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Past Honorees

2015 | George B. Vashon Innovator Award Honorees

The Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) has announced the recipients of its 2015 George B. Vashon Innovator Awards. This year’s awardees are the Exelon Corporation in the category of Pipeline Initiatives; Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc. in the category of Recruitment and Retention Initiatives; and Kozyak Minority Mentoring Foundation in the category of Mentoring Initiatives.

“This year’s recipients all share one common characteristic: a determined and tenacious commitment to increasing diversity and inclusion in the areas they work,” said Joseph K. West.  “MCCA commends the Exelon Corporation, Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc., and Kozyak Minority Mentoring Foundation for their extraordinary work in helping talented attorneys and law students thrive and be successful.”

Pipeline Initiative

Exelon Corporation –  Exelon’s commitment to expanding diversity and inclusion in the legal profession recognizes the importance of shaping young minds and encouraging students to examine many opportunities.  Exelon partners with law firms to engage law students in an educational and interactive discussion on the energy business today, the roles of legal within Exelon, and the importance of diversity and inclusion in Exelon and in business in general.  By encouraging female and diverse law students to consider the fulfilling practice of law within the energy business and as in-house attorneys, it is Exelon’s goal that they will soon see these talented attorneys in their field as colleagues.

 Exelon Corporation 

Recruitment & Retention

Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc. - Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) has an innovative approach to the recruitment and retention of diverse attorneys and limiting the effects of unconscious or implicit bias. HII’s legal department seeks to build a culture of inclusion by fostering the initiative of each attorney therein to act in the best interests of the company. HII’s legal department furthers its goal of an inclusive culture by instituting (1) trusted advisor models to promote attorney empowerment; (2) a peer culture to promote respect for points of view; and (3) information sharing and transparency policies to provide all attorneys with access to knowledge.

 Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc. 

Mentoring

Kozyak Minority Mentoring Foundation - The Kozyak Minority Mentoring Foundation’s mission is to provide assistance and support to minorities interested in pursuing legal careers, mentoring programs, networking opportunities and limited financial aid.  The Foundation takes responsibility for finding experienced lawyers and judges to mentor black law students and working with other voluntary bar associations to find mentors for all minority law students. The Foundation regularly promotes awareness in the legal community for the need to increase diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.

Kozyak Minority Mentoring Foundation

 

Past Honorees List

MCCA is proud to honor and distinguish firms that tried something new and succeeded, whether in recruitment and retention, mentoring, pipeline initiatives, LGBT initiatives, or client inclusion feedback. Here is the complete list of our past George B. Vashon Innovator Award honorees.

2014

Wheeler Trigg O'Donnell LLP (WTO)
(Women's Initiatives)
McDermott Will & Emery LLP
(Retention Initiative)
New York City Bar Association, Alliance of Securities and Financial Educators (ASAFE), Guggenheim Partners and Morgan Stanley
(Pipeline Initiative)
 

2013

Prudential Financial, Inc.
(LGBT Initiative)
Pepper Hamilton LLP
(Pipeline Initiative)
New York Life Insurance Company
(Pipeline Initiative)
Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe
(Mentoring Initiative)
 

2012

Prudential Financial, Inc.
(Diverse Attorney Spotlight Program)
Duane Morris LLP
(Recruitment & Retention)
Target Corporation
(Recruitment & Retention)
Goldberg Segalla LLP
(Pipeline Initiative)
Winston & Strawn LLP
(Mentoring Initiative)

 

George B. Vashon Innovator Award is given to in-house legal departments, law firms, and bar associations that have led the way with innovative best practices to assist diverse attorneys in the legal profession.

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About George B. Vashon

George Boyer Vashon was a noted African-American legal scholar and abolitionist. He twice sought admission to practice law in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, but was rejected in both cases because of his race. In October 2010, after Vashon’s great-grandson, Duane Morris Chief Diversity Officer Nolan N. Atkinson, Jr., and others petitioned the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Vashon was officially admitted posthumously to the bar of the courts of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

As a teenager, alongside his father who was an abolitionist and well-respected leader in the black community, Vashon co-founded the Pittsburgh anti-slavery society in 1838. He attended Oberlin College, where he was the first African-American to receive a bachelor’s degree. After he was denied the right to practice law in Allegheny County, he moved to New York and became the first licensed African-American attorney in that state. Later returning to Pittsburgh, Vashon became a principal at the African-American public school and served as president of Avery College. Vashon moved to Washington, D.C., where he was admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court and, in 1867, became one of the first black professors at Howard University. Vashon died in Mississippi in 1878 during a yellow-fever epidemic.

Pathways Conference

The George B. Vashon Innovator Award is presented at Creating Pathways to Diversity® Conference. Click below for more details about this event.

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