Norma uses her creativity, passion and experience to manage attorney professional development and lead Thompson Coburn’s extensive diversity efforts at all levels of the Firm, among clients, and in our legal and business communities across the country. As Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Norma serves as a thought leader and resource to Firm leadership, and actively collaborates with practice leaders, committee leaders, and the Firm’s Management Committee to develop and drive the execution of the Firm’s talent development, and diversity and inclusion strategies. Norma supports internal affinity groups, leads work on the Total Commitment Women’s Initiative program, and facilitates Thompson Coburn’s frequent partnerships and collaborations with diverse bar associations and law student associations in each of our markets. She also works to maintain the Firm’s top-tier rankings for national workplace honors focused on women’s leadership, LGBT equality, and racial and ethnic diversity. Drawing on her experience in human resources management, Norma plays a special role in the recruitment, retention and advancement of diverse attorneys and staff. Through her use of data, surveys, and in-person interviews, Norma is skilled at identifying needed areas of improvement and developing smart, practical diversity strategies. The underlying goal of these strategies is the same: Create welcoming work environments and lay the groundwork for the lasting success of professionals from underrepresented groups. Before coming to Thompson Coburn, Norma served in a number of recruitment and diversity-focused positions at the University of Missouri, most recently as the Director of Faculty and Professional Staff Diversity Enhancement and Engagement for the university’s College of Education. In her time at the University of Missouri, where she also obtained a law degree, Norma led cultural competency programs for faculty and professional staff, coordinated annual diversity awards that recognized outstanding leaders in diversity and inclusion, and created the university’s first standalone diversity and inclusion center within a college on campus. Norma also served as co-chair of the College of Education’s Diversity Committee and led the launch of the college’s first-ever chapter of the National Alliance of Black School Educators. In 2020, Norma was honored by The Missouri Lawyers Media 2020 Diversity & Inclusion Awards.
Start Where You Are: A Phased Approach to Building Effective and Sustainable D&I Programs