Insights (Blog) - Diversity & Flexibility Alliance

Groundbreaking Flexibility Initiatives To Be Recognized for Their Impact on Industries

 Awards to be presented at conference on September 27

Washington, DC – September 6, 2018 – The Diversity & Flexibility Alliance has announced that its 2018 Flex Impact Awards will be presented to tech industry giant Dell, and international law firms, Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP and White & Case LLP.

The awards, which recognize initiatives that are poised to have a significant impact on the culture of workplace flexibility, will be presented at the Alliance’s annual conference Diversity + Flexibility = Embracing Change on Thursday, September 27, 2018 in Washington, DC. This conference was originally scheduled for March, but was postponed due to a snowstorm in DC. Registration information is available here.

“Dell, Fried Frank and White & Case stood out to us this year because of their willingness to take risks, invest in their employees and lead their industries by embracing more progressive approaches to flexible work and leave policies,” stated Manar Morales, President & CEO of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance. “Each of these organizations took their commitment to flexibility to new heights by expanding their initiatives to better meet the needs of a new generation of employees, while also positively impacting inclusion, recruitment and retention of top talent,” she explained.

Dell will be honored for its worldwide flexible work initiative, Connected Workplace, that encourages all eligible employees to choose where and when they work. 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. The company provides employees with the technology needed for team collaboration, flexibility training and an employee resource group, called Conexus, that helps remote team members connect to share best practices, network and develop camaraderie. Through Connected Workplace, Dell has been able to increase employee engagement and retention, conserve natural resources and energy, cut back on real estate expenses and reduce transportation pollution.

“Embracing and promoting a work flexibility culture just makes sense,” said Mohammed Chahdi, director of Global Human Resources at Dell, who leads Dell’s flexible work program (Connected Workplace). “At its core, this kind of culture is about enabling team members with the right environment and tools to collaborate and deliver their best work, regardless of where, when and how that work occurs.”

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.

“The happiness and success of our attorneys is a top priority at Fried Frank and we recognize that parenthood is a big change,” said David Greenwald, Chairman of Fried Frank. “Our policy aims to alleviate the challenges faced by new parents as they transition back to work, striking the balance between professional success and personal fulfillment. For us, this was a common sense policy change consistent with our commitment to inclusion and retention. We are honored to receive this recognition by the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance,” he added.

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.

“We try to foster an environment of inclusion and support at the firm, and ensuring everyone has the opportunity to spend significant time with their new child is one way that we can do that,” said David Koschik, member of the firm’s Executive Committee. “Everyone at the firm works very hard and deserves time with their families and loved ones. While it’s a departure from how many professional services firms do business, we are committed to the idea that every person at every level at White & Case be able to participate in a program like this one.”

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 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

manar@dfalliance.com

202-957-9650

Diversity & Flexibility Alliance to Recognize Akin Gump Chair Kim Koopersmith For Outstanding Leadership in Advancing Flexibility

Award to be presented at Conference on September 27

Washington, DC – September 6, 2018 – The Diversity and Flexibility Alliance has announced that Kim Koopersmith, chairperson of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, will receive its 2018 Flex Leader Award. The Flex Leader Award recognizes an executive who is moving his or her organization toward a more inclusive workplace through holistic flexibility. The Award will be presented on Thursday, September 27, 2018 at the Alliance’s annual conference, Diversity + Flexibility = Embracing Change, in Washington, DC. This conference was originally scheduled for March, but was postponed due to the snowstorm in DC. Registration is available here.

Ms. Koopersmith is being recognized for her unwavering commitment to the advancement of women, attorneys of color and flexible work options for all. She has been instrumental in the success of Akin Gump’s Reduced Work Schedule and Agile Work Policies, which have consistently adapted to the needs of the firm’s employees and changes in technology, family dynamics, practice models and cultural norms.

“Kim is the perfect example of a leader who is committed to ensuring that flexible work options are available to everyone,” said Manar Morales, President & CEO of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance. “She understands the value of flexibility to individuals, as well as to the firm in its recruitment and retention of top diverse talent. She is dedicated to providing outstanding client service while offering forward-thinking policies to employees worldwide,” she added.

“I want to make sure I use my voice and experience as a lawyer, working mother and firm leader to address and advocate for diversity and flexibility,” said Ms. Koopersmith. “I truly believe that our success originates from our talent, and one of the best ways we can support our employees is to provide the flexibility that they require,” she notes. “Equally as important, flexibility allows us to be in sync with our clients who also value diversity and flexibility,” she emphasized.

In her role as chairperson of Akin Gump, Ms. Koopersmith heads the firm’s management committee and has been instrumental in the firm’s continued commitment to diversity, pro bono work and attorney excellence. She is involved in numerous community, civic and charitable activities, including serving on the board of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the Pro Bono Institute Law Firm Committee and Her Justice, an organization dedicated to assisting victims of domestic violence.

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 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

manar@dfalliance.com

202-957-9650

Dentons Partner and Client Honored for Success While Working Flexible Schedule

Diversity & Flexibility Alliance to Present 2018 Flex Success® Award at Annual Conference September 27

Washington, DC – September 6, 2018 – The Diversity and Flexibility Alliance has 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 Thursday, September 27, 2018 at the Alliance’s annual conference, Diversity + Flexibility = Embracing Change, in Washington, DC. This conference was originally scheduled for March, but was postponed due to a snowstorm in DC. Conference 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.

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 Co-Chair of the firm’s Parent Professional Network, 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.

“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

manar@dfalliance.com

202-957-9650