Why I’m so focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion

BY Stephen D. Zubiago

This month, I’ve had the privilege of being selected as the next Managing Partner and CEO of Nixon Peabody. I’m proud to lead this firm and our incredible colleagues. Our people are what makes us who we are—they are the heart and soul of our organization.

This Black History Month, while we are still working from home, and unable to gather as we normally would, I am encouraging my colleagues to learn more about Black figures throughout history and our Black colleagues at Nixon Peabody. Throughout the month, we will be sharing content about Black Americans who’ve made incredible contributions to our country, as well as videos featuring several of our Black colleagues who will be sharing their personal stories with us.

Over the course of the last couple of weeks, I’ve been having many conversations with our colleagues and with our clients. In these conversations, I often speak about our firm’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). This is a topic that is very important to me personally, but is also woven into every aspect of our organization because we are a people-driven business. We (and our clients) benefit tremendously from the fact that diverse teams innovate and problem solve better.

Last year, Nixon Peabody was selected as one of four firms to participate in a trailblazing initiative created by Diversity Lab called the Move the Needle Fund (MTN). We committed significant financial resources over the course of five years to MTN and set an ambitious goal of increasing the diversity of our equity partnership by 2025. This is one piece of a much larger DEI strategy that we have incorporated at Nixon Peabody.

I will meet regularly with our firm’s Diversity Committee (as I did on day one of my elevation to MP and CEO), and meet with members of our five resource groups to hear their thoughts and ideas for fostering a more inclusive organization. I am also looking for ways to include more diverse voices in firm leadership at all levels.

Something that I frequently get asked is what role do “non-diverse” folks have in our DEI efforts. The answer to this is simple—diversity includes them, too. I am a straight white man, but I am committed to doing the work—by advocating and learning. Promoting DEI is the right thing to do because all people should be treated with dignity and respect and provided equal opportunities to succeed. While we have made progress in building a more diverse and inclusive organization, there is still significant work to be done and that will only be achieved by working together. We need allies, sponsors, advocates, and leaders to come together and build a more inclusive organization. I’d like to expand the table and pull up more seats to ensure that we are creating opportunities for all.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are fundamental to who we are, and I look forward to building on the foundations of the past as we work toward a more equitable and inclusive future together.

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Stephen D. Zubiago


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