Black Executive Network

Cooley is committed to being a positive agent of change in the fight to dismantle systemic racism. Here are a few steps we have taken so far:

  • To encourage education, engagement and action, Cooley’s Black Attorney Affinity Group, together with others in the fight, has compiled a resource kit to deepen and expand understanding of antiracism and allyship
  • Cooley closed on Friday, June 19, in observance of Juneteenth, to reflect on, celebrate and honor Black history and culture, as well as to examine the role each of us has in promoting antiracism and being allies in change
  • The firm committed $450,000 – bolstered by more than $290,000 in additional donations from individual partners and employees – to the Equal Justice Initiative, which works to end mass incarceration and excessive punishment, to challenge racial and economic injustice and to protect basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in America
  • Cooley expanded its one-day paid volunteerism policy to include work for social and racial justice activist organizations, and we extended billable credit to lawyers for such efforts

This is just a start. Cooley will remain vigilant in demanding true equality, justice and opportunity for all.

Earlier this year, Cooley asked members of its Black Executive Network (BEx) to share their perspectives on diversity and inclusion. BEx is a forward-thinking community of CXOs, investors, innovators and prominent influencers across a wide range of industries, companies and government. It is designed to build a sense of community and harness the power of diversity to yield high-impact relationships, collaboration and knowledge sharing. We are proud to work alongside and represent these outstanding leaders.

Diversity champions have been the largest contributors to my success. I did not grow up with social capital that allowed me to be in rooms where relationships could catapult my career. The committed champions who kicked the doors open for me allowed me to showcase a real solution to solve a world problem. Solutions that are derived from most diverse founders are centered within a real problem that needs to be solved. Pound on the door, make a few friends and leverage the opportunity to show the awesomeness that you know you already are!

Marcus Bullock – CEO & Founder, Flikshop

Diversity is counting heads. Inclusion is making heads count. Having diversity across race, gender, ethnicity and other backgrounds is important, but understanding that the value of bringing divergent viewpoints together creates a perspective that can have a positive ripple effect on the success of a company is a game changer.

Bernard Gugar – Venture Startup Adviser, Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Diversity to me is both a moral and business imperative. If you experience frustration with the lack of diversity in your profession or organization, do not become paralyzed, fatigued or internalize the frustration. Have the courage to be the voice of change and strive to be an active participant in the transformation. You have all the tools. Use them.

LaTanya Langley – General Counsel, BIC International

We all have some influence within our organization. Being a leader means stepping out and using that influence in whatever way you can, whether big or small, to help move the diversity needle. It might not seem like you have the power to make change, but you do. You just need the courage to do it. I have tried to prioritize this by implementing simple practices, like making sure that hiring managers interview at least three candidates for every position (instead of simply going with the first candidate, who is often a friend) and encouraging HR to use diverse portals and recruiters to source candidates for each role. I think the growth and success of my company will absolutely require diversity of thought and experience.

Shawnte Mitchell – SVP, General Counsel & Corporate Affairs, Aptevo Therapeutics

Many diverse lawyers invested in my career development and, in doing so, helped shape me professionally and personally. They served as my role models, mentors and sponsors and all firmly believed in the old adage of lifting as they climb. In return, I aspire to not only achieve the many successes they have but also to pay it forward by investing in the career development of other diverse lawyers.

Shayne O'Reilly – Associate General Counsel, IP Litigation, Facebook

My great grandfather was run out of Alabama by the Klan for registering black folks to vote in the 1920s. My grandfather was not allowed to sit down for class for four years while getting his veterinary degree in the 1940s. My mother was arrested in the sit-ins in the 1960s. Anytime I feel like the fight is too big for me, I just remember them.

Nicole Poindexter – Founder & CEO, Energicity

Over the past 40+ years, I have personally witnessed teachers, coaches, colleagues, law firm partners and senior executives take visible, concrete steps in support of diversity initiatives that were often unpopular, criticized and opposed. Those champions' commitment to doing the right thing has become part of my DNA. I speak very openly and candidly about diversity and our constant desire to build and maintain a diverse employee population. Our CEO and chairman is constantly doing the same thing.

Steve Riddick – General Counsel & Corporate Secretary, Tenable

PayPal's commitment to building a diverse workforce reflective of the customers we serve is inherent to our inclusive mission to democratize financial services. Not only does embracing our workforces' diversity of race, gender, thought, experience and background better position us to address customer pain points, it is a business imperative critical to our strategy, planning and, ultimately, our success. I am incredibly encouraged to see PayPal and like-minded businesses across sectors prioritizing inclusion and championing diversity. There is more work to be done, but this values-driven leadership is increasingly critical in today's landscape.

Wanji Walcott – Senior Vice President & General Counsel, PayPal

Related Contacts
Amie Santos  Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Washington, DC
Alexander Knight  Senior Vice President, Business Development Washington, DC