GE Conference Examines How To Build Diverse Leadership Pipelines

Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - 16:18

General Electric recently hosted its national GE Legal & Diversity Leadership Conference in Greenwich, Connecticut. This year’s conference concentrated on leadership and the importance of building great, diverse leadership pipelines.

The theme of the one-and-a-half day conference was reiterated throughout the meeting in keynote addresses from industry luminaries: Charles J. Ogletree from Harvard Law School, an expert on race and criminal justice; Viet D. Dinh of Georgetown Law who was associate special counsel during the Whitewater investigation as well as the assistant attorney general of the United States under President George W. Bush; and Chief Justice Chase T. Rogers from the Connecticut Supreme Court. Additionally, Dr. Valerie Purdie Vaughns spoke on unconscious bias and how it may impact individual and organizational decision making.

The conference brought together 225 attendees consisting of senior GE lawyers, diverse GE attorneys, select outside counsels and special guests. It is the annual capstone of an ongoing legal diversity initiative within GE and with its outside counsel.

GE senior vice president and general counsel Brackett Denniston said, “Early on, GE recognized that diversifying its legal team offered an opportunity to both strengthen that team and expand its business opportunities. As a global company, we’re best served by a legal team that reflects the varied cultures and backgrounds where it does business, and it is empowered by having a keen cultural awareness that’s reflected in its attorneys.”

The GE Diversity in Leadership Award was also presented at the conference to two GE Select firms: Bingham McCutchen for its commitment to diversity throughout the firm and especially for its promotion of exceptional female talent to the highest levels; and Sheppard Mullin for its excellence in driving ethnically diverse leadership within the firm.