Gabrielle Brown – CUP Fellow Spotlight

What is your occupation and how did you come to work in this field?

As the Director of Diversity and Inclusion for the New York City Bar Association, I liaise with the Association’s committees, Signatories, attorney members, and a broad range of legal employers and law schools to develop and sustain initiatives that foster diverse and inclusive work environments. 

I was drawn to the Association at the start of my career because it was uniquely positioned within the New York City legal community to effect change both in the profession and in society. I was fortunate to be brought into my current role with the support of a number of mentors who were instrumental in the foundation and growth of the Office for Diversity and Inclusion.

What is the biggest challenge of your work?

The most challenging aspect of this area of work for me is limiting our efforts to those initiatives that are most impactful and can truly move the needle in diversifying the legal profession. There are so many moving parts through which the Office achieves that purpose; we need to have a clear vision, send a consistent message, sustain momentum, and engage as many change agents as we can, all while creating a culture in which they can achieve success. Above all, it is a challenge to remain persistent and optimistic, understanding that this is a long process and that successes may come slowly.

What is your proudest achievement?

I am most proud of the community that I have been able to build around issues of diversity and inclusion, particularly at the pipeline level. I have focused my career on developing strong relationships with like-minded individuals, and thus am never at a loss for opportunities to collaborate with and connect people who can advocate, lead, create and serve.  This type of collaboration has allowed me to experience, first-hand, that if you put people in a position to help one another, and really have the forethought to understand where their individual strengths can be the most effective, you can create lasting change.

What leaders, thinkers or doers do you admire most?

I admire strong, unapologetic, risk-taking women leaders who use their experiences to educate, train, and mentor the next generation; be they renowned leaders or the women who raised me. I also truly admire any person who commits a career to advocating on behalf of the voiceless or less fortunate.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

I envision myself in a position that will allow me to have an even greater impact on diversity and inclusion across a broader range of industries. I am optimistic that this is an area that will continue to have a lot of upward momentum, and I am enthusiastic about seeing the change in our professional landscape from a variety of perspectives.

What do you hope to gain from your CUP Fellows Program experience to help you make a significant and positive impact in your community?

I am incredibly motivated by the talent, thought leadership, and energy of my peer Fellows. The content has already proven applicable and beneficial to my professional growth. However, the biggest takeaway for me will be the skills and expertise that I hope to gain from interacting with this talented group of future leaders on a regular basis.