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The Inclusion & Equity Summit: MidWest

08:00 AM
Registration and Check In

*All agenda times are in US Central Time Zone (CT)

09:00 AM
Opening Comments
09:15 AM
The Post-COVID Workplace: Reimagining, Rebooting, Rebuilding

We do not have a crystal ball but for a moment, let’s pretend we do. What does the workplace look like? Will we go back to brick and mortar or continue to work remotely? What will this mean for DEI initiatives? While the virus has pushed us out of our comfort zones, it has also presented a unique opportunity to look at our options and evolve as professionals and as humans.

This panel will explore:

  • Letting go of the past and finding new ways of adapting to the challenges ahead
  • Reorganizing our priorities
  • Leveraging the “new normal” to create more opportunities to promote DEI

10:00 AM
Networking Break
10:15 AM
Did You Just Really Say That? Recognizing and Managing Microaggressions

The chances are extremely high that during your lifetime you have experienced a microaggression, if not hundreds. Whether you’ve been the victim or the microaggressor, we’ve all been there, and it’s not comfortable. Since unconscious bias is at the root of microaggressions, it is no surprise that they can be quite subtle. That doesn’t make them any less dismissive or dehumanizing to the target. Sadly, many BIPOC deal with microaggressions on a daily basis; and it erodes psychological safety, perpetuates a toxic work environment, and increases stress and health issues for black employees. Whether discrimination comes from overt prejudice or unconscious bias, underrepresented groups and women are not receiving equal opportunities or treatment when it comes to landing in-house counsel positions, earning promotions, or making partner in a law firm. In fact, the impact of unconscious bias can be insidious and underestimated or rationalized too easily. How can we identify our own unconscious biases/microaggressions and those of others?

This panel will explore:

  • How to do a moral inventory?
  • Recognizing and resolving the commission of microaggressions
    • Power of language
    • Institutional bias
    • Ignorance and education
  • How to approach:
    • Managers
    • Peers
    • Direct reports

11:00 AM
Networking Break
11:15 AM
Corporate America and the Cancel Culture: Challenges Facing Legal Teams

Is there anything wrong with “canceling” a celebrity or other public figure who does or says something offensive? Let’s rephrase, “Is there anything wrong with holding those people accountable- and enforcing consequences- for their free will choices that hurt other people? Of course not! But where do we draw the line? How should we advise leadership, our clients, and our colleagues when faced with this hot button topic? How are Legal departments dealing with the cancel culture?

This panel will explore:

  • Distinguishing between being held accountable and being canceled
  • Walking the tightrope and maintaining balance
  • Advice from outside counsel
  • Accountability without dehumanization

12:00 PM
Networking Break
12:15 PM
Acknowledging Privilege and Becoming an Ally: A User’s Guide

Women leaders in both business and the legal profession are still rare. Because creating and maintaining a diverse workforce is no longer a gesture of goodwill, but essential to financial growth, finding ways to foster diversity in corporate leadership is imperative. This requires collaboration across disciplinary and organizational boundaries to tackle discriminatory practices against women and minorities. Rarely do we see inclusion strategies that stress the need to include, listen to, and work with the dominant group — the one that is seeing its preeminence questioned. However, that is where leadership is most needed: in helping today’s dominant group embrace tomorrow’s reality.

 This panel will explore:

  • Why having privilege does not make you a bad person
  • Using privilege for the greater good—Becoming an ally
  • Identifying allies, advocates and co-conspirators
  • Developing an engagement strategy

01:00 PM
Networking Break
01:15 PM
Networking and Sponsorship: Strategies for Success

By now it’s fairly common knowledge: Women often do not apply for a job if they don’t check every box, whereas men regularly seek jobs for which they are only partially qualified. The reality is, as you advance in your career, you very rarely have all the skills, experience and capabilities that a new post will require.  However, pursuing growth opportunities requires confidence, creativity, and a strong network–including the right sponsors and mentors. It also requires the necessary personal awareness to get in touch with what is important to you and the ability to ASK for what you want.                  

This panel will explore:

  •  Getting clear with what you really want  
  • How to build a strong network in a virtual world….it’s a skill that needs to be developed! 
  • The ASK: Asking for what you want and knowing why you deserve it 
  • The role of sponsors, mentors and allies in getting us closer to our goals
  • Paying it forward: How best to advocate others

02:00 PM
Networking Break
02:15 PM
Disrupting the Noah's Ark Approach to DEI: Creating a Culture of Inclusion

According to Bible scholars, there are no unicorns left in the world because they never made it on to the Ark. It is thought that they were running late or they had a disagreement with Noah. No one is quite sure. The point is that who knows how many other creatures missed the boat!  In The Loudest Duck by Laura Liswood, she writes that at some point, corporate diversity came to mean the inclusion of at least two of every kind. Far too many managers and leaders figured that if you crammed a pair of each underrepresented group into a company or into a boardroom, you had accomplished the task of creating a diverse work environment. Nothing could be further from the truth! 

This panel will explore: 

  • How can partners and associates engage their firm in more creative D&I initiatives? 
  • How can firms show their clients that they are sincerely implementing change and not just using a broad brush? 
  • How is credit given at law firms and what has to change? 
  • What responsibility do in-house counsel have in helping law firms to become more diverse? 
  • What can corporations do to become more diverse? 

03:00 PM
Networking Reception & Raffle