Inajo Davis Chappell
Partner; Group Leader of the Nonprofit Practice Group; Chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee
Education: JD, Columbia Law School; BA, Yale University
Company Name: Ulmer & Berne LLP
Company CEO: Scott P. Kadish, Managing Partner
Company Headquarters Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Number of Employees: 305
Words you live by: “To whom much is given, much is required” –Luke 12:48; and Authenticity
Who is your personal hero? My maternal grandmother
What book are you reading? Promise Me, Dad by Joe Biden
What was your first job? Youth Reporter, WEWS, Channel 5, Cleveland (Scripps)
Favorite charity: Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Ohio
Interests: Piano playing, swimming, and scuba diving
Family: John R. Chappell (Husband)
This Is a Call to Action
What an honor to be selected as a Black Leader Worth Watching and to have the opportunity to write this essay. To be visible to the watchful eye carries with it the responsibility of engaging in conduct worthy of note and saying something worth listening to. I am spirit-led and believe that every honor, accolade, and award is a blessing from the God I serve.
So what would a watchful God want me to say?
First, it is not about me and never has been. It is about the individuals I mentor, the volunteer work I do to improve the lives of others, and the commitment I have to live my life in a way that might inspire others to be their best selves and to change the world.
My service as an elections official at my local board of elections over the past 13 years (including three prior presidential election cycles) has taught me some invaluable lessons — that voter suppression, racism, sexism, misogyny, and otherism are rampant. It is troubling that the very things that run counter to principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion are being embraced and displayed at the highest levels of leadership in our country. It is sad and shameful.
It is deeply concerning that the world we are living in is moving in the wrong direction in a way that adversely impacts people of color and all of those who value justice, fairness, and truth. We are witnessing the resurgence of white supremacists, violent militias, and other extremist groups, who have stepped forward boldly to promote intolerance and hatred. But, we cannot stand by and just watch
We need some truth-telling and bold action to effect a course correction. I am committed to working to change the division, polarization, and hate we are witnessing in our country. This is a call to action. We all must renew our commitment to advancing the goals of diversity, equity, and inclusion; achieving fundamental fairness; and making racial and social justice a reality in our world. I look forward to engaging with others to contribute time, talent, and treasure toward the cause. Watch us change the world!