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Fostering Cultural Competence is Focus of Varnum Firm-Wide Training

October 31, 2014

Attorneys and staff at Varnum recently participated in training designed to foster cultural competence, as part of the firm's on-going inclusion and diversity efforts.

The training, which focused on relationship building, implicit bias awareness and inclusive community growth, was conducted by organizational performance consultant Paul Doyle, principal at Inclusive Performance Strategies. A resident of West Michigan, Doyle has conducted similar training for various organizations around the country.

"Cultural competency is increasingly important, especially as we serve clients with a national or international presence," said Varnum Executive Partner Tom Kyros. "We recognized the business case for diversity many years ago, and we are continually refining our efforts to broaden awareness of cultural issues, as well as to attract and retain diverse talent to the firm."

The firm holds occasional training and awareness programs in addition to its other diversity and inclusion efforts.

Varnum is one of the few – and possibly only – Michigan law firms to establish a Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council, which provides input on recruiting and retention efforts and insight into diversity and inclusion issues. The council, established in 2007, consists of community leaders of various ethnicities, races, backgrounds, orientations, and religions.

Doyle, who is a member of the council, was joined by other council members in a panel discussion as part of the recent program.

"We are very grateful to Paul and all of the council members who so generously give of their time to share their knowledge, perspectives and insight," said Joy Fossel, who chairs Varnum's Diversity and Inclusion Team. "We are extremely fortunate to be working with this engaged and talented group of people."

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