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JAMS ADR Insights

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Celebrating Pride Month: How JAMS Fosters an Inclusive Workplace by Promoting Belonging, Connection and Community

A Q&A with Tracy Curry, JAMS senior vice president and chief human resources officer

What do you think it means to have an inclusive work environment?

An inclusive work environment is one where all individuals feel supported, valued and accepted. It also means valuing diversity as an asset that contributes to an organization’s initiatives, culture and, ultimately, success.

I should add, however, that while an inclusive work environment is relatively easy to define, it’s hard to obtain and maintain. It requires commitment from everyone.

What are the benefits of having an inclusive workplace at JAMS? 

We see several benefits, but I’ll highlight three. First, it improves the work experience for our associates. We want our associates to freely express their opinions and ideas because we know that employees who feel valued and respected are likely to be more engaged. And associate engagement builds a stronger company.

Second, an inclusive workplace leads to greater innovation. People with different life experiences and backgrounds look at the same problems through different lenses and perspectives. When those differences are respected and valued, they can surface better ideas.

Third, an inclusive and diverse workforce helps attract additional talented candidates. When people from different backgrounds see diverse employees thriving here, they know they can too.

What are some ways that JAMS creates an inclusive workplace? 

One way is through our focus on building community through employee resource groups, or what we call our JAMS Associate Community Groups. These groups, which are made up of associates who share a common characteristic and their allies, ensure all our people feel they belong. Today we have six such groups: Out@JAMS, Black@JAMS, Latinx@JAMS, AAPI@JAMS, BodyPositive@JAMS and AllHands@JAMS.

We also offer inclusive benefits for all associates and allow flexibility for those with different needs. For example, we provide domestic partner benefits and a generous and flexible PTO plan, knowing associates may need to utilize time off for different reasons. We also ensure we have diverse benefit providers who are bilingual and have similar backgrounds to those on our staff. In addition, we offer an Employee Assistance Program, mental health assistance, wellness programs, career development, tuition reimbursement, different leaves of absence, along with other benefits.

Externally, we continuously explore ways to promote diversity throughout the legal industry. Over the years, we have launched several initiatives to help us build a more diverse panel of neutrals. We have also conducted internal surveys of our neutrals, encouraging them to self-identify across specific demographics, such as gender, race and sexual orientation. This information is essential as it allows us to set and track panel-related diversity goals. The data from the surveys has also made it possible to create diversity-related website enhancements, such as the recently launched diversity filter on the JAMS website that allows clients to access information regarding diversity on our panel. 

How is JAMS recognizing LGBTQ+ Pride Month?

We are very excited to provide our associates and neutrals with an Ally at JAMS toolkit that they can use to show their support during Pride Month and all year round. Out@JAMS, one of our JAMS resource groups, created the toolkit in collaboration with our marketing team. The toolkit includes a variety of graphics to share on social media to celebrate Pride Month, a JAMS Ally digital badge, JAMS Ally lapel pins and stickers, and Out@JAMS lapel pins for group members. The toolkit will be presented to associates and neutrals along with educational resources. In addition, we are holding an exclusive Out@JAMS Pride event for members with M. Dru Levasseur, director of diversity, equity and inclusion for the National LGBTQ+ Bar Association.

Does JAMS have specific roles and resources dedicated to DE&I? Can you talk about that from both the internal and external perspectives? 

Yes. I am incredibly proud that JAMS became the first ADR provider to have a full-time diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) professional when we welcomed Joanne Saint Louis to the JAMS team to lead our diversity outreach in 2019. We have since added a couple more roles focusing on internal and external DE&I. Mara Malfatti-Rodriguez, our VP of talent development and DE&I, leads our internal associate DE&I efforts, and Christina Benavides is our diversity program coordinator.

Are there any programs or initiatives underway at JAMS that you are particularly proud of or excited about? 

Absolutely. Similar to our external efforts, we’ll soon be launching a self-identification campaign to allow our associates to self-identify across additional demographics, such as gender identity and sexual orientation, in addition to continuing to encourage the use of pronouns. This will allow us to gain an even deeper knowledge of our workforce while we continue to review our slate of benefits to ensure they are meeting the needs of our diverse workforce. We are also reviewing our benefits and policies to ensure we are using inclusive language.

Is there anything else that you want to mention? 

I am proud to work at an organization like JAMS that understands the importance of a diverse and inclusive workforce. We continue to see positive results from our efforts. What I most look forward to is seeing the DE&I journey progress and continue fostering community and connection across our organization.

This page is for general information purposes. JAMS makes no representations or warranties regarding its accuracy or completeness. Interested persons should conduct their own research regarding information on this website before deciding to use JAMS, including investigation and research of JAMS neutrals. See More

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