McGuireWoods Holds 2023 Diverse Associates Leadership Program

October 26, 2023

Continuing its commitment to attorney development, 17 associates attended McGuireWoods’ 2023 Diverse Associates Leadership Program (DALP), held Oct. 19-20, 2023, at the Salamander Washington, D.C. DALP equips top-performing associates of color and LGBTQ+ associates with the tools and leadership skills essential to practice development and advancement into the partnership ranks of the firm.

The associate-participants included Femi Aborisade; Erin A. Ball; Melek J. Dunn; Derek A. Farrugia; John J. Feliciano-Acosta; Paul C. Harris Jr.; Tevin L. Hopkins; Briana M. Jackson; Sun Lee; Andrew C. Papa; Alicia M. Penn; Joshua D. Powers; Jason A. Richardson; Marrisa A. Rose; Emily Song; D. Julian Veintimilla; and Joseph L. Wilson II.

The two-day program opened with welcoming remarks from Baltimore partner Ava Lias-Booker, program sponsor and former chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee. The program was facilitated by consultant Werten Bellamy, who specializes in talent development for top-performing attorneys at some of the nation’s leading law firms and in-house corporate teams. His presentation, “The Coachable Associate/The Perfect Protégé,” focused on essential tools for success, elevating levels of emotional intelligence and the importance of building deep internal relationships.

Participants broke for lunch and an opportunity to get to know partners and firm leaders in attendance, including New York partner and Government Investigations & White Collar Department chair Noreen Kelly; Richmond partner Joanne Katsantonis, deputy managing partner for industry teams; Houston partner Demetra Liggins; Charlotte partner Rick Viola, deputy managing partner for the firm’s corporate practice; New York partner and Real Estate & Land Use Department chair Dennis Mensi; D.C. office managing partner Lizzie Hogan; Charlotte partner and Debt Finance Department chair Kevin McGinnis; Tysons office managing partner Jack White; and downtown Los Angeles office managing partner Tanya Greene.

Afterward, partners shared insights gathered along their career journeys and answered DALP participants’ questions. Atlanta partner and Diversity & Inclusion Committee chair Kenneth Neighbors moderated the partner panel comprised of fellow D&I committee members: Richmond partner Candace Blydenburgh, who chairs the African American Lawyers Network; Baltimore partner Melissa Martinez, chair of the Asian Pacific Lawyers Network; London partner and LGBTQ+ Lawyers Network chair William Boddy; Century City partner and Middle Eastern/North African Lawyers Network chair Lisa Atty; D.C. partner and Veteran Lawyers Network chair Michael Podberesky; and Pittsburgh partner Alex Madrid.

Firm Chairman Jon Harmon participated in a Q&A with the associates. Second-day programming opened with remarks from Managing Partner Tracy Walker, who led an interactive presentation on the principles of leadership. Afterward, consultant Andi Groomes continued a discussion on emotional intelligence.