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Embracing Diversity through the Power of the Law
Teri Plummer McClure,

Teri McClure, UPS's Chief Legal, Communications and Compliance Officer, spoke about the power of law in creating a multicultural environment and her personal commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Thank you Kathleen Wilkinson and the leadership of the Philadelphia Bar association for inviting me to take part in this momentous event.

Congratulations to the Philadelphia Diversity Law Group for the work it does in fostering diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.

This organization's commitment to increasing minority attorney representation and retention in Philadelphia law firms and in-house legal departments is truly worthy of recognition. The group is a very deserving choice for the Justice Sotomayor Diversity Award, and I applaud their efforts.

And thank you, Bill for those kind words in the video. Bill Brown has been an invaluable mentor, friend and confidant since I joined UPS in 1995. And without hesitation, I can say that Bill is the reason I stand here before you today as General Counsel and Senior Vice President of UPS.  

You see in the early 1990's, UPS moved its corporate headquarters to Atlanta, Georgia. As noted in the video, Bill Brown was a member of the Company's Board of Directors, and in that role, Bill was a true advisor and moral compass for our organization. 

Always challenging the company to do more, Bill encouraged the company not to be satisfied with having diverse representation in its operations. But, he asked what was the company going to do to ensure diversity in its corporate departments as well. That one question encouraged the company to go beyond its traditional methods of recruiting to seek out a more diverse pool of candidates.   

As a result of Bill's question, I received a call and a lawyer I had previously worked with said: "UPS is looking for an employment attorney. If I were ten years younger, I would take the job and buy a lot of stock (this was before the company went public)." The rest, as they say, is history.

I owe Bill a debt of gratitude I will never be able to repay. Simply for raising the question of diversity and encouraging the company to cast a broader net, Bill opened a door for me. 

Bill and his beautiful wife June are people of unquestionable integrity, who have been and continue to be committed to making a positive difference in the lives of others. Bill is here today, and I would like him to stand and be recognized. Thank you, Bill.

As Bill noted in the video, UPS's connections to the Philadelphia bar go back many years. But, well before Bill's involvement with UPS, lawyers from the law firm of Schnader, Harrison, Segal & Lewis were closely associated with UPS for many years dating back to the late 1930's.

Bernie Segal, a partner in the Schnader firm served as the company's first General Counsel and served in that role well into the early 80s. And for years, the Schnader firm coordinated legal representation for UPS across the county through a network of law firms picked by Bernie.

Over the years, the Schnader firm contributed greatly to the transformation and growth of our company, and our partnership with the firm continues to this day.

And our company has indeed transformed over the years. One of the keys to UPS' transformation has been the company's ability to capture value by harnessing the power of the law.

As Bill mentioned when UPS was faced with changing laws and evolving political and social expectations regarding the hiring and promotion of women and minorities, UPS was not satisfied with superficially complying with the letter of the law, or even acknowledging and embracing the spirit of the law. 

UPS choose instead to go beyond the requirements of the law, exceeding it's own goals for hiring of women and minorities, and hiring minorities and women in non-traditional roles such as pilots and the brown-clad package car drivers who were the public face of our company.

Instead of merely complying with its legal obligations, UPS harnessed the very power of the law to tap into an underutilized pool of human resources to make our company stronger, more productive and better equipped to address our business challenges. We embraced the change that was taking place around us, and transformed our company for the better.

Interestingly, what Bill didn't tell you in that video was that UPS actually received letters from the CEOs of other companies essentially castigating us for taking a leadership role and aggressively bringing minorities and women into our workplace.

I won't pretend that we were heroes. And, indeed, it took a lawsuit to prod us into action. But once we acknowledged that taking diversity seriously was the right thing to do and consistent with our company's enduring values, we didn't just give lip service to the problem.

And I am proud of the progress we have made. I am proud that, in some ways, we were well ahead of the curve. I am proud that generations of UPS managers set the right example, provide inspired leadership, and motivate our people to treat all employees with dignity and respect.

Over the years, UPS's development and advancement of a diverse talent pool has contributed to the growth and success of our business. Women and minorities serve on our board and hold positions at the highest levels of our company.

And, we have leadership development programs and business resource groups in our organization that were established to recognize the value women and minorities bring to our organization and to reinvigorate the discussion among our management team on the importance of diversity and inclusion to our bottom line. Embracing change and harnessing the power of the law made this possible.

You see the law, in its various forms, matters in the management of our business. The law is not separate and distinct from the decisions our managers make on a daily basis. The law empowers our managers. The law matters today, just as it has throughout the history of our company. 

And, our continued success depends upon our ability to work collaboratively to use evolving laws to our advantage...to uncover opportunities, to capture value, to make our business better, and to improve the lives of our employees and the people in the communities in which we serve.

That indeed is the challenge for all of our organizations, to go beyond the law, to do more than what is required, and to continue to push for real, substantive change.

The law firms and companies participating with the Philadelphia Diversity Law Group are doing just that. They are developing programs and initiatives that push for real and substantive change. 

Change of this magnitude is rarely popular, never easy, but so very important. We continue to face challenges in the legal profession and in our corporations to recruit and retain a diverse talent pool.

Despite the passing of laws and the focus on diversity, there is still much work to be done. Many law firms and corporations are struggling in today's economic climate. Opportunities are fewer and the competition is much more intense.

But, this is not the time to lose focus on or shy away from our diversity efforts. It is still important to work to create within our organizations a true culture of diversity and inclusion. And we must continue to identify and eliminate barriers that thwart minorities and women from full opportunity to perform, succeed and to lead.

The law sets minimum standards. Most organizations accept the responsibility to adhere to the law. A good organization will go a little further, acknowledging the need to hire and retain a diverse workforce and be representative of the communities in which it operates. 

But, a great organization will transform its culture to one that values and seeks value from diverse stakeholders in a way that supports and enhances the organizations goals and objectives. This is transformative change, change that results in tangible, visible and faster progress.  

And that is my charge to each of you here today. While UPS has received a lot of recognition and many awards for our diversity practices, we know that we cannot - and do not - rest on our laurels. We must remain ever vigilant to protect the gains we have made in the past, and to ensure the proper focus for the future.

I am pretty sure that my friends at the Philadelphia Diversity Law Group share this sentiment. They will delight in the joy of the recognition received today, celebrate tonight - and wake up tomorrow ready to resume the journey.

And I invite everyone here to do the same. Because with greater diversity in the workforce, comes greater creativity, innovation and effectiveness. Diversity of experience, of knowledge - and of ideas makes us all better and strengthens our businesses and our profession. We must all continue to champion transformative change that goes well beyond the letter of the law.  

Thank you.

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