When he volunteered to host several dozen 2017 Fellows for a Leadership Lunch Plus in Columbus, Kurt Tunnell, LCLD Member and Managing Partner of Bricker & Eckler*, saw it as an opportunity to achieve several things at once.
Not only could Bricker provide valuable programming for the the Fellows, but the firm could also bring together other members of the Ohio legal community who were equally dedicated to advancing diversity and inclusion.
“I’m a big believer in paying it forward. That’s what all LCLD Members have in common.” —Kurt Tunnell
So he invited a Who’s Who of prominent attorneys, including a number of LCLD Members and senior counsel, to serve as judges during a 90-minute session in which the Fellows delivered practice pitches for new business or in-house projects and received constructive feedback on their presentations. LCLD Members or Alumni on the “pitch jury” included Rhonda Comer of Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Linda Lu of Nationwide Insurance, Terri Meldrum of OhioHealth Corporation, Mark Smolik of DHL Supply Chain Americas, and Nicholas Zuk of White Castle Systems.
Tunnell also engaged a professional improv company to give the visiting Fellows advanced training on their presentation skills.
But he didn’t stop there. In collaboration with Robert Grey and the LCLD staff, Tunnell (above, at left) also organized a high-energy, three-hour Language of Leadership program to follow the Fellows event.
Choosing a community-based theme, “Creating an Ecosystem to Advance Diversity and Inclusion,” Tunnell invited a stellar lineup of speakers and panelists to participate, and welcomed an audience of more than 70 people, including dozens of colleagues from the Ohio LCLD community, to Bricker & Eckler’s historic offices in downtown Columbus.
Panelists ranged from state Supreme Court Justices and Federal judges (below) to representatives from Columbus and Ohio minority bar associations, all of whom spoke to the importance of a more diverse legal profession in creating a more perfect system of justice—and how it might be achieved.
In the audience were Fellows and Pathfinders from LCLD Member organizations, along with law school deans and executives from Ohio companies who, while not yet LCLD Members, share the organization’s commitment to advancing diversity and inclusion.
The Columbus program is an example of the momentum that can be generated by LCLD’s Regional Outreach initiative, which Tunnell is helping to pioneer.
“LCLD is focused on taking a highly successful national platform and making it local,” Tunnell says. “I believe we’ll do that by harnessing the horsepower and innovation created by LCLD and bootstrapping it onto existing organizations that are making a difference in their own communities. That’s where the rubber really meets the road.”
Partnering with other LCLD Members such as Nationwide, Procter & Gamble, Macy’s, White Castle, Abercrombie & Fitch, DHL Supply Chain Americas, OhioHealth Corporation, and Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Tunnell turned to the LCLD community—Fellows, Alumni, and Diversity Professionals—for assistance.
“This event really couldn’t have happened without the Fellows,” he says. “They pulled together and helped us, either as presenters or by recruiting others to participate. Their enthusiasm helped us to bring together a wide array of people.”
And that’s a testament to the growing power of LCLD, says Tunnell.
“The networks we’re creating—whether national or local—that’s where the power is. We are stitched together in this effort, and all we need is more people rowing in the boat to really make a difference.”
For more on the Columbus program, including more details on the speakers and panelists, visit the Event page here.
*Bricker & Eckler was named an LCLD Top Performer organization in 2016. For more information on how to earn that distinction, contact Jennifer Denton, Membership Director.