North Carolina Lawyers Weekly Features Q&A on DEI Initiatives With Chief Diversity Officer Taylor Dewberry
North Carolina Lawyers Weekly (NCLW) interviewed Smith Anderson attorney and Chief Diversity Officer Taylor Dewberry for its January 2023 issue on how law firms and other companies can create diverse, inclusive and welcoming environments for their employees.
"The strategy remains the same – to create a workforce where everyone is appreciated for what makes them unique and is included, despite their differences,” Taylor said. "Adding new employees to the mix only creates new opportunities to bring employees into the company culture and get new ideas and perspectives from them."
Taylor told NCLW that to create a sustainable yet engaging Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) program, a company must create a program that is both focused on a diversity mission and also adaptable to changing cultural movements and current issues. For example, a company could have a focused mission to support employee resource groups to encourage greater inclusion and also be open to additional employee resource groups that its employees suggest.
Taylor also cautioned that diversity and inclusion is a challenging metric in a company’s success because DEI means different things to different people.
"Companies should look around at their metaphorical 'tables,' and ask themselves whether there are a variety of voices, perspectives, backgrounds, and outlooks who have a seat at their tables and if not, take steps to change that," Taylor advises.
As Smith Anderson’s chief diversity office, Taylor works in tandem with the firm’s Management and D&I committees as Smith Anderson continuously advances the firm’s vision, mission and programming to achieve the DEI goals outlined in the firm’s strategic plan.
Taylor is also an attorney in Smith Anderson’s Employment, Labor and Human Resources practice group. Her practice focuses on employment-related counseling and defending employers against claims involving discrimination, wrongful discharge, retaliation, harassment and civil rights claims. She has represented clients in state and federal courts and agencies throughout North Carolina.
The entire NCLW Q&A with Taylor can be read here.
North Carolina Lawyers Weekly is one of the state’s leading legal magazines reporting news, court opinions, verdicts and settlements and other issues of importance for North Carolina’s legal community.