HIGHLIGHTS FROM OGLETREE’S 2019 SHAREHOLDER MEETING: A FOCUS ON INNOVATION, DIVERSITY, PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND WELLNESS
The last four days have been challenging and invigorating all rolled up into one. Each year, Ogletree’s annual Shareholder Meeting presents an invaluable opportunity for my team to promote and execute our diversity and inclusion, business and professional development initiatives. This year was no exception.
We rolled out ODPRO 2.0, a new electronic platform for our legal benchmarks which allows our associates and their supervising shareholders to track their progress toward obtaining the substantive labor and employment skills the firm requires they obtain. We also introduced several new e-learning modules, a new Facilitators Guide, and a new compendium of our PD resources during our annual Professional Development Steering Committee Meeting.
Our Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee was excited to hear about our new collaboration with Teleskope, an online portal which will support the communication, budgeting, and event planning efforts of our six Business Resource Groups. And, we hosted Ari Kaplan and Jill Dessalines who conducted specialty business development programs for our newly elected shareholders (TABS=Technology-Aided Business Success) and non-equity women shareholders (BAP=Business Accelerator Program), respectively.
I also participated in the very first meeting of the firm’s new Diversity and Inclusion Legal Practice Group led by Shafeeqa Giarratani, a shareholder in our Austin office and Kimya Johnson, senior counsel based in Philadelphia. I’m thrilled that we will now be able to provide our clients with comprehensive advice and counseling, compliance, crisis communication, and strategic D&I planning.
I almost always walk away from these meetings being super impressed with our firm’s innovative and holistic approach to the practice of law. This year Patrick DiDomenico, our Chief Knowledge Management Officer, conducted a session on the future of the labor and employment practice which included a demonstration of how artificial intelligence will impact our practice thanks to an innovative new partnership with LegalMation. And, after stopping by the IT booth this weekend, I got to see how artificial intelligence works firsthand by having them scan my face and run a query to find my celebrity doppelgänger. Turns out it is Freema Agyeman, a popular English actress. Who knew?!
Our Human Reources and training department also conducted a thoughtful, comprehensive session on wellness focused on overcoming burnout, addiction and stress pursuant to our firm being one of the first 12 signatories to the ABA’s new Wellness Pledge. And, this is just the tip of the iceberg. There were sessions dedicated to utilizing the firm’s resources and engaging employees effectively, among many others. Though I am exhausted, this week reminds me once again how fortunate I am to work for a firm that values learning and development, innovation, diversity and inclusion and wellness, all of which I believe are the secret sauce to the success of any business.