Gap Inc. Legal Team Wins National Award for Diversity and Inclusion
by Christopher Cooney, Gap Inc. Communications
October 10, 2018
What do a national award, a bus trip, and a commitment to equality and inclusion have in common? It’s Gap Inc.’s in-house Legal Department, who have taken the company’s long-held values to inclusion and found even more opportunity to give back to the community.
This team was recently honored with a national recognition from the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA)
, an organization that works with law firms and companies to create, implement and maintain diverse and inclusive organizations. In its announcement, MCCA referred to Gap Inc.’s legal team as “a model for how organizations can make inclusion and diversity part of their core DNA.” Gap Inc. took home MCCA’s Western Region “Employer of Choice Award” last week.
Associate General Counsel Yolanda Sanders said her team was “very excited and proud” when they found out they won the award for the Western Region. “To be recognized by an organization like MCCA is validation that the work we continue to invest in is meaningful and important,” she said.
Studies show that a diverse and inclusive workplace increases creativity, fosters innovation and drives better consumer understanding. The Legal Department has demonstrated a comprehensive long-term commitment to diversity and inclusion. Just a few examples, prospective hires are recruited from diverse candidate pools, there is a peer mentoring program to integrate new employees, and the legal team annually surveys outside law firms with which we do business to ensure that the company hires firms who are just as committed to diversity in the legal industry as Gap Inc.
“It’s good for how we work and what we deliver,” Sanders said. “Our employee base and our customers are incredibly diverse and it’s imperative that we reflect that same diversity on our Legal team to remain effective.”
Senior Counsel Marie Ma, who was in New York City to accept the MCCA award on behalf of Gap Inc., said that the Legal Department is most proud of the team’s collective mindset when it comes to incorporating new diversity and inclusion strategies into their business practices.
“While it’s important to talk about the mission and our accomplishments to date, there’s a humility in the way we approach this work. We never feel like we’re done,” Ma said.
The legal department also promotes a robust volunteer culture with its members, encouraging pro bono work as one way to give back
to the community.
One such moment came up earlier this year, when the team partnered with one of their law firms, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, to volunteer with legal non-profit OneJustice
through their “Justice Bus Project,” which takes volunteer lawyers to rural, underserved communities to provide basic legal services during day-long clinics.
Seven lawyers from Gap Inc. joined the Justice Bus trip to El Concilio in Stockton, Calif. and met with a dozen green card holders who needed help legally navigating the naturalization process to become U.S. citizens.
“We know that the pro bono work our Legal Department provides is a valuable service to the community,” Ma said. “But it’s also incredibly rewarding for the participants, and one more reason to be proud to be part of this team.”
Hear Julie Gruber, our Global General Counsel, discuss the MCCA award as well as the programs here that help recruit, retain and promote the company’s future diverse leaders.
Interested in joining our team and being a part of some of this incredible work? Check out our open roles here
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