Archive for June 2013

Warner Leaders Participate in Inclusive Leadership Workshop

Arin ReevesWarner Norcross & Judd’s Managing Partner, Doug Wagner, was among 11 leaders from the firm who participated in the first annual Inclusive Leadership Workshop sponsored by the Managing Partners Diversity Collaborative.  The workshop, which was conducted on June 3 and June 4,   explored the difference between diversity and inclusion and the business case for diversity and inclusion in law firms.  Participants discussed implicit biases and learned how to identify impediments to inclusion in their firms.

The workshop was conducted by Dr. Arin Reeves, of Nextions LLC.  Dr. Reeves is one of the foremost consultants in the area of law firm diversity and inclusion. Her book, The Next IQ: The Next Level of Intelligence for 21st Century Leaders was published in 2012 by the American Bar Association. Dr. Reeves has worked with law firms and legal departments on diversity and inclusion for nearly 20 years. She is an advisor to the Center for Legal Inclusiveness in Colorado and is the co-author of its manual, Beyond Diversity: Inclusiveness in the Legal Workplace.

 The Managing Partners Diversity Collaborative was formed in 2011 by 12 of the largest law offices in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in association with the Grand Rapids Bar Association, to promote diversity and inclusion in our firms and the profession. Conducting the annual workshop is one of 45 action steps in the Collaborative’s Action Plan adopted in 2012.  Over 40 leaders from the 12 member firms participated in the workshop.

Announcing the 2013 One Book, One Firm Selection and Reading List

Each year in our One Book, One Firm program, we select a book relating to diversity and inclusion and encourage everyone in the firm to read and discuss it.  This year’s One Book, One Firm selection is Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain.  Cain is a graduate of the Harvard Law School who began her career working for a Wall Street law firm. 

In Quiet, she recounts the history of the rise of the “Extrovert Ideal” in the 20th Century and argues that this ideal undervalues the leadership potential of introverts, who make up a third to half the population.  Cain relies upon recent research and neuroscience studies to explain the differences between extroverts and introverts.  She profiles many successful leaders who are introverts and offers guidance on how to negotiate relationships between extroverts and introvert. 

 Quiet was named the #1 Business Book in 2012 by Fast Company Magazine and was voted the Best Nonfiction Book of 2012 by Goodreads.com.

Quiet explores a different aspect of diversity from our usual focus on race or gender.  It will provide an opportunity to explore how an inclusive organization can enable people with different temperaments and personal strengths to excel together.  Are you an introvert or an extrovert?  Here’s a short quiz to help you find out: http://www.thepowerofintroverts.com/quiet-quiz-are-you-an-introvert/

2013 RECOMMENDED READING LIST

In addition to the One Book, One Firm selection, we have a suggested reading list of fiction and non-fiction books addressing diversity and inclusion.  Copies of these books will be available to check out through the firm libraries. If you can’t find a copy in your office, contact M.L. Calvin and she will see that a copy of any book off the reading list makes its way to you through interoffice mail.

Nonfiction Selections 

Lean In, by Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer, Sheryl Sandberg.  Growing out of her TED Talk, that has been viewed over 2.5 million times, Sandberg’s book explores how women’s progress in achieving leadership roles in business has stalled and offers ways for women to achieve their full potential. Many at the firm have already read Lean In and found it thought provoking and inspiring.

Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age, by Kevin Boyle.  In 1924, African American physician Ossian Sweet moved his family into an all-white neighborhood in Detroit.  When a crowd of hostile whites surrounded the house for a second night and started pelting the house with stones, shots from inside the house struck two people in the crowd, killing one. Dr. Sweet and his friends, who were in the house at the time, were charged with murder and tried before an all-white jury.  Sweet was represented by Clarence Darrow, who convinced the jury to acquit.  Arc of Justice received the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award and was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize.

Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People, by Mahzarin Banaji and Anthony Greenwald. Written by the researchers who founded Project Implicit, Blindspot explains the concept of implicit bias and the science behind the Implicit Assumption Tests we have spoken about at the firm.  This book is an easy read since it is written for a popular audience rather than the scientific community.

Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family, by Condoleezza Rice.  In this autobiography of an extraordinary American, Condoleezza Rice recounts her life, from growing up in Birmingham, Alabama, in the 50 and 60s to serving at the highest levels of the government.  Of the book, one reviewer wrote: “This memoir presents a young woman deeply attached to her devoted parents, who encouraged her at every step of her life to overcome racism, sexism, and her own personal doubts. Her roots are deep in the South, with a family that pridefully skirted racism—never using the ‘colored’ facilities or riding in the back of the bus. Her mother, Angelena, was a cultured teacher who taught her piano, while her father, John, was a Presbyterian minister and later a college administrator who, despite his Republican politics, strongly admired black radicals, developing a friendship with Stokely Carmichael.”

Once Upon a Quinciñera, by Julia Alvarez. Famed Dominican author Julia Alvarez (“In the Time of Butterflies, “How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents”) uses quinceañeras, elaborate and ritualized parties thrown for young Latinas when they turn fifteen, to explore Latino culture in the United States today.  Once Upon A Quinceañera was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism.

Fiction

The Barbarian Nurseries, by Héctor Tobar.  Written by Pulitizer Prize winning journalist Héctor Tobar, The Barbarian Nurseries was the a Boston Globe Best Fiction Book of 2011. The San Francisco summarizes the plot as follows: “Scott and Maureen Torres-Thompson have always relied on others to run their Orange County home. But when bad investments crater their bank account, it all comes down to Araceli: their somewhat prickly Mexican maid. One night, an argument between the couple turns physical, and a misunderstanding leaves the children in Aracelis care. Their parents unreachable, she takes them to central Los Angeles in the hopes of finding Scott’s estranged Mexican father — an earnest quest that soon becomes a colossal misadventure, with consequences that ripple through every strata of the sprawling city. The Barbarian Nurseries is a masterful tale of contemporary Los Angeles, a novel as alive as the city itself.”

The Plague of Doves, by Louise Erdrich.  Writing in the New York Times, reviewer Michiko Kakutani concluded that “[w]ith “The Plague of Doves,” she has written what is arguably her most ambitious — and in many ways, her most deeply affecting — work yet.” Publishers Weekly calls The Plague of Doves “a multigenerational tour de force of sin, redemption, murder and vengeance.” The novel tells the story of the 1911 slaughter of a farming family in Pluto, North Dakota. Publishers Weekly summarizes the plot as follows: “The family’s infant daughter is spared, and a posse forms, incorrectly blames three Indians and lynches them. One, Mooshum Milk, miraculously survives. Over the next century, descendants of both the hanged men and the lynch mob develop relationships that become deeply entangled, and their disparate stories are held together via principal narrator Evelina, Mooshum Milk’s granddaughter, who comes of age on an Indian reservation near Pluto in the 1960s and ’70s and forms two fateful adolescent crushes: one on bad-boy schoolmate Corwin Peace and one on a nun. Though Evelina doesn’t know it, both are descendants of lynch mob members. The plot splinters as Evelina enrolls in college and finds work at a mental asylum; Corwin spirals into a life of crime; and a long-lost violin (its backstory is another beautiful piece of the mosaic) takes on massive significance.”

The Wedding, by Dorothy West.  In her 1995 novel The Wedding, Dorothy West, the last surviving member of the Harlem Renaissance, looks inside the African American middle class. The publisher summarizes the plot as follows: “Set on bucolic Martha’s Vineyard in the 1950s, The Wedding tells the story of life in the Oval, a proud, insular community made up of the best and brightest of the East Coast’s black bourgeoisie.  Within this inner circle of ‘blue-vein society,’ we witness the prominent Coles family gather for the wedding of the loveliest daughter, Shelby, who could have chosen from ‘a whole area of eligible men of the right colors and the right professions.’ Instead, she has fallen in love with and is about to be married to Meade Wyler, a white jazz musician from New York. A shock wave breaks over the Oval as its longtime members grapple with the changing face of its community.

You Are Free, by Danzy Senna.  You Are Free is a collection of short stories that explore Black-White relations. Polly Rosenwaike, reviewing the collection in the New York Times, writes “[t]hough Senna’s stories address race, class and gender, they never devolve into simple case studies. Rather, her collection offers nuanced portraits of characters confronting anxieties and prejudices that leave them not as free as they would like to be.”

Native Speaker, by Chang-Rae Lee.  Native Speaker, Lee’s 1995 debut novel, tells the story of Henry Park, a first generation Korean American who struggles to fit into American life and the differences of culture, beliefs and heritage.  The publisher describes Native Speaker as “a story of cultural alienation. It is about fathers and sons, about the desire to connect with the world rather than stand apart from it, about loyalty and betrayal, about the alien in all of us and who we finally are.” Native Speaker was awarded the PEN/Hemingway Award for Best First Novel.