Archive for the ‘One Book One Firm’ Category.

Panel Discusses “The Home Place”

On Wednesday, July 11, a panel from the community discussed this year’s One Book, One Firm selection, “The Home Place: A Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature.” In the Home Place, author Drew Lanham shares his story of growing up on a farm in South Carolina, where he developed an intense love for the natural world.  Lanham, who is African American and a professor of ornithology at Clemson University, discusses his family’s ties to the land and the importance of land and a sense of place has for him.

Three panelists joined us to share their thoughts and reactions to the book:

  • Reuben Roberts, Jr., of the Trilogy Agricultural Group.  Reuben and his eight cousins farm land in Michigan and Mississippi where they raise cash crops and Red Devon cattle.
  • Mark Van Putten, the Chief Executive Officer of the Wege Foundation.  The Wege Foundation brought Dr. Lanham to Grand Rapids in April for the Wege Speakers Series. (You can see Dr. Lanham’s talk at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yb_O46_ARSE)  The Wege Foundation has made equity and inclusion one of its missions.
  • Aaron Turner, Development Director at WGVU Public Media.  Before joining WGVU, Aaron was a district executive for the Boy Scouts of America, responsible, among other things, for the “Scoutreach” program which brings scouting to youth in the inner-city.

The panel was moderated by Rodney Martin, WN+J’s Diversity Partner.

Here are some photos from the event:

 

Warner Selects The Home Place for One Book, One Firm

Warner Norcross + Judd LLP has selected The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature by J. Drew Lanham as the 2018 choice for its One Book, One Firm series.

The One Book, One Firm program explores diversity and inclusion issues during a summer lunch-and-learn program. Diversity Partner Rodney Martin launched the annual event in 2008 to model the success of community reading programs that encourage all residents of a city to read and discuss the same book.

Lanham, a professor of ornithology at Clemson University, is a rarity – a black bird watcher. In “The Home Place,” he shares the story of growing up on a rural South Carolina farm, where he developed an intense connection with the natural world.

“This beautifully written memoir allows us to walk with the author as he examines his family history and the role that land and race have played in his journey,” Martin explained. “Lanham believes that a connection with nature offers a ‘better, wilder way’ for persons of color who have become separated from the land.”

In his book, Lanham writes, “The chances of seeing someone who looks like me while on the trail are only slightly greater than those of sighting an ivory-billed woodpecker.”

He continues, “…each of us are so much more than the pigment that orders us into convenient compartments of occupation, avocation or behavior. The best way of reconnecting humanity’s heart, mind and soul to nature is for us to share our individual stories.”

Lanham is an award-winning professor at Clemson University, where he has taught for more than 20 years. In his work, he evaluates how forest management impacts wildlife and how people think about nature. Specifically, he seeks to make conservation science relevant to others in ways that are evocative and understandable and has delivered his findings to international audiences. “The Home Place” will be the widely published author and award-nominated poet’s first solo book.

Previous selections for One Book, One Firm have included: Choosing Civility, by P.M. Forni, The Arrival, by Shaun Tan, Some of My Best Friends Are Black: The Strange History of Integration of America, by Tanner Colby; Stealing Buddha’s Dinner, by Bich Minh Nguyen; and The Female Vision: Women’s Real Power at Work by Sally Helgesen and Julie Johnson.

Panel Discusses Civility in WNJ’s One Book, One Firm Program

We had a very interesting session in our One Book, One Firm program with a great panel discussion on civility and incivility in the political and civic arenas and how we can respond as citizens and as members of our communities to what people see as a rising level of incivility. The panelists for the program were Mayor Rosalynn Bliss, Commissioner Joe Jones, former Michigan legislator Ken Sikkema , and John Inhulsen, Warner Norcross Senior Counsel in our Grand Rapids office. Warner partner Rodney Martin hosted the program, which was simulcast by video conference to each of our offices.

 

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Panel to Discuss Civility in the Civic Arena at Warner Norcross & Judd

Choosing CivilityAs part of its One Book, One Firm discussion of Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct by P.M. Forni, Warner Norcross & Judd will host a panel discussion on Tuesday July 11.  The panel will discuss civility and incivility in the political and civic arenas and how we can respond as citizens and as members of our communities to what most people see as a rising level of incivility.  We have an exceptional panel for this program.  They include:

Mayor Rosalynn Bliss – Rosalynn Bliss became the City of Grand Rapids’ first female Mayor when she took office on January 1, 2016, after serving as a Second Ward City Commissioner for 10 years. Mayor Bliss serves as adjunct professor of social work at Grand Valley State University.

City Commissioner Joe Jones – Joe Jones was appointed a Second Ward Commissioner by the Grand Rapids City Commission to fill the remaining term of Rosalynn Bliss, after she won election as Mayor.  A native of Detroit, Joe has served as President and CEO of the Grand Rapids Urban League for the past six years.

Ken Sikkema – Ken Sikkema served in the Michigan Legislature for 20 years—twelve in the House and eight in the Senate.  He served as Majority Floor Leader and Republican Leader of the Michigan House and Majority Leader in the State Senate.  He served both when his party was in the majority and in the minority, as well as two years when the Michigan House of Representatives was evenly split and the parties shared leadership. Today, Mr. Sikkema is a Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants, an independent, non-partisan consulting firm in Lansing.

John Inhulsen – John Inhulsen is Senior Counsel in our Grand Rapids office. He concentrates his practice on corporate, real estate and litigation matters. John served as Chair of the Kent County Republican Party in 2015 and 2016, and prior to that was its Finance Chair.

The panel discussion, which is open to attorneys and staff members at the firm,  will be held in the University Club of Grand Rapids and will be videocast to the firms other seven offices.

Choosing Civility: Escaping our Internet Bubbles

Many people today are lamenting the polarization of our politics.  This is not just an American phenomenon.  The cover story in this week’s Economist Magazine, a British publication, discusses “Britain’s Missing Middle.”  Part of what fuels the polarization today is our ability to choose the sources of our news and create an Internet bubble or echo chamber in which our views are repeated but not challenged.  In 2014, The Pew Research Center conducted a survey of conservatives and liberals to explore this polarization in detail.  Among the findings of the study, which can be found here, were the following:

Overall, the study finds that consistent conservatives:

  • Are tightly clustered around a single news source, far more than any other group in the survey, with 47% citing Fox News as their main source for news about government and politics.
  • Express greater distrust than trust of 24 of the 36 news sources measured in the survey. At the same time, fully 88% of consistent conservatives trust Fox News.
  • Are, when on Facebook, more likely than those in other ideological groups to hear political opinions that are in line with their own views.
  • Are more likely to have friends who share their own political views. Two-thirds (66%) say most of their close friends share their views on government and politics.

By contrast, those with consistently liberal views:

  • Are less unified in their media loyalty; they rely on a greater range of news outlets, including some – like NPR and the New York Times– that others use far less.
  • Express more trust than distrust of 28 of the 36 news outlets in the survey. NPR, PBS and the BBC are the most trusted news sources for consistent liberals.
  • Are more likely than those in other ideological groups to block or “defriend” someone on a social network – as well as to end a personal friendship – because of politics.
  • Are more likely to follow issue-based groups, rather than political parties or candidates, in their Facebook feeds.

While the Internet enables us to create our own personal bubbles, it also enables us, with little effort, to broaden our sources of news and commentary and perhaps increase our ability to understand better the opinions of those who hold different views than our own.  I recently came across an excellent site for doing just that.  It is AllSides.com.  Allsides presents news stories from the right, the center and the middle.  For example, here is AllSides’ lead story on today’s website:

AllSides

 

I have been using AllSides for the past three weeks and have found it to be an excellent tool for breaking out of my bubble.  You can learn more about AllSides by watching this two-minute video interview AllSides’ founder.

While you are at it, take a look at this TED Talk on “How to Have Better Political Conversations.”  https://www.ted.com/talks/robb_willer_how_to_have_better_political_conversations I think you will find it interesting.

Rodney Martin, Diversity Partner

Warner holds “World Café” to Discuss “Choosing Civility”

Warner Norcross & Judd held a “world café” discussion of this year’s One Book, One Firm selection, Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct , by P.M. Forni.  Attorneys and staff members participated in small group discussions of civiity.  The discussion was “served” in three courses, along with the meal.  During the first course, participants worked on developing a definition of civility and discussed the implications of that meaning for them.

After the first course, participants changed tables and joined a new group for the second course, where they discussed the relevance of Forni’s 25 rules of civility to Warner Norcross and tried to identify the five rules that are most important to the firm.

For the third course, the participants once again changed tables and joined a new group. During this course (and over dessert) they discussed the obstacles to living by the rules of civility and what they can do individually to support the firm in choosing civility.

The discussion was moderated by Dr. Beth Page who leads the Talent Management Practice in the Great Lakes Region for Right Management.

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