Leading the charge on DE&I – embracing intersectional inclusion

Author Sarah Ingwersen
June 15, 2014

I recently attended the Corporate Counsel & Compliance Exchange and sat in one of the thought-provoking panel sessions, a discussion on ‘Leading the charge on DE&I – embracing intersectional inclusion’.

Expertly moderated by Flora R. – Head of Legal EMEA – Pure Storage and featuring esteemed panellists: Kate Tyers – Director of Corporate – Legal Micro Focus, Kaelo Ajuluchukwu – Associate General Counsel, EME, Infrastructure, LE, Security – Meta and Nkilika Amobi – Head of Compliance (UK) – Consumer, Private & Business Banking – Standard Chartered Bank

The key takeaways for General Counsel

  • Intersectionality is an intellectual approach to an individual’s characteristics that create (or don’t create) privilege
  • Education and training is the beginning of the journey when discussing DE&I intersectionality. Open dialogue where there is a safe space to discuss experiences can help with training
  • Unconscious bias training can also assist with addressing issues – people often aren’t aware of the biases that they hold
  • Companies should look to have tangible targets for recruitment processes so that their commitment to DE&I can be measured
  • It’s a business imperative that DE&I needs to be the responsibility of those at the top of the company to drive behaviours in third parties they engage with. In-house counsel can be culture-shifters and make those changes across the board
  • In-house counsel have the best opportunity to influence DE&I internally as they criss-cross across the company. As lawyers they are uniquely placed to influence culture by conversations and by conduct. How you act as a sponsor and how you help create awareness creates allyship

Practical takeaways

  • If you are a hiring manager, be reflective and challenge yourself on whether the candidate shortlist is representative of the demographic of the city that you’re recruiting in.
  • Lift as you climb; if you are a leader, give more junior lawyers the opportunity to deputise and step up.
  • Sponsorship/mentoring is crucial, especially where younger lawyers joining the workforce struggle to find others to identify with. Hold the door open to encourage them to step forward.

If you would like to discuss the topic further or would like hiring or career advice, please reach out to Sarah Ingwersen.

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