Law.com's "How I Made It" With Chief Diversity Officer, Tamika Walters
“How I Made It: 'A Successful DEI Leader Is a Good Listener Who Is Able to Understand Perspectives From Across the Spectrum of Job Titles and Demographics, 'Says Tamika Walters, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer at Burr & Forman,” Law.com
“I’ve had the opportunity to follow my passion and gain valuable perspective on promoting more inclusive environments—even outside of the legal profession—with experiences dating back to undergrad and beyond,” explains Walters.
Walters outlines her thoughts on what surprised her most in her experience in leading the firm’s key initiatives. She shared that she continues to be impressed with the level of buy-in and support from the firm’s executive committee and chief executive officer. “As the firm’s first CDIO, I did not know to what extent I might face resistance in rolling out new initiatives,” explains. “The firm’s leaders have been willing to try new strategies, put forth innovative ideas, and get directly involved in DEI projects. Having the trust and confidence of the firm’s leadership helps me to do my job more effectively, and it helps the fi rm as a whole to progress.”
She concludes by sharing the biggest challenge facing industry leaders today with respect to DEI initiatives is “that the most critical outcomes –hiring, work allocation, promotion, compensation – all come down to individual, often subjective, decisions. We can monitor the outcomes of these decisions, but it is impossible to be in everyone’s head or in every room where the decisions are being made. For this reason, training and education are at the core of DEI initiatives. We must attempt to shape hundreds of minds into making these decisions fairly, equitably and without bias.”
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