The Role and Impact of the Chief Diversity Officer

Join the Corporate Law and Corporate Governance Initiative and the Business and Finance Law Program for a full-day conference exploring the growth, development, and impact of the Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) in corporate America. The event brings together CDOs from public companies, law firms, federal agencies, and educational institutions to discuss their roles
and purpose and exchange ideas and best practices about how those entities not only can best ensure that their entities are diverse and inclusive, but also can fully engage their employees, clients and constituents. This event will be a great opportunity for anyone interested in diversity and inclusion--whether or not your entity has a CDO or engages in diversity work through some other avenue.

Panels will include: defining and exploring the role and purpose of the CDO, engagement with the Board, C-suite, employees and other constituents, and a roundtable on best practices.

The conference will feature a lunchtime keynote address by David Wilkins, Lester Kissel Professor of Law, Director on the Center on the Legal Profession, and Vice Dean for Global Initiatives on the Legal Profession, Harvard Law School. 

Corporate Law and Governance Initiative at GW Law

Participants to date include current or former chief diversity officers at:

Coca Cola KPMG
Deloitte Latham & Watkins
Freddie Mac O'Melveny, LLP
George Washington University Prudential Financial
Goldman Sachs Sodexo
Johns Hopkins University Verizon Communications
JPMorgan Chase WilmerHale


7:30 - 8:30 am: Registration and Breakfast

8:30 - 8:45 am: Welcome 

  • Lisa M. Fairfax, Leroy Sorenson Merrifield Research Professor of Law; Founder and Director, Corporate Law and Governance Initiative, George Washington University Law School 

8:45 - 10 am: Defining and Exploring the Role and Purpose of the CDO

  • Gary A. Smith (Opening Remarks and Moderator), Co-Founder and Senior Partner, Ivy Planning Group 
  • Dr. Rohini Anand, Global Chief Diversity Officer, Sodexo
  • Fenimore Fisher, J.D. Diversity Officer, Johns Hopkins University
  • Michele Meyer-Shipp, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Akin Gump; Former Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, Prudential Financial

10 - 10:15 am: Coffee and Networking

10:15 - 11:45 am: Engagement with Employees and other Constituents

  • Tracey McNeil (Moderator), Ombudsman, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
  • Caroline Laguerre-Brown, Vice Provost for Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement, George Washington University
  • Pamela Lipp-Hendricks, Head of Talent Management and Diversity, JPMorgan Chase
  • Anilu Vazquez-Ubarri, Chief Diversity Officer & Global Head of Talent, Goldman Sachs
  • Jacqueline M. Welch, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, Diversity & Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer, Freddie Mac

11:45 am - 12:30 pm: Keynote Address - "Operationalizing Diversity:  Lessons from the Legal Profession"

  • David B. Wilkins, Lester Kissel Professor of Law, Director on the Center on the Legal Profession, and Vice Dean for Global Initiatives on the Legal Profession, Harvard Law School

12:45 - 2 pm: Lunch

2 - 3:45pm: Engagement with the Board and C-Suite

  • Lisa M. Fairfax (Moderator), Leroy Sorenson Merrifield Research Professor of Law, The George Washington University Law School
  • Mary Ellen Connerty, Director of Diversity and Engagement, O’Melveny, LLP
  • Deborah DeHass, Vice Chair and National Managing Partner, Deloitte
  • Anuradha Hebbar, Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion, Verizon
  • John Lewis Jr., Partner, Lawrence & Bundy LLC; Former Global Chief Diversity Officer, The Coca Cola Company
  • Suzanne Townsen, Partner and Chief Diversity Officer, KPMG LLP

3:45 - 4 pm: Coffee & Networking Break

4 - 5:30 pm: Roundtable on Best Practices

  • Cristina Hernandez (Moderator), VP Client Relations, The Verna Myers Company
  • Carshae D. Dahl, Manager of Global Attorney Diversity, Latham & Watkins LLP
  • Antoinette Hamilton, Vice President of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Experience, AppNexus Inc.
  • Kenneth Imo, Senior Director for Diversity and Inclusion, Capital One; Former Director of Diversity, WilmerHale
  • Meesha Rosa, Senior Director, Corporate Board Services, Catalyst
  • Janet Crenshaw Smith, Co-Founder and President, Ivy Planning Group
  • Rory Verrett, Founder and Managing Partner, Protégé Search

5:30 - 7 pm: Closing Reception

For more information or questions, please e-mail Professor Lisa M. Fairfax at [email protected] or Jeremiah Pam at [email protected].