Action Step – Highlights from the 2019 Annual Conference

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


We called this year’s conference Inspire. Innovate. Ignite! because we believe you can learn everything you need to start taking your organization to a new level in one day. Our dynamic speakers and influencers shared their insights and perspectives on creating work environments that meet the needs of today’s employees and ensures everyone is supported and valued. Here are some of the highlights from our speakers to help you ignite change in your organizations.

  • Erica J. Bolden, Head of Diversity & Inclusion, Mercedes-Benz USA: D & I isn’t just smoke and mirrors; be intentional about it. Internally we’re reestablishing what our community and culture looks like. Externally, we’re positioning ourselves for greater visibility through more intentional interactions with the community.
  • Stacy Bunck (Flex Success® Honoree), Office Managing Shareholder, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart): Client support is everything; Rafael Medina always made it clear he would support me and that family came first.
  • Sarah Chapman, PhD, Director within Deloitte’s Sustainability & Social Impact Advisory Practice & National Lead, Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability, Deloitte, Canada & Chile: Look at men’s experiences and their expectations to make them supporters and active participants in gender equality.
  • Jami de Lou, Diversity & Inclusion Director, Boston Consulting Group: Representation within your organization has to match the people you want to recruit. Think about what it means to thrive; our flex programs need to be driven by the talent management teams, not just the D & I teams.
  • Anne Donovan, US People Experience Leader, PwC (Flex Impact Organization): Retention is one of the biggest issues in our industry. We have to teach and convince managers that if staff isn’t delivering, it’s a performance issue and not a flexible work issue. Leaders have to get out of the office and talk about the issues.
  • Jenn Flynn (Flex Leader Honoree), Managing Vice President, Head of Small Business Bank, Capital One: People do their best when they feel valued and included. I made a commitment to be a role model for flex in my career, and I feel I have an obligation to pay it forward for others in my organization.
  • Jo Ann Jenkins (Luminary Honoree), Chief Executive Officer, AARP: Diversity and inclusion is our business strategy. The only way to succeed is to invest in employees. People want to work for an organization with a strong purpose, do work they care about, and at a place they feel they are making a difference.
  • Charlie Johnson, Hiring Partner (DC), Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld: Having a diverse workforce for firms is an absolute
  • Danielle Katzir (Flex Success® Honoree) Partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher (2019 Flex Success® Honoree): Creatively defining flex has made all the difference. We occupy many roles in our lives and nurturing those requires thoughtful investment.
  • Matthew Keen, Managing Shareholder, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart: I want to have an environment where people prosper. Since the firm has embraced flexible work schedules, we’ve retained our talent and reduced our attrition rates.
  • Lea Ann King, General Counsel, Toyota Material Handling, USA, Inc.: We need to look like who we work with – both from the client and consumer sides. We’ve now started hiring for aptitude and attitude over direct experience.
  • Kevyn D. Orr, Partner in Charge (DC), Jones Day: Technology and artificial intelligence are the future, so diversity and flexibility are particularly relevant now. Address disparities now so they don’t become part of the organizational structure.
  • Honorable Tonya Parker, Presiding Judge, 116th Civil District Court, Dallas County, Texas: Some labels are truths, and some are judgments. Words have staying power, and labels don’t fall away easily. People want to be truthfully, completely, and precisely known.
  • Danny Sikka, Senior Counsel, McDonald’s Corp. on behalf of Rafael Medina (in memoriam (Flex Success® Honoree): Rafael used his power and influence to benefit others and champion diversity and family in and out of the office. He went out of his way to ensure new and diverse attorneys would be successful.
  • Dia Simms, CEO, Brn Group: Acknowledge a person’s value no matter what side of the table you’re on – it’s good business and fosters engagement, loyalty, and happiness. If someone says they wish they could find someone like me for the job, I tell them I can connect them to people like me. Let me be the one-person diversity initiative, and let me introduce you to more people like me.
  • Grace E. Speights, Global Leader, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius (Flex Impact Organization): Most attorneys are data driven (especially partners), so make your case with data. Outline expectations and guidelines with a new initiative, and use technology, practice support, and knowledge management to your advantage. Sixty percent of our associates said they chose to work here and stay because our of new flexible work policies.
  • Burton White, Managing Partner & Co-Founder, Excella: We need to create communities that we want to see. As leaders, we have to hold ourselves and others accountable to see change happen.
  • Mary Wilson, US Managing Partner, Dentons: D & I is a business imperative, and clients influence this space. Goals can’t be numeric; there has to be a strategic plan in place. We’re placing a Diversity Partner in every practice group to put customized goals together.
  • Lily Zheng, Author, “Gender Ambiguity in the Workplace”: A manager’s attitude is the greatest prediction of the quality of a person’s workplace – not the policies. Managers are the key to incorporating inclusion. Inclusion has to be an integrated and ongoing process.




To learn more about Alliance events and resources, contact Manar Morales. Members can access all Action Steps in the Member Resource Center