Annual Conference 2018

Our 2018 Annual Conference, Diversity + Flexibility = Embracing Change, was held on Thursday, September 27, 2018 at the Washington DC offices of Jones Day.  For information about the 2019 conference, please check back on our Annual Conference page in early 2019. A huge thank you to all of our dynamic panelists, generous sponsors and engaging attendees! We hope you found our 2018 Annual Conference as informative as we did.

2018 Conference Highlights

Scroll down for a complete list of 2018 speakers and the full agenda.  Here are a few words of wisdom from our amazing lineup of 2018 conference speakers:

– Nicole CollierDirector of Policy & Public Affairs, Nestlé: We see this urgency to address diversity and inclusion from the investor community. This needs to be a company-wide discussion where you can talk about differences outside of the workplace.

– Vipula Gandhi, Managing Partner, Eastern US, Gallup Inc.: Experiences matter, and the war for talent is more. Employees are looking and leaving; the world of work is evolving; there are more women and millennials; and when, why, and how we work has changed. Millennials need purpose, want a coach, and care about learning and development versus just having a job.

– Michelle GoldPartner & Governance Committee Member, Fried Frank (2018 Flex Impact Organization Honoree): We want our associates back for their careers. The key has been communication, and no one size fits all. A person’s job is to speak up, and everyone has to share information.

– Sarah GoldfrankSenior Vice President & Deputy General Counsel, Fannie Mae: We need to walk the walk and not just talk – that isn’t fair to employees. We have to ask what have we done to increase diversity within and beyond the company and hold ourselves accountable.

– Stacia JonesVice President, Associate General Counsel and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Abercrombie & Fitch: Diversity and inclusion here was really pushed by the customer and from a business perspective. We needed to meet that or be left behind. We need firms to recognize the issue and be doing something about it. If they aren’t doing enough, then we have to part ways.

– Cindy Kelley, Vice President, Medical Education, Summa Health (2018 Flex Success® Honoree): Lori Mihalich-Levin and her Dentons team were instrumental in guiding us through significant challenges last year at Summa. Our success is a tribute not only to her incredible talents, but also to her ability to create a schedule that works for her and her family, as well as to her employer that supports such flexibility.

– Kim KoopersmithChairperson, Akin Gump (2018 Flex Leader Honoree): I’m passionate about flexibility. I need to be able to talk to my partners and everyone that works at the firm and explain this, not just as a passion, not just as what’s right, but also to talk about it in terms of it being a business imperative.

– Jeffrey LehrerManaging Partner, Northern Virginia & Washington, DC, DLA Piper: Commitment needs to start at the leadership level. It’s also economically driven via the client, and it’s the right thing to do in order to have an authentic workforce. We must be proactive instead of reactive in providing an environment where people want to stay.

– Heather McDevittPartner & Global Governance Team, White & Case (2018 Flex Impact Organization Honoree): It’s not about altruism, but it’s a business imperative about retention and creating a more engaged workforce.

– Lisa MaddenNational Operations Leader, International Tax Practice, KPMG: In a professional services environment, talent is everything. Our insight interviews made it real; they were absolutely critical and reinforced that we needed to do something. Honest conversations create change.

– Lori Mihalich-Levin, Partner, Dentons (Flex Success® Honoree): Flexibility is undoubtedly both a recruiting and retention tool. Flex is important to everyone.

– David MoralesGeneral Counsel, AARP: The key is communication. We keep track by watching who’s working on what matters to ensure diversity. We need to communicate our needs. It’s not just getting the firms to do the work on diversity. If I’m asking for diversity, then I need to be doing things to promote it too.

– Kevyn D. OrrPartner-in-Charge Washington, Jones Day: We need to embrace working styles that work for everyone at our law firm; as a leader, I have the ability to talk about how important this is.

– Steve Poor, Chairman Emeritus & Partner, Seyfarth Shaw: The voice of the client is an important driver. We see a sophistication around the questions being asked that goes beyond the basic numbers to something more. Who’s on our matters? What level of authority do these attorneys have? Who’s moving into leadership roles, and what are the succession plans?

– Traci SchweikertVP, Human Resources, POLITICO USA: Instead of hiring someone whose job is solely diversity for business or the newsroom, we educate our leaders and employees on how to have a diverse perspective. Programs are important to emphasize the priority, but making diversity and inclusion and flexibility part of everyone’s job is what will change and sustain a culture.

– Jennifer WilsonGlobal Program Manager, Flexible Work Program, Dell (2018 Flex Impact Organization Honoree): We survey every year, and we look at the data. We’re hearing that flexibility is the number one reason why people are coming to Dell from our talent acquisition people.

– Tammy WincupChief Operating Officer, EverFi: We’re a mission driven company and want to connect employees to that mission; that includes flexibility and looking at what it takes to recruit and retain people. People need the space and permission to speak – an opportunity to debrief and provide feedback on what works and what doesn’t. Get immediate feedback by doing a five minute debrief at the end of each meeting and asking for two things that worked, two things I can work on, and two things you can work on.

2018 Conference Materials

Our 2018 Annual Conference Attendees can access conference materials below with special 2018 Attendee Password.


Please contact Eliza Musallam for more information.

Photo Credit: © Jessica Yurinko

2018 Conference Agenda, Speaker Line-up and Sponsors.

On September 27, 2018, industry leaders like KPMG, Dell, EverFi, Abercrombie & Fitch, Fannie Mae, Politico, as well as prominent law firms like Akin Gump, Fried Frank, Dentons, White & Case, Seyfarth Shaw, among others, gathered for a highly interactive one-day event delivering the latest trends and best practices in diversity and flexibility, including:

– Emerging trends, leading best practices and real-life case studies in flexibility and leave initiatives that are proven to attract and retain top talent in all industries;

– A 360 approach to organizational change that emphasizes the role that leadership, as well as clients, play in shaping a culture of success that embraces diversity and creates a powerful road map for the advancement of women;

– The latest, cutting-edge research from Gallup, the world’s preeminent research authority, on the value of Employee Engagement and the critical steps your organization needs to take.


Diversity + Flexibility = Embracing Change

Thursday, September 27, 2018

8:15 am – 4:15 pm
Offices of Jones Day

300 New Jersey Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20001


Alliance Members receive two complimentary tickets as a member benefit! 

**Special Member Promotion**: Members receive a complimentary ticket to bring a client at no charge. Contact Eliza Musallam at if you’d like to bring a client as your guest.

Please re-register for the September 27 date even if you were originally registered for the March 21 event.

(April 9 – Extended to July 9)

Members (Additional Tickets): $495

Non-Members: $595

(July 10 – September 12)

Members (Additional Tickets): $549

Non-Members: $649

(Sept. 13 – Sept. 27)

Members (Additional Tickets): $595

Non-Members: $695

Representatives from law schools, government agencies, and nonprofits: $195



8:15 am  Registration & Continental Breakfast

9:00 am  Welcome Remarks & Presentation of the Flex Leader Award

9:15 am  Organizational Changes with Big Impact & Presentation of the Flex Impact Awards

In every industry there are trendsetters who go beyond the norm and lead the way with embracing change. Hear from organizations that have taken flexibility to new heights and are leading their industries in the quest for the recruitment and retention of a more content and successful workforce.

10:15 am  Networking Break

10:30 am  Making Change Happen from the Outside-In: The Power of Client Persuasion

To stay competitive, law firms are recognizing the need to evolve and be more aware of their clients’ values.  It’s not enough to “be the best” — clients want to see prospective outside counsel investing in the development of diverse teams, advancing women, and supporting  flexible work initiatives. Our panel of leading in-house counsel will 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 vendors.

11:30 am  Overview of 2017 Law Firm Flexibility Benchmarking Survey Results and Presentation of the Flex Success® Awards

12:00  Lunch

1:00 pm  Featured Speaker: Vipula Gandhi, Managing Partner, Eastern US, Gallup presents State of the American Workplace: Findings & Implications

An overview of the eye-opening data and insights from Gallup’s research on what is driving recent workplace trends and what some innovative companies are doing to address associated challenges. Vipula will discuss how these findings can help organizations increase employee engagement, performance management, and foster flexible, matrixed teams.

1:45 pm  Networking Break

2:00 pm  Making Change Happen from the Inside-Out: Industry Leaders Shaping Organizational Culture

As they compete for consumers, clients, employees, and market share, corporations and professional services firms have found success by embracing flexibility and diversity. Our executive panel from the financial, media, technology, and consulting industries will discuss how they are incorporating changes from the inside-out by making the business case for diversity and flexibility.  By embracing these changes, they are creating a culture for success that leads to tangible profits as well as the intangible gains of creating a loyal, happy, and dedicated workforce.

3:00 pm Networking Break

3:15 pm Creating a Successful Women’s Initiative with Impact: A KPMG Case Study

Are you looking to advance more women into leadership? Are you looking for ways to empower your women’s initiative to drive change? You know you need to take action at the organizational level, but you don’t know where and how to initiate the necessary changes. Alliance President and CEO, Manar Morales and Lisa Madden of KPMG will highlight how the firm has implemented, developed, and sustained the women’s initiative for the International Tax group at KPMG. This candid discussion will also reference best practices on how to affect change through affinity groups and overcome organizational challenges.  Attendees will have the opportunity to share their best practices with one another during this session.

4:15 pm  Closing Remarks

This event has been approved for 4.75 MCLE credit hours in IL, 5 MCL credit hours in AR, and
1.75 MCLE credit hours in CA.

Access our CLE Financial Hardship Policy here


Sarah Alexander Goldfrank
Senior Vice President & Deputy General Counsel, Legal Department
Fannie Mae

Nicole Collier
Director of Policy & Public Affairs

Vipula Gandhi
Managing Partner, Eastern US
Gallup Inc.

Stacia Jones
Vice President, Associate General Counsel & Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer
Abercrombie & Fitch

Alan Kaden
Managing Partner & Governance Committee Member
Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson

Cynthia Kelley, DO
Vice President, Medical Education
Summa Health

Kim Koopersmith
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld

Jeffrey Lehrer
Managing Partner
DLA Piper

Heather McDevitt
Partner & Global Governance Team
White & Case

Lisa Madden
National Operations Leader, International Tax Practice

Lori Mihalich-Levin

Manar Morales
President & CEO
The Diversity & Flexibility Alliance

Kevyn D. Orr
Partner-in-Charge Washington
Jones Day

J. Stephen Poor
Chairman Emeritus & Partner
Seyfarth Shaw

Traci Schweikert
Vice President, Human Resources
Politico USA

Jennifer Wilson
Global Program Manager, Work Flexibility Program

Tammy Wincup
Chief Operating Officer








Show your support for creating inclusive cultures that advance diversity and flexibility by sponsoring this year’s conference! Sponsors receive complimentary tickets based upon their level of support.
Learn more about our different Sponsorship levels here.
Contact Manar Morales for more information on sponsorship.