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Not Your Average In-House Inclusion and Diversity Conversation

Mary Rechtoris

Welcoming diverse perspectives is beneficial for teams, organizations, and industries. Put frankly, diverse teams are better problem solvers. They are more creative and more engaged. Diverse management teams have 19 percent higher company revenues, which may largely be thanks to greater innovation. After all, innovators are major assets on any company’s journey to ensure long-term, sustainable success.

I’m sure you’ve heard all this before. Many of us are well aware of these benefits. But beyond the many obvious “whys” for building more diverse teams, there is a harder question to answer: How? How do you effectively diversify your organization? It’s a challenge we want to help answer with our new webinar series, Inclusion in Action.

The series will unite individuals dedicated to driving inclusion, diversity, and belonging efforts. Relativity Community and Engagement Lead Johnathan Hill will moderate the series’ first webinar on May 13. The conversation will share how in-house leaders grew IDB efforts throughout their organizations.

Speakers include:

  • Chris Campbell, Senior Counsel, Litigation, Baker Hughes
  • Bianca Ford, Senior Director and Counsel, Global Head of Investigation, Otis
  • Mey Ly-Ortiz, Managing Counsel, Labor and Employment, Toyota
  • Miguel Molina, Legal Counsel, Hewlett Packard and Enterprise

Here’s a sneak peek into topics we’ll discuss during the webinar.

Defining Your Why

Understanding your purpose for driving diversity, inclusion, and belonging efforts is imperative. This purpose will serve as your north star for any programs you launch and partnerships you forge.

Many members of our community are passionate about inclusion and diversity efforts, including Maribel Rivera, senior director for ACEDS. For Maribel, her why encompasses who she is as a professional and an individual. Maribel won the first-ever Relativity Inclusion Breakthrough Innovation Award last year. The award celebrates an individual working to create a more equitable industry, organization, and/or local community where everyone feels like they belong.

Sound like someone you know? Nominate yourself or a peer.

In a Stellar Women interview, Maribel said: “I did not have a lot of opportunities and mentorship when I was growing up. I came from background of domestic violence. So, I was always giving back because I knew there was another little girl like me out there in the world who needed somebody. I made sure that I could do that for someone else because I knew how important it was.”

Maribel’s why is her purpose for making inclusion, diversity, and belonging (IDB) a priority. This comes to fruition in her work through ACEDS’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Awareness, and Action Committee. She also works with the Coalition for the Homeless, The Female Collaborative, and Life Preserves Inc., an organization dedicated to ending human trafficking.

Every individual’s why for passionately pursuing IDB are unique. But they are all rooted in a common thread of compassion for their fellow human and changing the status quo for the betterment of their organization, industry, and society.

Embedding IDB into an Organization’s Fabric

To make IDB a priority, teams need individuals like Maribel, Chris, Bianca, Mey, and Miguel. Encouraging their passion for IDB is the first step toward making this an enterprise-wide effort.

For individuals why are looking to launch IDB programs but don’t know where to start, the speakers will share some tips, including:

  • Find colleagues and peers who share your passion.
  • Map out how the program could take form.
  • Identify your organization’s decision makers.
  • Pinpoint potential barriers and strategize on combatting those.
  • Seek an executive sponsor.

During the webinar, the speakers will go into depth on how they navigated the above steps and challenges, and where their organizations are in their inclusion, diversity, and belonging journey. This is an evolution. Organizations are always learning. Therefore, it is also important to look outside your organization and converse with industry peers to see what has been fruitful at their organizations, as well.

Turning Talk into Action

After defining your (and your organization’s) why, it is time to see those thoughts turn into actions. This can occur in both internal and external programs and those programs can range in scope.

One example is Relativity Fellows, a program we launched in 2020 that welcomes individuals from overlooked communities to learn with us and get hands-on experience with our platform. The inspiration and mission behind our Fellows program harkens back to a quote from Leila Janah: “Talent is equally distributed, but opportunity is not."

Through the program, we aim for every Fellow to obtain a job in the legal tech industry, whether with Relativity or our partners who have also committed to this effort.

Additionally, many companies have found value in forming community resource groups (CRGs), also known as employee resource groups. Like diverse teams, having CRGs provide major benefits for organizations, including enhanced employee engagement, more professional development opportunities, higher retention, an increased ability to recruit more diverse talent, and greater innovation.

Caring about inclusion, diversity, and belonging goes beyond numbers and benefits. It comes down to caring about your neighbors and building a more equitable world. These programs make a difference, and we can learn from other leaders in our industry on how to make change happen.

Register for Not Your Average DEI Webinar

Mary Rechtoris is a senior producer on the brand team at Relativity, where she's always collaborating and looking for new ways to develop and socialize stories.