How does your role in London contribute to the firm’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion?
I assist from a marketing perspective in executing Sidley’s efforts to further advance and increase diversity and inclusion across the firm’s European offices and within the legal profession as a whole. I strongly believe that having lawyers and staff from all backgrounds enhances Sidley’s ability to serve its clients. I work closely with Human Resources, the Diversity & Inclusion Committee, and Committee on Retention and Promotion of Women to help develop our commitment to diversity, inclusion, and belonging. I work with our internal departments, such as creative and writing, to assist with initiatives and programmes to attract, retain, and promote a diverse workforce. It’s hugely rewarding to actively contribute to the firm’s efforts in this regard.
“Proud to be a mum.”In your opinion, is there anything else law firms should do to help create a more diverse and inclusive environment for the Black community within the legal profession?
There’s always room for improvement, and I think law firms could do this in a number of ways. I have heard it said that “Talent is everywhere, opportunity is not” — law firms should expand the scope of their reach when it comes to recruiting. By diversifying recruiting practices, law firms will automatically produce a more diverse culture. It’s also important to not only attract diverse talent, but retain it too — and that diversity should be reflected at all levels. In addition, I think it is imperative to recognise and celebrate differences — something Sidley is very good at. This not only creates a more diverse and inclusive environment, but it also increases productivity and creativity. In essence, it goes beyond opening the doors to a law firm; it also instils a sense of belonging in the firm’s culture and environment.
What does celebrating Black History Month mean to you personally?
For me, Black History Month is a celebration of our ancestors and their excellence, giving us motivation to always strive for the greatness that lies beyond our current situation, a sense of community, and the task to build better paths for future generations.
Countless black people dedicated their lives to change, and for me, that reaffirms that as a proud black woman, I have no excuse to not impact my community. I strive to match the energy of those that came before me and leave a positive impression, especially for my children. One way I try to do that is through my member role at the Alternative Learning Trust, which was established by The Limes College and has for many years supported children who have been excluded from mainstream schools and have social, emotional, and mental health needs, both with and without education, health, and care plans. I was also recently honoured to receive the Freedom of the City of London at the Guildhall, which I hope will also serve as a platform from which I can effect further change.
Black History Month should encourage us all to recognise our past, evaluate our present, and plan for our future.