Insights (Blog) - Diversity & Flexibility Alliance

Spotlight on Flex – Dr. Cindy Kelley

Most months our Spotlight on Flex showcases professionals from member organizations who exemplify personal and professional success while working a flexible schedule. Their stories illustrate the long-term benefits that flexible schedules offer to both individuals and organizations.

Although we typically highlight an attorney from a member organization, this month we wanted to showcase Dr. Cindy Kelley, Vice President, Medical Education, Summa Health (Akron, OH) one of this year’s Flex Success® Award honorees as she was unable to attend our Annual Conference due to a last minute conflict.  Dr. Kelley, along with her co-honoree, Lori Mihalich Levin (Dentons), exemplifies how flexibility works across industries and across client/partner relationships.  We are thrilled to share her personal Flex Success® story with you.

Diversity & Flexibility Alliance: How have you made flexibility a priority and a success with your schedule? How has your organization contributed to this?

Dr. Cindy Kelley: I have learned that with planning ahead and clear communication, a flexible schedule is possible.  With four daughters, I’ve realized that one-on-one time with each of them is a rarity but is so important.  So, I’ve started blocking the first hour on my Friday schedule so that each week, I can take one of them to breakfast before school and work.  Things do come up and we have to be flexible!  But I’ve learned that if you don’t at least make a plan, time will pass you by, and you’ll miss these opportunities.  My organization contributes to this flexibility by trusting us to get our work done and focusing on outcomes rather than the process.  In addition, my boss not only talks about the importance of work-life balance; he lives it.  This gives us permission to live it too.

DFA: How has working flexibly made your career more sustainable and contributed to business/professional development opportunities?
CK: My career would not have been possible without the support of my institution, and specifically, my partners as I shifted and changed my schedule early on.  Just one-and-a-half-years into my first job as a family medicine residency faculty member, I went to my boss in tears telling him that I didn’t think I could continue working full-time and taking obstetrics call.  I hadn’t anticipated how hard it would be to manage my schedule with a toddler and a newborn while my husband worked ED shifts.  We talked about what I needed and discussed a potential plan.  He took this to my entire group and they supported the change in my schedule.  Since that time, I have worked all kinds of schedules.  I am forever grateful to my partners for their support.

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Action Step –
Leverage Your Alliance Benefits to Create A Best-In-Class D&I Program

The Alliance’s Action Steps are designed to assist organizations with implementing practical strategies and policies related to diversity and flexibility.  Members can access full versions of all of the Alliance’s Action Steps in the Member Resource Center.

As we approach the end of this year, we want to remind members of all their Alliance benefits and ways to leverage them to create a best-in-class D & I program. The Alliance is here to partner with you by providing high level programming with top consultants, cutting edge research, strategic guidance, community support, and networking in order to launch and revamp your D&I programs and policies. Here are some specific resources we want to highlight:

Programming: The Alliance offers Signature Seminars, which are high level, virtual programs that run six times a year. These programs have included top talent management professionals and thought leaders, such as Ritu Bhasin, Scott Westfahl, Verna Myers, Manar Morales, and Paul Burton covering a wide range of topics, such as business development, leading effective teams, feedback, sponsorship/mentoring, managing conflict, time management/productivity, and communication. Members can maximize this benefit by: (a) hosting these virtual programs for employees in a conference room with a follow-up discussion moderated by a leader in the organization; (b) providing employees access to these virtual programs for individual viewing for their career development; and (c) having talent development and D & I professionals preview these programs to assess which consultants might be a good fit to bring in for future programming. Remember it’s particularly important to supplement your flexible work and D & I program and policies with education so they are successful. The Signature Seminars can also be used to make sure flex professionals have the tools they need to succeed, supervisors understand how to effectively manage and lead flex professionals, and staff can gain insights to important ways to support flex professionals. Members can access Signature Seminar recordings for up to 30 days after the original air date…


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Getting to Know Our Conference Speakers –
Stacia Jones

We’re just one week away!

We are so excited to have an amazing line-up of prominent leaders and trailblazers speaking at our 2018 Annual Conference Diversity + Flexibility = Embracing Change next Thursday, September 27.  We have been introducing these dynamic and engaging speakers during the past few months and sharing their diversity and flexibility insights here on our blog. We asked our speakers to answer a few questions about themselves, their approach to their career, and their lives. This week’s “Getting To Know Our Conference Speakers” post highlights Stacia Marie Jones, Esq., Associate General Counsel & Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer at
Abercrombie & Fitch.

Diversity & Flexibility Alliance: What’s the most important message you hope attendees will learn from your panel?

Stacia Jones: The most important message is that to effectively and meaningfully push the needle on diversity in law firms, in-house legal teams must first decide that diversity is important and to then work with law firms that share those same values.

DFA: When the next generation learns about the #MeToo movement what do you hope has changed? 

SJ: That there is no longer a need for the movement because this behavior will not be tolerated.

DFA: What was the most meaningful piece of leadership advice you received? 

SJ: Lead with passion and compassion, in a caring manner that does not alienate or disenfranchise others.

DFA: Who has had the most influence on your career?

SJ: I don’t know that I can name one person, as many individuals have had significant, lasting influences on my career.

DFA: How do you recharge? 

SJ: Spending time with my family and getting in some alone time.

DFA: Where and when are you most content?  

SJ: At home and at church.

DFA: What do you know now that you wish you knew then?  

SJ: Most things work out and that overthinking matters causes undue anxiety and stress that usually does not make matters better. 

DFA: How do you pay it forward? 

SJ: Having a positive influence over colleagues on my team and on those who aspire professionally to have a similar career path.  Working with teenagers at church on professional development.

DFA: What can we be doing to create more inclusive organizations?  

SJ: Ensuring that everyone understands the importance of diversity and the positive impact that inclusivity has on employees. By cultivating an inclusive environment, it encourages everyone to be their whole selves.

It’s not too late to register for next week!

Join us next Thursday, September 27th to hear Stacia’s panel “Making Change Happen from the Outside-In: The Power of Client Persuasion.” Stacia will join other leading in-house counsel to discuss the importance of diverse teams and inclusive cultures, both internally and externally, and the role they are playing to make change happen from the outside-in with their law firms and other vendors.