DT | Sprint Presents: Women to Watch with Michelle Wimes
In this newest series sponsored by Sprint, dive into the journeys of up-and-coming women leaders making a difference in Greater Kansas City.
Intersecting Identities: Inclusive Leadership Begins with You!
In this session, Michelle Wimes, the Chief Diversity and Professional Development Officer for Ogletree Deakins will share how she has leveraged the skills and experiences learned during her personal journey as a former practicing attorney, mother, and wife to lead the diversity and professional development efforts of one of the nation’s largest law firms. Join us as we discuss:
- How to move beyond “Check the Box” Diversity and why hiring for diversity then managing for assimilation does not breed innovation.
- How to create a vision, make a business case, and add value by embracing the whole you.
- How an inclusive leadership mindset is vital to creating an inclusive workplace culture.
Michelle P. Wimes serves as the Chief Diversity and Professional Development Officer at Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., one of the nation’s largest labor and employment law firms. In her role, Michelle leads the firm’s efforts to attract, develop, retain, promote and advance a diverse group of attorneys across the firm’s national platform of 53 offices in the U.S., Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean.Additionally, Michelle leads the firm’s attorney training and professional development efforts. She is based in Ogletree Deakins’ Kansas City office.
Michelle has extensive experience in delivering strategic leadership, client development, and talent management programming. She is deft at implementing change management strategies necessary for comprehensive and effective diversity and inclusion and professional development initiatives and programming. Previously, Michelle practiced law for 14 years where she handled all aspects of employment litigation while serving as an equity partner at a Kansas City-based firm.She focused on matters involving employment discrimination, harassment, and civil rights issues while representing clients before the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Missouri Commission on Human Rights, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, as well as local, state and federal courts.
Later, Michelle spent four years on the senior management team of a premier Am Law 100 law firm as their Director of Strategic Initiatives, spearheading diversity and inclusion strategies and programming for lawyers across nine offices in the United States and Europe.
Prior to a career in law, Michelle was an elementary and middle school teacher in Kansas City.She received a B.A. from the University of Missouri and performed graduate work at the University of Seville in Spain and undergraduate work at the University of Xalapa in Veracruz, Mexico. Due to her studies and her extensive legal work in Latin America, she is fluent in Spanish.Michelle earned her law degree, with trial advocacy honors, from Tulane Law School. She is the proud wife of federal district court judge Brian C. Wimes and the mother of three daughters, Sydney, Gabrielle, and Saige.