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of treating people with respect, the value of listening to people—both people who work for you and the people you work for—and also the value of leading by example. I think those are important lessons, whether you are the mentor or the mentee.

What was the best career advice you have ever gotten that you also were able to implement successfully? When I fi rst started trying cases in New Orleans, a judge who I appeared in front of on a fairly regular basis told me that, “You are auditioning for the next phase of your life and your career every single day, whether you realize it or not.” T at actually is very good advice and in fact I ended up hired in-house by Entergy after I tried a very signifi cant case against the company and I ended up getting a pretty good result. It wasn’t very long after the case concluded that I was off ered a job in-house.

Who do you most admire either within or outside of the profes- sion, and why? My parents. T ey are both deceased now, but they both grew up in a thoroughly segregated deep South and experienced challenges and were subjected to discrimination that people would fi nd hard to believe nowadays. Despite that, they were able to raise seven children, and saw each one of us through college, and that each one of us obtained at least one graduate/professional degree. I think that is an amazing accomplishment. As extraordinary as my parents were, there happen to be quite a few people like that in many of our lives who are quiet heroes who others typically don’t know about and don’t hear about.

What is something people would be surprised to learn about you? I am an excellent cook! I make a mean seafood gumbo and I am an expert at any duck-related dishes.

What is your favorite pastime? Even though I don’t get to do it much, reading for pleasure. I would love the opportunity to play more golf, so I am looking forward to attending MCCA’s General Counsel Invitational Diversity Leadership Summit. When I play regularly, my game is halfway decent. And, of course, I cherish spending time with my family.

What attracted you to this job? T e fi rst thing that attracted me to this job was my impression of MCCA based on my prior exposure to the organization, to its staff , to its mission, both when I was at Entergy, and to a much greater extent when I joined Walmart in 2007. Second, I was attracted simply to the oppor- tunity to help make a diff erence in what I see as the most important challenge facing the legal profes- sion. T at is, making sure that the full range of talent in the profession is properly utilized and properly aff orded opportunities to contribute.

What will be the biggest adjust- ment for you transitioning from Walmart to MCCA? Even though I was in a leadership role at Walmart, it is always an adjustment when you become the leader of an organization, and that’s because the responsibility for everything rests with you. I actually enjoy that challenge because MCCA has a tremendous range of assets at its disposal: starting with the MCCA staff , with MCCA’s very strong brand and reputation, with its research portfolio, and its publica- tions. Diversity & the Bar is obviously a strong publication and probably the most widely circulated of its kind. We have a lot of assets at our disposal, but there are a lot of challenges in the diversity and inclusion space right now. Our stakeholders are going to be looking for us to be good stewards of the resources they provide us and to make sure that we provide the kinds of services that will benefi t them as organizations and as individuals.

If responsibility for everything now rests with you, what will you draw upon to overcome that new challenge? What do you look to internally that helps you respond to this adjustment? Faith. Confi dence. A strong work ethic. I think it will be important for me to be able to work well with other people and to leverage the strengths that the MCCA team will bring to bear to our work. And, I am very fortunate that I have been able to establish a pretty strong network of contacts that I hope will help us take MCCA to the next level.

Where do you see MCCA in 10 years? We have to be able to see and appreciate trends, and to capital- ize on them for the benefi t of our stakeholders and for the benefi t of the growth of the organization. For example, we can stand to gain a greater understanding and apprecia- tion of the international implications of diversity and inclusiveness, and what diversity and inclusiveness means for various ethnicities and women in other countries. As the demographics change in the U.S., I would like MCCA to be on the leading edge of helping organiza- tions develop cultural competencies, so that organizations become more inclusive. It is about diversity and inclusiveness. It is not just about recruiting diverse slates of candidates into organizations. It is also about making sure that they are incorpo- rated into the culture of the place and that they are invested in as human capital, and that they are groomed and developed as leaders, not only for the benefi t of the organization, but for the benefi t of society. D&B

Lori L. Garrett is MCCA’s vice president and managing director for MCCA’s southeast region. She heads MCCA’s professional development services.


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