Insights (Blog) - Diversity & Flexibility Alliance

Honoring the Flex Trailblazers

Note: This post was first published on March 14, 2018 on 1 Million For Work Flexibility’s blog. 1MFWF is the first national initiative bringing people together to create a collective voice in support of work flexibility, and the Alliance is a supporting organization. Thank you to 1MFWF for allowing us to share our news about our 2018 Flex Impact Awards!

As an organization that collaborates with corporations and professional services firms on the development, implementation and management of their flexible work initiatives, we are thrilled when a company goes above what is required by law and beyond what is the norm in their industry. Each year at our annual conference we honor the corporations and firms that we believe are setting the trends in flexibility and truly impacting the workforce.

This year, we have selected tech giant Dell and international law firms Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP and White & Case LLP as our 2018 Flex Impact Award honorees for their initiatives that we believe are poised to have a significant impact on the culture of workplace flexibility. All three of these organizations have demonstrated their willingness to invest in their employees and lead their industries with more progressive approaches to flexible work and leave policies. Each of these initiatives is aimed at better meeting the needs of a new generation of employees, while also positively impacting inclusion, recruitment and retention of top talent.

We will be honoring Dell for its worldwide flexible work initiative, Connected Workplace, which has enabled the corporation to increase employee engagement and retention, conserve natural resources and energy, cut back on real estate expenses and reduce transportation pollution. This initiative encourages all eligible employees to choose where and when they work and provides the technology needed for team collaboration and flexibility training. Additionally employees have access to a resource group, called Conexus, that helps remote team members connect to share best practices, network and develop camaraderie. Dell’s Executive Leadership team has led the initiative by working remotely themselves and emphasizing flexibility as a key component of the company’s culture and integral part of its business strategy.

Fried Frank will be honored for its full-pay, “on-ramping” policy, which allows employees returning from parental leave to gradually return to full-time over a six-month period. Caregivers are thereby allowed to slowly ease their way back into work after leave by working a 75 percent schedule while receiving full compensation. By committing to a relatively small financial investment in its employees who are new parents, Fried Frank has been able to retain employees who might otherwise have been overwhelmed with the stress of full-time work and parenthood.

White & Case will be honored for its new gender-neutral parental leave policy that eliminates the primary and secondary caregiver designation and is also offered to both attorneys and staff. The firm’s policy allows all parents to take 12 weeks of leave any time within 12 months following the birth, adoption or foster placement of a child. By extending the same benefits to attorneys and staff members, no matter the level or position, White & Case has been able to foster a more inclusive environment and demonstrate its commitment to supporting all of its employees.

The 2018 Flex Impact Awards will be presented at the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance’s annual conference Diversity + Flexibility = Embracing Change on March 21, 2018 in Washington, DC. The conference is an interactive, one-day event delivering the latest trends, cutting-edge research and best practices in diversity and flexibility and attracts professionals from all industries. Our conference is designed to provide attendees with the opportunity to hear expert insights and first-hand perspectives from top-level executives and acquire concrete strategies to implement real change in their organizations.

More information and registration for the conference are available here.

Manar Morales is the President & CEO of The Diversity & Flexibility Alliance, and a national thought leader on women’s leadership, diversity, and workplace flexibility. The Diversity & Flexibility Alliance, a 1MFWF supporter, is a think tank dedicated to providing practical solutions that increase organizational effectiveness and create high performance cultures through diversity and flexibility.

Join More than 50 Law Firms & Fortune 500 Companies As We Tackle the Issues of Diversity and Flexibility

This week, in an intriguing post, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg reflected on how far (and not so far) we have come in gender equality in the five years since her book, Lean In, was released. While she cautioned that we should be both “outraged and optimistic” about the battle for gender parity, she also wisely stated:

“There are reasons to be hopeful. The facts are on our side. We know that diverse teams are more productive. We know that when organizations have more women, especially in leadership, employee benefits are more generous and sexual harassment is less prevalent…We know that when fathers invest more in their families, their children are happier, healthier, and do better in school and professionally.”

We couldn’t agree more.

On Wednesday, March 21, executives, chairs, leaders and general counsel from more than 50 top law firms and Fortune 500 companies will gather here in Washington, DC to tackle the important issues of diversity and flexibility in our workplaces. Our 2018 annual conference Diversity + Flexibility = Embracing Change, will empower attendees to make the changes needed to build a more inclusive environment, develop flexibility and leave initiatives that support all employees, advance diverse individuals and improve the recruitment and retention of top talent.

With limited time and resources, busy professionals often find it hard to justify spending a day at a conference. However, our conference might just be worth the investment. In just one day, our conference attendees walk away with the most effective strategies for real results. In just that one day, attendees can build a network of dozens of senior level peers dedicated to advancing diversity and flexibility from across top ranking law firms and Fortune 500 companies.

Top five reasons anyone responsible for diversity and flexibility in an organization should not miss this conference:

  1. You’ll hear about diversity and flexibility best practices from top law firms like White & Case, Fried Frank, Akin Gump, Dentons, as well as corporations like Dell, Politico, Deloitte, Intel, Lockheed Martin, TV One and more;
  2. You’ll be the first to hear what is trending in law firm flexibility and leave initiatives as we release our 2017 Law Firm Flexibility Benchmarking Study results;
  3. You’ll learn about new cutting-edge data from Gallup about employee engagement and its role in the recruitment and retention of your future workforce;
  4. You’ll obtain first-hand advice and concrete tips from our KPMG women’s initiative case study;
  5. You’ll gain insights from General Counsel on how they are embracing change and the diversity commitment they expect from their outside counsel.

As we prepare for our conference we are reminded of the eloquent words of last year’s keynote speaker, John Veihmeyer, Retired Chairman of KPMG International. In his Linked In article about the day, John stated “Unless people in your organization think you see building an inclusive culture, that stimulates diversity, as fundamental to both the organization’s, and their success, it simply won’t be a priority.”

Why not make it a priority today?

Please register here.




Dentons Partner and Client Honored for Success While Working Flexible Schedule

Alliance to Present 2018 Flex Success® Award at Annual Conference March 21

Washington, DC – March 2, 2018 – Today the Diversity and Flexibility Alliance announced that its 2018 Flex Success® Award Honorees will be Lori Mihalich-Levin, Partner at Dentons in Washington, DC, and her client Dr. Cindy Kelley, Vice President of Medical Education at Summa Health. The award recognizes partners at Diversity & Flexibility Alliance member law firms who have achieved success while working a reduced hours schedule as well as a client who has been integral to making workplace flexibility so successful. The Award will be presented on March 21, 2018 at the Alliance’s annual conference, Diversity + Flexibility = Embracing Change, in Washington, DC. Registration is available here.

“Not only has Lori managed to reach high levels of career success while working a reduced hours schedule, but she is also truly passionate about helping to grow the pipeline of women leaders and supporting other working parents,” said Manar Morales, President and CEO of the Alliance. “With the support of her colleagues at Dentons and her clients, including Summa Health, Lori has grown her personal business and cared for her children while providing top-notch client service,” she added.

Lori Mihalich-Levin

Ms. Mihalich-Levin has worked a 60% reduced hours schedule while representing hospitals, academic medical centers, medical schools and health systems as a Partner in Dentons Healthcare Practice since August 2015. In just two years, she was able to bring in 20 new clients to the firm and build a premier practice around legal issues related to graduate medical education. Her reduced hours schedule has allowed her to care for her two small children, while also building Mindful Return, LLC, a personal business that assists new parents in their transition back to work from parental leave, and writing a book Back to Work After Baby: How to Plan and Navigate a Mindful Return from Maternity Leave. She is also the Chair of the firm’s Flexibility and Parental Leave Task Force, part of its Women LEAD initiative, where she champions the success of diverse attorneys and has been instrumental in updating the firm’s parental leave policies.

“Ultimately the key to a successful flexible work arrangement is to be flexible and transparent,” explained Ms. Mihalich-Levin. “I am so thankful for the trust, support and encouragement that Cindy has offered me as well as her willingness to accommodate my schedule,” she added referring to her client, Dr. Cindy Kelley, Vice President of Medical Education, Summa Health.

Dr. Cindy Kelley

“Lori and her Dentons team were critical to our success in overcoming significant challenges at our organization last year. I am so thankful for people like Lori who have a passion for finding that balance in life that allows them to pursue their careers while raising a family,“ stated Dr. Cindy Kelley. “Summa Health certainly benefited from this passion, as do all organizations that support workplace diversity and flexibility.”

“Dentons is committed to supporting our lawyers and professionals who work on a reduced hours or flexible schedule and applaud the effort of forward-thinking lawyers like Lori Mihalich-Levin,” said Mike McNamara, CEO of Dentons. “We also applaud our client Summa Health for embracing Lori’s flexible work arrangement. We firmly believe that flexibility results in positive changes that benefit the firm, the client, and our lawyers’ careers.”

The Diversity and Flexibility Alliance is a think tank that collaborates with organizations to develop non-stigmatized flexible work policies that promote inclusive work cultures for all and help to advance more women into leadership positions. The Alliance provides practical research-based solutions, training workshops, and strategic advisory services that increase organizational effectiveness through diversity and flexibility.

For more information contact:

Manar Morales