2021 Diversity for Success Seminar Agenda

Diversity for Success Seminar June 17-18, 2021

*Schedule and Speakers subject to change

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Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Time Program
3:00 p.m. Registration
4:00 p.m. Law Student Forum

Diverse law students are invited to engage in a straightforward and open discussion with a panel of attorneys on how to market themselves, what to expect in the profession, what to consider when designing a career path, and how to navigate obstacles unique to attorneys from underrepresented backgrounds.

Ebony S. Morris, Garrison Yount Forte & Mulcahy LLC, New Orleans, LA
Ricardo A. Woods, Burr & Forman LLP, Birmingham, AL
Vernon M. McFarland, Forman Watkins & Krutz LLP, Jackson, MS
Valerie Fontenot, Frilot LLC, New Orleans, LA
4:15 p.m. From Challenge to Opportunity: Charting Career Success as a Diverse Lawyer

As diverse lawyers advance in their careers, knowing how to create opportunity within one’s organization becomes increasingly important. Creating opportunities affords diverse lawyers more relationship capital, additional avenues for advancement, and more overall security in their careers. This program will equip participants to: Identify their most important stakeholders; Talk about what they do in an engaging manner; and Build relationships that create opportunities over time.

Tasneem K. Khokha, GrowthPlay, Chicago, IL
6:00 p.m. Networking Reception
7:30 p.m. Dine-Arounds (on your own)

Join fellow attendees for dine-arounds immediately following the networking reception. Selections must be made on or before June 15 so final counts can be sent to restaurants. Sign up for Wednesday.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Time Program
7:00 a.m. Registration and Continental Breakfast
8:00 a.m. Welcome and Introduction

Gary L. Howard, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP, Birmingham, AL 
Jaime Walker Luse, Tydings & Rosenberg LLP, Baltimore, MD
8:15 a.m. A Conversation About Racial Justice in America

Inequities related to racial justice in American are not new. But they were brought into sharp focus with the killing of George Floyd in May 2020. While there has been much talk since Floyd’s death, this panel will address ways in which we can move the dialogue into action so that the cycle of injustice can be broken.

Mohamed N. Bakry, Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin PC, Philadelphia, PA

A’Niya Robinson, ACLU of Louisiana, New Orleans, LA
Melba Pearson, Florida International University, Miami, FL
Will Snowden, The Juror Project, New Orleans, LA
9:20 a.m. O Canada! Cross-border Diversity Issues

The United States and Canada are close neighbors and allies. Both countries face issues related to diversity. The ways in which each country has dealt with these issues can serve as valuable learning tools for the other. Each country’s first woman of color national bar president will share insight on issues of diversity.

Ebony S. Morris, Garrison Yount Forte & Mulcahy LLC, New Orleans, LA

Paulette Brown, Locke Lord LLP, Princeton, NJ
Vivene Salmon, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Toronto, Canada
10:20 a.m. Refreshment Break
10:45 a.m. Removing Barriers for Those who have Mixed-visible or Non-visible Diversity

Often diversity issues are focused on visible traits such as gender or race. But some disabilities, sexual orientation, and gender identity are not readily visible to the eye. This panel will discuss how to create an environment where those with invisible diversity can operate at the highest level.

Ronna D. Kinsella, Glassman Wyatt Tuttle & Cox PC, Memphis, TN

Peter D. Blanck, Syracuse University College of Law, Syracuse, NY
Natalie R. Bolling, Vulcan Materials Company, Birmingham, AL
Angela C. Winfield, Law School Admission Council, Auburn, NY
11:45 a.m. Luncheon
1:00 p.m. A Spectrum of Bar Leaders

Hear from leaders of the national affinity bars on issues having an impact on their membership and learn how attorneys from marginalized groups can work together to address problems.

Douglas K. Burrell, Drew Eckl Farnham LLP, Atlanta GA

Wesley Bizzell, Altria Client Service LLC, National LGBT Bar Association, San Francisco, CA
Elia Diaz-Yaeger, Lugenbuhl Wheaton Peck Rankin & Hubbard, Hispanic National Bar Association, New Orleans, LA
Deidre Deculus Robert, National Bar Association, Louisiana Department of Transportation, Baton Rouge, LA
Edgar Chen, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), Washington, D.C.
2:10 p.m. Bias and the Juror in a Politicized World

Juror biases, assumptions, and expectations affect the outcome of trials. Given the evolving public discourse on topics such as race, policing, and other polarizing issues, how must we adapt our approaches to addressing juror biases in ways that take account of these issues? This session will consider how to best acknowledge and address biases via jury selection and jury debiasing efforts. We'll also discuss how the biases, assumptions, and expectations of attorneys may affect their perceptions and judgments of potential jurors. Throughout we'll also consider ways that the shift to virtual interactions and at least some legal proceedings may affect perceptions and judgments of attorneys and jurors.

Destiny Peery, Ph.D., The Red Bee Group, Chicago, IL
3:10 p.m. Refreshment Break
3:35 p.m. Earning the Right to be Called an Ally

There has been a lot of talk about diversity and helping underrepresented people to feel included enough to bring their true selves to work without fear of bias, judgment, or discrimination. But what does it take to create that environment? This panel will discuss ways organizations can provide institutional support for their employees. It will also discuss what individuals can do to show up in ways to empower their colleagues.

Colleen O’Brien, Scali Rasmussen PC, Los Angeles, CA

Loren Gesinsky, Seyfarth Shaw LLP, New York, NY
Mark Zemelman, Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., Oakland, CA
Sneha Desai, BASF, New York, NY
Keshia L. Rodriguez, American Freight, Delaware, OH
4:40 p.m. Diversity and Inclusion Committee Business Meeting

Open to all.
5:00 p.m. Adjourn/Networking Reception
7:30 p.m. Dine-Arounds (on your own)

Join fellow attendees for dine-arounds immediately following the networking reception. Selections must be made on or before June 15 so final counts can be sent to restaurants. Sign up for Thursday.

Friday, June 18, 2021

Time Program
7:00 a.m. Networking Breakfast
8:00 a.m. How to Conduct a Zoom Meeting Pitch

During the past year, virtually every aspect of the legal practice has been affected by the pandemic causing communications with courts and colleagues to take place through videoconferencing. In addition communications with clients and potential new clients must now take place through video conferencing. But when you can’t be face-to-face with a potential new client, how do you put your best foot forward to earn trust and to receive work?  This workshop will focus on best practices to use when making a videoconferencing "pitch" for business. Observe examples of pitches done well and others that fail. And hear from in-house counsel on what they believe works and doesn’t work to earn new business. Attend and be prepared to present your best "zoom pitch" at the DRI Diversity Expo.

Kenneth P. Williams, Segal McCambridge Singer & Mahoney, Southfield, MI
Madina Axelrod, Segal McCambridge Singer & Mahoney, New York, NY
Claire Eagan, Uber Technologies, Inc., Chicago, IL
Keshia L. Rodriguez, American Freight, Delaware, OH
Bonnie Lee Wolf, Nationwide Insurance, Columbus, OH
Ricardo A. Woods, Burr & Forman LLP, Mobile, AL

Virtual Corporate Expo

This year's VIRTUAL Corporate Expo, June 22-30, provides a unique opportunity for selected minority and women attorneys and their law firms to network and interview with corporations and insurance companies committed to diversifying their national outside counsel panels. Three attorneys per law firm may participate in the process. Participating corporations and insurance companies select which firms to network with based on criteria submitted by the law firms.

2021 Virtual Corporate Expo


DRI Cares


The DRI Diversity and Inclusion Committee is raising money in support of Covenant House New Orleans. For over 25 years, Covenant House New Orleans has provided a safe haven for homeless, runaway and at-risk youth ages 16-22. Located on the edge of the French Quarter, Covenant House offers shelter and care for neglected, abused, and exploited kids from all walks of life.

When youth walk through the doors of Covenant House, they are provided with a hot meal, clothes, a bed, caring staff, and much more. Individual medical care is provided on-site within 72 hours. Covenant House also develops a personalized case plan with each youth and works with them every step of the way to reunite them with family, when possible, or develop the tools they need to live independently.

By donating to Covenant House through our team, you are helping to rebuild and reunite families and offer young people the tools they need to build healthy, independent and productive lives. Please make a donation today and help us reach and surpass our fundraising goal!

To learn more about Covenant House, we encourage you to watch SHELTER from the Peabody Award-winning Renaud Brothers. This film takes a raw and in-depth look at the lives of residents at Covenant House New Orleans. Please click here to donate.

Registration and Hotel/Travel Information


DRI Member Pricing: $695
Non-Member Pricing: $795

DRI Member Pricing: $795
Non-Member Pricing: $895

DRI Member Pricing: $695
Non-Member Pricing: $695

Register by June 2, 2021 to receive the early registration rate. If you wish to have your name appear on the registration list and receive the course materials in advance, DRI must receive your registration by June 2, 2021. Registrations received after June 2, 2021 will be processed on-site.

*If your membership recently lapsed, please renew your membership prior to registering to ensure you receive your discounted member rate.


Hotel and Travel

A limited number of discounted hotel rooms have been made available at the Marriott New Orleans, 555 Canal Street, New Orleans, LA 70130. Take advantage of the group rate of $190.00 Single/Double in one of two ways:

The hotel block is limited and rooms and rates are available on a first-come, first-served basis. You must make reservations by June 2, 2021 to be eligible for the hotel’s group rate. Requests for reservations made after June 2, 2021 are subject to room and rate availability. A small portion of your room rate offsets the costs of the seminar.


Travel Discounts: DRI is pleased to announce that discounted air fares are available on various major air carriers for DRI seminar attendees. To receive these discounts, please contact Direct Travel Ltd., DRI’s official travel provider, at 800.840.0908. If you would like to have access to the DRI online travel booking tool, you must complete a Business Travel Profile form at www.dt.com. Within 24 business hours, you will receive information on accessing the system.