CBA Hosts Third Annual Diversity & Inclusion Summit: The Collaborative Blueprint

Written Friday, November 2, 2018

On October 24, members of the Connecticut Bar Association (CBA) Diversity & Inclusion Summit Committee gathered with other leaders in the legal profession at Quinnipiac University School of Law for the third annual Connecticut Diversity & Inclusion Summit: The Collaborative Blueprint, to empower attendees with tools to make Connecticut a more diverse and inclusive bar. This year's Diversity & Inclusion Summit's focus was on hiring and pipeline initiatives as well as retention.

As part of this initiative, started in 2016, the CBA solicits signatories for a collective pledge reflecting the commitment of Connecticut legal organizations to create more diverse and inclusive environments and for a collaborative plan to reach this goal. To view the Connecticut Legal Community's Diversity & Inclusion Pledge & Plan and the list of organizations who have signed on, visit

CBA President Jonathan M. Shapiro welcomed attendees, stating, "We gather today not just to talk about diversity and inclusion, but to take specific actions to ensure that we are taking the necessary steps to make Connecticut a more diverse and inclusive bench and bar. We hope you will leave here empowered with new tools and knowledge to help you create a more inclusive legal work environment for your organization that will ensure successful recruiting and retention of diverse talent."

CBA Immediate Past President Karen DeMeola moderated the "Pipeline Lunch Panel," where attendees learned the importance of pipeline initiatives, the many different types of pipeline programs available, and how to participate in them or develop their own. "When young people experience skills early on and the development is encouraged, they are more likely to develop a career," stated panelist Joy Dingle of Street Law Inc.

The program's final seminar, "Recruitment/Retention Workshop: More than Hiring, the Path to a Diverse and Inclusive Organization," explored the path to creating an inclusive organization that leverages diversity and the actions needed to enable both the successful recruitment and retention of talent. Many organizations believe that hiring is the fundamental key to success. However, hiring alone does not guarantee the retention of talent. Attendees learned what inclusion is and is not, methods for joining not judging, and conscious actions for inclusion to support the creation of a diverse, inclusive, and vibrant workplace.

 Diversity & Inclusion Summit Committee Members

• Christine Jean-Louis, Chair
• Jonathan M. Shapiro
• Karen DeMeola
• Michelle Duprey
• Jessica Grossarth-Kennedy
• Ronald J. Houde
• Cherie Phoenix-Sharpe

• Alix Simonetti
• Keith J. Soressi
• Cecil J. Thomas
• Donald P. Tutson, Jr.
• Neeta M. Vatti
• Leanna Zwiebel

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Pipeline Lunch Panel with Isabelle M. Ramos, Law School Administration Council;
Joy Dingle, Street Law Inc.; Carolyn Golden Hebsgaard, Lawyers Collaborative for Diversity; and Van Ann Bui, SEO Law.

 Diveristy & Inclusion Summit Committee members.

Visit our Facebook page to view our 2018 Diversity & Inclusion Summit: The Collaborative Blueprint photo album!