Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP
Headquarters: Columbia, South Carolina
CEO: Jim Lehman, Managing Partner
Her Credentials: MBA, finance, Argosy University; BBA, marketing, Texas Wesleyan University
Her Philosophy: I base all my leadership decisions in humility and humanity.
In a year of firsts for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Nelson Mullins, the firm hired me in March 2021 as its first director of diversity, equity and inclusion, and appointed Mike Brown as its first chief diversity partner. After holding conversations with firm management, we expanded the Executive Committee to nine voting members, which now includes three women and one Black attorney.
We persuaded the Executive Committee to approve a “Cultural Holiday,” which allows employees to take paid time to celebrate a day important in their culture; a DEI Credit Policy that allows attorneys to receive billing credit for time spent on DEI initiatives; and approval for pursuing Mansfield certification, granted to law firms that achieve equitable and inclusive workplaces. With my team’s coaching and mentoring, diverse attorneys met annual firm goals at the same rate as their non-diverse counterparts for the first time in firm history.
In 2022, our goals include achieving Mansfield certification, increasing the number of diverse attorneys meeting billing goals from 70 to 80 percent, expanding the Diversity Department and increasing its budget, and increasing the number of non-diverse partners participating in the DEI Committee or its initiatives. I am hopeful that, with buy-in from leadership and staff, we can keep pace with the positive results we began to see in 2021.