CEO OF THE YEAR FINALISTS
General Manager and Chief Engineer
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power
As the nation’s largest municipal utility, Los Angeles Department of Water & Power’s vision for diversity, equity, and inclusion spans the workforce, workplace and marketplace. General manager Martin L. Adams believes that the future of the utility industry includes a culture where employees and customers feel seen, heard and valued for their unique backgrounds and perspectives. Under his leadership, LADWP is prepared to set the standard for how to infuse DEI into policy making decisions, infrastructure investments and customer service.
In June 2020, following demonstrations calling for racial justice throughout the country, Adams demonstrated the importance of government transparency through proving access to all stakeholders and materials needed for a comprehensive review of LADWP policies, practices and programs. His leadership allowed the racial equity team to capture input from a variety of stakeholders, including department leadership, staff, employee resource groups, and labor.
Brasfield & Associates
Giovanna Brasfield is an accomplished DEI advocate with over 18 years of experience in leadership consulting and DEI program development, training, education and outreach for the construction industry and construction-related trades. Her mission is to advocate for the underrepresented and often overlooked minorities for jobs and contracts. She works with organizations to go beyond DEI talk by taking actionable steps to create culturally diverse, equitable and inclusive workplaces.
Brasfield serves as a resource for the construction industry by advocating for others and thinking of ways to maximize the inclusion of the workforce, small businesses, and youth. She meets regularly with organizational leaders throughout the state to discuss diversity and inclusion initiatives related to member recruitment and retention; workforce; barriers to entry; education; external outreach; marketing, branding, and communication. As a consultant, she assists civil and commercial contractors in developing strategic initiative plans to engage the local community.
Founder, President & CEO
O2EPCM, Inc. dba O2 Engineering, Projects & Construction Management
Omone Livingston is an experienced civil & environmental engineer with 30 years of diverse design, engineering and construction sector experience. Despite the challenges of being one of few African American female engineers, she started her company which is now one of the top and award-winning small businesses in Southern California.
As an African American woman and an executive of O2EPCM, Inc., Livingston is committed to DE&I. She ensured that DE&I was a part of the foundation of her company during its inception. Her company, as a company-wide diverse and inclusion company recruit employees that reflect our community we serve. As one of the driving forces for increasing competitive edge and growth in the engineering and construction industry, O2EPCM, Inc. uses diversity and inclusion as a driving force in the company’s strategy to nurture a diverse workplace in which everyone feels comfortable and welcome.
DR. TANA M. SESSION
CEO & Founder
TMS Business Solutions, Inc.
Dr. Tana M. Session is the CEO & founder of TanaMSession.com, a certified Women Minority Business Enterprise (WMBE) with over 30 years of HR experience. Dr. Session specializes in cultural engineering, facilitated experiences and leadership & organizational development. She has spent 10 years as the top HR executive for both domestic and international organizations where she led various change initiatives. Her experience has enabled her to embed her passion for DEI in everything she develops and implements.
Dr. Session has partnered with hi-tech start-ups and fast-growth companies as well as McDonald’s, Xerox, Creed Perfumery, Interscope Geffen A&M Records, Spotify, Federal Executive Board, Department of Health & Human Services, Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, NASA and many other multi-national for-profit & not for profit organizations and government agencies. She has helped these companies improve their culture and taught them how to implement DE&I initiatives to better their workplaces and business.
EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR FINALISTS
KAREN A. CLARK
Senior Vice President and Multicultural Strategies and Business Development Manager
City National Bank
Karen A. Clark serves as City National Bank’s multicultural strategy manager and is considered one of the key drivers of the bank’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. In her role, she works with internal partners from different departments across the bank to help solidify City National’s inclusion efforts, and manages initiatives through the bank’s 11 Colleague Resource Groups, such as the Women’s Network, LGBTQ Alliance, Black Colleague Alliance and Asian American Network.
As a result of Clark’s solid leadership of the Multicultural Strategy team, the bank’s Colleague Resource Groups saw a surge in membership and activity in 2020, including a 35% increase in membership in the Black Colleague Alliance and the Women’s Network’s hosting of more than 30 events. Participation in events hosted by the bank’s Colleague Resource Groups increased by 150% over the past year, even with the majority of City National’s colleague working from home.
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Global Chair
Reed Smith LLP
John Iino is a proven change agent, helping individuals and organizations achieve excellence through his experience as a global law firm leader, diversity professional and executive coach. He serves as Reed Smith’s diversity, equity & inclusion global chair, leading Reed Smith’s efforts to sponsor and achieve diversity and inclusion in the legal community. Reed Smith is a global law firm with over 3,000 employees in 30 offices around the world.
Iino, a certified diversity professional from the Institute of Diversity Certification, is the creator and co-host of the critically acclaimed podcast, “Inclusivity Included: Powerful Personal Stories.” He is also a sought after speaker. In addition to numerous internal Reed Smith trainings and webinars for Reed Smith’s Racial Equity Action Plan and other internal trainings, he has delivered presentations about DE&I as a speaker or panelist at a large number of events.
Partner and Chief Strategy Officer
GHJ partner and chief strategy officer Mari-Anne Kehler, CDP (Certified Diversity Professional), leads GHJ’s strategic direction and growth strategy, including spearheading GHJ’s diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA) strategy. As GHJ’s first non-accounting partner, Kehler drives key growth initiatives and leads the Strategic Vision Committee.
In 2022, Kehler joined GHJ’s Executive Committee because of her ability to drive growth and transform challenges into opportunities. Her leadership in critical times has been key to GHJ’s success. Throughout the challenges and changes that occurred during the past two years, Kehler helped the firm quickly pivot and adapt existing strategies around DEIA, culture and growth to better serve our clients and reach prospective clients. A grand master strategist, Kehler positioned GHJ to come out ahead of the curve and grow during a time when many companies were suffering losses.
Head of Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging
Christina Shareef is head of diversity, inclusion, and belonging at Reddit. She has spent her career helping companies and individuals reach their potential as a global HR leader who specializes in building inclusive workplaces and corporate value through market advantage, leveraging employees’ unique skills and perspectives, employee engagement, and workplace culture. Throughout her 15 years in the HR and legal fields, both internationally and domestically, Shareef has developed purposeful people strategies, while serving as an advisor, consultant, and trusted business partner.
Shareef approaches her work with the understanding that each of us – “every one of us” – has ample opportunities to learn from, engage with, and support someone who is different from ourselves. She found ways to make DE&I part of the Reddit’s DNA early in her tenure with the company, increasing representation of Black and Latinx employees within her first year.
COMMUNITY IMPACT ADVOCATE OF THE YEAR FINALISTS
Managing Partner, Los Angeles Office
Duane Morris LLP
Cyndie M. Chang is the managing partner of Duane Morris’ Los Angeles office and a member of the firm’s governing Partners Board, the youngest and first Asian American female to serve in that role in the firm’s over 100 year history and one of the few Asian American women that serve in upper law firm management at AmLaw 100 firms.
Chang’s passion lies in diversity and women initiatives and community service. She has held significant leadership roles in organizations and nonprofits that advance diversity and professional development in the community. She is a past president of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) in 2016-17, which serves as the national voice of the APA legal community. Her reputation within NAPABA and the legal bar community is her work in advancing diverse women in the profession.
Although Gwen Gray has been with HNTB a relatively short time, she is widely recognized and respected for her commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. She quickly stepped up to help lead HNTB’s significant commitment to DE&I, nationally and locally in Los Angeles. Taking personal responsibility for making success happen is an important element of HNTB’s vision. Gray is a positive example of how everyone at HNTB can commit to taking positive actions toward making HNTB the leader in these areas.
Gray’s expertise and leadership is not only recognized within HNTB, but by her peers. In February 2022, she received the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials’ “COMTO SoCal Legacy Award” for her service and advocacy for employment diversity, inclusion and contracting opportunities in the multimodal transportation industry. Gray lives the mission to eliminate barriers to maximum participation for minority individuals, veterans, people with disabilities and certified MWDBE businesses.
STEVEN LEWIS, FAIA, NOMAC
Steven Lewis has leveraged his leadership role as a principal at ZGF to create a culture of DEI through facilitating dialogues, hosting education programs, actively recruiting and mentoring Black architects, using his network to form partnerships with BIPOC design firms, developing internship and scholarship programs for BIPOC student architects, and leading ZGF’s JEDI Committee – a committee incepted after the murder of George Floyd and subsequent BLM protests.
During this turbulent time of racial reckoning in the US, ZGF looked to Lewis as an expert in DEI as it relates to the architecture industry, for guidance on a path forward. As the firmwide leader of ZGF’s JEDI Committee, Lewis has banded together the firm’s six offices to make a commitment to partnership with BIPOC firms. Under his guidance, each office has developed relationships with three black-owned architecture firms each with the goal of developing future opportunities for partnership.
Enterprise Bank & Trust
Born in Mexico, John Murillo migrated from Tijuana in third grade, and his connection to the Hispanic community allows him to serve as an advocate for diversity both at Enterprise and in the business community of Los Angeles. He has deep roots in advocating for DEI efforts in the financial services industry.
Throughout Murillo’s career, he has embraced the diversity and inclusion within the organization and has made a commitment to putting people in decision-making and influential roles who represent the makeup of the communities Enterprise serves. He brings an intentional focus on the human element of banking, and a collaborative and consultative approach to how business is conducted not only internally but also with customers, clients and prospects. Murillo believes that diversity and inclusion includes the various life experiences and challenges that allow for diverse contributions to collaborative work.
COMPANY OF THE YEAR (ENTERPRISE) FINALISTS
BANK OF AMERICA
Bank of America prides itself on being a diverse and inclusive workplace, firmly believing all employees should be treated with respect, live free of discrimination and be able to bring their whole selves to work. There are human resources programs in place to ensure equality in everything from compensation and benefits to training and career development.
For pay equity, teammates in comparable positions saw compensation received by women, on average, was greater than 99% of that received by men; and compensation received by people of color was, on average, greater than 99% of that received by teammates who are not people of color. The bank has also developed local hiring initiatives such as its Pathways to create a diverse talent pipeline for the company. Due to the program’s success, the company committed to making an additional 10,000 hires by 2025 from LMI communities.
Citi is committed to a diverse and inclusive workforce built on the foundation that all employees treat one another with respect and dignity and that everyone feels comfortable coming to work as their whole self each day.
One way Citi supports these efforts is through its Employee Network chapters, which serve as local branches of its Affinities and are initiated and led by employees. They offer professional development, mentoring, networking and community engagement opportunities to members and colleagues. Consistent with Citi’s inclusive culture, Employee Network chapters are open to all Citi employees, whether or not they identify with a particular Affinity. Each of the company’s nine Affinities is co-chaired by a member of the CEO’s leadership team. In 2020, the number of Citi’s global employee network chapters increased to 198 chapters (from 179 in 2019) with approximately 44,000 colleagues globally.
EAST WEST BANK
East West Bank is committed to promoting diversity in employment and advancement. In fact, East West Bank has had an affirmative action plan in place for 20 years. This policy of non-discrimination applies to all levels of employment and employment practices. The bank is committed to building a diverse and inclusive environment where employees are valued and respected.
East West Bank is likely the only bank in California with a board of directors that has representation from all of the three largest ethnic groups in California, i.e., African-American, Asian, and Hispanic. Of the bank’s nine directors, one is African-American, four are Asian, two are Caucasian, and two are Hispanic. Additionally, three of the bank’s nine directors are women. East West Bank’s CEO and CFO are both first generation immigrants and naturalized U.S. citizens who were appointed to their respective positions in their early 30s.
OPTUM, PACIFIC WEST
Optum is committed to health equity and treating every patient, family, and community it serves with care and respect. The company stands against racism and any form of bias that leads to unequal health outcomes. Creating a workplace environment that ensures all team members and patients are recognized, diverse perspectives and backgrounds are valued, and where everyone feels a deep sense of belonging is a top priority for Optum.
In the wake of George Floyd’s murder, Optum moved to action, holding two facilitated sessions with Dr. Amar Desai, president and CEO, Optum Pacific West on “How to be an Anti-Racist” and created a safe space for dialogue on an all-employee townhall. In addition, ensuring equity for working parents by encouraging flex schedules and respecting work/life commitments is a priority with over $6 million in funds provided for backup childcare during the pandemic.
COMPANY OF THE YEAR (LARGE) FINALISTS
Creating and maintaining a culture of inclusion is a top priority at Colliers. Championing diversity and inclusion is not a commitment the company takes lightly. We pride ourselves in attracting, developing, and retaining top, diverse talent from around the world. As part of that, we are on a progressive journey to foster an environment in which everyone at Colliers, regardless of background, gender, ethnicity, age, religion, sexual orientation, or experiences feels respected and comfortable bringing their authentic selves to do their best work.
Colliers is committed to establishing processes to continually assess and track its diversity and inclusion progress, understanding and confronting unconscious biases, creating a trusting environment where meaningful, complex, and sometimes difficult conversations can take place, and establishing relationships with external organizations to help management learn best practices. Colliers also makes adaptations and accommodations for its professionals and clients with disabilities.
NORTHWESTERN MUTUAL LOS ANGELES
The approach to developing intercultural skills within the leadership team at Northwestern Mutual Los Angeles combines ongoing education, active listening, thoughtful resources, and structured support to foster solutions. All leaders within the firm have completed an Intercultural Development Inventory Assessment and undergone an analysis of their results to understand their level of intercultural competence. Following this analysis, the leadership team developed a plan to drive systemic change.
Northwestern Mutual Los Angeles’ plan includes the continued development of its five diversity councils (Black, Latino, Asian, Women and LGBTQIA+). As allies to the councils, leaders build their capacity to bridge cultural differences. Cultural education resources are tailored to unique learning styles: visual, auditory, and digital. Resources include documentaries, books, articles, podcasts, guest speakers, and thought leaders. In addition to its goals for increasing diverse leaders and advisors, each diversity council also sets three of their own measurable annual goals.
RSM US LLP
RSM places a high value on DE&I. Internally, RSM invests over $3 million annually, has five full-time resources and has over 200 professionals serving dual roles executing the company’s Culture, Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) programming. Throughout RSM’s business practices, the commitment encompasses key pillars of community, diversity, ethics and sustainability.
In fiscal 2020, RSM made a commitment to underrepresented populations through partnerships with three diverse professional organizations, namely NABA, ALPFA and Ascend. These partnerships advance education, professional development and opportunity for minorities entering the accounting profession. With support from the RSM US Foundation, the firm awarded scholarships of $5,000 each to 12 minority students to support their undergraduate studies and nurture their goal of pursuing careers in public accounting or business finance disciplines. The firm also launched RSM Courageous Conversations as part of the commitment to the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion pledge.
COMPANY OF THE YEAR (MID-SIZED) FINALISTS
Akerman believes a culture of inclusivity is a key driver of innovation. The firm values the different vantage points that individuals of many backgrounds bring to complex and sophisticated work, and its teams and leadership are both reflections of our belief that collaboration and inclusivity is embraced and encouraged.
Sixty percent of the firm’s C-level executives are women and all play an invaluable role in managing the firm. The firm’s Social Impact program is driven by a need to help solve critical social issues within its communities and across the legal industry. Akerman collaborates with clients, community organizations, and other industry stakeholders to advance meaningful change and create better opportunities for the future. This includes initiatives such as Philanthropy and Community Engagement, to further state a commitment of firm resources to achieve maximum impact in the community.
Inclusion, Equity and Diversity (I, E & D) is at the center of Prologis’ culture. The company embraces diverse talent, values each member of the team, promotes inclusive leadership, and celebrates its differences.
Last year, Prologis launched its I&D internal webpage with an I&D web series and information about the company approach and commitment to fostering a global, inclusive culture where its differences help drive innovation. Employees are encouraged to share their own stories, suggestions and ideas to promote inclusion and sense of belonging in each of Prologis’ offices. People leaders are encouraged to share the I&D web series episodes with their teams and brainstorm three action items to implement in their groups. The company also supports different scholarships in colleges and associations to bring diverse talent to the real estate industry, with Prologis employees committed to becoming brand ambassadors and mentors.
SHAWMUT DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION
Shawmut’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is simple – the firm works to create an inclusive environment where all employees can contribute to their fullest potential. Shawmut believes that fostering an environment where everyone, from any background, can do their best work is not only the right thing to do, but something that is at the core of the firm’s culture.
Shawmut’s diversity work began in 2010. In 2014, the firm reached a set point; it recognized there were areas where it had more work to do, and it drove the firm to be more strategic, ultimately leading it to gain more traction over the past few years. CEO Les Hiscoe declared DEI a business imperative, and Shawmut created a Diversity Leadership Council (DLC) to drive its work, partnering with Deloitte Human Capital and Catalyst to create a strategic framework and path forward – including how to operationalize the work.
SKADDEN, ARPS, SLATE, MEAGHER & FLOM LLP
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP recognizes that diversity, equity and inclusion are fundamental to its success. The firm’s global DEI mission is to hire, develop and empower highly performing attorneys whose diverse backgrounds, perspectives and experiences enable it to deliver quality service and innovative solutions to address clients’ most pressing issues.
Three partners co-chair Skadden’s global DEI initiative and work closely with local office DEI Committees, the firm’s global women’s initiative committee and administrative professionals to develop and sustain recruitment, development and retention strategies intended to increase diversity at all levels of the firm, foster an inclusive workplace culture and ensure equitable access to opportunities. Also, Skadden’s leadership profile continues to evolve to reflect the very diversity and inclusion the firm seeks to promote. The firm’s 2019 and 2020 partner promotion classes were the most diverse in the firm’s history.
COMPANY OF THE YEAR (GROWING) FINALISTS
AWE – ADVANCING WOMEN EXECUTIVES
For most, diversity, equity, and inclusion means people. For AWE, it means business, process, and awareness. AWE partners with Fortune 1000 companies to create sustainable workplace cultures and to embed inclusion throughout organizations. AWE Accelerator is a program that accelerates the careers of “rising stars” – women and underrepresented professionals through interactive training, focused coaching, well-curated events, and a robust network. AWE Leader is AWE’s flagship program. AWE Leader is the premier provider of professional development services for executive women in senior roles from vice president to the C-suite.
AWE develops and customizes training programs based on the needs of their enterprise clients. It also facilitates manager DEI training to help managers better align, support, and embed DEI initiatives and practices. AWE also provides employee resource group support by setting up or assessing a client’s ERG services and managing fully outsourced programs.
CONSTANGY, BROOKS, SMITH & PROPHETE
Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete is a team of exceptional lawyers who are committed to providing the highest levels of service. It is a smaller firm by design, and careful in its hiring practices to focus on attracting the best and brightest talent at all levels. The firm’s clients have let it know that having a diverse team is important. As a trusted business partner, Constangy understands and reflects those needs.
As a firm, Constangy has been at the forefront in advancing roles for women and minorities in the legal profession. In its earliest years, when women represented fewer than 3% of practicing attorneys, Mildred McClelland was one of the firm’s first partners, arguing cases in courts and before federal agencies. Before joining the firm in the 1960s, partner Jim Smith served on the American Bar Association’s inaugural committee advising the early efforts of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
At Creator+, diversity, equity, inclusion and impact are values core to the company’s DNA. Creator+’s founders created an industry leading inclusion policy that set a new standard for gold diversity, equity, and inclusion in Hollywood. The company is committed to fostering, cultivating, and championing a culture, team, policies, and content slate that reflect these values and puts them into action.
Creator+’s very purpose as a company is to empower a new generation of diverse creators to make impactful feature films that tell authentic, relevant stories which inspire hope and action in today’s young, digitally-native audiences. We are also committed to uplifting and centering communities of historically-excluded and marginalized people in that work. As a young company, Creator+ acknowledges the historical inequities that have existed in the entertainment industry and understands the importance of dismantling these systems of oppression through intentional efforts and commitments.
DTO Law was formed by former Big Law attorneys, who had a vision of starting a law firm 100% owned by women and people of color. The firm focuses on diversity and inclusion in order to ensure multiple viewpoints at every level within the company. The firm’s attorneys are supporters and members of various other organizations, which promote diversity and inclusion in the legal field, such as the Cuban American Bar Association, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, the National LGBT Bar Association and Foundation, the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, South Asian Bar Association of Southern California, and the Hispanic National Bar Association.
Founder William Delgado currently serves as vice chair of the board of NAMWOLF, and all three of DTO Law’s founding partners have served as fellows of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity. The firm’s attorneys are recognized as thought leaders on diversity and inclusion-related topics.
TEAM OF THE YEAR FINALIST
Armanino’s commitment to DEI issues is present at all levels of the firm, with its CEO, general counsel, CMO and CPO all holding leadership roles on the firm’s IDEAL (Inclusion of Diverse Employees and Leaders) team and other groups focusing on DEI. Armanino’s approach to DEI revolves around inclusivity and education. Its for this reason the firm has chosen to develop broad-based initiatives and outreach, rather than resource or affinity groups that tend to keep DEI issues within a specific group of employees. This approach has fostered a more inclusive and accepting community at Armanino, while its efforts also include topics such as belonging and firsthand experiences that ensure its people feel safe and welcome at work.
In 2019, CEO Matt Armanino, signed the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion pledge to cement the firm’s commitment to develop programs and initiatives that identify and foster opportunities for underrepresented groups.
Belkin creates products that help consumers realize the power of technology and makes their lives better, easier and more fulfilling. The company’s dedication to people-inspired design and quality informs everything that it does. Belkin believes that its continued success depends on the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging of its global team. Because the company makes people-inspired products, prioritizing the holistic wellbeing of people is essential to the business. The company’s DEIB commitments inform and fuel the team on its pathway to “walk the talk.”
Belkin also believes that its diversity should reflect the communities it serves and the world we all share. The company embraces that a mix of talents, perspectives and strengths from diverse backgrounds will result in a more dynamic and creative workplace. As lifelong learners, the Belkin team commits to a growth mindset that allows everyone at the company to hold courageous conversations and push back against systemic oppression.
Geosyntec Consultants’ commitment to inclusion, equity, and diversity furthers the continued success of its employee-owned business by developing and advancing meaningful partnerships both internally and with external stakeholders, enabling its employees to build rewarding careers at Geosyntec. The company believes such partnership is essential to its mission – one that involves delivering sustainable and innovative solutions for improving our environment and infrastructure. Geosyntec also recognizes and appreciates the importance of creating and fostering an environment in which all employees feel included, valued, and empowered to do their best work and offer great ideas. The company’s commitment to inclusion, equity, and diversity is rooted in its core values
As environmental consultants, Geosyntec has unique opportunities to support communities facing disproportionate pollution burdens and has initiated a program to use its work (such as the development of green infrastructure) as a platform to enhance the quality of life in impacted communities.
MITCHELL SILBERBERG & KNUPP LLP
MSK is firmly committed to developing and maintaining a diverse workforce that reflects the communities in which it practices. The firm has targeted lateral recruiting efforts through various bar and professional organizations and as well as targeted diversity recruiting efforts to find the best lateral attorneys to join our practice groups. In addition to targeted efforts, the firm utilizes various methods to search for top talent, including recruiters that specifically focus on diverse recruits. The firm strives to sustain a work environment where all attorneys and staff feel welcomed, valued and energized about the contributions they make and the opportunities they have to further develop their careers.
MSK’s DEI work permeates many aspects of law firm life. The firm has created sub-committees to specifically address DEI matters for the firm (such as associate review, gender equity, LGBTQ+ issues, mentoring, lateral hiring, associate hiring, and marketing).
NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION OF THE YEAR FINALISTS
ACE MENTOR PROGRAM – LOS ANGELES / ORANGE COUNTY AFFILIATE
Minorities and individuals from underserved populations are significantly underrepresented in the design and construction industry workforce. The ACE Mentor Los Angeles / Orange County program helps address this problem by building a pipeline of high school students from LA area schools who are interested in these fields. Mentors (professionals representing the industry) introduce them to the various design, engineering and construction/trade disciplines, through office visits, site visits, a multi-discipline Spring Design project, All-Trades Day, digital skills building webinars, resume and portfolio reviews.
Scholarships are offered every spring to graduating high school students, and renewal scholarships to college students who are ACE Alumni. ACE participants and scholarship recipients are largely reflective of the communities that ACE serves, and in some cases participation from underrepresented groups exceed current population statistics for the City of Los Angeles.
COUNSEL FOR JUSTICE
The mission of the Counsel for Justice is to improve the administration of justice and help deliver legal services to the most vulnerable in the community. Counsel for Justice brings together law firms, foundations, corporations, donors and volunteers in support of a more just LA. Together, they stand at the forefront of providing equal access to legal services in the community by raising funds and directly contributing at the frontlines of justice in four key areas: domestic violence, support of our veterans, immigration assistance and AIDS services. Law firms, especially national firms, rely on local community organizations like the Counsel for Justice to guide them on a local level.
With over 50 years of service as the charitable arm of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, Counsel for Justice’s efforts have raised millions of dollars and impacted hundreds of thousands of lives with better, more powerful paths to justice.
FOR PEOPLE OF COLOR, INC.
The mission of For People of Color (FPOC) is to employ its cultural perspectives and collective experiences to pave a path for people of color to higher education through personal empowerment and progressive education policies. This commitment stems from its personal stake in ensuring the academic, professional, and social success of its communities.
This mission is entirely DE&I-focused: to diversify the legal profession by lowering the barriers to entry for people of color applying for law school. Given that the overwhelming majority of people of color who apply to law school are first-generation college students, often with limited to no contacts in the legal profession, FPOC fills this gap to empower people of color to not only apply for and be admitted to law school, but also to excel both as law students and as attorneys in order to diversify, and bring more social justice to, the law profession.
MENTAL HEALTH AMERICA OF LOS ANGELES
Mental Health America of Los Angeles (MHALA) is one of the largest and most comprehensive social service and mental health agencies in LA County. Serving over 16,000 people annually, the agency provides integrated mental healthcare, healthcare, employment, education, housing, wellness and financial services to adults and youth who are without resources, including Veterans and individuals and families who are homeless.
MHALA has an outstanding track record in diversity and inclusion as well. More than 72 percent of those the organization serves are BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color), and more than 76 percent of MHALA’s staff are BIPOC. MHALA also employs many LGBTQ staff. Over 25% of MHALA staff have lived experience or family experience with poverty or mental or physical health challenges. Feedback from staff indicates that MHALA’s inclusive culture is a large reason for the organization’s remarkably low turnover.