Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Desiree Gareau, eKnowledge & Innovation Manager and Co-chair of the OK DEI Business Resource Group
Tanya Freeman — Co-chair
Desiree Gareau — Co-chair
Nicole Rodgers Houston
One Team, One Firm,
At Offit Kurman, DEI isn’t an initiative or a committee. Diversity, equity and inclusion are core values.
In fact, fostering a diverse and inclusive environment is so central to our success that we’ve woven it into every aspect of our strategic vision and five-year business plan for the firm. Our DEI Business Resource Group elevates the conversation around diversity, equity and inclusion beyond “affinity” to the level of business imperative, which is exactly how we treat it – at the national level, across our regions, and within each of our offices across nine states and the District of Columbia.
We value, seek and develop a team comprised of individuals of all backgrounds and experiences, and we are confident our clients and communities are best served by diverse and dynamic lawyers and business professionals who bring their full and authentic selves to work.
Our dedicated professional management team, our unique Origination Culture Program and our Leadership Development Program provide an ideal platform for professional development, practice cultivation and financial success for lawyers and professionals of races, ethnicities, religions, genders, orientations, national origins, disabilities and military service backgrounds.
Diversity attracts diversity. We see this play out with the clients we serve and the lawyers and professional managers we recruit. This is why we’ve baked in our DEI perspective at the management level and decentralized what is often seen as DEI ‘committee work.’ A diverse and inclusive culture starts and is sustained from the very top.”
— Aaron Bukowitz, CEO
Supporting Diversity in the Community
Offit Kurman proudly supports a wide range of nonprofit and professional organizations dedicated to equal justice and treatment, including but not limited to:
- Alzheimer’s Association
- The American Council on Germany
- Asian Pacific Bar Association
- European American Chamber of Commerce
- Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey
- International Association of Korean Lawyers
- National LGBT Bar Association
- New Jersey Muslim Lawyers Association
- Nigerian Bar Association
- Polish American Business Club
- Women’s Bar Association
It’s really about being intentional and mindful in our approach to diversity and recruiting with diversity in mind. The demographic make-up of each generation of J.D.s is decidedly different than the one before it, and we aim to ensure that these differences are our strengths.
— Timothy Lynch, President
OK DEI Business Resource Group
Charged with infusing DEI into all we do as a law firm, our DEI Business Resource Group elevates the function beyond simple recognition, ensuring DEI considerations are at the forefront of each and every decision we make as a business and incorporated into our client services, recruiting and retention, and employee relations.
Our DEI Business Resource Group is led by lawyers and professional business managers because our embrace of diversity extends to all at Offit Kurman. The Group is further enriched and informed by DEI Ambassadors in every region across the country. Finally, our Executive Committee Sponsor and CEO Aaron Bukowitz ensures a clear path to execution for the group’s efforts.
So many organizations approach DEI by checking a box – and lack executive sponsorship, meaningful budgets or clear initiatives that align strategic outcomes. It’s just window dressing, and attention to DEI tends to ebb and flow. The firm’s five-year strategic plan has DEI initiatives woven into each pillar. The DEI BRG’s mission is supported by dedicated resources in all our offices and, even more critically, with enduring support from the top down.
— Tanya L. Freeman, Principal and Co-chair of the OK DEI Business Resource Group
These are just a sampling of the business functions impacted and empowered by our OK DEI Business Resource Group:
- Establishing firm and industry benchmarks
- Infusing a DEI element into all team meetings and trainings
- DEI channel on the firm’s intranet for sharing both firm and community DEI events and highlights
- Community service projects in support of diverse populations and causes
- Monthly DEI newsletter featuring a range of firm voices
- Distinctively different training around implicit bias, emotional intelligence and related themes
- Wide range of educational events, such as a Diversity Speaker Series and financial planning and leadership programming customized for particular audiences
- Ever-expanding library of resources presented in a range of formats to accommodate all learning styles for individual exploration of DEI-related topics
I’m deeply invested in cultivating a sense of belonging for all at the firm, but it’s not just the DEI group’s job to create the space – everybody has to be a part of it. It’s important for everyone who works here to feel seen and heard, as their contributions and diverse lived experiences matter. That’s why it is so important that DEI has a seat at the decision-making table here at Offit Kurman.
— Desiree Gareau, eKnowledge & Innovation Manager and
Co-chair of the OK DEI Business Resource Group