A panel of professionals identified diversity and inclusion problems Tuesday with an eye toward preventing legal risk in the workplace.
Sally Glick, president of ACG New Jersey, encouraged attendees to network and re-connect. Glick cited a recent study that shows that when people reignite dormant relationships, they strengthen those relationships.
Linda Hollinshead, a labor and employment partner at law firm Duane Morris, moderated the panel. She defined diversity as being invited to the party and inclusion as being asked to dance.
“I used to say that workplace is different from life,” Hollinshead said. “Some of us come to the workplace with a step up.”
Law firms struggle to retain diverse talent, she said.
Paula Frank, a senior director of diversity and inclusion at ADP, discussed employers who have training programs serving black people and LGBT people to discuss racial anxiety and identity issues in the workplace with an eye toward preventing bias.
“When you think about bias stories, you see major companies have courageous conversations,” Frank said.
Mary Clare Garber, vice president at Princeton Legal Search Group, said her business is asked to recruit diversity candidates.
“If you are looking at including a diverse group, everything is not equal,” Garber said.
Garber cited a Forbes magazine report that found inclusive business teams make better business decisions.
Mike Monahan, assistant managing principal of human capital at Grant Thornton, defined diversity as being more than a person’s physical characteristics and skin color.
“At Grant Thornton everything about you is important,” Monahan said. “We need to respect all aspects of diversity. There are aspects of diversity that are obvious. There are things about people that are diverse that are not so obvious.”
He added: “We are our culture. If we are to build together and grow, we must appreciate each other.”
James White, head of diversity and inclusion at Oppenheimer Funds, said businesses should not exist solely to generate wealth. He discussed understanding where diverse talent exists within diversity metrics.
“We think about the degree to which each person has an equal shot to fair compensation, big clients and promotions,” White said. “We are challenging ourselves to be more inclusive.”