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The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) is the world's largest organization serving the professional and business interests of attorneys who practice in the legal departments of corporations, associations, nonprofits and other private-sector organizations around the globe.

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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Vision Statement

We strive to have a positive impact on the legal profession, the organizations we serve, and our communities. We will achieve our DEI goals by:

  1. supporting and empowering members of our profession to be their authentic selves,
  2. increasing diversity representation in our membership and the profession,
  3. serving as a hub for ongoing education, awareness, and action, and
  4. identifying and engaging allies in this work.

dei strategic task force

In 2021, ACC NCR hired a DEI consultant to develop a strategic plan.  To implement the plan across all aspects of the chapter, a Task Force was formed in early 2022, comprised of the members of the chapter board of directors and representatives of the chapter’s Corporate Scholars Program, Leadership Academy, and DEI Committee.  

DEI Pipeline Efforts

The chapter operates a diversity pipeline internship program which places local law students from diverse backgrounds in legal departments for summer internship.  For more information, see Corporate Scholars Program.  In addition, ACC NCR supports two Street Law Legal Diversity Pipeline Programs and has begun to collaborate with CLEO.

ACC NCR Racial & Social Justice Challenge

Accept the Challenge!  Join the many members and sponsors who signed up in 2021 and commit to expanding your diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts and to fighting for racial and social justice within your communities. If you haven’t joined the fight, suit up; if you’re doing good work already, do more. 

As lawyers, we are officers of the court, members of the bar, and defenders of the rule of law.  As leaders in our legal departments, law firms, and/or organizations, as well as the communities where we live and work, we have the opportunity to have an impact and inspire others to do the same.  As such, ACC NCR challenges each member, member organization, sponsor, and sponsor representative to play an active role as a forceful advocate for racial and social justice.

How can you fulfill the Challenge?  One option is to start with the resources on this DEI webpage!  Join an affinity group, participate in the USF DEI in the Workplace Certificate Program, watch the 2021 DEI Annual Conference, and read the survey results, list of observances, and briefing sheet and put what you learn into practice!  Need more ideas?  Examples of personal actions; diversity, equity, and inclusion activities for organizations; and community racial and social justice initiatives are listed here.  You do not need to do them all or even any of them - they are ideas only.  Please submit new ideas to be added to the list to diversityandinclusion@accnationalcapitalregion.com.

Sign up at https://cvent.me/QqyXmQ.

DEI Committee

The DEI Committee is composed of three related yet distinct subcommittees:

  • Advocates & Allies Subcommittee 
  • Leadership Development Subcommittee
  • Programming Subcommittee

Collectively, they lead the following efforts:

Results of the 2021 DEI Surveys

Thank you again to everyone who responded to the surveys circulated last summer and to the ACC NCR DEI Metrics & Measurements Subcommittee for their work on the surveys and the reports.  The results have been compiled and we are pleased to share the following reports:

Both offer a summary of responses to the key questions and key take-aways.  The In-House Counsel Survey Report also includes recommendations for GCs and CLOs.

Affinity Groups & Events

The ACC NCR DEI Allies & Advocates Subcommittee is committed to increasing the visibility of the chapter’s affinity groups and assisting with the expansion of affinity group activities.  Our current groups are:

  • AAPI Affinity Group
  • Black & African American Affinity Group
  • Café con Leche Affinity Group
  • LGBTQ+ Affinity Group
  • Young Lawyers Group

Click on Upcoming Events for their networking and other events. 

Interested in one or more new groups?  The Allies & Advocates Subcommittee is here to help you organize and create one!  The great news – It takes little time, and the process is simple to invite members to come together and connect!  To express your interest in getting an affinity group get started, please email diversityandinclusion@accnationalcapitalregion.com.   

Observances

As part of ACC NCR’s efforts to promote knowledge and awareness of the important months, days, and events observed by our chapter members and the communities in which we live and work, we will periodically distribute a list of those occurring in a specified timeframe.  Click here to see the current list.

Please note that the observances were compiled by the DEI Committee and are not comprehensive. The short descriptions of the significance of the observances, and the associated links to websites that can provide further information, are solely for ease of reference. ACC NCR is not affiliated with these websites and has not vetted the information for accuracy or completion. We invite chapter members who would like to propose inclusion of an observance on a future list or who believe that a listed observance should be represented differently to share their suggestions and comments by email to observances@accnationalcapitalregion.com so that they can be considered for subsequent updates to the list.

DEI Briefing Sheets

Over the past year, the members of the DEI Leadership Development Subcommittee have put together Briefing Sheets on some important DEI issues that arise in the workplace. Each Briefing Sheet contains a description of and examples illustrating the issue, several resources you can read or watch to gain a better understanding, suggestions of ways you can reflect on what you are learning and actions you can take, and cautions about impediments that may hinder success. The authors of each Briefing Sheet are in-house counsel who are committed to doing their part to foster a more inclusive professional community, but they are not DEI experts. In compiling these resources, they have explored and drawn upon existing research by experts.  Here are the first two Briefing Sheets:

Over the next few months, we will roll out the other Briefing Sheets in this series, which address: De-biasing; Difficult Conversations; Emotional Intelligence and Inclusion; and Inclusive and Equitable Recruiting. They are not designed to be sequential: start with whichever topic, aspect, or sections of a Briefing Sheet that makes the most sense in your specific organization and wherever and however implementation will be most effective and efficient.

The Briefing Sheets are part of a larger foundation that we are committed to continue building over time to support the ACC NCR membership. They are not designed or intended to be “one and done” or quick solutions that will magically serve as a “DEI checklist” to be followed and then set aside. These tools and resources are intended to serve as the initial guideposts and compasses to help you find the right direction in which to strive. We hope and expect that they will lead to additional inquiries and conversations with peers in your network, colleagues at your company and trusted advisors. Indeed, we are so early in our journey that we should expect the Briefing Sheets will continue to evolve as we get smarter, more efficient, and learn more effective ways to reach our stated DEI objectives. We will review and, as needed, revise the Briefing Sheets on a regular basis as we learn and grow in our DEI efforts. And, since we are all on this journey toward building more inclusive environments together, we welcome your edits, suggestions, comments, or ideas for new content via email at diversityandinclusion@accnationalcapitalregion.com.

USF DEI in the Workplace Certificate Program

In December, the ACC NCR Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee shared information about the University of South Florida Muma College of Business "Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace Certificate Program."  The goal of the certificate program is to help companies become more inclusive by imparting knowledge and developing tools to perform organizational self-assessment and plans for inclusive change. The program consists of seven, two-hour modules.  All content is pre-recorded, available free of charge to anyone.

In addition, USF offers a DEI in the Workplace Certificate for those who complete program (seven modules and quizzes) with a passing grade by December 31, 2022 (extended from the original deadline of March 31), and pay a $99 fee.  For more information, click here.

The DEI Committee has received multiple requests to facilitate participation in a program like the Self to Systems program and we received sufficient interest in attending one or more programs to further engage with the USF program content.  We are planning a program for April 1.  Save the date and more details including a link to register will be circulated soon (annual relationship sponsors will be invited to send up to two representatives to the program; Diamond may send three).   

Recent Programs:

Second Annual DEI Conference (Nov. 12, 2021)

GC Roundtable: Walking the Walk on Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (April 16, 2021)

DEI Committee Leadership

DEI Committee

  • Constantine Athanas, Co-Chair, Executive Vice President & General Counsel, DAVIS Construction
  • Veronique Staco, Co-Chair, In-House Counsel, MPR Associates

Advocates & Allies Subcommittee

  • Elizabeth Jones, Co-Chair, Compliance Director, Cambridge International Systems
  • Tina Rao, Co-Chair, Assistant General Counsel - Contracts, NRECA

Leadership Development Subcommittee

  • Laura Jones, Co-Chair, Senior Director - Solutions & Commercial Law, Avaya
  • Mona Mahoney, Co-Chair, General Counsel, M&T Realty Capital Corporation

Programming Subcommittee

  • Shereefat Balogun, Co-Chair, Chief Legal and Compliance Counsel, SECU Credit Union
  • Te-Mika Warner, Co-Chair, Senior Director & Deputy General Counsel, Fannie Mae

ACC

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