Holland & Hart is delighted to announce that Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer (CDIO) Phyllis Wan and attorney Marika Rietsema Ball were selected as winners of 2023 Inclusiveness@Work Awards by the Center for Legal Inclusiveness in the “Individual” and “Young Professional” categories, respectively. The Center for Legal Inclusiveness (CLI) is a nonprofit whose mission is to advance diversity in the legal profession by actively educating and supporting private and public sector legal organizations in their individual campaigns to create cultures of inclusion.
The Inclusiveness@Work - Individual Award is bestowed upon an attorney in the legal community who has been practicing more than 10 years, has made substantial contributions to make the legal profession a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive space.
Phyllis Wan has been a leader in diversity, equity, and inclusivity in DEI roles within law firms, as the former Executive Director of CLI, and in the legal community and beyond, both locally and nationally.
As CLI’s Executive Director and Board Chair, Phyllis was instrumental in guiding CLI through three major transitions over the last three and one-half years that resulted in significantly strengthening CLI's reputation in the community and increasing the value CLI provides to its members and the legal profession as a whole.
Phyllis has also served as Co-Chair of the Colorado Lawyers Committee’s Hate Crimes Education Task Force for the last 10 years and serves as a member of the CBA/CJI Diversity on the Bench Coalition Coordinating Council. She is also a founding member of the Steering Committee of the Denver Law Firm Coalition for Racial Equity.
As CDIO at Holland & Hart for almost three years, Phyllis’ incredible contributions include launching five diverse attorney network groups and a business professional diversity committee; developing and implementing an unconscious bias program and checklist for attorney evaluations and partner advancement and compensation; and expanding professional development programs for diverse lawyers. She mentors diverse lawyers and has expanded intentional inclusion activities in all firm offices. Phyllis has also made tangible, positive contributions to the firm’s initiatives to recruit, hire, and retain diverse attorneys at all levels.
The Inclusiveness@Work Young Professional Award is bestowed upon an attorney who has been practicing less than 10 years, is under the age of 40, and has made substantial contributions to make the legal profession a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive space.
Marika Rietsema Ball is tirelessly engaged with numerous organizations in formal and informal leadership roles, investing significant time to identify barriers and create opportunities for structural change that support the personal and professional development of diverse early-career attorneys.
As CLI Young Lawyers Division Board Chair, Marika strategically identifies areas where support for diverse first-generation attorneys could be improved and she has helped develop resources and support networks, including educational seminars designed to help attorneys with day-to-day practice management. Marika spearheaded the development of a pre- and post-bar program that provides student of mental health and study goals, and educational information to help families of first-generation bar-takers support their student before and after receiving bar results.
In partnership with the Sturm College of Law at the University of Denver, Marika structured and helped build an attorney mentorship program, personally recruiting attorney mentors and carefully pairing them with mentees based on shared identifiers. Since 2020, this program has supported over 20 diverse mentees.
Marika also serves as an Executive Council Member of the Denver Bar Association Young Lawyer Division, Board Member of the Colorado Pledge to Diversity, mentor in the Law School … Yes We Can! program, and member of CLI’s Allies, a network of Black lawyers in Colorado’s largest law firms.
An associate in the Denver office, Marika focuses her practice on counseling businesses in the food, beverage, and consumer products industry, guiding brands through business-critical decisions and transactions.