From right to left: Larry Gesner, Venable LLP; Kishka Ford McClain, MedStar Health; Stephanie DeLong, Venable LLP; Nora Garrote, Venable LLP; Rhonda Powell, Buzzfeed; Sherlyn Johanson, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP; and Kimberly Hulsey, Legal Executive/Government & Regulatory Affairs.
The Women's Bar Association's Dare to Make an Impact Conference: Advancing Women of Color, the first of its kind, was hosted by Venable LLP on April 10, 2019. The program kept the important conversation about diversity and inclusion in the legal profession moving in a positive direction. The event brought together lawyers in private practice and senior in-house and general counsel from DC-area law firms and corporations to share their views about breaking down barriers to diversity and inclusion in the legal profession and share best practices. The speakers, which included representatives from the financial services, media, technology, legal, and real estate industries, reinforced the pressing need to address the underrepresentation of women of color at the most senior levels of the profession. The need for intentional, measurable, and accountable steps to foster advancement opportunities was a recurring theme of the afternoon.
"This WBA event is an important reminder that law firms and legal departments must play an active role in creating opportunities for the advancement of women of color and other diverse professionals in their ranks. As core values of our firm, diversity and inclusion are critical to a work environment that creates opportunities for professional and economic advancement for all," said Nora Garrote, chair of Venable's Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
Larry Gesner, co-managing partner of Venable and a conference attendee, said, "It was great to see so many legal professionals come together to discuss how firms and companies can remove the barriers to entry and move the needle on the advancement of women lawyers of color. We look forward as a firm to our continued involvement in this important dialogue."