Press Releases


 

Flex Leader Award to be presented During Virtual Conference on November 3

 Washington, DC  (October 26, 2021) – The Diversity and Flexibility Alliance has announced that Lara Abrash, Chair and Chief Executive Officer, Deloitte & Touche LLP, will receive its 2021 Flex Leader Award. The Flex Leader Award recognizes an executive who is moving their organization toward a more inclusive workplace through holistic flexibility. The Award will be presented on Thursday, November 3 during the Alliance’s virtual annual conference Reflect. Reimagine. Recalculate. Paving the Way to Inclusive Flexibility.  Registration is available here.

Lara Abrash was selected because of her extraordinary commitment to fostering a true culture of flexibility, inclusivity, and empathy at Deloitte. She is an optimistic and innovative leader who has successfully navigated the workplace challenges of the pandemic and has developed a creative, industry-leading hybrid work model that emphasizes employee flexibility and well-being. She has a passion for advancing innovation, as well as diversity and inclusion in the accounting profession, and is leading the industry in its evolution towards the future of work.

Lara leads the Audit & Assurance business comprised of leaders and professionals who pride themselves on the flexibility they receive and demonstrate on a daily basis. She is committed to well-being and emphasizes the importance of taking time off to reflect and recharge, encouraging her fellow partners and managing directors to “live what they preach” so others will follow.  Lara credits the culture at Deloitte with the firm’s successful transition to a “virtual first environment” during the pandemic. Now as restrictions loosen, she has created a hybrid plan that focuses on communicating (expectations and preferences), committing (to boundaries), connecting (through virtual and, when possible, in-person touchpoints) and culture (collaboration and an apprenticeship model).

Using data received through one-on-on discussions and a professional insights survey on how and when employees want to work and where they work, Lara emphasizes the importance of each team creating a hybrid working plan that accounts for unique circumstances, empowers employees to make individual choices and is rooted in data and feedback from employees.  With physical and mental health as a top priority, Lara is managing her team with transparency and honesty and maintains that Deloitte’s transition to a hybrid model will be gradual with no abrupt changes to the way they work.

Throughout her career, Lara has been a mentor and supporter of women’s initiatives such as Deloitte’s Women’s Initiative and has championed the advancement and empowerment of women. Additionally this year, Lara was one of the lead sponsors of Deloitte’s commitment to fueling greater racial and ethnic diversity in tax and accounting through the establishment of Making Accounting Diverse and Equitable (MADE).  The firm’s vision is to increase racial and ethnic diversity by generating more advisory, auditing, and tax career opportunities and leadership pathways for the next generation of certified public accountants.

“A trailblazer in her field, Lara Abrash is the perfect example of someone who is successfully leading with empathy, honesty, authenticity and a commitment to employee well-being,” said Manar Morales, President & CEO of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance.  “She takes the time to engage with and listen to her colleagues while modeling the importance of flexibility. Future generations of workers are looking to leaders like Lara to pave the way to the flexible and inclusive workplace of the future.”

“Individuals feel empowered and engaged when their voices are heard,” said Lara Abrash, Chair and Chief Executive Officer, Deloitte & Touche LLP. “This year is the year of learning – we are focused on successfully integrating the well-being, including the physical and mental health, of the individual and finding meaningful connections for advancement, development, and innovation. As leaders, it is our responsibility to navigate this journey by remembering to communicate regularly, commit to one another on respecting boundaries, and connect with purpose, whether virtually or in-person, to sustain the organization’s culture,” she added.

The Diversity and Flexibility Alliance is a think tank that collaborates with organizations to develop non-stigmatized flexible working policies that promote inclusive 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.

 

Registration for the conference is available here.

Contact: Manar Morales

manar@dfalliance.com

202-957-9650

Diversity & Flexibility Alliance Flex Success® Awards to Be Presented Virtually on Nov. 3

Washington, DC (October 26, 2021) – Today the Diversity and Flexibility Alliance announced that its 2021 Flex Success® Award honorees will be: Liz Dillon, Partner and Franchise Practice Group Leader, Lathrop GPM LLP, and her client Iris Rosario, Senior Counsel, Choice Hotels, and Sarah Kuehnel, Partner, Ogletree Deakins, and her client Bonnie Smith, CEO of Studio B Entertainment.

The Flex Success® 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 Awards will be presented on November 3 during the Alliance’s virtual annual conference, Reflect. Reimagine. Recalibrate. Paving the Way to Inclusive Flexibility. Registration is available here.

“These respected law firm leaders have achieved extraordinary career success while working flexible schedules,” said Manar Morales, President & CEO of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance. “Their careers clearly demonstrate that partners working reduced hours and remote schedules can provide exceptional client service when they have the support of and collaboration from clients and firm colleagues. We hope these outstanding women motivate other attorneys to seek flexible schedules when needed to thrive in a successful and sustainable career,” she added.

Liz Dillon, Partner, Lathrop GPM LLP

Lathrop Partner Liz Dillon’s flexible schedule generally includes working four days a week, allowing her to spend most Fridays with her family, other than two months of the year when her practice is particularly busy. As the leader of Lathrop’s Franchise & Distribution Practice Group, she oversees more than 30 lawyers and paralegals and has been recognized for her legal prowess in Chambers USA, Chambers Global, The Best Lawyers in America, “Legal Eagles” by Franchise Times and the International Who’s Who of Franchise Lawyers.  Under her leadership, the firm was named the “Best Franchise Law Firm” in the world by Global Franchise Magazine in 2021.

Working together for many years, Liz and her client Iris Rosario, Senior Counsel, Choice Hotels, have developed an open dialog that allows them to work collaboratively to meet the legal needs of Choice Hotels.  Liz’s flexible schedule has also allowed her to volunteer with the Advocates for Human Rights, serve as a board member for the Minnesota Land Trust, and chair its Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee, and be recognized as a “North Star Lawyer” by the Minnesota State Bar Association for providing 50 hours of pro bono legal services in 2019 to low-income people.

“I am honored to be recognized by the Diversity & Flexible Alliance for this award,” said Liz Dillon. “We are grateful for clients that support our commitment to work-life balance. Our constant collaboration and effective communication allow both teams to accomplish our objectives and establish healthy boundaries that allow for a fulfilling, sustainable life.”

“Inclusion, diversity, and a healthy work-life balance are a part of Choice Hotels’ values and principles,” said Iris Rosario, Senior Counsel, Franchise, Choice Hotels International, Inc. “Liz Dillon and I have created an effective working relationship, and we can always rely on Liz and the Lathrop GPM Franchise Practice Group for timely and relevant advice.  She is an example of an attorney who can have a successful practice while maintaining a work-life balance.”

“Congratulations to Liz Dillon on her Flex Success Award from the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance,” said Cameron Garrison, Firm Managing Partner of Lathrop GPM. “Liz is an excellent example of how we deliver unmatched value to clients while still allowing partners, associates and professional staff the flexibility to manage other components of their lives. Lathrop GPM is committed to being a leader in allowing flexible schedules that fit the needs of our people while also continuing to deliver the high-quality service and responsiveness our clients demand.”

Sarah Kuehnel, Partner, Ogletree Deakins

For the last ten years, Sarah Kuehnel has been working a fully-remote, reduced hours schedule which reduces her annualized hours target to 85%.  As a military spouse who has moved five times to four different states based on her husband’s military orders, this flexible schedule has allowed her to continue to successfully work for Ogletree Deakins. In 2016, Sarah transitioned from her home office in St. Louis to the Florida Panhandle, where she volunteered to take her third bar exam enabling her to service firm clients in a part of the country where the firm did not have an office.  Sarah’s client, Bonnie Smith, CEO of Studio B Entertainment, is a strong advocate of flexible working arrangements and has always engaged Sarah’s services regardless of where Sarah physically lived. Bonnie has also introduced Sarah and promoted her employment law expertise to her peers at large prestigious organizations to help expand her client reach.

“I am honored to receive the 2021 Flex Success Award a decade into my remote career, which started back in 2011! Ogletree’s support and encouragement, paired with enthusiasm from my clients, particularly Bonnie Smith, has enabled my success while working remotely and flexibly,” said Sarah Kuehnel.  “Indeed, my success would have been impossible without the resources from my firm and dedication of my clients given my need to work remotely from several different states because of my husband’s military career, which has relocated me 5 times in 10 years,” she added.

“I am extremely proud of Sarah’s incredible work; and she is very much deserving of this Award,” said Bonnie Smith, CEO of Studio B Entertainment. “Sarah has been and continues to be a critical part of our team, providing her expertise that allows us to execute with excellence at each and every touchpoint of our business,” she added.

“Ogletree Deakins is proud to offer a modern and flexible working environment for our attorneys,” said Matt Keen, managing shareholder, Ogletree Deakins. “Sarah has demonstrated tremendous prowess in living our Client Pledge in service of Studio B Entertainment and other clients, all while maintaining a healthy work-life balance. This recognition validates our commitment to flexible scheduling options and showcases the vast potential of attorneys like Sarah.”

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.

Registration for the conference is available here.

Contact: Manar Morales

manar@dfalliance.com

202-957-9650

Awards will be presented during the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance

Virtual Conference on Nov. 3

 

Washington, DC (October 26, 2021) — The Diversity & Flexibility Alliance announced today that its 2021 Flex Impact Award Honorees are law firm, Arnold & Porter and communications and automotive giant Cox Enterprises. The Flex Impact Awards, which recognize initiatives that demonstrate a significant impact on the culture of workplace flexibility, will be presented during the Alliance’s virtual annual conference on Wednesday, November 3.  Registration information is available here.

Arnold & Porter

Arnold & Porter was selected for its newly implemented Remote Work Options Policy that allows employees to work 50% of their time in the office each month, allowing for 50% remote work. This policy is effective for nearly all employees, including attorneys and non-exempt management and professional staff. Arnold & Porter’s policy also allows employees to determine remote schedules that are best for each individual as long as they meet team and client needs.

“We are honored to receive the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance’s Flex Impact Award for our hybrid work policy, which was designed to meet the needs of our attorneys and professional staff while continuing to provide outstanding client service,” said Ellen Kaye Fleishhacker, co-managing partner of Arnold & Porter.

“While many law firms have implemented new hybrid working policies with their return to office plans, Arnold & Porter took a step further and demonstrated its commitment to equity and inclusion by implementing virtually identical policies for both attorneys and professional staff,” said Manar Morales, president & CEO of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance. “Additionally, by allowing individuals to create their own 50% remote schedules, the firm is signaling its trust in its employees and acknowledging that everyone has unique flexible working needs,” she added.

Cox Enterprises

Cox Enterprises was selected as a 2021 Flex Impact Award honoree for its Flex Forward initiative which empowers teams to work together to create the right balance of in-person and remote work within their unique needs and job requirements. Flex Forward offers ultimate flexibility with structure.  It means navigating across divisions and different operating models and roles, while implementing team agreements. These team agreements are a new tool that allows for a consistent process for leaders to design flexibility that works for their teams, to create the right mix of work/life balance.

“Being honored with the Flex Impact Award is a tribute to so many at Cox who have continued to push our culture forward,” said Jill Campbell, chief people and operations officer at Cox Enterprises. “Introducing Flex Forward helps us continue to build on our inclusion efforts and support our people. Thank you to all involved and thank you for this recognition.”

“We selected Cox Enterprises for this award because this initiative embodies what we call “flexible flexibility,” said Morales. “By allowing teams to determine how and where they work best, Cox is acknowledging that one size does not fit all when it comes to the hybrid workplace and we all have unique needs and priorities. Cox is certainly paving the way to a more inclusive and flexible future of work,” she added.

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.

 

Registration for the conference is available here.

Contact: Manar Morales

manar@dfalliance.com

202-957-9650

Award to be presented at the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance Virtual Conference on November 3

Washington, DC (October 26, 2021) – The Diversity and Flexibility Alliance will present Judge Tonya Parker of Dallas County Texas with its 2021 Luminary Award. This award recognizes a global thought leader who is consistently and uniquely devoted to the advancement of diversity and whose vision is leaving a lasting legacy of inclusivity for future leaders. The Alliance will present the award to Judge Parker on Wednesday, November 3, during its virtual annual conference Reflect. Reimagine. Recalibrate. Paving the Way to Inclusive Flexibility. Registration is open to the public and is available here.

Dedicated public servant, recognized thought leader and former award-winning law firm partner, the Honorable Tonya Parker has held the position of Judge of the 116th Judicial District Court in Dallas County Texas since 2011.  Throughout her distinguished career, she has consistently been recognized by local, state and national organizations for her exceptional legal skills as well as her commitment to diversity and inclusion.  She has been a tireless advocate for women and members of the LGBTQ community, breaking barriers and committing countless hours to fighting bias and discrimination in the judicial system and beyond.

Among many other honors, in 2021 Judge Parker received the Women’s Commercial and Business Advocate Committee of the American Bar Association Business Law Section’s award for service and commitment to women in the profession, as well as the Dallas Bar Association’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Justice Award in recognition of the barriers she has broken in the legal community.  In 2019, the State Bar of Texas African American Lawyers’ Section awarded her its Distinguished Jurist Award in acknowledgment of the leadership role she played in spearheading the Implicit Bias Project in the Dallas Civil District Courts.  In 2018, the Dallas NAACP awarded her the President’s Award for Legal Excellence and in 2017 she received the Stonewall Award from the American Bar Association’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Commission.

A 2021 graduate of Stagen’s Social Change Leadership Program, she has devoted countless hours to volunteering at civic organizations and has focused much of her efforts on inspiring women to run for public office.  Over the last decade she has been a regular volunteer with IGNITE, a non-partisan organization aimed at building political ambition in and training young women to run for public office.  She has also been tackling the impact of implicit bias in the judicial system by spearheading the Implicit Bias Project and is focused on examining oppression and privilege, particularly how they play out in the daily lives of individuals and society as a whole. Judge Parker has become well known for her moving keynote speeches and TED Talks that impart brilliant and impassioned messages.

“With her trailblazing actions and powerful words, Judge Parker truly embodies the essence of our Luminary Award,” said Manar Morales, President & CEO of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance. “Not only is she a devoted mentor and champion for women and members of the LGBTQ community in the legal profession, but her wisdom and guidance will clearly have a lasting impact on the leaders of today and tomorrow,” she added.

“Promoting diversity AND flexibility is how we will achieve equity in the workplace for historically marginalized groups and work/life balance for everyone,” said Judge Parker.  “DFA has long understood and advocated for both which is why I am so honored to receive the Luminary Award from the organization.  It is humbling to be recognized as a thought leader who shines a light on the issues of our day through my talks and presentations on labels, oppression, privilege, and allyship,” she added.

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.

 

Registration for the conference is available here.

Contact: Manar Morales

manar@dfalliance.com

202-957-9650

2020 New Partner Report Released

Washington, DC – November 6, 2020 – Yesterday, during the Diversity and Flexibility Alliance’s Annual Conference, forty-six law firms were recognized for having 50% or more women in their 2020 U.S.-based new partner classes. The firms, recognized as “Tipping the Scales,” were identified through the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance’s New Partner Report, a compilation of public data released each year for the past nine years. The Report revealed that 40.9 percent of new partners in 137 major U.S. law firms in 2020 were women. This figure is a slight dip from the previous mark of 41.3 percent last year.

The “Tipping the Scales” firms recognized for having 50% or more women in their 2020 new partner class included:

1. Arent Fox
2. Arnold & Porter*
3. Boies Schiller Flexner
4. Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner
5. Cahill Gordon & Reindel
6. Cooley*
7. Covington & Burling*
8. Crowell & Moring*
9. Davis Wright Tremaine*
10. Dechert*
11. Epstein Becker & Green
12. Foley & Lardner
13. Foley Hoag
14. Gibbons*
15. Hodgson Russ*
16. Hogan Lovells*
17. Husch Blackwell
18. Jackson Lewis*
19. Jones Day*
20. Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel
21. Kutak Rock*
22. Lathrop GPM*
23. Littler Mendelson
24. Miles & Stockbridge
25. Miller & Chevalier*
26. Morgan, Lewis & Bockius*
27. Morrison & Foerster
28. Nixon Peabody
29. O’Melveny & Myers*
30. Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman
31. Quarles & Brady*
32. Ropes & Gray
33. Seyfarth Shaw*
34. Shook, Hardy & Bacon
35. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom*
36. Steptoe
37. Thompson & Knight
38. Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
39. Weil, Gotshal & Manges
40. White & Case*
41. Wiley Rein*
42. Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP
43. Williams & Connolly
44. WilmerHale
45. Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
46. Womble Bond Dickinson
* Diversity & Flexibility Alliance Member Firm

“By promoting equal numbers of men and women to partner, these firms have signaled their commitment to gender parity and their understanding of the value that women in leadership brings to their firm and clients,” said Manar Morales, President & CEO of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance. “While this year’s results are similar to last year’s numbers, it is concerning that the percentage of women advancing to partnership has dropped slightly. This data, combined with the recent studies showing that women will be forced to leave the workforce due to the COVID 19 pandemic, could signal a significant step backwards in the efforts to achieve gender parity.”

“I recommend that all organizations commit to an intentional gender diversity strategy that includes important systemic changes,” Morales said.  “We applaud our member firms, many of whom took these intentional steps towards increasing gender diversity, leading to quantifiable results as our member firms promoted a substantially higher share of female new partners (43%), compared to the overall share of women in this year’s new partner classes (40.9%),” she added.

The Alliance has been compiling this data and releasing this report for nine years. While this year represents an increase of 7.7 percentage points since 2012, it represents a slight dip from last year of 0.4 percentage points and is only the second time over the last nine years when there was a year over year drop (2013 to 2014 was the only other time the figure dropped). The 2020 New Partner Report also found that the gap between the share of new women partners and the share of women associates has widened. This year, the difference between the share of women partners and women associates was 5.9%, whereas in 2019 it was 4.6%.

The Diversity & Flexibility Alliance’s New Partner Report is a yearly compilation of data from more than 100 (137 this year) of the nation’s largest and top-grossing law firms examining the gender breakdown of attorneys promoted to partnership in their U.S. offices. The data is based upon publicly available firm announcements and other self-reported sources on new partner classes with an effective date of promotion between October 1, 2019 and September 30, 2020.

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.

 

Contact: Manar Morales

manar@dfalliance.com

202-957-9650

Washington, DC – October 21, 2020 –The Diversity & Flexibility Alliance will hold its Annual Conference, Moments of Impact: Transforming Organizational Culture at 12:00 noon EST on Thursday, November 5. The event, held virtually this year, will bring together leaders and experts in diversity and flexible working and share cutting-edge strategies critical to the transformation of the future of the workplace. Registration is open to the public and more information is available here.

“In this challenging year, diversity and flexibility are at the forefront of every organization’s priorities. We believe these issues will be essential to reimagining the future of the workplace, now and post pandemic,” said Manar Morales, President & CEO of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance. “We will provide attendees with the latest trends and best practices in flexible working and leave policies, guidance from diversity experts, and insights from leaders and peers. Anyone passionate about transforming his or her organization’s culture should be part of this conversation,” she added.

Leaders, General Counsel, Diversity Directors, Human Resources executives and Chairs from corporations like Booz Allen Hamilton, Bank of America and Wells Fargo, trade associations, financial services firms, and prominent law firms, will share personal experiences and valuable insights into their visions for the future of work. The Alliance will reveal the latest research and trends in diversity & inclusion and work flexibility, as well as innovative leave policies.

Susan Neely, President & CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) will receive the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance’s 2020 Luminary Award, which honors a global thought leader who is consistently and uniquely devoted to the advancement of diversity and whose vision is leaving a lasting legacy of inclusivity for future leaders. (See detailed press release here.)

Garry Ridge, CEO of WD-40, will present this year’s keynote, Its All About the People, and will share his people-first philosophy that has consistently resulted in 93% employee engagement. Other highlights from diversity and inclusion thought leaders include: How to Make this Time Different presented by Verna Myers, Vice President of Inclusion Strategies, Netflix; and, How to Secure a Seat at the Table featuring Minda Harts, author of The Memo: What Women of Color Need to Do to Secure a Seat at the Table.

Forty-six law firms with 50% or more women in their 2020 new partner class will be recognized with the Tipping the Scales award in recognition of their commitment to the advancement of women.

The Alliance will also present the following awards to individuals, leaders, and organizations that are leading the way in successfully implementing flexible work:

  • The 2020 Flex Leader Award will be presented to Barri Rafferty, Executive Vice President, Head of Communications, Wells Fargo for her extraordinary commitment to flexibility and her personal philosophy that allowing all employees to work on their own flexible schedule creates increased employee empowerment and engagement. (See detailed press release here.)
  • The 2020 Flex Impact Award, which recognizes initiatives that are poised to have a significant impact on the culture of flexibility, will be presented to law firms, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP and Katten, Muchin Rosenman LLP. (See detailed press release here.)
  • The 2020 Flex Success Award, acknowledges law firm partners who achieve success while working a reduced hours schedule and their clients who have been integral to making their flexibility a success. This year’s honorees are Sharon Newlon, Member, Dickinson Wright and her client Sara von Bernthal, Senior Counsel, Real Estate, Office of the General Counsel, FCA USA LLC; Lucy Bickford, Partner, Schiff Hardin LLP and her client Andrea Coloff, Regional Fiduciary Officer, Bank of America Private Bank; and, Emma Mata, Partner, Seyfarth Shaw LLP and her client Suzanne Davies, Vice President, Legal & Corporate Secretary, Ensign Energy Services Inc. (see detailed press release here.)

The Diversity & 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.

 

Contact: Manar Morales

manar@dfalliance.com

202-957-9650

Awards to be presented at Diversity & Flexibility Alliance Conference on November 5

Washington, DC – October 21, 2020 — The Diversity & Flexibility Alliance announced today that its 2020 Flex Impact Award Honorees are law firms, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP and Katten, Muchin Rosenman LLP. The Flex Impact Awards, which recognize initiatives that demonstrate a significant impact on the culture of workplace flexibility, will be presented during the Alliance’s virtual annual conference on Thursday, November 5, 2020. Registration information is available here.

Akin Gump

Akin Gump was selected because of its comprehensive flexible working initiative that is supported by an exceptionally strong and effective infrastructure. Akin Gump’s program is unique in that it includes a high level of accountability, technology, tracking, training, communication and support for employees. Last year, prior to the onset of COVID-19, the firm hired additional technology support staff and upgraded technology capabilities and equipment to better serve those working remotely and traveling. Firm chairperson Kim Koopersmith and Practice Group Managers across the firm routinely track flex usage and productivity, and flexibility is a permanent variable in the firm’s evaluation process. Additionally, since the onset of the pandemic, Ms. Koopersmith has sent regular firm-wide emails offering support and empathy for employees juggling working remotely with caregiving.

“At Akin Gump, we have long understood that being an inclusive firm means believing that we can provide seamless and exceptional service to our clients while respecting the need for flexibility in how our work is done,” said Ms. Koopersmith. “We have never been more appreciative of our longstanding commitment to flexibility and support for agile working arrangements than in these challenging times.  We long ago made sure that our employees were well-supported and had access to all of the tools needed to be productive both in and out of the office. That has been a huge advantage and one that has served us well. Not only has it proved successful in meeting our clients’ needs, but our most valuable contributors—our people—have felt the support of a firm that truly cares,” she added. “We are absolutely thrilled to be a recipient of the Flex Impact Award, and will use it to help sustain and further the culture of flexibility and inclusiveness that we’ve worked hard to instill throughout the firm.”

“We selected Akin Gump for its innovative and comprehensive flexible working initiative,” said Manar Morales, President & CEO of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance. “Akin Gump prioritized programs and policies that established flexibility as a tenant of its firm culture. In doing so, the firm serves as an example of how a commitment to a flexible work environment, bolstered by firm-wide infrastructure and leadership buy-in, can lead to increased productivity, client satisfaction, employee retention, and firm morale,” she added.

Katten

Katten was selected for its four-week, paid sabbatical initiative that is offered to all Associates once they have completed their fifth year and met their hours’ requirement two out of the three previous years. This initiative, which has been in place since 2012, has allowed Associates to take a trip, dive into a personal project or extend a family leave. All Associates take advantage of this benefit and many plan for the time off long in advance. Katten has also reinforced its philosophy of flexibility by sharing consistent messaging from leadership, providing wellness information, offering parental coaching and caregiver support, and surveying to identify needs during COVID-19.

“The Associate Sabbatical Program reflects the supportive firm culture and flexible work environment we have developed at Katten. The program is one way we reward our Associates for their dedication, and it is a means of enhancing their work-life balance. By offering them the opportunity to temporarily step away from their daily work responsibilities, we give them a chance to recharge and come back to work re-energized,” said Katten Chief Executive Officer Noah S. Heller.

“We are very honored to receive the Flex Impact Award because it spotlights Katten’s deep commitment to providing policies, programs and resources that let our attorneys know they are valued, assist in their career progression, and ultimately empower them to reach their full potential. These offerings help us recruit and retain top talent and boost morale as well as the productivity and creativity of those serving the legal needs of our clients,” Heller said.

“Katten’s four-week Associate Sabbatical is a testament to the firm’s commitment to its people and their well being,” said Morales.  “We were impressed by the fact that all Associates offered the sabbatical take it, indicating that firm leadership truly supports the benefits of taking time off to reset. This people-first mentality, endorsed by Katten’s leadership, creates a work environment that is flexible, unbiased, creative and empowering.”

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.

Contact: Manar Morales

manar@dfalliance.com

202-957-9650

Flex Leader Award to be presented During Virtual Conference on November 5

Washington, DC – October 21, 2020 – The Diversity and Flexibility Alliance has announced that Barri Rafferty, Executive Vice President, Head of Communications, Wells Fargo will receive its 2020 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, November 5, 2020, during the Alliance’s virtual annual conference Moments of Impact: Transforming Organizational Culture. Registration is available here.

Ms. Rafferty was selected because of her extraordinary commitment to flexibility and her personal philosophy that allowing all employees to work on their own flexible schedule creates increased employee empowerment and engagement. In her previous role as Global President & CEO of Ketchum Public Relations, Ms. Rafferty led the development and implementation of an initiative that enabled the entire agency to transition to 100% flexible work schedules. Every team member, in every office worldwide, was offered the opportunity to work when and where he or she chose. Ms. Rafferty ensured that the same level of flexibility was available to employees of all levels and personally confirmed compliance across the board by meeting with senior management, providing annual flexible working trainings and implementing pulse polls to track success. Over four years with the new working structure, the agency saw an increase in productivity, employee satisfaction, engagement, team cohesion, retention and recruitment.

“Barri’s story is the perfect case study for how to successfully incorporate holistic flexible working options into an organization’s culture,” said Manar Morales, President & CEO of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance. “Barri believes in a flexible workplace that leverages workplace flexibility to meet the needs of all employees.  The Alliance is pleased to honor Barri with our Flex Leader Award, for her exemplary leadership and share her vision for creating a more inclusive culture that values workplace flexibility as a business imperative.”

“At no cost to a company, flexibility can be the highest value perk you can offer to employees,” said Barri Rafferty.  “When employees have control of their schedules to plan work life integration, you increase their productivity, engagement and their work product. Flexibility became both a recruiting and retention tool for us,” she added.

The Diversity and Flexibility Alliance is a think tank that collaborates with organizations to develop non-stigmatized flexible working policies that promote inclusive 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.

 

Contact: Manar Morales

manar@dfalliance.com

202-957-9650

Award to be presented at the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance Virtual Conference on November 5

Washington, DC – October 21, 2020 – The Diversity and Flexibility Alliance will honor Susan K. Neely, President & CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI), with its 2020 Luminary Award. This award recognizes a global thought leader who is consistently and uniquely devoted to the advancement of diversity and whose vision is leaving a lasting legacy of inclusivity for future leaders. The Alliance will present the award to Ms. Neely on Thursday, November 5, 2020, during its virtual annual conference Moments of Impact: Transforming Organizational Culture. Registration is available here.

Ms. Neely is being recognized for her significant contributions to the advancement of women and diverse professionals within her industry and beyond. Throughout her career, she has consistently demonstrated a deep commitment to volunteering her time and leadership skills to initiatives aimed at impacting gender parity as well as diversity and inclusion. She recently announced the launch of the ACLI Economic Empowerment and Racial Equity initiative aimed at helping all Americans access tools and resources to help them thrive and succeed. In addition, she currently serves on the Steering Committee of the US Chamber of Commerce’s Equality of Opportunity Initiative, which is developing solutions to bridge opportunity gaps to ensure that people of color have greater opportunities to succeed. As President & CEO of ACLI, Ms. Neely also helped lead the first-ever Women & Diversity in Insurance Conference last February, which focused on the economic empowerment of women, the advancement of women in leadership, family medical leave and diversity and inclusion within the industry.

In addition to her impressive career, which includes senior positions in the George W. Bush White House and the first U.S. Homeland Security Department, advising Members of Congress, and more recently at the helm of the American Beverage Association, Ms. Neely has been recognized as the Trade Association CEO of the Year by CEO Update, one of Washingtonian’s 100 Most Powerful Women in Washington, Washington Business Journal’s Women Who Mean Business, as well as the first woman president of the Washington Rotary Club and The University Club of Washington.

“The Alliance is thrilled to present Susan with our Luminary Award,” said Manar Morales, President & CEO of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance. “Susan embodies everything this award represents. In the organizations she has led and the positions she has held, Susan has demonstrated a strong commitment to the economic empowerment of women and to creating a flexible and inclusive workplace that values everyone. Her forward thinking approach to diversity, inclusion and workplace flexibility is an inspiration, and we are honored to name Susan as our 2020 Luminary Award recipient.”

“I’m honored to receive this award from the Alliance and commend their work in support of inclusive work cultures and helping more women advance into leadership positions,” Neely said. “I’m also proud to work for an industry whose leaders are committed to addressing economic and racial inequities that have challenged our nation for far too long. Last week, we reaffirmed this commitment with the launch of our Economic Empowerment and Racial Equity initiative. The kick-off of this work is marked by ACLI’s Board of Directors being among the first association boards to have all its members sign the Pledge for CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion. Together, we will help all Americans build habits and knowledge that lead to financial security.”

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.

Contact: Manar Morales

manar@dfalliance.com

202-957-9650

2020 Flex Success® Awards to Be Presented to Dickinson Wright,

Schiff Hardin & Seyfarth Shaw Partners & Clients on November 5

Washington, DC – October 21, 2020 – Today the Diversity and Flexibility Alliance announced that its 2020 Flex Success® Award honorees will be: Sharon Newlon, Member, Dickinson Wright and her client Sara von Bernthal, Senior Counsel, Real Estate, Office of the General Counsel, FCA USA LLC; Lucy Bickford, Partner, Schiff Hardin LLP and her client Andrea Coloff, Regional Fiduciary Officer, Bank of America Private Bank; and, Emma Mata, Partner, Seyfarth Shaw LLP and her client Suzanne Davies, Vice President, Legal & Corporate Secretary, Ensign Energy Services Inc.

The Flex Success® 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 Awards will be presented on November 5, 2020 during the Alliance’s virtual annual conference, Moments of Impact: Transforming Organizational Culture. Registration is available here.

“With support from their firms, these exceptional attorneys honored with our Flex Success® award have risen to Partnership levels and provided excellent client service while working a reduced hours schedule,” said Manar Morales, President and CEO of the Alliance. “The clients we are recognizing have demonstrated their belief that success can be achieved outside the confines of a traditional work schedule. Together, these attorney/client pairs are perfect examples of how leadership, collaboration, and clear flex policies can lead to the achievement of both professional and personal goals.”

Sharon Newlon and Sara von Bernthal

Sharon Newlon, Member and Practice Group Co-Chair for Environmental, Energy & Sustainability in Dickinson Wright’s Detroit office, has been working a reduced hour schedule since the birth of her son twenty-two years ago and currently works a 75% reduced hour schedule. Recognized as a leader in her field by Best Lawyers in America, Sharon was instrumental in creating an initiative that allowed income members the option to become consulting members, with a negotiable billable hour requirement, in an effort to introduce flexibility into their careers. Sharon’s longtime client, Sara von Bernthal, Senior Counsel, Real Estate, Office of the General Counsel, FCA USA LLC, will also be honored for her ongoing support of Sharon and her schedule.

“I’m honored to receive the Flex Success® Award alongside Sara von Bernthal from FCA,” said Sharon Newlon. “Throughout my career, flexibility has been a cornerstone of building a rewarding practice within the legal industry. I’m grateful to Dickinson Wright, my colleagues and clients for being such great partners with me to create relationships that helped us attain our professional and personal goals,” she added.

“I’m honored to receive the Flex Success® Award alongside Sharon,” said Sara von Bernthal. “I’ve worked with Sharon for many years and we both know how important a flexible workplace is to female lawyers, especially working moms. I hope that promoting flexibility within our respective companies will lead to younger generations, especially women, realizing that they can have rewarding, successful careers that achieve their professional and personal goals.”

“Dickinson Wright congratulates Sharon Newlon and Sara von Bernthal on their well-deserved Flex Success® Award,” said Michael C. Hammer, CEO of Dickinson Wright. “Dickinson Wright is committed to working with our lawyers and clients to develop initiatives that promote flexibility within the workplace. We recognize that these important initiatives allow talented lawyers, like Sharon, to do their best work while assisting clients, like Sara, in furthering their diversity objectives while receiving the highest quality legal services. We look forward to working with them to build on their successful partnership.”

Lucy Bickford and Andrea Coloff

Also being honored with the 2020 Flex Success® Award are Lucy Bickford, Partner, Schiff Hardin LLP and her client Andrea Coloff, Regional Fiduciary Officer, Bank of America Private Bank. Lucy has been working a reduced hours schedule for more than seven years and currently works an 85% reduced hours arrangement. Lucy became a partner in January 2019 and credits her advancement to her reduced hours schedule that allowed her to cultivate a sustainable long-term path for her career at Schiff Hardin.

 In 2014, Lucy co-founded Schiff Hardin’s New Moms Group, a go-to network for women returning to work after having a child and advocates on behalf of all attorney parents at the firm, regardless of gender. In 2017, Lucy was chosen as one of the firm’s participants in the LCLD Pathfinder Program, designed for diverse, high-potential, early-career attorneys at LCLD Member organizations.

“Far from being a detriment to my career, my part-time arrangement is the key to having a sustainable long-term path at Schiff,” said Lucy Bickford. “By continuing to strengthen our firm’s flex policies, we will enhance our inclusive culture and solidify realistic and preferable career paths for a broader group of attorneys,” she added. “Andi helps to support my arrangement by setting reasonable and flexible deadlines, even when the matter is time sensitive. Additionally, she is responsive and inclusive in her communications, so our team can rely on her to help us move matters forward efficiently.”

“Lucy’s work product and advice are always excellent. As a working parent myself, I appreciate the importance of flexibility and balance, but I was not even aware of Lucy’s flexible work schedule when we first began working together because it is imperceptible to me as a client. I am so glad that Schiff has made this commitment to diversity and inclusion and that I am able to benefit from and support it,” said Andi Coloff.

“Lucy has proven that you can be a great mom and a great lawyer at the same time,” said Marci Eisenstein, Managing Partner, Schiff Hardin, LLP. “I know that over her years of parenting and working, Lucy has juggled her responsibilities and found ways to balance work and home life. She has shown that you can work a flexible schedule and still be fully committed to your clients and the firm.  We are very proud of her,” she added.

Emma Mata and Suzanne Davies

Emma Mata, Partner, Seyfarth Shaw LLP and her client Suzanne Davies, Vice President, Legal & Corporate Secretary, Ensign Energy Services Inc. will also be honored with the 2020 Flex Success Award on November 5. Emma has been working a reduced hours arrangement of 10% below the annual requirement since she was an Associate in 2011. While on this reduced hours schedule, Emma has been able to make Partner and develop and grow her book of business to yearly receivables of over $1 million. Emma is the Houston office leader of Seyfarth’s Inclusion and Diversity team, former Houston office leader of the Seyfarth Women’s Network, and co-leader of the Houston office Pro Bono team.

Emma and Suzanne have been working together since 2009 and Suzanne has continuously relied on Emma in legal work for Ensign and its subsidiary and affiliate companies contributing to Emma’s continued success at Seyfarth. “The ability to balance my most important role at home and the legal career that I love so much has made me a better mom, a better lawyer, and a happier person,” said Emma Mata.

“As a mom to 8-year old twin boys, flexibility in my career is essential. It requires planning and no small amount of juggling as well. Partnering with external service providers who understand and support that flexibility, such as Emma, help to make my work flow seamless and manageable,” said Suzanne Davies

“We’re so proud of Emma and the impressive career she has established here at Seyfarth,” said Ellen McLaughlin, chair of Seyfarth Women’s Network. “Her own path exemplifies why supporting flexibility is key to gender advancement and talent development.”

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.

Contact: Manar Morales

manar@dfalliance.com

202-957-9650