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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

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

In this Business Insider article, How to Build a Diverse & Inclusive Workforce as a Small Business by Stephanie Russell-Kraft, our President and CEO, Manar Morales shares her insights for how small businesses can create a more inclusive culture and attract a more diverse team.

Here’s an excerpt:

“I think it’s really important that it’s not ‘diversity and inclusion’ that’s siloed as an initiative, but that it’s interwoven into everything you do as an organization.” Manar Morales, president and CEO of the Diversity and Flexibility Alliance, a diversity research and consulting firm, said. Small business leaders should think about this in terms of who’s getting leadership opportunities, who’s getting constructive feedback, and whose voices are being heard in meetings.

Without a dedicated department for diversity and inclusion, diversity also needs to be a team effort, according to Morales. That means all employees should get unconscious bias training, learning not just what biases they might have but how to interrupt them.

“It’s more than just doing compliance training,” Morales said. The main key to success is accountability, she added. Employees should know that their diversity and inclusion efforts actually matter and they will be asked about them during their performance reviews.

Read the full  here.

Washington, DC – July 10, 2020 – Today the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance released highlights from its Pulse Poll: COVID-19 and Re-Entry that emphasized the need for continued focus on inclusion for all employees in office re-entry practices.

The poll was developed to uncover important data and trends related to the approach law firms and corporations are taking during this initial office re-opening phase and to provide advice on best practices. The poll’s questions were related to office re-opening task forces, guidelines regarding which employees could continue to work remotely once states re-open, and the types of resources and training provided to employees.

“While many firms and corporations have pledged their commitment to diversity and inclusion in recent years, their actions as they re-open their offices during the COVID-19 crisis will demonstrate their sincerity and have a meaningful impact on all employees,” said Manar Morales, President & CEO of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance. “While I am pleased to see that a significant number of firms and corporations are focusing on inclusion during office re-openings, I hope that more organizations will follow suit. It’s critical that firms and corporations incorporate D&I professionals in their Office Reopening Task Force, allow requests to continue to work remotely to be “reason-neutral,” and provide necessary virtual trainings,” she added.

The Pulse Poll revealed several noteworthy highlights, including:

  • The vast majority of participants (85.3%) have a task force focused on re-entry and nearly two-thirds of these task forces include a Diversity & Inclusion professional.
  • A significant share of participant organizations will allow all of their employees to work remotely (35.3%) and will use a “reason-neutral” process to determine who can work remotely  (44.1%). However, too many organizations are still limiting which employees can work remotely based upon their function and/or their risk level.
  • A significant share are planning on launching the following trainings: Best Practices for Working Remotely (38.2%, or 13 of 34), Best Practices for Leading Remote Teams (32.4%, or 11 of 34), and Unconscious Bias (23.5%, or 8 of 34).  Only a small number (3 of 34, or 8.8%) indicated they will have no trainings to support re-entry.

The Pulse Poll: COVID-19 AND Re-Entry consisted of responses from 34 law firms and corporations between May 14 and June 5, 2020. The complete report will be available exclusively to members of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance as well as poll participants.

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 at manar@dfalliance.com for information on membership in the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance or for guidance on fostering flexibility and inclusion in your organization during this crisis and beyond.

 

Contact: Manar Morales

manar@dfalliance.com

202-957-9650

In Case You Missed It… Check out this April 27 article in Bloomberg Law by Meghan Tribe Virus Crisis Could Be Test of Law Firms’ Diversity Efforts. The article advises that law firms continue their focus on diversity and inclusion efforts to avoid the “massive lawyer layoffs and de-equitization of firm attorneys during the Great Recession, which saw an estimated 10,000 lawyers lose their jobs, overall representation of women and minority lawyers in law firms declined between 2009 and 2010.”

The article reinforces that firms need to commit to the retention of diverse attorneys through mentorships, sponsorships, training and other support mechanisms during and after the crisis, and includes a quote from Alliance President & CEO, Manar Morales.

“As law firms make personnel decisions ranging from layoffs to pay cuts, there’s “all eyes on them right now given what happened in 2008.”

– Manar Morales

 

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

For many organizations, the beginning of a new year signifies the beginning of new goals and strategies to enhance an organization’s mission. At the Alliance, we hope organizations take the time to reflect on the lessons learned at our 2019 Annual Conference, Inspire. Innovate. Ignite! — it was a day packed with inspirational stories, innovative strategies and expert insights on trends and best practices covering D & I and flexible work strategies.

Here are our top four takeaways that we recommend keeping in mind when planning for the new year:

  1. If you take the time to develop an innovative, holistic flexibility initiative that is sincerely embraced by leadership, you will meet the needs of a more diverse group of employees. In turn, you will create a truly inclusive culture. 

Our Flex Impact Award winners – PwC and Morgan Lewis – are proof of this concept. Morgan Lewis reported that 60% of associates said the firm’s two day a week Remote Working Policy was the reason they chose to work at the firm! The key to Morgan Lewis’s success? Senior leadership personally and genuinely promoted the policy resulting in an authentic shift in organizational culture. PwC also made communication from the top their number one priority when implementing their Flexibility2 program. PwC’s Chairman reached out directly to 3,500 partners worldwide to reinforce the importance of their comprehensive, flexible working program….

Members can access the complete Action Step in the Member Resource Center.To read this entire Action Step become a member of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance.  To learn more about retaining and advancing more women,  contact Manar Morales.  

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

In our recently released 2019 New Partner Report, we celebrated this as the best year yet in terms of the share of women in the new partner classes in major law firms in the United States – 41.3%, an increase of 8.1% since 2012 and a year-over-year increase of 2.4% from 2018. Take a look at our 2019 New Partner Report for further data, trends and insights.

While we should celebrate our achievements, we also need to focus on next steps in order to advance more women to the top levels of leadership by being more systematic with managing their pipeline. By keeping the following three steps in mind, organizations will be able to monitor, maintain, and add to their pipeline of women and continue to close the gender gap in leadership.

Maximize Recruitment: New hire and lateral recruiting efforts need to be done effectively to attract the best talent. Start by putting your best foot forward. Gather data to understand why or why not professionals chose to come to your organization through focus groups, check-in meetings and/or surveys with new hires. Speak with professionals who declined employment offers. Track and assess this data to understand if there were any gender differences, what you should highlight, and what you should consider changing. Were some programs/policies particularly important to women? Were key practices/programs mentioned across the board? By tracking this information, you can objectively understand what policies/programs to highlight, how to prepare your interviewers, and ways to improve your overall recruitment process…

 

To read this entire Action Step become a member of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance.  To learn more about retaining and advancing more women,  contact Manar Morales. Members can access the complete Action Step in the Member Resource Center

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

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

As organizations become increasingly cost conscious, it’s even more important to understand and leverage existing resources and coordinate efforts across all departments to create a robust talent development and D & I program. Are you aware of all your organizational memberships, benefits, subscriptions, and resources? Do you know of new talent development initiatives across your organization? Do you regularly meet with human resources, recruiting, professional development and D & I professionals to discuss successes and challenges? Thinking through these questions will lead to more thoughtful, comprehensive, and coordinated efforts.

  1. LEVERAGE EXISTING RESOURCES: Know the available resources, memberships and subscriptions at your organization and leverage them. Through conversations from our Insight Interview Study, we learned that some law firms are utilizing benefits through their Employee Assistance Programs, such as coaching and parent resources, in order to make their New Parent Program more comprehensive. A number of our member organizations mentioned that they utilize the DFA Signature Seminar Series to supplement educational offerings around their workplace flexibility program. By using existing resources, D & I and talent professionals can make their initiatives more robust by providing supplemental benefits, services, and programs at no additional cost. They can also use these resources as a pilot to gauge interest and need….

 

To read this entire Action Step become a member of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance.  To learn more about launching programs, policies and support structures to promote diversity and inclusion, contact Manar Morales. Members can access the complete Action Step in the Member Resource Center

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

More organizations are providing support to underrepresented groups and those facing advancement hurdles in order to promote diversity and inclusion efforts. Many organizations have launched affinity groups, coaching initiatives, and other resources for targeted groups in order to enhance diversity at the top levels. A number of organizations are also launching mentoring programs to help underrepresented groups move up the ladder. In particular, organizations are focusing on mentoring initiatives for women, parents, and flex employees.

Mentoring programs are a great way to support employees who are more likely to face explicit and implicit bias, thereby making it harder for them to be leaders within the organization. However, in order to succeed, these mentoring efforts should be structured thoughtfully to achieve maximum results. By following our five step approach, organizations can leverage their targeted mentoring programs for stronger business benefits and enhance diversity and inclusion….

 

To read this entire Action Step and learn more about promoting diversity and inclusion become a member of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance. Contact Eliza Musallam, Director of Membership, for more information. Members can access the complete Action Step in the Member Resource Center