Madeleine A. Kleiner
The Hilton Hotels Corporation–which owns, operates, and franchises Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn Hotels, Doubletree Hotels, Homewood Suites, Embassy Suites Hotels, Conrad Hotels, and Hampton Inns–has set a gold standard for worldwide diversity efforts.
Hilton’s General Counsel, Madeleine A. Kleiner, heads its legal department of 19 attorneys, 16 percent of whom are people of color, and 58 percent of whom are women. Additionally, the legal department’s manager is a woman of color.
This highly diverse legal department participates in the company’s formal mentoring program for all employees below the level of vice president. The company pairs its attorneys with team members who are high-level executives outside of the legal department. Additionally, senior lawyers provide further mentoring outside of the company-wide mentoring program.
Hilton’s legal department also utilizes a formal plan to promote diversity amongst its outside counsel and vendors. Hilton has worked with its outside counsel to increase the number of minorities and women attorneys working on its legal matters, continued their formal mentoring program, and publicized their diversity best practices to local and national bar associations.
The company requires outside counsel to provide data on the amount of Hilton services performed by women and minorities, and rewards the most diverse firms with “preferred firm” status, putting them first in line for new Hilton legal work.
Additionally, Hilton maintains a database of women- and minority-owned firms, and expects its lawyers to consider at least one firm in the database when assigning any new significant legal matters.
Hilton’s emphasis on diversity, through the standards it sets for itself and others, makes its legal department a global force for inclusion.
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From the December 2002 issue of Diversity & The Bar®