavine, they are made to feel welcome • 100% of employees say when people change jobs or work units, they are made to feel right at home • 100% of employees say they are given the resources and equipment necessary to do their jobs Our survey feedback earned Mediavine Great Place to Work certification and recognition on Inc. magazine’s 2021 Best Workplaces overall list, as well as a earning our organization a winning spot in Inc.’s Medium: Employee size 50-99 category. Diversifying our team remains a priority. At the end of 2020, our company workforce was 60 percent female and 38 percent self-identifying POC. In 2021, we’re amplifying that statistic by committing to hiring at least 50 percent POC. We’re proud to say in the first two quarters of 2021 we’ve held true to that commitment.

2021 Third Quarter



New American Funding



Diversity Team Name: Latino Focus Diversity Team Leader(s): Patty Arvielo & Frank Fuentes

What Makes this Diversity Team Stand Out


hroughout its history, New American Funding has led by example, with equality, diversity, and inclusion as its core pillars in hiring and mortgage lending. The company represents one of the most successful Latina-owned businesses in America. Cofounder and President Patty Arvielo, a first-generation Hispanic, knows the unique challenges her community faces when buying a home, including language barriers and financial literacy. In 2013, Arvielo formed the company’s Latino Focus Committee to support this underserved community in realizing their dreams of homeownership. The Committee, which is spearheaded by Frank Fuentes (VP of Multicultural Community Lending) and includes Tania Murray (Chair), Miguel Mouriz (Co-Chair), and Jose Plascencia (Co-Chair), uses education and awareness to enhance the quality of the lending experience for Hispanic consumers, aiming to lift up the community and build generational wealth through homeownership. Through this initiative, the company has been able to connect with Hispanics by means of several core outreach efforts. These include Spanish-language YouTube ads, virtual events from local branches, and a full range of customized educational materials to aid Hispanics in their homebuying experience. This outreach begins from within—23 percent of the company’s workforce is Hispanic. With a focus on hiring bilingual employees, the company also has multiple branches in four of the five main Hispanic markets within the United States, and is committed to lending $25 billion in new mortgages to Hispanic borrowers by 2024. Through Latino Focus, New American Funding has been able to increase sustainable Hispanic homeownership across America. Today, the lender is one of the largest privately held retail lenders to Hispanic borrowers. In fact, 18 percent of New American Funding’s 2020 home-purchase


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loan volume was to Hispanic borrowers, compared to 11.9 percent for the industry. Also, its percentage of purchase lending to Hispanics was 51 percent more than the industry’s overall percentage (based on 2020 HDMA data from ComplianceTech’s Lending Patterns HDMA software). Along with Patty Arvielo, Frank Fuentes, the company’s vice president of multicultural community lending, spearheads the Latino Focus effort. Fuentes, the first Hispanic/bilingual loan officer hired at New American Funding, has devoted more than 20 years to improving lending efforts to minority home buyers. In April, he became an Advisory Council member for the American Mortgage Diversity Council. Frank has hosted virtual chats with branch representatives and senior leadership to address issues pertaining to Hispanic home buyers and has cohosted virtual webinars with organizations, such as the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, Freddie Mac, and the American Mortgage Diversity Council. Frank recently took part in Honest Conversations, a HousingWire podcast, discussing the Latino Focus initiative and increasing homeownership across all sectors. Latino Focus has been the driving force behind numerous diversity and inclusion awards and honors, including: • Profiles in Diversity Journal Latino Leaders Worth Watching–Patty Arvielo (2021) • ALPFA Most Powerful Latina Award–Patty Arvielo (2020) • Latino Leaders Magazine Top 100 Most Influential Latinas–Patty Arvielo (2020) • Profiles in Diversity Journal Diversity Leader (2021) • Most honorees (45) among the 2020 NAHREP Top 250 Latino Mortgage Originators








New American Funding Diversity Team Name: New American Dream Diversity Team Leader(s): Charles Lowery, Director of Legislative Policy & External Affairs

What Makes this Diversity Team Stand Out


hroughout its history, New American Funding has led by example, with equality, diversity, and inclusion as its core pillars in hiring and in mortgage lending. Co-Founder and President Patty Arvielo, a first-generation Hispanic, knows the challenges minorities can face and has made it her mission to uplift communities that are underserved. In 2016, the company created the New American Dream initiative, with a goal of raising awareness and increasing Black homeownership across the country. The initiative’s purpose is to provide racial equity and build consumer confidence through home buying education, accessibility to credit, and mortgage industry career opportunities for Black communities. In the wake of the cultural issues our country is now facing, New American Funding has pushed to expand the New American Dream initiative, aiming to increase the company’s lending to communities of color. Through New American Dream, the Black community is provided educational resources and engagement that can put its members on the road to purchasing a home, building wealth, and changing lives. In 2020, New American Funding’s percentage of purchase lending to minorities was 41percent higher than the industry average, and its percentage of purchase lending to Black borrowers was 85 percent higher than the industry average. In fact, 12.4 percent of New American Funding’s 2020 home purchase loan volume went to Black borrowers compared to 6.7 percent for the overall industry (based on 2020 HDMA data from ComplianceTech’s Lending Patterns HDMA software). The company’s commitment to diversity starts with its hiring process. The workforce includes 45 percent minority groups, including 9 percent Blacks. In

addition, minorities hold key leadership positions, bringing a variety of perspectives to the company’s decision-making process. One of the key hires has been Charles Lowery, the company’s director of legislative policy and external affairs. In spearheading the company’s New American Dream initiative, Charles brings more than 20 years of mortgage, housing, and advocacy experience to the position. Based in Washington, DC, he represents the company in aligning with national organizations to advance the company’s mission of increasing Black homeownership. New American Dream Cochair, Keil Marcus, leads an internal forum called the Listening Circle to promote community discussion and offer education regarding topics that impact the Black community. This forum offers first-hand experiences about race relations and initiatives in order to promote awareness, as well as a deeper understanding of homeownership for underserved communities. In 2020, New American Dream established a unique partnership with Freddie Mac to produce and present a series of online programs about the challenges to Black homeownership. Recent programs have included The Past, Present, and Future of Black Homeownership, Bridging the Gap in Black Homeownership, and Dispelling the Myths of Black Homeownership. New American Dream will also host the upcoming Overcoming the Credit & Debt Obstacles to Black Homeownership. New American Dream has been the driving force behind such diversity and inclusion awards and honors as Profiles in Diversity Journal Diversity Leader (2021) and Profiles in Diversity Journal Black Leaders Worth Watching – Anthony Holt & Dwayne Graham (2020).

2021 Third Quarter



Novartis Diversity Team Name: U.S. Diversity & Inclusion Team



Diversity Team Leader(s): Marion Brooks, Vice President and US Country Head, Diversity & Inclusion

What Makes this Diversity Team Stand Out


ovartis has assembled a global team to design and implement a D&I strategy that will strengthen our talent base and shape a more inclusive and equitable society. The U.S. team, led by Marion Brooks, Vice President and US Country Head, Diversity & Inclusion, is delivering on strategies to support all genders, races, ethnicities, abilities, and sexual orientations, and building divisional D&I Councils to embed these strategies and address local needs and concerns.

2020/2021 ACHIEVEMENTS Talent Recruitment & Retention • Built the first Novartis D&I Talent Acquisition team to enhance our recruiting efforts in diverse communities. • Implemented new hiring guidelines designed to increase gender and racial/ethnic diversity in leadership through more diverse interview panels and candidate slates. In 2020, 90% of candidate slates are gender diverse; 80% reflect diverse races/ethnicities. • Launched a Multicultural Engagement Program pilot to identify, invest in, and support diverse talent, and prepare them for senior roles. Over 60% of the cohort advanced their careers in 12 months. The program has been expanded to all U.S. Divisions in 2021. • Expanded our Leading Up program to foster advancement for female leadership. Fostering Inclusion/Belonging • Increased participation in 28 Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) by 160%. More than 6,200 members plan mentoring and networking events, special recognition months, and outreach to underserved communities. • More than 15,000 associates participated in the company’s Inclusion in Action training series, which addresses unconscious bias and inclusion. • More than 4,800 associates joined a global webcast: Juneteenth: Generational Trauma and Mental Health in the African-American Community. • Held a U.S.-wide panel discussion, “Standing in Solidarity with the Asian American/Pacific Islander Community.” • More than 7,000 associates attended our Day of 166

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Reflection following the murder of George Floyd to engage in creating a more inclusive and positive work environment. The Day of Reflection will be an annual event commemorating the Juneteenth holiday. • Developed a tip sheet to help leaders initiate Courageous Conversations, fostering belonging and psychological safety within teams. Societal Impact • Launched an initiative to increase diversity in clinical trials enterprise-wide. • Reduced disparities of care by building partnerships with patient and community organizations, and supporting education/awareness programs for underserved populations. • Launched an expanded Supplier Diversity program to identify and partner with more women-, minority-, veteran- and LGBTQI+-owned businesses. • Launched Capitol Hill Day, giving ERG members the opportunity to meet with members of Congress to share how ERGs are impacting our culture and society. • Continued our multicultural teen and disability mentoring day programs to inspire bold educational and career goals in diverse youth. • Expanded university relations outreach to build partnerships with and provide scholarships, mentoring and internships to students attending Historically Black Colleges/Universities HBCUs and Hispanic-serving institutions. Recognition • One of seven 2020 DiversityInc Hall of Fame companies. • Number one in our industry in the Refinitiv Diversity & Inclusion Index (second consecutive year). • Scored 100% on the Human Rights Campaign’s LGBTQ Corporate Equality Index; also named a Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality by HRC. • Featured in the April edition of Pharmaceutical Executive, as a company that has embraced D&I as a “must have.”








Salt River Project (SRP) Diversity Team Name: Diversity & Inclusion Team Diversity Team Leader(s): Essen Otu

What Makes this Diversity Team Stand Out SRP’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Team Formalized in 2019, SRP’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) team consists of four full-time members supporting 5,200 employees by working to make diversity, equity and inclusion a fundamental component of our corporate culture.

Significant Achievements Essen Otu, Manager DEI, conceptualized the Brave Space Dialogue series to address critical topics related to the diverse spectrum of employee experiences. The quarterly series has provided a psychologically safe place for employees to understand and discuss topics, including the social unrest of 2020, microaggressions, generational diversity, and intersectionality. Employee Resource Group (ERG) board members and DEI champions are engaged as breakout room facilitators in the virtual sessions, allowing small group discussions. Ina Heffner manages SRP’s Corporate Mentoring Program. Formal mentorship opportunities include both leadership and career/technical tracks, while peer mentoring is offered through Lean-In Together Circles. Ina and the Corporate Mentoring Committee adopted processes that include anonymous applications to reduce unconscious bias in selection and matching. In the past year, more than 60 mentorship engagements have been facilitated with an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 in overall mentee satisfaction. Matthew Knotts serves as liaison to SRP’s ten ERGs. In 2020, he formed the ERG Governance and DEI Advisory Council, consisting of ERG chairs and executive sponsors. The Council created a more equitable sponsorship model, increasing visibility of ERGs across leadership. In addition, Matthew developed a quarterly ERG metrics reporting process that defines success measures

and links ERG activities to DEI and corporate objectives. ERG officers are also offered quarterly professional development sessions. Hector Jaramillo manages SRP’s DEI training programs. In the past year, the team was certified in, and delivered, inclusion training in partnership with the NeuroLeadership Institute. More than 600 leaders (91%) completed the training, which built on growth mindset training delivered during the prior year. As a result, 86% of leaders say they are more confident in fostering a more inclusive workplace. Hector worked with SRP’s Organizational Development department to integrate the training into the company’s leadership development program. The team created an all-employee version of the training, which focuses on ways individual performers can build more inclusive teams. The DEI team conducted its first Diversity & Inclusion Employee Survey, which measured employees’ perceptions of SRP’s DEI initiatives. Results were presented to leadership, comparing individual business units to SRP overall, as well as benchmarking against other companies and the utility industry. As a result of the survey, DEI and business units are taking specific actions to elevate employee voices. The DEI team has also worked to build SRP’s DEI brand in the communities we serve. Team members have served as moderators and panel members for local and national panel discussions. In addition, they have created opportunities for our DEI champions and ERG members to be featured in SRP’s external blog and marketing campaigns.

Awards In 2020, Forbes named SRP a Best Employer for Diversity and one of America’s Best Employers by State.

2021 Third Quarter



Sandia National Laboratories



Diversity Team Name: Inclusion, Diversity, Equal Employment & Affirmative Action (IDEA) Team Diversity Team Leader(s): Esther Hernandez, Chief Diversity Officer

What Makes this Diversity Team Stand Out


he eight-member Inclusion, Diversity, EEO & AA (IDEA) Team is our voice to bridge inclusion and diversity (I&D) with Sandia’s mission and business strategy. The IDEA Team is responsible for bringing together a workplace with the diverse thinking, perspectives, and ideas of more than 14,000 employees in the business, science, and engineering professions. As anyone can attest, it is no easy task! The IDEA Team works tirelessly to make I&D an essential part of who we are and go beyond the minimal requirements of our prime contract obligations. In their work, the IDEA Team collaborated with key leaders across the Laboratories to co-create a ten-year strategic plan to advance I&D. The purpose of the strategy is to build an inclusive and diverse culture that attracts, retains, and develops a thriving workforce that strengthens our mission impact through innovative solutions. In this third year of the I&D Strategy, the IDEA Team completed several innovative initiatives that enabled Sandia to be recognized as an I&D leader. six I&D competencies that help leaders and employees understand what inclusion looks like by The Team developed identifying behaviors associated with promoting an inclusive mindset and providing a road map for applying inclusion and diversity at work. The IDEA Team created animated videos, guides, and tutorials to deliver the I&D competencies across the enterprise, and Sandia’s executive leadership made I&D competencies part of their performance evaluation and cascaded their I&D goals to their respective divisions, modeling the desired behaviors from the top. Such action enables a broader, deeper, inclusive discussion across the Laboratories. Other innovative initiatives include embedding I&D principles into our HR processes. When the IDEA


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Team develops courses for our employees, they utilize research-based learning solutions to stay abreast of best practices in the industry. Our courses include Mitigating Unconscious Bias in our career progression processes, the Neuroscience of Inclusion, Courageous Leadership, and Preventing Workplace Bullying, to name a few. The IDEA Team also works closely with our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). Together, they offer multiple cultural-awareness learning opportunities, including national heritage months, systemic racism, career development barriers experienced by minorities, removing the stigma of nursing moms in the workplace and parental leave, and gender transition in the workplace. Additionally, the team has instituted diverse interview panel requirements for all manager positions and diverse peer review panels for our Special Appointments Process. Finally, the IDEA Team’s dedication has enabled Sandia to receive the following I&D diversity awards: • 2018 Gold Award (Family Friendly in New Mexico) • 2019 Forbes Best Employer for Diversity • Top Supporter for HBCU programs • Top 20 Government Employers (STEM Workforce Diversity) • Top 50 STEM Workplaces (AISES Organization) • Organization of the Year (SASE Organization) • Best Company Where CEOs Support Gender Diversity (Fairygodboss) Inclusion is a conscious choice, and it is Sandia’s choice.








Sullivan & Cromwell LLP Diversity Team Name: Diversity Management Department (DMD) Diversity Team Leader(s): Kyra E. Laursen

What Makes this Diversity Team Stand Out


ur Diversity Management Department (DMD) is a three-member team that works directly with senior leaders—including the members of our Management Committee, Diversity Committee, and Women’s Initiative Committee—and other internal departments to ensure that the firm takes a holistic approach in executing our DEI strategy. DMD implements extensive programming to advance our BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and women lawyers. S&C hosts or sponsors more than 150 programs each year that address professional development and mentoring, and also provide social and networking opportunities for our people. During the global pandemic, recognizing that connectivity was more important than ever, DMD increased the number of DEI programs by more than 30 percent. DMD’s ability to remain laser focused on creating meaningful—and plentiful—opportunities for connection and collaboration under these extraordinary circumstances demonstrates why our team should be recognized. Our bespoke Allyship Learning Curriculum is DMD’s most notable 2020 achievement. DMD created this multifaceted curriculum as part of S&C’s broader effort to ensure that our antiracism work is ongoing and relevant to current conversations concerning civil rights and social justice issues. The interactive curriculum includes educational resources, book raffles, CLE-accredited trainings, panel discussions, and consultant-led workshops for our personnel across our 13 offices worldwide.

DMD spends weeks designing each module by conducting intensive research incorporating DEI best practices and evidentiary support. DMD’s goal is to develop high-impact work product that combines powerful and honest accounts with hard, empirical data. To gauge whether we are hitting the mark, we collect written feedback following each program. One attendee made clear in response to our most recent session, which provided concrete ways in which people can disrupt microaggressions in the workplace, that DMD’s hard work and dedication has paid off: “I felt proud to be part of a community where these conversations are taking place with openness, kindness, and compassion.” Additionally, DMD crafts and distributes substantial resource guides addressing the allyship continuum and, for our working parents, provides child-friendly resources for use at home. By ensuring that our people have a safe space to learn and grow together, DMD affirms our leaders’ commitment to making DEI a top priority at S&C. The words of our chair truly speak for all of us: “DMD’s contributions to the S&C community have been inspiring as we have engaged in deep reflection on the importance of accountability and taken actions aimed at effecting positive societal change.” The DMD team brings courage, curiosity, and a commitment to excellence to their work every day, and we are hopeful you will recognize their incredible contributions.

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Diversity Team Name: DE&I Council Diversity Team Leader(s): Shane Rayford

What Makes this Diversity Team Stand Out


he DE&I Council—endorsed by Visionwork’s executive leadership team and led by our director of learning & development and creative communications manager—is the driving force of our DE&I approach. The Council includes 30 associates from different cultures, backgrounds, and perspectives. They have built a strategy to help shed light on what it means to embrace diversity and foster an environment of equity and inclusion, while supporting our values: Be Simple. Be Human. Be Bold. Here are some of their DE&I achievements: • SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT: To create a safe space for people to tackle difficult conversations, we created an internal social media channel to build an open forum where content could be shared, so we could better understand the needs of our workforce. With this social page we have been able to educate, raise awareness, launch surveys and polls and create diverse conversations. From this page we can measure engagement, growth and share stories that matter. • SEEN CAMPAIGN: To encourage a safe and comfortable environment in which associates can speak freely about issues involving DE&I, we created the SEEN video campaign. We asked associates if they were willing to share their diversity story. Stories were shared internally in video format. • WORK STREAMS: The DE&I Council created the pillars to our approach, based on stages of the Associate Experience (AX)—from inquire to retire. We analyzed every aspect of the associate journey and developed “Work Streams” to identify areas where we could do better. DE&I Council members organized teams for each Work Stream. Focus areas include: Attract & Recruit, Onboard, Learning & Development,


2021 Third Quarter

Rewards, Recognition & Benefits, Engagement, Progress & Performance, Retain and Exit. • WORKSHOPS: To enhance our DE&I strategy and AX, our Learning and Development team created (and are still creating) a series of DE&I Workshops. These workshops are offered to all associates and are included in the onboarding process. The purpose is to help associates understand our approach, embrace our DE&I culture, and eliminate unconscious bias. Today, our workshops include: o THE HUMAN ELEMENT: Intro DE&I— Understanding where our beliefs come from and how they are reflected in our behavior. o

UNCONCIOUS BIAS: We are sometimes unaware of our biases, so they can unconsciously affect how we think, feel, and behave.


BUSINESS RESOURCE GROUPS (BRGs): BRGs give a voice to those underrepresented at work by helping build communities among people with shared identities and experiences. Each group has its own executive sponsor, leaders, and members who use an internal social page to participate in activities and sponsorships that help each diverse group. Our BRGs include Women in Leadership, Black Heritage, Hispanic/Latino, Military/ Veterans, and LGBT+

AWARDS: • Top workplace in San Antonio, 2019 • Forbes Best Employers for Women, 2020 • Forbes Best Employers for Diversity, 2020








WilmerHale Diversity Team Name: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Diversity Team Leader(s): Tracey West & Monya Bunch

What Makes this Diversity Team Stand Out


ny meaningful commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in an organization must start with leadership. The law firm WilmerHale has an Executive Diversity and Inclusion Committee (EDIC), developed specifically to drive goals and programming with a focus on leadership commitment, professional development and inclusive workplaces, recruiting and retention of diverse attorneys, and partnering with clients and diverse alumni. Additionally, the firm has a full-time Diversity, Equity and Inclusion team, which includes Diversity and Inclusion Co-Directors Tracey West and Monya Bunch. They play an integral role in executing the firm’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. Under strong and dedicated leadership, we are proud to have reached the following leadership milestones: • U.S. equity partners: 27% are women, 15% are attorneys of color, 2% identify as LGBTQ, and 2% identify as a veterans • U.S. counsel: 35% are women, 6% are attorneys of color, 2% identify as LGBTQ, and 2% identify as a veterans • U.S. associates: 53% are women, 32% are attorneys of color, 8% identify as LGBTQ, and 1% identify as a veterans • Management Committee: 40% women and 13% attorneys of color • Compensation Committee: 44% women and 15% attorneys of color • U.S. Department and Practice Group Leaders: 29% women and 16% attorneys of color • U.S. Office Heads: 43% are women and 29% are attorneys of color Our full-time diversity team partners with firm leaders to ensure that all of our lawyers receive the work assignments, development support, and client engagement opportunities they need to advance on their career paths. We recognize that these paths differ, and we strive to tailor each lawyer’s opportunities to support their individual goals. Our programs include mentoring and networking opportunities, a diversity summit, a Racial Justice Reform Initiative, and several other fellowship programs and professional development opportunities.

Our recent summer associate classes demonstrate our commitment to recruiting lawyers from diverse backgrounds. The firm’s 2020 summer associate program class was 57% women, 35% racially and ethnically diverse, and 10% LGBTQ. Our recruitment of lawyers at higher levels also reflects this commitment; in 2019, half of our new lateral partner hires were diverse, and of those, three were women of color. We also partner with clients on a wide range of diversity-related programs, including CLE sessions featuring our diverse lawyers and diversity pipeline initiatives. As a result, the firm has been repeatedly recognized for advancing diversity and inclusion; WilmerHale has received the following honors: • Won the second-highest spot, for the second year in a row, on The American Lawyer’s A-List • Received Mansfield Certification Plus status in 2020, the highest designation possible for supporting the Mansfield Rule’s aim of boosting diverse representation in law firm leadership. We have received the designation since 2018, when we joined the first group of firms to agree to have our diversity efforts evaluated • Working Mother magazine and Flex-Time Lawyers again named the firm a Best Law Firm for Women, a recognition which the firm has received every year since the list launched in 2007 • Was named a Top-Scoring Firm in the 2019 Inclusion Blueprint survey, a collaboration between Diversity Lab and CHiPs that measures law firm inclusion and diversity at the leadership and practice group levels • Women in Law Empowerment Forum awarded the firm the Gold Standard Certification Award for the sixth time in 2019 for dedication to women in leadership roles and commitment to equal compensation • Was recognized by Get Konnected! as a Diversity & Inclusion champion for leading the way in promoting and advancing diversity and inclusion in the legal community WilmerHale has long been a leader in efforts to diversify the legal profession. Thank you for this opportunity to reflect our commitment to fostering an inclusive workplace, starting with the leadership of our law firm.

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Advanced Micro Devices........................................................................................................................................................................53, 54, 55 Aetna, a CVS Health Company............................................................................................................................................................................70 American Dental Association...............................................................................................................................................................................56 American Indigenous Business Leaders (AiBL).....................................................................................................................................34, 35 Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP..................................................................................................................................36, 37, 51, 52, 156 Amyris, Inc...................................................................................................................................................................................................................57 AT&T...............................................................................................................................................................................................................................58 Atwater Capital..........................................................................................................................................................................................................59 Axinn..............................................................................................................................................................................................................................60 Barbara Dumont-Hill, Consultant........................................................................................................................................................................46 Best Best & Krieger LLP...........................................................................................................................................................................................61 Burns & Levinson LLP...............................................................................................................................................................................62, 63, 64 Catalyst, Inc.................................................................................................................................................................................................................65 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals................................................................................................................................................................66 Cohen Ziffer Frenchman & McKenna LLP........................................................................................................................................................67 Colgate-Palmolive.....................................................................................................................................................................................................68 CVS Health...........................................................................................................................................................71, 72, back cover Dechert LLP.................................................................................................................................................................................................................73 Dickinson Wright PLLC...........................................................................................................................................................13, 74 Einhorn, Barbarito, Frost & Botwinick, PC.......................................................................................................................................................75 Eli Lilly and Company..............................................................................................................................................................................................40 EMD Serono, Inc., a business of Merck..................................................................................................................................11, 76 Ernst & Young LLP (EY).................................................................................................................................................................................38, 157 ESPN...............................................................................................................................................................................................................................77 Estée Lauder Companies............................................................................................................................inside front cover, 78 FedEx.............................................................................................................................................................................................................................79 FordHarrison LLP......................................................................................................................................................................................................80 Frantz Ward..............................................................................................................................................................................16, 81 FUJIFILM Holdings America Corporation.......................................................................................................................................................82 FUJIFILM Sonosite....................................................................................................................................................................................................83 Gibbons PC..................................................................................................................................................................................................................84 Glenn Agre Bergman & Fuentes LLP..........................................................................................................................................................85, 86 Globality, Inc................................................................................................................................................................................................................87 Greenberg Traurig, LLP...........................................................................................................................................................................88, 89, 158 Guaranteed Rate Companies...............................................................................................................................................................................90 HARMAN International, a Samsung company.........................................................................................................................................91, 92 Haynes and Boone....................................................................................................................................................................................................93 HCA Houston Healthcare......................................................................................................................................................................................159 Hoguet Newman Regal & Kenny LLP................................................................................................................................................................94 Holwell Shuster & Goldberg LLP.....................................................................................................................................15, 95, 96 Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP...............................................................................................................................................................................97 Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP...........................................................................................................................................................................98, 99 Idaho National Laboratory.............................................................................................................................3, 100, 101, 102, 103 International WELL Building Institute.............................................................................................................................................................104 Interpublic Group....................................................................................................................................................................................................160 HP, Inc............................................................................................................................................................................................................................39 Jones Walker LLP.....................................................................................................................................................................................................105 Kasowitz Benson & Torres LLP...........................................................................................................................................................106, 107, 161 Kelley Kronenberg.................................................................................................................................................................................108, 109, 162 Kelly................................................................................................................................................................................................................................110


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Krauss Shaknes Tallentire & Messeri LLP..........................................................................................................................................................111 Latham & Watkins LLP............................................................................................................................................................................................112 Lincoln Financial Group..........................................................................................................................................................17, 113 Mayer Brown LLP..............................................................................................................................................................................................114, 115 McDermott Will & Emery LLP..............................................................................................................................................................................116 McGuireWoods LLP..................................................................................................................................................................................................117 McKool Smith............................................................................................................................................................................7, 118 Mediavine....................................................................................................................................................................................................................163 Microsoft...............................................................................................................................................................................................................26, 119 Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP..................................................................................................................................17, 120, 121 Moss Adams LLP................................................................................................................................................................................................41, 122 National Community Reinvestment Coalition, Community Development Fund, Inc.....................................................................123 Native American Bank............................................................................................................................................................................................42 Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP.........................................................................................................................................................43 New American Funding.......................................................................................................................................................................124, 164, 165 Night Nurse, Inc........................................................................................................................................................................................................125 Nike................................................................................................................................................................................................................................44 Novartis.......................................................................................................................................................................................................................166 Omnicare, a CVS Health Company.....................................................................................................................................................................69 OPTrust........................................................................................................................................................................................................................126 Oracle Corporation...........................................................................................................................................................................................28, 127 Perfect Company.....................................................................................................................................................................................................128 Porzio Bromberg & Newman, P.C........................................................................................................................................13, 129 RBC Wealth Management.....................................................................................................................................................15, 130 Republic Airways......................................................................................................................................................................................................131 Robins Kaplan LLP..................................................................................................................................................................................................132 Salt River Project.....................................................................................................................................................................................................167 Sandia National Laboratories.............................................................................................................................................................................168 Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP..........................................................................................................................................................................133, 134 Sephora.........................................................................................................................................................................................................................30 Seward & Kissel LLP................................................................................................................................................................................................135 Simplifya, LLC............................................................................................................................................................................................................136 Sonepar USA.............................................................................................................................................................................................................137 Sullivan & Cromwell LLP...............................................................................................................................................................................138, 169 Synchrony....................................................................................................................................................................................................................45 Teltech..........................................................................................................................................................................................................................139 TLGG Consulting......................................................................................................................................................................................................140 Torchy’s Tacos............................................................................................................................................................................................................141 Transfix........................................................................................................................................................................................................................142 Ulmer & Berne LLP..................................................................................................................................................................................................143 UnitedHealthcare Global.......................................................................................................................................................................................144 Univision Communications Inc...........................................................................................................................................................................145 Venable LLP...............................................................................................................................................................................................................146 Visionworks.......................................................................................................................................................................................................147, 170 Walmart, Inc.......................................................................................................................................................................................................22, 148 Warshaw Burstein, LLP..........................................................................................................................................................................................149 Wells Fargo................................................................................................................................................................................................................150 Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP...................................................................................................................................151, 152, 171 Wisely...........................................................................................................................................................................................................................153

Kathleen Beitzel

Jennifer Callahan

Shea Manigo

Jennifer Nicholus

Congratulations to the 2021 Women Worth Watching® Award Winners CVS Health would like to congratulate all of the 2021 Women Worth Watching® Award Winners with a special recognition to: · · · ·

Kathleen Beitzel – Vice President, Professional and Clinical Services Jennifer Callahan – Vice President, Medicare Product and Implementation Shea Manigo – Vice President, Growth and Strategy HealthHubs Jennifer Nicholus – Vice President, Anthem Client Operations

At CVS Health, we are committed to promoting and supporting women in leadership as well as across the organization at all levels. We are committed to building an environment of inclusion and belonging that values diversity. All of our colleagues share a clear purpose: Bringing our heart to every moment of your health. Through our health services, plans, and community pharmacies, we’re pioneering a bold new approach to total health. Making it simple, accessible, and more affordable, to not only help people get well but help them stay well in body, mind, and spirit.