Archive for August 2011

BL²END’s 5 Year Celebration Video

Here is the video that was produced for BL²END’s Five Year Celebration. It does a great job telling the history of the organization and showing the vision and passion that has made BL²END the tremendous organization that it is today. WARNING: This video may take a couple of minutes to load. But its worth the wait.

BL2END 5 Year Anniversary Video from Chuck Peterson on Vimeo.

Congratulations to BL²END on its Five Year Anniversary

The planning committee for BL²END's Five Year Celebration

Nearly 600 people joined together at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids to celebrate the five year anniversary of BL²END.  BL²END plays an important role as an outlet for young professionals of color to learn, network, grow and become engaged in the Grand Rapids community.  It is amazing what they have accomplished in 5 short years.  Five years ago, BL²END set out to make Grand Rapids a great place for young professionals of color to begin their career and they have made great strides in doing just that. Our community truly owes BL²END a debt of gratitude.

Warner Norcross & Judd was pleased to be the Leadership Partner for BL²END’s Five Year Celebration.  We congratulate BL²END on their great accomplishments to date and wish them the best of success in the future.

Warner also extends its congratulations to the three awards recipients last evening:

Thank you for your commitment, leadership and passion.

Warner Norcross Reads, Discusses “The Help” for its One Book, One Firm Series

Warner Norcross & Judd LLP has chosen New York Times bestseller “The Help” as the 2011 selection for its One Book, One Firm series.

Now in its fourth year, the popular One Book, One Firm series encourages the entire law firm to read the same book, then provides opportunities to create a series of firm-wide discussions based on the common experience. “The Help” is a debut novel by author Kathryn Stockett that explores the relationships between black maids and the white families they work for and the children they raise in Jackson, Mississippi. Set during the 1960s, the novel is told from three alternating perspectives as two African American maids and the college-educated daughter of a white family who decide to write a book and share their stories.

On Wednesday, July 13, attorneys and staff from Warner’s offices across Michigan joined in a special lunch-and-learn program to hear a panel discuss “The Help.” The panel featured Lois Smith Owens, professor and Director of Recruitment and Admissions at the School of Social Work at Grand Valley State University, Jeanne Arnold, vice president for inclusion and equity at GVSU, and Rebecca Knack, a retired English teacher from East Grand Rapids High School who grew up in the 1950s in Laurel, Miss. and Memphis, Tenn.

“It was a wonderful discussion,” said Diversity Partner Rodney Martin. “The book has been enormously popular but the author has also been criticized for her portrayal of African-American characters. The panel did an excellent job helping us to evaluate the book and the criticisms.  The audience especially appreciated the the personal stories the panelists shared with us.”

In addition to encouraging attorneys and staff to read the book, the firm is sponsoring a firm-wide movie night to watch the movie adaptation of “The Help” when it is released later this month.  This will be followed by opportunities for firm members to participate in small group discussions.

One Book, One Firm was launched in 2008 as part of the law firm’s ongoing diversity and inclusion initiatives. Additional books in the series have included:

  • “Stealing Buddha’s Dinner,” a memoir about the experience of a Vietnamese girl growing up in West Michigan
  • “Hands of My Father,” the story of a hearing child who served as the go-between for his deaf parents and the hearing world
  • “The Female Vision: Women’s Real Power at Work,” a work that analyzes the fundamental differences between how men and women operate within companies

Warner Norcross Sponsoring Civic Theatre’s Production of “Twelve Angry Men”

Warner Norcross is sponsoring the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre’s September production of “Twelve Angry Men.”  This play is based on the classic 1957 made-for-tv movie starring Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, and E.G. Marshall among others. 

Warner Norcross is sponsoring the movie in support of  the Civic Theatre’s efforts to promote diversity and inclusion. While “Twelve Angry Men,” may not at first blush appear to speak about diversity, Civic Theatre chose the play because of the way it gets beneath the surface of each juror, showing their individual humanity.  While at first it appears that all the jurors are of like mind and ready to convict, one courageous juror refuses to jump to a conclusion.  One by one, the jurors reveal the important differences between them that make them stand as individuals. 

Warner Norcross is proud of its association with Civic Theatre, which has helped to bring such plays as The Diary of Anne Frank, August Wilson’s Piano Lesson, and Having Our Say: The True Story of the Delaney Sisters to the Grand Rapids stage.

The Civic Theatre’s production of Twelve Angry Men runs from September 9 through the 18th.  Details at