The Thriving Work Place: Strategies to Create and Sustain Diversity and Inclusion – C01

The President’s Track

Session C: 2:15 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.

 The business case for diversity and inclusion in the work place is clear. What may not be clear is how an employer in the legal profession, whether big firm or small, public interest or public sector, or business or academia, can create a diverse and inclusive work environment. Many do not know how to tackle this issue beyond the metrics. This session will guide you through strategies and skills necessary to engage employees at all levels in diversity and inclusion initiatives; to move your diversity and inclusion efforts forward; to leverage diversity and inclusion as a competitive advantage; and how you can be an inclusive leader in your organization.   

You will learn:   

  • How to identify the barriers to diversity and inclusion in your organization  
  • Tools to create an inclusive work place   
  • Competencies for being an inclusive leader, including strategies to address intersectionality   

Karen DeMeola, Assistant Dean of Students, UCONN School of Law, Hartford CBA President-elect  

Karen 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. Karen is admitted to practice in Connecticut and the Federal District Court, District of Connecticut. Karen has presented on numerous panels, conferences and symposia on diversifying law school populations; the intersectionality of race, class, gender, religion and sexual orientation; affirmative action and admissions; the Defense of Marriage Act; and numerous pipeline projects. Karen also serves as an adjunct professor teaching Critical Identity Theory.





Ann Jenrette-Thomas, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Stinson Leonard Street, Minneapolis, MN  

Attorney Jenrette-Thomas, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer at Stinson Leonard Street. Attorney Jenrette-Thomas directs diversity and inclusion initiatives and oversees the implementation of the firm’s Diversity Action Plan. She works with the firm’s leadership, board of directors and diversity committee to identify strategies to achieve the firm’s goals for hiring and promoting attorneys and staff who are women, multicultural, LGBT and who have disabilities. Ann has spent her career helping individuals and organizations overcome obstacles to success. She has worked as an attorney, professional certified coach, author and small business owner. She specializes in diversity coaching and in coaching teams on workplace inclusion.

Before joining the firm, she was an attorney at an Am Law 100 law firm, a solo practitioner, a judicial clerk for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and a legislative attorney for the New York City Council. She also was president and CEO of a nonprofit organization. She has written and presented to attorneys on personal branding, inclusive leadership, unconscious bias, and mentoring. Ann is also the compiling editor of the Amazon best seller “The Happy Law Practice: Expert Strategies to Build Business and Maintain Peace of Mind.

Ann received her undergraduate degree from University of Albany at SUNY, her JD from Western New England University School of Law and an LLM from Georgetown University Law Center.


CLE Credit: 1.5 Hours (LPM)