The Power and Pitfalls of Personal Narratives in Advancing Diversity and Inclusion- A03


  Diversity and Inclusion Track
  Diversity and Inclusion Committee

   Session A: 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.




About the Program
The success or failure of personal diversity and inclusion narratives are often linked to power, privilege, and personal comfort. We embrace and celebrate stories of diverse individuals who have overcome significant obstacles, situated in different times or spaces, to achieve great outcomes. Yet we often struggle when confronted with our own biases and diversity and inclusion failures. Personal conversations around diversity and inclusion, those intended to address bias and discrimination in the present, are often fraught with potential for failure, which then translates into silence and missed opportunities for positive change.  

You Will Learn

  • How to participate in meaningful and difficult conversations around diversity and inclusion 
  • How to harness the power and authenticity of one’s personal narrative 
  • How fragility and privilege operate to frustrate hard conversations around diversity and inclusion 
  • How to listen with equity to achieve personal and organizational growth 


Michelle L. Querijero, Allied World Insurance Company, Farmington

Michelle Querijero is a Senior Claims Analyst at Allied World Insurance Company. Ms. Querijero is a member of the CBA House of Delegates, the CBA Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and is an officer and director of the Connecticut Asian Pacific American Bar Association.  

Ms. Querijero is a graduate of the University of Connecticut School of Law. Following graduation, she clerked for the Honorable Justice Joette Katz of the Connecticut Supreme Court.  Prior to her law career, Ms. Querijero was an aerospace engineer for ten years and graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder’s Aerospace Engineering Sciences program.


Hon. Richard A. Robinson, Connecticut Supreme Court, Hartford 

The Honorable Richard A. Robinson was born December 10, 1957 in Stamford, Connecticut. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Connecticut in 1979 and a Juris Doctor degree from West Virginia University School of Law in 1984. He was admitted to the West Virginia Bar and the Connecticut Bar, and is a member of the U.S. District Court, Northern District of West Virginia and the U.S. District Court, Connecticut.

From 1985 – 1988, Justice Robinson was Staff Counsel for the City of Stamford Law Department. In 1988, he became Assistant Corporation Counsel in Stamford where he remained until his appointment as a Judge of the Superior Court in 2000. He remained a Superior Court Judge for the next seven years during which time he served as Presiding Judge (Civil) for the New Britain Judicial District (May 2003 – September 2006); Presiding Judge (Civil) and Assistant Administrative Judge for the Ansonia/Milford Judicial District (September 2006 – September 2007); and Presiding Judge (Civil) for the Stamford Judicial District (September 2007 – December 2007). He was appointed as a Judge of the Connecticut Appellate Court on December 10, 2007, a Justice of the Supreme Court on December 19, 2013 and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court on May 3, 2018.

Justice Robinson’s career is complimented by an array of public and judicial service. He served as President of the Stamford Branch of the NAACP (1988-1990); General Counsel for the Connecticut Conference of the NAACP (1988 – 2000); President of the Assistant Corporation Counsel’s Union (AFSCME) (1989 – 2000); Commissioner of the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (1997 – 2000); Chair of the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (1999 – 2000); New Haven Inn of Court member (2002 – present); Judicial Education Curriculum Committee member (2002 – 2014); Judicial Education Committee member (2003 – 2014); Faculty at several Judicial Institutes as well as spring and fall lectures (2003 – present); Civil Commission member (2005 – 2014); Court Annexed Mediator (2005 – 2014); Lawyers Assistance Advisory Board member (2007 – present); Bench-Bar Foreclosure Committee (2007 – 2014); Legal Internship Committee (2013 – 2017); Chairperson of the Advisory Committee on Cultural Competency (2009-present); Chairperson of the Rules Committee (2017- present); Connecticut Bar Association Young Lawyers Section Diversity Award (2010); Connecticut Bar Association’s Henry J. Naruk Judiciary Award for Integrity (2017); NAACP 100 Most Influential Blacks in Connecticut; Connecticut Bar Foundation James W. Cooper Fellows, Life Fellow; Discovering Amistad National Advisory Board; Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities’ Alvin W. Penn Award for Excellence in Leadership (2018);  Ebony Magazine Power 100 Award (2018).

Karen DeMeola, UConn School of Law, Hartford

Karen DeMeola is the Assistant Dean for Finance, Administration, and Enrollment at UConn School of Law and is the immediate past president of the Connecticut Bar Association. She received her undergraduate degree in psychology from UConn and her J.D. from UConn Law. After graduation from law school, Karen was a civil rights litigator whose practice focused primarily on employment discrimination, police brutality and housing discrimination. While at UConn Law, she has been an adjunct professor teaching Critical Identity Theory and has presented on numerous panels, symposia and conferences on diversifying law school populations, implicit bias, intersectionality, leadership, and diversity and inclusion. Karen has also created numerous pipeline projects, including the CBA Pathways to Legal Careers Pipeline. Karen is a Fellow of the Connecticut Bar Foundation. 

Karen was the recipient of the 2018 Attorney of the Year Award from the Connecticut Law Tribune; the Lawyers Collaborative for Diversity Edwin Archer Randolph Diversity Award; the CWEALF Maria Miller Stewart Award; the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities Constance Baker Motley Award for Business and Law; and the University of Connecticut Spirit Award.

Cecil J. ThomasGreater Hartford Legal Aid Inc., Hartford  

Cecil J. Thomas has been a staff attorney at GHLA since 2006.  During this time, he has represented hundreds of clients in a variety of areas, predominantly in housing matters.   His experiences have included state and federal class action lawsuits, as well as appellate litigation.  Cecil has been a member of the board of directors of the South Asian Bar Association of Connecticut (SABAC) since 2007, and served as president of SABAC in 2008 and from 2010-12.   He also serves on the board of the University of Connecticut School of Law Alumni Association.  Cecil is the recipient of the 2008 Connecticut Supreme Court Law Day Award, the 2013 Hartford County Bar Association Judge Maxwell Heiman Memorial Award, and was named as a “New Leader in the Law” by the Connecticut Law Tribune in 2014.  Cecil received his Juris Doctor from the University of Connecticut School of Law in 2006. He graduated cum laude from Brandeis University in 2003 with a Master of Arts in American History, and a Bachelor of Arts in Politics and in History.


CLE Credit: 2.0 Hours (CT: 2.0 Ethics; NY: 2.0 D&I)