This past week, I had the good fortune to attend two events in Atlanta, Georgia. The first was The Coca-Cola’s Legal Diversity Link, which Coca-Cola has been holding for several years. The event connects attorneys from The Coca-Cola Company, in-house legal departments and MWBE firms to not only discuss utilization of MWBE firms, but to celebrate a mutual commitment to diversity and inclusion. The Coca-Cola Company not only expresses the right words in the diversity and inclusion legal space, but their actions back up their words with this being only one example of what Coca-Cola does. Hearing John Lewis talk about how important diversity and inclusion is to The Coca-Cola Company in every aspect of it’s business was great and I hope that other companies that attended take that back to their C-Suite and boards. It was another very classy event where several MWBE firms, including several NAMWOLF firms, had the opportunity to meet with Coca-Cola attorneys and other corporate legal group attorneys. It also provides a great benchmark for other companies that are at different stages of their legal group diversity and inclusion journey. Thank you Coca-Cola for including NAMWOLF in this event and thanks for doing everything you are doing in this critical space. Well done!
The next day I attended the ACC Georgia Chapter’s Inaugural Diversity Summit that The Home Depot hosted. 19 NAMWOLF Firms across the United States were invited to attend and the ACC and The Home Depot did not disappoint. The agenda included a welcome from Rachel Gervin, ACC Georgia Chapter President and Linda Seal, The Home Depot Associate General Counsel. It also spotlighted three of our NAMWOLF firms showcasing the amazing quality legal services that they can provide to global national corporations that have very complex and demanding legal needs. We also heard from Teresa Wynn Roseborough, The Home Depot EVP and General Counsel, who stressed how diversity and inclusion is so incremental to everything The Home Depot does. She also made a very compelling business case for diversity and inclusion not only for The Home Depot, but for all corporations. There was also a panel that featured attorneys from The Home Depot, Sage North America, United Parcel Service and NAMWOLF Advisory Council Member Sloane Peres, General Counsel at The Krystal Company. Not surprising, everyone stressed the importance of building strong relationships with legal counsel because in-house now can choose not only very smart attorneys, but attorneys they want to do business with. And, relationship building takes time, but in the end it’s the best way to get in the door of these corporate legal groups. The event ended with a Speed Networking event that allowed NAMWOLF firms to meet with several in-house counsel in attendance. Congratulations Wanda Morris, from the Home Depot and the ACC Georgia Chapter for putting on such a tremendous event. We hope it becomes an annual event where additional NAMWOLF firms are invited. We are so very confident that our firms have and will continue to deliver what corporations demand – high quality, and high value legal services in a myriad of legal practice areas. Thank you to The Home Depot and ACC Georgia Chapter for all you do in this space.
The above are two examples of companies and bar associations that back up their words with actions. On behalf of NAMWOLF and the many other associations in the legal profession that focus on enhancing diversity and inclusion in the legal space, we implore companies and bar associations around the U.S. to share best practices and continue doing events like the two above. It’s the best way to meet the many minority and women owned law firms that want the opportunity to compete for your business and win it based on the quality and value metrics that corporations use.
NAMWOLF salutes The Coca-Cola Company, ACC Georgia Chapter, The Home Depot and all of the other companies that took the time to participate and effectuate positive change in our profession. Diversity and Inclusion should be a celebration of what we have accomplished as well as what we need to accomplish one step at a time. This past week personally reminded me of both.