The Greenville Chamber presented Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. with the 2016 ATHENA Organizational Leadership Award for its commitment to increasing the positive impact of women’s leadership in our community. The third annual award was presented at the Chamber’s fifth annual ATHENA Leadership Symposium sponsored by BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina on November 7, 2016.
Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. is the third largest labor and employment law firm in the United States. They currently employ over 340 female attorneys in 49 offices around the world. Since women make up nearly 43% of the firm’s attorney population (nearly 8% more than the national average in large law firms), programs and initiatives that specifically expand knowledge and refine skills necessary for the advancement of women attorneys are seen as mission-critical endeavors. In 2016 alone, 75% of the firm’s newly elected shareholders are women.
According to managing shareholder Mike Shetterly, "Ogletree Deakins is honored to receive the ATHENA award. We have worked hard to create an environment where women have the latitude and opportunities to make their career their own, and we are proud of the success of our female shareholders who are paving the way through professional, civic, and internal leadership. Winning this award does not mean we have reached our goals, but it strengthens our resolve, propels us to continue to make advancements, and compels us to lead in this important initiative."
Ogletree Deakins focuses on leadership and development opportunities for women with their women’s initiative, ODWIN. ODWIN serves as a resource to enhance the firm's commitment to its women attorneys by creating and fostering an environment of inclusiveness through active involvement in the firm's business development, recruitment, retention, and educational awareness efforts as they relate to women attorneys at the firm. ODWIN’s goals revolve around three key focus areas that are critical to the success of all attorneys:
- Power: Leadership that matters to include positions of authority in and outside of the firm. (While ODWIN realizes they cannot directly impact these decisions, it is understood that they can help to professionally develop women interested in occupying these positions of authority.)
- Access: Opportunities to network, cross sell, train, mentor, and sponsor more junior attorneys throughout the year are crucial to the success of women attorneys at the firm. (Due to the firm’s large footprint, this is especially challenging, and by creating access opportunities, best practice models insist that this will help to reduce issues of isolation, increase productivity, and avoid costly attrition of women attorneys.)
- Equity: Credits and compensation greatly impact the firm’s ability to recruit, retain, and promote women attorneys at all levels of the firm. (ODWIN researches best practices in this key area and regularly makes recommendations to the Board of Directors for policy and practice considerations.)
In 2016, Ogletree Deakins has been named a top 50 Best Law Firm for Women by Working Mother and Flex-Time Lawyers, ranked #9 on The National Law Journal’s 2016 Women in Law Scorecard, and earned an A for overall gender diversity in Above the Law’s annual Law Firm Gender Diversity Index published in May 2016. In 2015, for the first time in firm history, Ogletree Deakins was recognized as a WILEF (Women in Law Empowerment Forum) Gold Standard Firm for leadership roles achieved by equity women partners.
Greenville Chamber President/CEO Carlos Phillips notes, “We are proud to have Ogletree Deakins in our business community and to honor them with the ATHENA Organizational Leadership Award. They are a terrific example of an organization that practices what they preach in an effort to better serve their clients, their people and the community.”
About the ATHENA Organizational Leadership Award®
The ATHENA Organizational Leadership Award® is presented annually to an organization with initiatives dedicated to creating cultures that encourage women employees to achieve their full leadership potential, and/or that give back to the larger community of women by providing or supporting leadership development opportunities and initiatives.
ATHENA Leadership Award® recipients created the ATHENA Organizational Leadership Award® and its selection criteria, which includes: a diverse governing board, senior leadership demonstrating a commitment to advancing women in leadership roles, initiatives to specifically advance women as leaders, senior women leaders serving as role models for women employees, mentoring women as they develop career plans, setting goals to increase the number of women in leadership and monitoring progress toward those goals, sharing information throughout the organization on women leaders, developing programs to help women balance families and careers, and supporting and developing women leaders in the Greenville community.
Past ATHENA Organizational Leadership Award® recipients are Wyche, P.A. (2014) and the Greenville Health System (2015).
BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina sponsored the 2016 ATHENA Leadership Symposium. National Accounts Director Jim Shew notes, “We benefit from the expertise and skills of women throughout our organization and are committed to the development and advancement of talented women. We have women on our board of directors. We have a woman CEO in one of our technology subsidiaries. We have female leaders of departments and business lines. And, in fact, approximately 75 percent of our 11,000 employees are women. That statistic exceeds the national and state average of 51 percent. Women are clearly critical to our success.”