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Empowering Professional Development Series 2021: DEI in the Legal Industry - Integration of DEI into Business

Speaker(s): Amber Haggins, Courtney Beauzile, H. Sandra Bang, Kristine McKinney, Marlon D. Cush, Melanie R. Priddy
Recorded on: Nov. 2, 2021
PLI Program #: 339756

Amber is the vice president of global diversity, equity and inclusion. She drives the Prophet’s DEI strategy, bringing over 15 years of experience leading transformational change. She has helped organizations across industries to embed equitable practices and enhance their brands and workplace culture and performance. As a former practicing attorney, Amber is passionate about empowering individuals, organizations and communities to recognize their ability to create impactful change through inclusive environments, clear purpose and strong brands.

Before joining Prophet, Amber served in leadership roles in law, government, and the aerospace industries - where she was responsible for driving the strategy and execution of diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives in alignment with business goals including talent acquisition, learning and development and retention.

She earned her B.A. in political science from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, and her Juris Doctor from the Howard University School of Law.

When you get the opportunity, be sure to ask Amber about social justice, soul food and Whitney Houston – and the reasons why she loves being a mom.


Courtney Beauzile is the Director of Marketing Operations at Shearman & Sterling LLP.  Courtney oversees strategic client pursuits, competitive intelligence, proposals and directories. She applies her more than 16 years of marketing and business development experience to driving operational efficiencies and advancing the firm’s commitment to exceptional client service. Committed to diversity, equity and inclusion, Courtney established the firm’s first inclusion network for business services professionals, BE SEEN (Black Employees at Shearman for Equity, Empowerment and Networking), and currently serves as a Co-chair.

Sandra Bang is the Chief Diversity & Talent Strategy Officer at the international law firm, Shearman & Sterling LLP, and leads the diversity and inclusion, professional development, legal recruitment, and partner and counsel services teams and initiatives.  Originally from Canada, Sandra began her career in the legal industry as a litigation lawyer both in private law firms as well as in government. Her passion for talent management and career coaching led her from practicing law to managing and developing lawyers, which she has been doing for over 17 years at several different law firms in Canada and the US. Sandra has shared her expertise and experiences by participating as a speaker and panelist at various conferences and panels hosted by, among others, the New York City Bar Association, the Professional Development Consortium, the Professional Development Institute, the Association for Legal Career Professionals, the Center for Talent Innovation and various law schools.  Sandra is a certified executive coach, having completed the Advanced Coaching Intensive program at Columbia University.  She has also served as the Vice-Chair and board member for Girls Write Now, a not-for-profit organization based in New York City.

As Fish & Richardson’s chief operating officer, Kristine McKinney oversees operations of the firm’s 14 offices in the U.S., Europe, and China.  Under her direction, business operations are focused on world-class client service, enhancing efficiency and productivity, and building a culture that inspires people at all levels of the firm.

Prior to becoming COO, Kristine served as the firm’s first chief legal talent & inclusion officer, a role in which she led the professional development, legal recruiting, diversity & inclusion, and pro bono teams. During her five-year tenure, Fish was selected as a Best Law Firm for Women for four consecutive years, elevated its most diverse class of principals ever, was recognized as a Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality, and earned the Mansfield Certified Designation from Diversity Lab, among many other notable accomplishments. Previously, Kristine was in management roles at Faegre Baker Daniels and Kirkland & Ellis. Kristine is a sought-after speaker and author on topics related to diversity, organizational effectiveness, change management, and leadership development.

I am a senior lawyer and business leader with 14+ years of law firm and public company in-house experience. I help organizations of varying sizes mature, build capacity and execute on strategic initiatives, particularly in rapidly evolving regulatory and commercial landscapes such as healthcare and global insurance. Prior to legal practice, I worked in analyst roles within the financial services arena.  

I started my legal practice in Minneapolis, MN as a corporate associate at a large, full-service law firm working on a wide variety of M&A, corporate finance and general corporate matters. After five years or so, I moved to a now Fortune 6 diversified healthcare company to help build out and support its global insurance, assistance and other comprehensive inhouse solutions. There I fell in love with the quadruple aim of healthcare and its deep complexities and opportunities. In August 2021, I transitioned to a healthcare technology company to help develop different solutions to meet the dynamic needs of healthcare providers, consumers and payers.

I prefer to spend my time at the intersection of law, finance, strategy and operations. Accordingly, after a decade of legal practice, I returned to the classroom to obtain my MBA. It is a tool that helps me to further partner with my work and non-profit board colleagues to reverse engineer the ideal future of our respective organizations and to realize help their potential.

I currently serve on the boards of Breakthrough Twin Cities (a non-profit in the educational equity space) and Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, which care for patients living with some of the most complex and traumatic conditions in pediatric medicine.

Melanie Priddy is Katten's chief talent officer and oversees the firm's talent development structure for both attorneys and business professionals. This includes Human Resources, Attorney Recruitment, Professional Development and Diversity. She leads the development and execution of a human capital strategy that aligns with the firm’s strategic plan. This is specifically focused on key talent acquisition, development, diversity, inclusion and retention.