The third annual Rick Palmore LCLD Fellows Alumni Award was presented to 2011 Fellow John T. Cu, Partner at Hanson Bridgett LLP, and 2012 Fellow Cassandra H.M. Headrick, Executive Counsel at The Travelers Companies, Inc., by the LCLD Fellows Alumni Executive Council at the Sixth Annual LCLD Fellows Alumni Leadership Symposium on June 2, 2017.

The Palmore Award recognizes the outstanding achievements, commitment, and leadership of LCLD Fellows Alumni who have paved the way for and assisted with the advancement of LCLD Fellows, Fellows Alumni, and other LCLD program participants.

Rick Palmore is the Founding Chair Emeritus of LCLD, and it was his combination of vision and hard work that was responsible for the founding of the organization. He continues to inspire LCLD Members and other leaders within the legal profession to push the frontiers of diversity and inclusion.

Please read below to learn more about how Cu and Headrick each earned this prestigious honor.

John T. Cu

John Cu (c), with LCLD President Robert Grey (r),
and 2011 Fellow Lauren Campisi (l), who nominated
Cu for the Palmore Award.
 (Photo by Jay Haas)

As the first Fellow at Hanson Bridgett LLP, John Cu has acted as a local and national leader in supporting the advancement of diverse attorneys and legal professionals, by serving as the chair of the Hanson Bridgett’s Diversity and Inclusion Network from 2010-2015 and mentoring diverse attorneys and law students. Cu has contributed to the LCLD Fellows and Fellows Alumni communities by speaking at LCLD events and raising the profile of Fellows Alumni conferences as the co-chair of the Second Annual LCLD Fellows Alumni Retreat in 2013 (now called the LCLD Fellows Alumni Leadership Symposium). Additionally, Cu is active in the San Francisco Bay Area as a board member of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, Vice President of the Angel Island Immigration Station Board of Directors, and a member of Ascend.

As chair of Hanson’ Bridgett’s Diversity and Inclusion Network, Cu was instrumental in recruiting and helping to advance diverse attorneys at the firm. During his tenure, 70% of associates promoted to senior counsel were women and 25% were attorneys of color, and women accounted for 50% of the senior counsel promoted to partner. Additionally, Cu created the firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Network newsletter, which was highlighted by LCLD as "What's Working" to raise awareness of diversity initiatives.

John Cu accepts his award.
(Photo by Jay Haas)

Also a result of Cu’s leadership, Hanson Bridgett has received 11 regional, state, and national diversity awards, including the Beacon Award for Diversity from the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Silicon Valley; the Law Firm Diversity Award from the State Bar of California; 50 Best Law Firms for Women from Working Mother and Flex-Time Lawyers; and Law360 awards as one of the 100 best law firms for women, one of 25 "Ceiling Smashers" for highest percentage of female partners, one of the 100 best law firms for minority attorneys, and one of the 50 best law firms for minority partners; among others.

Since graduating from his LCLD fellowship, Cu has remained active in the LCLD and Fellows Alumni communities. He has spoken on panels discussing the benefits of participating in LCLD and the Fellows Program, and he has enthusiastically attended numerous LCLD events, including the LCLD Annual Membership Meeting and every Fellows Alumni Leadership Symposium.

As co-chair of the second LCLD Fellows Alumni Retreat (now called the “LCLD Fellows Alumni Leadership Symposium”) in 2013, Cu was instrumental in transforming the retreat from a social event into an annual leadership and networking event with substantive programming. As a result, Cu’s work in transforming the conference has been essential to raising the profile of the event and keeping Fellows Alumni engaged with each other and LCLD. This summer, Cu began a new role in LCLD Fellows Alumni leadership as a 2011 Class Liaison.

L to R: John Cu, 2013 Fellow Darwin Conner, Lori Garrett, and 2012 Fellow Bruce Strothers at the 2014 Fellows Alumni conference. (Photo by Jay Haas)

Cu’s efforts to give back to other diverse professionals also extend to the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond the legal industry. In his role as a board member of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, he has offered diversity and leadership mentoring inside and beyond the legal community. Further, as a member of Ascend, a nonprofit organization that provides professional development and career enhancement programs designed to cultivate Pan-Asian talent, he has been heavily involved in mentoring young Asian-American professionals.

As the Vice President of the Angel Island Immigration Foundation Board of Directors, Cu helps drive the foundation’s goal to educate the public about the complex story and rich cultural heritage of the Pacific Coast immigrants who were processed at the Angel Island Immigration Station in the middle of the San Francisco Bay. Click here to learn more about Cu’s legal practice.

Cassandra H.M. Headrick

Cassandra Headrick has served as an exceptional leader in her law practice, having mentored and paved the way for other attorneys as a diversity partner during her tenure at Dorsey & Whitney LLP. Headrick has also helped to lay the foundations of the LCLD Fellows Alumni Communications Committee and the Regional Roundtable event format. She has most recently been elected as the Chief Data Officer for the Fellows Alumni Executive Council (EC). Headrick also gives back to her local community in the Twin Cities as a member of the Arthritis Foundation’s Minnesota Leadership Board of Directors; a Membership Committee member for Twin Cities Diversity in Practice; and as a marathon runner who has raised funds for Ronald McDonald House Charities and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Cassandra Headrick (c), with Robert Grey, and 2012
Fellow Jin Liu, who nominated Headrick for the
Palmore Award. (Photo by Jay Haas)

In her previous role at Dorsey & Whitney, Headrick demonstrated leadership as the co-chair of the Lending Practice Group and as a diversity partner. She was distinguished as top talent in the male-dominated finance industry, honored as one of the Top Women in Finance in 2014 and selected as a Rising Star by Minnesota Super Lawyers from 2004 through 2010. As diversity partner, Headrick participated in Dorsey & Whitney’s mentoring program for women and working mothers. In that role, she provided guidance and encouragement to many younger female attorneys at the firm and went on to win a 2013 Diversity Award. 

As a Fellow Alumna, Headrick has successfully carried out several inaugural roles. From 2013 to 2016, Headrick served as an inaugural co-chair of the Communications Committee under the LCLD Fellows Alumni EC, where she was instrumental in shaping the foundation of Fellows Alumni communication strategies and helping them stay connected as they graduated from the Fellows Program. In the spring of 2014, Headrick shared her insights as a representative of the Fellows Alumni with LCLD board members and top performers at the First Annual LCLD Leadership Summit, in which Members come together to discuss LCLD strategy. Then in 2015, Headrick co-organized the very first LCLD Fellows Alumni Regional Roundtable with 2013 Fellow Lica Tomizuka, featuring LCLD Member Ivan Fong, Senior Vice President, Legal Affairs, and General Counsel of 3M Company. This regional event format has since been replicated by other Fellows Alumni in various cities across the country.

Headrick (c) speaks with LCLD Member Charles Riley
Jr.(l), President of Lane Powell P.C., and LCLD
Communications Director Don Belt (r) at the first
Leadership Summit in 2014. (Photo by Jay Haas)

Since October 2014, Headrick has been Executive Counsel at The Travelers Companies in Saint Paul, and she has continued to be active with LCLD and the Fellows Alumni community. She also continues to find time to mentor younger lawyers. This summer, Headrick began her role as the Chief Data Officer of the LCLD Fellows Alumni EC, where she will coordinate efforts to develop a Fellows Alumni platform that facilitates networking, event planning, and the dissemination of substantive programming and other communications, and lead efforts to develop analytical tools and metrics for assessing Fellows Alumni engagement.

L to R: 2012 Fellows Corey Lee and Cassandra Headrick, 2013 Fellow Bonnie Lau, and 2012 Fellow Carlos Singer, at the 2016 Fellows Alumni conference. (Photo by Nabil Foster, 2012 Fellow)

Headrick serves in her local community, most notably as a member of the Arthritis Foundation’s Minnesota Leadership Board of Directors since 2011, motivated to serve by her daughter, Laney, who has juvenile arthritis. In supporting Laney, Headrick has developed a passion for other charities serving the health needs of children, particularly the Ronald McDonald House Charities, and she has run a marathon to support and raise funds for the organization. She also ran the New York Marathon in 2016 to raise funds for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Representing Travelers, Headrick recently joined the Membership Committee for Twin Cities Diversity in Practice. Click here to learn more about Cassandra Headrick’s legal practice.

To learn more about the Sixth Annual Fellows Alumni Leadership Symposium, click here.