01 February 2019

Former ABA president launches diversity institute

Hilarie Bass to work with companies to promote more women to senior leadership and power.


Hilarie Bass, the immediate past-president of the American Bar Association (ABA) and co-president of Greenberg Traurig, has launched the Bass Institute for Diversity & Inclusion. The institute aims to bring a c-level perspective to the issue of retaining and promoting women to senior roles by focusing on best practices that have been proven effective at ‘moving the needle,’ with the eventual goal of bringing diversity and inclusion to every level of the organization.

Bad for business

Ms Bass explained, ‘there simply aren’t enough women at the table. Not having women in senior leadership positions is bad for women, of course, but, more importantly, it’s bad for business. Companies invest a fortune in recruiting the smartest, most competent women, but then they fail to retain them and to promote them into positions of senior leadership.’ Through the Bass Institute, Ms Bass will work with companies, law firms and institutions to evaluate why current diversity programs have failed to accomplish their goals and recommend granular changes in approaches to hiring, compensation, promotion and performance evaluations. She said, ‘when women leave a company before they’ve reached their full potential, and contributed their full potential, the company pays a high price.’

Unconscious biases

The institute will help companies through services such as the creation of effective and innovative inclusion and diversity programs, as well as executive counseling and workshops on diversity and inclusion best practices and strategies. The institute’s approach is based on methods that have been proven to change workplace culture and diminish the impact of the unconscious biases that all humans hold and that prevent workplaces from being truly inclusive. The Bass Institute for Diversity & Inclusion will be supported by its nonprofit arm, the Bass Foundation.

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