As we turn the page to 2018, Pullman & Comley’s commitment to diversity and inclusion has never been stronger. We pride ourselves on the depth and breadth of our attorneys’ commitment to diversity in the legal community and beyond. In the last quarter of 2017 we proudly put that commitment on display by participating in the following efforts:
Celebrating Diversity in the Greater Bridgeport Business Community – On November 8, 2017, Pullman & Comley was once again proud to sponsor the “Celebrating Diversity in the Greater Bridgeport Business Community” event with People’s Bank. This was the fifth anniversary of the event which was once again hosted in the People’s Bank building. Numerous Pullman & Comley attorneys and employees were among the large crowd in attendance. The event showcased four minority owned businesses including: Komfort Zone (soaps and body butter), La Signature Cheesecakes, The Schegg Group (HR consulting and recruiting firm and firm client) and Zuniga, Gallego & Zhunio, LLC –(a women and minority owned accounting firm). The event also highlighted the work of the Kennedy Center – a Trumbull, CT charity dedicated towards providing services to individuals with disabilities.
CBA Diversity and Inclusion Committee – Throughout the fourth quarter of 2017, Pullman & Comley’s attorneys continued to play an integral part in the maturation of the Connecticut Bar Association’s (“CBA”) recently-formed Diversity and Inclusion (“D&I”) Committee. On October 25, 2017, the Diversity and Inclusion Committee hosted its Second Annual Diversity and Inclusion Summit at Quinnipiac School of Law. New P&C partner and former CBA president Monte Frank presented at the Summit; both Monte and Jess Grossarth Kennedy were members of the subcommittee that was formed to plan the Summit. At the Summit, firms and organizations learned how to better execute reaching their diversity goals, and examined their progress in meeting the “Pledge” from last year’s Summit. Six members of the firm attended the Summit.
In December, Bob Hinton and Monte Frank attended a D&I meeting held at the CBA headquarters where a litany of D&I matters were discussed, but most notably, it was announced that: i) the CBA and the Connecticut Bar Foundation will jointly host a symposium this spring dedicated to the topic of disabilities; and ii) the 2018 Summit will be held on October 24, 2018 and focus on recruiting and retention.
LAMBDA Legal -- Lambda Legal’s Connecticut Cares 2017 event was held on Sunday, November 5th at Mitchell’s of Westport. The event included a brunch, cocktails, a premier silent auction, and a runway fashion show. LAMBDA’s new Legal Director of Strategy, Sharon McGowan, addressed the crowd about LAMBDA’s expansion to Washington, D.C. to assist with LAMBDA’s mission in this time of unprecedented attacks on the rights of LGBTQ people. The event helped to raise a record breaking $320,000 to be used to facilitate LAMBDA’s ongoing work. John Stafstrom is on the Executive Committee of Lambda’s Board of Directors, is the co-chair the Board’s Development Committee, and was co-chair of Lambda’s National Liberty Awards which took place in May. John and Erick Russell co-chaired the CT Cares 2017 event. Pullman attorneys Jon Orleans, Lee Hoffman, Andy Glickson, Chris McCormack, Steve Stafstrom and Gary O’Connor attended the event.
Lawyers Collaborative for Diversity – In the fourth quarter of 2018, P&C’s attorneys remained deeply involved in the work of the Lawyers Collaborative for Diversity or “LCD.” As a member of LCD’s Board of Directors, P&C Diversity Committee Chair Jess Grossarth Kennedy attended a December 7 LCD Board Meeting in which LCD’s 2018 agenda and goals were discussed along with newly invigorated branding efforts. In addition, P&C attorneys Mark Sommaruga and Bob Hinton are serving as law school mentors through LCD’s mentorship program and attended the program’s kick off dinner on October 24.
George W. Crawford Black Bar Association -- On November 29, Erick Russell hosted a George W. Crawford Black Bar Association meeting at Pullman & Comley’s Bridgeport office. Cheryl Quintero, a certified health coach, spoke about work/life balance, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, managing stress and balancing the challenges of a high demand profession.
Connecticut Hispanic Bar Association -- Our firm was a proud sponsor of the Connecticut Hispanic Bar Association (“CHBA’s”) Annual Awards Dinner, which took place on November 16, 2017 at the Hartford Marriott. A table of attendees from our firm included P&C attorneys Bob Hinton, Mike Kurs, Rob Morris, Jon Orleans, and Andy Glickson.
Connecticut Italian-American Bar Association –Mike Ceccorulli, Kelly O’Donnell, Bob Hinton and Judge Holzberg attended the Connecticut Italian-American Bar Association (“CIABA’s”) Annual Awards Dinner at Anthony’s Ocean View in New Haven on November 2nd. Mike Ceccorulli is on CIABA Board of Directors.
In addition to the preceding events, our attorneys attended a number of other events in the last part of 2017 with diversity and inclusion themes including the “Making Me Whole Prison Art & Healing” event at Hartford Public Library, the Aurora Foundation for Women and Girls in Greater Hartford 12th Annual Signature Breakfast Event, the George W. Crawford Association Judicial Recognition Reception and the Hartford Gay Men’s Chorus Holiday Concert.
Breaking New Ground
Agent for Change: The Power of Diversity in Leadership – On October 23, Pullman & Comley’s Women’s Leadership Initiative and Diversity Committee jointly sponsored and hosted the “Agent for Change: The Power of Diversity in Leadership” event at the Yard Goats Clubhouse at Dunkin Donuts Park in Hartford. Numerous Pullman & Comley attorneys and staff were among the more than 100 people gathered at the event who listened to special guest speaker, Kelli Masters, a trailblazing sports agent, offer an inspirational speech on how she has been able to break into (and succeed in) a traditionally male-dominated profession.
Connect-Us -- P&C is beginning to develop a relationship with Connect-Us, Youth Programs in Bridgeport. Connect-Us brings together suburban and urban neighbors in partnership to improve the quality of outcomes for young people living in communities of concentrated poverty. Connect-Us youth programs are designed to complement formal education with afterschool growth opportunities that expand the vistas of youth living in Bridgeport, CT. Jill Bicks attended Connect-Us’ MLK Day Bridgeport event at the Klein in Bridgeport, as well as a January 28 event in Westport.
Tri-State Diversity Council – On September 27, 2017, Liliana Meza attended the Generational Diversity Summit at Goodwin College with keynote address by Ellen Lambert, the Chief Diversity Officer at PSEG. The topics of discussion included the various types of diversity and how it can lead to internal and external growth for corporations.
Building for the Future
Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service – On MLK day volunteers from P&C continued our annual tradition of working with a local charity. This year P&C volunteers painted and refurbished the Plimpton House in Hartford.
CBA Diversity and Inclusion Committee and LCD – In January several of our attorneys attended CBA Pledge and Diversity and Inclusion meetings; Jess Grossarth Kennedy attended LCD’s January Board meeting. In the spring, P&C will host its annual Fairfield County LCD networking reception in our Bridgeport office.