FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Business and legal communities are focusing on diversity and inclusion now more than ever. It’s the responsibility of all businesses to put programs in place to effectively understand, interface, relate to, and meet the needs of an increasingly diverse workforce. Fueled by the mission to be a progressive law firm, Kelley Kronenberg has created a Diversity & Inclusion Program that is open to all attorneys and employees. It provides a platform for the firm to be inclusive in a proactive and meaningful way. Since its launch, the program has already shown higher satisfaction and increased collaboration across the firm’s 11 offices.
“We value and respect the strengths and differences among our employees, clients, and communities because they reflect our future success. Our clients, suppliers, and strategic partners are increasingly diverse and multicultural,” said Michael Fichtel, Kelley Kronenberg’s Principal Partner and Chief Executive Officer. “Diversity and inclusion is one of the largest initiatives within the corporate sector and now the legal industry, but there’s more to it than simply checking boxes. It needs to be a conscious effort with action plans and execution,” said Fichtel.
Kelley Kronenberg’s Labor and Employment Law Partner, Alison Smith, and Human Resources Operations Manager, Jeffrey Rivera will serve as Co-Chairs of the Diversity and Inclusion committee. Smith, who is of Jamaican descent and a former president of the Caribbean Bar Association, possesses a rich background in diversity issues and brings vast experience in this area. Caribbean National Weekly named Smith as one of the Top 20 Distinguished Jamaican Youth Under 40 in 2016, and both Legacy Magazine and the South Florida Diversity Council named her one of the Most Influential Women in South Florida. Additionally, Smith is a founder of Aspire to Inspire, a mentorship program created in partnership with Miami Dade College that is aimed at motivating students (the majority of whom are immigrants and/or minorities) to successfully complete college and positively contribute to their communities.
Kelley Kronenberg’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee consists of a team of individuals, each representing a different minority group. In addition to Smith and Rivera, members include Alison Trejo, Partner, Barbara Repandis, Chief Human Resources Officer, Caroline Cimei, Director of Talent Acquisition, Chrystal Robinson, Attorney, Diedre Hall, Business Development Specialist, Harsh Arora, Partner, Jason Hepperly, Attorney, Jessica Marra, Attorney, Kristina Navarrete, Paralegal, and Shirley Pimentel, Attorney.
“With our committee in place, we will also be integrating diversity and inclusion strategies in recruitment, leadership assessment, and training,” said Barbara Repandis, the firm’s Chief Human Resources Officer. “We’re not just talking about diversity, we’re taking action.”
The Diversity and Inclusion Committee is tasked with seeking out and utilizing the employees’ diversity in ways that bring new and richer perspectives to the firm and its clients. The committee will also work to develop an attorney and senior administrative manager evaluation process to set clear expectations and accountability around diversity and inclusion. Additionally, all firm employees are required to attend and complete annual diversity awareness training, to enhance their knowledge of the firm’s conscious effort to promote and support an inclusive culture.
Kelley Kronenberg’s commitment to diversity goes beyond the workplace, including several current and upcoming initiatives and community activities. For example, the firm created a Kelley Kronenberg Law School Scholarship Program where funds are awarded to three students annually. In addition, the firm dedicated positions for minority students for the firm’s annual Summer Associate Program.
Kelley Kronenberg has made diversity a key aspect and feature of the firm, stressing sensitivity and equality as part of its culture and core values. The firm is ranked in the top 10 on the National Law Journal (NLJ) 500 Women’s Scorecard and was recently named one of the “Best Places to Work” by the South Florida Business Journal and “Top Places to Work” by the Sun-Sentinel.
ABOUT KELLEY KRONENBERG
Kelley Kronenberg is a multi-practice business law firm with more than 160 attorneys and 11 locations throughout Florida and the United States. Founded in 1980, our firm is one of the fastest-growing law firms in Florida, built on relationships, and committed to exceptional client service. We serve all types and sizes of public and private companies, as well as small businesses and individuals nationwide. Kelley Kronenberg has been recognized amongst the “Largest U.S. Law Firms” in the Law 360 450 in 2019, National Law Journal’s NLJ 500 in 2019, and in the Top 10 in NLJ’s Women’s Scorecard 2019. The firm has been the recipient of many awards and honors most recently including America’s Top Corporate Law Firms in 2019 by Forbes, Top 20 “Largest Law Firms” by Florida Trend, South Florida Business Journal, South Florida Business & Wealth magazine, and Daily Business Review’s “Review 100” in 2019. For more information, visit www.kelleykronenberg.com.
Michelle Martinez Reyes, Chief Relations Officer