I Live My Passion Every Day
I am passionate about diversity and inclusion in the workplace and society.
I know from my own family history that diversity and inclusion can be transformative. My maternal grandmother, who grew up picking cotton in the Mississippi Delta, had big dreams, despite the extremely limited professional opportunities available to most African-Americans during Jim Crow. She actually wanted to be a doctor; that was not practical for a poor Black woman from the South at the time, so she chose nursing.
She settled in my hometown, Detroit, Michigan, and enrolled in nurse anesthetist training. Thereafter, she obtained a position and became the first Black nurse anesthetist in the city. She was dedicated to her career, became a department supervisor, and worked until she was 70. Thanks to her successful career, she was able to comfortably provide for her children, live in a beautiful home, and help support her husband’s dreams. (My grandfather was a dermatologist at a time when many Black people could not afford such medical services.)
I think about how she must have inspired other Black women to believe that they, too, could thrive in specialized, predominantly white fields. Seeing her journey gave me greater confidence to become a trailblazer myself, as one of a relatively small number of Black women in the antitrust field and the first to ever serve as a deputy assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division.
As an antitrust lawyer, I believe that robust competition among companies benefits consumers through lower prices, greater innovation, and higher quality. I am of the strong opinion that when individuals from diverse backgrounds are able to compete in the marketplace for talent, without discriminatory barriers placed on their ability to be hired or promoted, the teams and companies they join perform better. Racism and other forms of discrimination, in my view, suppress competition, in addition to causing other pernicious harms.
I am extremely fortunate to be able to pursue my passion as Axinn’s new chief diversity & inclusion officer, while also continuing to practice antitrust law. I look forward to working with our colleagues to help ensure that we are attracting outstanding attorneys from a diverse range of backgrounds, and that all of our lawyers are well positioned for success and advancement. Because studies show diverse teams perform better, I believe my work as CDIO will strengthen the firm’s ability to offer best-of-breed representation and earn business from new and existing clients. I expect my training as an antitrust lawyer, and my understanding of competition and barriers to entry, will help me in my new role. I am grateful for the opportunity to combine my passions for diversity/ inclusion and antitrust to do this important work.