The 2019 Fellows descended upon the nation’s capital for the 2019 Fellows second in-person meeting on September 23-25, 2019 at the Hilton National Mall. In total, 275 Fellows attended—145 from Member corporations and 130 from Member law firms.

The first day started with a session entitled, “Just Belonging: How to Have Courageous Conversations on Race & Bias,” led by Kori Carew, Chief Inclusion & Diversity Officer at Seyfarth Shaw. Her presentation was based on a popular TEDx Talk she delivered in May 2018. In the session, Fellows discussed difficult scenarios they’ve experienced in the workplace and whether they feel they can bring their whole self to work. It got many in the audience thinking not only about their own personal journey dealing with racial and other bias, but the experiences of their colleagues and friends.

Then the Fellows broke into four groups for sessions focused on the What’s Working section of the LCLD website, which features innovative D&I solutions undertaken by  LCLD Member organizations. The breakouts, listed below, allowed the Fellows to learn and ask questions about initiatives that they can then take back to their own organizations.

  • BASF Corporation: How to Collaborate and Measure for Success (Sneha Desai, Deputy General Counsel for Litigation)
  • Goodwin Procter LLP: Using Data and Technology to Enhance Talent Development Systems and Processes  (Laura Rees Acosta, Managing Director, Diversity & Inclusion; Caroline Brownworth, Learning + Development Manager)
  • Honeywell International: 4 Ways to Make the Most of Your LCLD Fellows (Anne Madden, Senior Vice President and General Counsel; Ibie Falcusan, Vice President and Chief Export Counsel, Honeywell Aerospace, 2018 Fellow; Therese LeBlanc, Senior Counsel, Honeywell Federal Solutions, 2013 Fellow; Lisa Parlato LeDonne, Chief Privacy Officer; Kelly Moraes, Regional General Counsel, 2018 Fellow)
  • O’Melveny & Myers LLP: Using AI to Expand Your Talent Pool (Bradley Butwin, Partner and Chair; Mary Ellen Connerty, Director of Diversity & Engagement) 

To end the day, the Fellows attended a welcome reception with LCLD Members in conjunction with the Ninth Annual LCLD Membership Meeting. Held at the National Portrait Gallery, the event allowed the Fellows to network with the managing partners and general counsel in attendance, as well as to tour the landmark museum, home to a gallery of presidential portraits and—favorite of many—an Amy Sherald portrait of Michelle Obama (below).

Day 2 began with a networking breakfast, followed by small group exercises with members of the DC Improv troupe, who worked with the Fellows on improving communication and confidence and forging stronger relationships. From the laughter heard through the walls, to the smiles as they walked out, those goals were met. 

After a networking lunch, long-time Fellows speaker, John “The Purple Coach” Mitchell presented on “Resilience – The Key from Surviving to Thriving.” In this interactive session Mitchell got the Fellows thinking about challenges they are facing and how resilience and grit are a key factor in overcoming adversities. Afterwards, they heard from Chris De Santis speak on “Messaging and Presence.” In this session, Fellows learned about key behaviors to achieve executive presence and some even got to practice their new skills in front their colleagues with some coaching from De Santis.

The second day ended with a Fellows favorite, Dine-Arounds, at several D.C.-area restaurants.

One Day 3, Fellows heard from one last speaker, Mary Abbajay, who presented on “Feedback and Accountability Matters,” sharing strategies for providing feedback in many different circumstances. After some brief closing remarks, Fellows were dismissed to take their new knowledge and skills back to their organizations.

“The second fellows meeting was an incredible experience,” said 2019 Fellow Mike Jackson, Director of Employer Relations at Target Corporation. “I thoroughly enjoyed the impressive line-up of speakers (especially the session on messaging and presence), and really valued my time bonding and connecting with the other 2019 Fellows. Without a doubt, I left the second meeting inspired, encouraged, and a stronger leader.”

Added Dario de Martino, Partner at Morrison & Foerster LLP:

“I’m very grateful to be part of a remarkable community of leaders who are genuinely passionate about moving the diversity needle. LCLD provides an invaluable sounding board where we all learn from one another by sharing real-world challenges and discussing concrete steps that organizations are taking to promote and sustain more inclusive work environments, all while sharpening leadership skills and fostering a culture of belonging. The Fellows Program has also proven to be a fantastic networking tool which many of us are using to identify talent and refer matters, which I’m confident is further triggering positive change in the legal industry.”

LCLD staff members Stella Askin, Jessica Sabesan, and Sarah Wintle Alexander were critical to the success of this meeting. LCLD would also like to thank Jane Davis, Principal at Esteemed Hospitality Solutions, LLC, and 2013 Fellows Bonnie Lau and Brian Seaman.

Photo Gallery

Photography by Wilma Jackson