Tag Archive for: Diversity

2023 Signature Seminar

Featuring Rudhir Krishtel, CEO, Krishtel

March 2, 2023 | 1:00pm – 2:00pm EST

It’s time to examine how business development culture has impacted those from historically underrepresented backgrounds. These patterns directly impact compensation, wealth distribution, and equity. Participants will discuss specific roadblocks existing at the nexus of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and business development (BD) that impede the progress of women, people of color, and other historically underrepresented groups and understand avenues to consider moving towards a more equitable culture.

Learn more about the Signature Seminar Series.

Members – register for this Seminar in the Member Resource Center.

The 2022 Year in Review is now available!

We were thrilled to celebrate 10 years of thought leadership, community & collaboration, and engaged with more than 4,000 professionals through events, advisory services, trainings and research projects.

Click HERE to download the 2022 Year in Review.


If you have any questions, please contact Jane Caldeira.

The 2022 New Partner Report Summit – a special member event designed to provide tangible best practices for advancing women and achieving gender parity – took place on January 18, 2023. The Summit included valuable discussion between Manar Morales, Alliance President & CEO, and three leaders from 4-time “Tipping the Scales” firms:

  • Brenda Carr, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Arnold & Porter
  • Vanessa Vaughn West, Director of Diversity & Inclusion, Lathrop GPM
  • Yusuf Zakir, Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer, Davis Wright Tremaine

Access to the full 2022 New Partner Report is an exclusive member benefit. We invite non-member organizations to learn more about the report here. (Alliance Members can view the entire report in the Member Resource Center.) 

2023 Signature Seminar

Featuring Dr. Tina Opie & Dr. Beth Livingston

February 1, 2023 | 1:00pm – 2:00pm EST

Making progress toward a more equitable workplace is an important goal for many workplaces. In this Signature Seminar, Manar Morales will interview Drs. Tina Opie and Beth Livingston about their book, Shared Sisterhood: How to Take Collective Action for Racial and Gender Equity at Work, which presents a new approach to achieving gender and racial equity at work. Shared Sisterhood focuses on how to promote authentic connections between people who are different, using social science research and stories from the past and the present to inspire organizations to action.

Members – learn more in the Member Resource Center.

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



While our annual conference is going virtual this year, one thing that hasn’t changed is our commitment to bringing an incredible line-up of inspirational speakers to share their expertise and unique insights. Over the next few weeks we’ll be introducing you to these dynamic and engaging leaders by sharing some of their personal and career advice.

Today, we are honored to introduce Susan Neely, President & CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI). Susan is our 2020 Luminary Award honoree and she has an impressive background 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. She has also 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.

We are so excited to hear Susan’s insights and advice during her “fireside chat” with Manar Morales, and know that you’ll be inspired by Susan’s commitment to gender parity and diversity and inclusion.

Diversity & Flexibility Alliance: What was the most meaningful piece of leadership advice you have received? Who has had the most influence on your career?

Susan Neely: My dad always preached the benefit of taking calculated risks. From my own career experience, I can now attest that Dad was right. Usually the bigger the risk I’ve taken, the greater the success. That being said, I have never found it easy to make a decision to take a risk, particularly if the risk involved impact on my family. I’m satisfied that I have made the right choices for me, but none of them have been easy.

I am also thankful for trusted advisers who understood me and were wise about career paths. Different advisers with varied expertise have helped me at different points in the journey.

Always be on the lookout for who can be part of your own kitchen cabinet. These individuals should be champions and provocateurs who have your best interests at heart and aren’t afraid to challenge your thinking.

DFA: What have you learned during COVID that has changed your perspective?

SN: My first video-enabled speech via computer was in mid-March. I was able to share perspective with over 3,000 people without getting on an airplane or staying in a hotel. We don’t want to lose the opportunity for personal interaction, but the time savings that technology provides is powerful. How much easier would my life as a working mother have been if we had technological tools like this?

DFA: How do you recharge? Where and when are you most content?

SN: One of my favorite mantras is work hard, play hard. I’m energized by my work, but I’m also equally energized by taking time to recharge. My family is so important to me, so any time I spend with them – especially if we are experiencing new things together – I feel recharged. During the pandemic, my two young adult children have been back home for this season. We’ve been purposeful about doing things we would normally not made time to do … like bake dozens of cookies and deliver them to front doors of friends in the neighborhood. We cleaned closets and boxed up fun packages of outgrown toys, jewelry and hair bows to send to young families we know. We also did a 15 hour road trip to Iowa to pick up my 92-year old mother and bring her back with us.

DFA: What do you know now that you wish you knew then?

SN: It’s taken me a long time to learn to be kinder to myself and cut myself some slack. In my zeal for making all aspects of life perfect, I too often would beat myself up about what wasn’t going as well and not savor the many things that were. Counting your blessings does not mean you don’t aspire to learn and grow. It just means valuing what you have.

DFA: How do you pay it forward?

SN: I believe the cycle of lifting others up is contagious. If you empower someone, they will empower someone else. I’ll share one story with you. I was well into my career and I held a role at the Department of Homeland Security. I was on a strategy call with a lot of top brass leaders, including Condoleezza Rice when she was National Security Advisor. I was the new member of the group, and when I offered a point of view, another leader who was an old timer in the group brushed me off. Secretary Rice jumped in, validated my point, and lifted up my voice. She didn’t have to do that. But that small action established my right to be in the group. It also inspired me to do the same for others. Now when I’m in the room, I always listen for the voices of others and look for ways I might be able to validate their right to be there. As leaders, it costs us nothing, but it can be a powerful way to ensure a diverse set of views and ideas are heard.

DFA: What can we be doing to create more inclusive organizations?

SN: When I became a senior executive and now a CEO for 16 years, I realized it was my responsibility to set the tone at the top. I believe we bring our whole selves to work. Achieving diversity is not enough. Belonging should be our goal, and people feel like they belong when they can be their whole selves at work. That’s when we are making progress. We can have a productive work environment that encourages and supports our employees in their personal priorities. A good leader must make this a priority.

DFA: How has flexibility impacted your life?

SN: Motherhood will always be the greatest privilege of my life and thus the role that is the most important to me. I have certainly made career decisions based on how it would affect my family and time with my children. At the same time I have done meaningful professional work and earned an impactful leadership platform that allows me to make a difference in the ways that are important to me. This has required calibration of my time more than sacrifice of opportunities. (Unless you count reduction in sleep as a sacrifice.)

Getting the work-life balance right has also required me to find employers that allow me the ability to calibrate. I never missed doing something that I thought was important for my children. Nor have I shirked professional responsibilities. Sometimes this means that I am answering emails early or late or catching a red eye flight from a meeting to get home in time. Flexibility allows people to include what matters most in their lives.

DFA: What book is on your nightstand?

SN: Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi. I love beautiful writing and think we learn from stories like Gyasi’s about race in America. Gyasi is the award-winning author of Homegoing and was a student in the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa.

Don’t miss your opportunity to hear more from Susan Neely and all of our dynamic and inspirational speakers on November 5.

While our annual conference is going virtual this year, one thing that hasn’t changed is our commitment to bringing an incredible line-up of inspirational speakers to share their expertise and unique insights. Over the next few weeks we’ll be introducing you to these dynamic and engaging leaders by sharing some of their personal and career advice.

Today, we are honored to introduce Barri Rafferty, Executive Vice President & Head of Communications for Wells Fargo. Barri is the former Global CEO at Ketchum Public Relations and was one of the first women to lead a global public relations firm.  We can’t wait to hear how Barri was able to completely engrain flexibility into the culture at Ketchum and how she is always looking for ways to help to advance women and flexible work.


Diversity & Flexibility Alliance: What was the most meaningful piece of leadership advice you have received? Who has had the most influence on your career?
Barri RaffertyBeing a woman from the south it took me years as a leader to understand that “it is better to be trusted than to be liked.” People follow who they trust even if they don’t like every decision you make.
I don’t think one person most influenced my career but so many wonderful bosses, leaders I interacted with, and people who gave me feedback along the way had an impact on the leader I became.  I also think sometimes you learn from seeing behaviors you don’t want to emulate.  The key is to be authentic to who you are.  
DFA: What have you learned during COVID that has changed your perspective?
BR: Nancy Koehn from Harvard Business School studied courageous leaders in crisis and spoke of courage, brutal honesty, providing direction and getting used to ambiguity.  She also discussed the concept of “point to point” leadership where leaders must make decisions with the information they have on hand at a point in time and continue to adapt and be agile as new information becomes available.  This agility and ambiguity with resilience mixed in became my COVID mantra. 
DFA: How do you recharge? Where and when are you most content?
BR: I love to get outdoors and walk with my husband, sisters or close friends.   I have walked in the woods, near the water and in my neighborhood throughout COVID to unwind.  Put me in front of a body of water or mountain and I am most content.
DFA: What do you know now that you wish you knew then?  
BR: Not to take things so seriously.  So many things that were upsetting in my past I don’t even remember now. 
DFA: How do you pay it forward? 

BR: I volunteer with organizations that mentor female leaders and young girls to help them reach their full potential. I also use my corporate positions to help foster equity and inclusion.

DFA: What can we be doing to create more inclusive organizations?
BR: Be self aware of our own bias and be allies for others. We can each have an impact in small ways and big ones by being advocates for diversity, equity and inclusion.

DFA: How has flexibility impacted your life? How has your experience been with COVID-related remote work?

BR: When leading a large global agency, I leaned into flexibility to make it available to our employees worldwide.  I have always felt that if we trust people to do their jobs it doesn’t matter where they work or what time of day. Flexibility allows women and men to be successful in the workplace, as parents, as friends and helps with better self care.  We all win.  
Starting a new job during COVID has been a challenge, but thank goodness for technology.  I miss the energy of interacting with people and breaking bread together, but video has become the next best thing. We are all adapting and making the best of it.

DFA: What book is on your nightstand?

BR: I just finished “American Dirt” and always have my journal close by. Despite 2020 being a year full of obstacles there is much to be grateful for.  

Don’t miss your opportunity to hear more from Barri Rafferty and all of our dynamic and inspirational speakers on November 5.

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



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.

If you Google the term “Bright Spots,” you’ll find the heart-warming story of a Save the Children Fund missionary named Jerry Sternin who helped save an entire community of malnourished children in Vietnam. Rather than focus on what the families of the children were doing wrong, Jerry chose to focus on the few children in the community who were healthy and thriving – the “Bright Spots.” His theory was if all the families could replicate what the Bright Spot mothers were doing, then the entire community could benefit and change for the better.

Sternin called his approach “positive deviance” – focusing on what individuals are doing right, rather than what others are doing wrong.

While most of us are not in the position of saving lives, this Bright Spots theory is also effective in business. In fact, change experts and authors, Dan and Chip Heath, often advise organizations to “find a Bright Spot and clone it.” They recommend focusing on what’s working instead of emphasizing what isn’t and what needs to be fixed.

We couldn’t agree more…

Read more

Happy New Year! This year, why not make it your new year’s resolution to celebrate your Bright Spots?

In 2019, we at the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance will be sharing diversity and flexibility Bright Spots – those small or large successes that impact your organization in a positive way. We believe that important diversity and flexibility initiatives can truly impact your organization’s bottom line, recruitment and retention capabilities and employee satisfaction. We also believe that you should celebrate these accomplishments!

We’re hoping that by sharing our members’ and non-members’ Bright Spots, we’ll help to build momentum and encourage a “Ripple Effect” so that organizations will see positive results elsewhere and implement the same strategies at home.

For our inaugural 2019 Bright Spots, we’re celebrating these 42 law firms who had 50% or greater women in their 2018 New Partner Class. (Check out our 2018 New Partner Report Executive Summary for more details.)

  1. Arent Fox
  2. Arnold & Porter
  3. Baker Donelson
  4. Boies Schiller & Flexner
  5. Brown Rudnick
  6. Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner
  7. Cahill Gordon & Reindel
  8. Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
  9. Cozen O’Connor
  10. Debevoise & Plimpton
  11. Dechert
  12. Dentons
  13. Epstein Becker & Green
  14. Farella Braun + Martel
  15. Foley Hoag
  16. Fox Rothschild
  17. Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy
  18. Gibbons
  19. Goldberg Kohn
  20. Holland & Hart
  21. Jenner & Block
  22. Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel
  23. LeClairRyan
  24. Littler Mendelson
  25. McDermott Will & Emery
  26. Miles & Stockbridge
  27. Morgan, Lewis & Bockius
  28. Morrison & Foerster
  29. Norton Rose Fulbright
  30. Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart
  31. O’Melveny & Myers
  32. Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein
  33. Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman
  34. Saul Ewing
  35. Schiff Hardin
  36. Shutts & Bowen
  37. Sidley Austin
  38. Squire Patton Boggs
  39. Steptoe & Johnson
  40. Thompson Hine
  41. Wiley Rein
  42. Zuckerman Spaeder

Kudos to these firms for their commitment to the advancement of women!

We encourage you to take a moment now to reflect on your diversity and flexibility successes and celebrate your Bright Spots. Please share your Diversity & Flexibility Bright Spots with us by emailing manar@dfalliance.com. We’ll be sharing them on our website, in this blog,  and via social media throughout the year.