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AGENDA: Thursday, September 17th, 2020

07:45 AM
08:45 AM
08:55 AM

According to Bible scholars, there are no unicorns 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 minority into a company or into a boardroom, you had accomplished the task of creating a diverse work environment. 

Nothing, in fact, could be further from reality. Today, we are fortunate to have Vanessa Scott with us to share her story and shine a light on what we can do to move beyond this outdated model.  

As an equity partner at Eversheds Sutherland, Vanessa is indeed a unicorn.  

Interviewed by Robyn Frank, VP Diversity & General Counsel, CenterForce Conferences 

09:30 AM
Promoting Diversity & Inclusion in Law Firms & Corporations: Disrupting Old Models & Lowering Attrition

As organizations scramble to deal with financial challenges of Covid-19, the focus companies place on D & I initiatives have come to a screeching halt. Yet, a growing body of evidence is finding that gender parity and racial diversity, particularly in decision-making roles, has a meaningful impact on innovation, productivity, and profitability. This is not breaking news. Even with the cataclysmic shifts that the world is experiencing, the push for equity in the workplace must be maintained. How your organization shows up right now, will be remembered.   This panel will explore: 

  • How this pandemic has contributed to uncovering the disparity between marginalized and privileged groups 
  • What we can all do as individuals and leaders to can do to have some difficult but necessary conversations 
  • How in-house counsel can have a direct impact, not only by fostering an inclusive culture within their departments, but also by committing to hiring law firms that employ and promote women and minorities? 
  • Steps law firms can take, such as re-thinking the allocation of origination credit, instituting a gender-diverse committee and third-party oversight of the firm’s practices, and ensuring the firm’s succession plan is gender neutral

10:15 AM
10:35 AM
Countering the #MeToo Backlash: Enlisting Men to Become Ambassadors for Change

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. While it goes without question that women and minorities in positions of power must help others to move the needle, a better approach may be to engage everyone in bringing about change. When it comes to women’s advancement, men matter. 

This panel will explore:

  • Identifying Male Allies
  • Developing an engagement strategy
  • How can you self-advocate in order to get buy-in from others?
  • What can law firms and corporations do to help?
  • Tips and success stories from the panelists

11:25 AM
The Time for Change is Now: Developing & Promoting Leaders of Color

Leaders of color are resolute in their determination to get ahead. Why then do so few make it to the top in Big Law or major corporations? The numbers are abysmal with 2.81 percent in equity partnership positions and 3.9 percent in the C-suite. Due to ongoing events since the spring of 2020, public outcry for change is at an all-time high. And while diversity and inclusion initiatives are becoming more commonplace in both law firms and corporate America, progress is slow.

This panel will explore:

  • The challenges that minority leaders face in the legal profession
  • Why law firms and other employers should care about retaining and advancing people of color
  • Performative vs. Sustainable change
  • Affinity groups and other resources
  • Success stories - Advice for young attorneys of color

12:10 PM
12:30 PM
Redefining Success in the Age of COVID-19: The Bridge to the New Normal

Women often do not apply for a job or a promotion if they don’t check every box, whereas men regularly seek jobs for which they are only partially qualified. The challenge can be even more daunting when considering a dream job or career choice that is not part of the normal trajectory. While the virus has pushed us out of our comfort zones, it has also presented a unique opportunity to explore our options. Pursuing these options (whether it be a raise, a promotion or a nontraditional path) requires the confidence courage to see your own potential in order to go after what is important to you.

This panel will explore:

  • Letting go of the past and finding new ways of adapting to the changes ahead
  • Getting clear with what you really want and making the current climate work for you
  • The ASK: Asking for what you want and knowing why you deserve
  • The role of sponsors, mentors and allies in getting us closer to our goals
  • How best to advocate for ourselves and others

01:20 PM
The Executive Suite & The Legal Team: Working Together to Create a More Diverse Culture

Women leaders in both business and the legal profession are still rare. Because creating and maintaining a gender-balanced workforce is no longer a gesture of good will, but essential to financial growth, finding ways to foster diversity in corporate leadership is imperative.

This panel will explore:

  • Bridging the gap between the business and legal units
  • Recruiting and sustaining female talent
  • Increasing awareness of the effects of implicit biases around female stereotypes
    • They are not tough enough
    • They are more invested in their families than their careers
  • Tips and Success stories

02:05 PM
02:25 PM
Virtual Commuting, Caregiving & Corona: Remote Work Strategies

Working remotely has created a new set of challenges for women and minorities especially those that are also in a caregiver role. Whether you are caring for children, elderly parents or just having a balanced work-life integration, COVID-19 has placed an even greater strain on those already trying to keep up with the demands of a successful career.

This panel will explore:

  • Best practices for working remotely
  • Why companies should support – not penalize – parents and caregivers now and in the future
  • Realistic tips for achieving balance
  • The silver linings: How the pandemic will change the way we work and create more opportunities for flexibility

03:15 PM
KEYNOTE INTERVIEW: Securing a Seat at the Table: In Case you Missed the Memo!

“If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.” Those immortal words spoken by Shirley Chisholm 50 years ago, coupled with Drake’s Trophies’ lyrics, “Did y’all boys not get the memo?” from 2013, inspired Minda Harts to become an advocate.  

As a result, Minda founded her company, The Memo LLC, a career development platform for women of color and wrote a bestseller, The Memo: What Women of Color Need To Know To Secure A Seat At The Table. She has since then become a popular thought leader, speaking on such topics as Leadership, Managing Diverse Teams and Self-Advocacy.

Minda will share her insights on what it’s like to be a woman of color pursuing a successful career in often white-dominated spaces. She will also offer actionable steps and advice on how to navigate through these challenges and secure one’s own seat at the table.

Interviewed by Robyn Frank, VP Diversity & General Counsel, CenterForce Conferences

03:45 PM

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