Law firm’s all-employee book club communicates diversity

Firm launches “One Book, One Firm” to get workers talking about diversity. Video

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Firm launches “One Book, One Firm” to get workers talking about diversity

“One thing I’m tasked with is coming up with ways to communicate the importance of diversity to the firm, and I always look for ways to build the conversation, to create a sense of urgency,” says Martin, who heads up Warner’s diversity efforts. “The ‘One Book’ program struck me as a way to get people to have a common experience that they can share and discuss.”

The timing, he figured, was good: “Summer was coming and I knew people would be wondering what to read at the beach,” he explains.

Martin assembled a diverse (naturally) group of firm employees, including attorneys, receptionists and paralegals, and asked them to research and recommend books related to diversity. The team made 13 recommendations, some fiction and some nonfiction.

From those, they agreed upon one: Stealing Buddha’s Dinner, a memoir by Bich Minh Nguyen, whose family fled Vietnam in 1975, as Saigon fell to the Communist north. After passing through refugee camps in the Philippines, Guam and Fort Chafee, Ark., the family settled in Grand Rapids, Mich.

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