In 1996, Weldon Latham was a corporate and government contracts partner in a major national law firm, working with the Clinton Administration to help his clients and the minority business community continue to grow and succeed. In November of that year, immediately after leaving President Clinton’s Private Re-Election Celebration, Latham began an 18 year experience helping his major corporate clients turn diversity from a public litigation and brand-damaging threat into a competitive business advantage.
Media accounts chronicled his high profile representation of Texaco, Boeing, and Coca-Cola, responding to public “diversity crises.” Such successful resolutions led Latham to create the Corporate Diversity Counseling Group, bringing a multi-disciplinary approach to address recurring diversity issues at major corporations. Subsequent such public clients included General Motors and Kodak, as well as Federal and local government entities such as U.S. Department of Agriculture (the largest ever diversity assessment of a government agency), Environmental Protection Agency, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, et al. Most recently, his Group was awarded a contract assisting Federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau address its well-publicized diversity issues.
These public assignments and many more “highly confidential” representations of over 50 Fortune 200 companies have resulted in Latham becoming the recognized expert in corporate diversity crisis resolution, and diversity and inclusion performance enhancement. DiversityInc called Mr. Latham “the Brains Behind Diversity Crisis Management.”
“Diversity in any complex organization is not and never will be a one-and-done undertaking,” said Mr. Latham. “Creating and sustaining fair and inclusive workplaces should be a priority for every employer. Diversity is a business imperative that helps establish stronger connections with customers, employees, suppliers, and other stakeholders at a time when the United States is rapidly becoming a majority minority nation.”
Mr. Latham, who was recently named to Savoy magazine’s 2015 Top Black Lawyers in recognition for distinguished career and commitment to the community, has held senior positions in major law firms, government and business. He previously served as General Deputy Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of HUD; Assistant General Counsel, White House OMB; General Counsel’s Honor Program, Office of the Air Force Secretary, Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army, and served on the Board of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, chairing its Legal Committee, for more than a decade.
“Retaining Weldon means you’re bringing in a real problem-solver and an advocate for positive change,” said Larry D. Thompson, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, PepsiCo Inc. “The high-level experience he offers results in expanding and preserving business opportunities and strengthened relationships with key constituencies.”
Mr. Latham attributes his move to Jackson Lewis, the fastest growing workplace law firm exclusively representing management, in 2009 to “a perfect alignment of goals.” “We wanted a highly respected and aggressive firm with a culture steeped in client service, preventive practices, and positive solutions. Jackson Lewis was perfectly aligned with our approach. We are not only the lawyers to call to solve diversity crises – we also help good companies avoid problems by better managing diversity and inclusion issues before they become crises.”
“Weldon and his colleagues have added a new dimension to Jackson Lewis’ service to major corporate and government clients,” said Vincent A. Cino, Firm Chairman. “Having someone with Weldon’s expertise, stature and Washington experience on our team has been a real coup for our firm.”
Among his numerous professional and community activities, Mr. Latham serves as Counsel to PepsiCo Global Diversity and Inclusion Council and Omnicom Group Diversity Advisory Committee; a member of American and National Employment Law Councils, Economic Club of Washington, and Board of Maryland Stadium Authority. He was previously the National Co-Chair of Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign. He has received countless awards for his professional and civic achievement, e.g., Howard University Distinguished Alumni Award, Rev. Al Sharpton National Action Network Excellence Award, National Black MBA Association Ron Brown Service Award, AMTRAK A. Philip Randolph Award, Rainbow PUSH Martin Luther King Award, Washington Bar Association Hall of Fame, and Small Business Administration Private Industry Advocate of the Year.
Mr. Latham is Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University Law Center, former Guest Professor at both University of Virginia and Howard University Schools of Law, and served on Board of Trustees of American University, Virginia Commonwealth University, George Mason University, and Georgetown Law Center. Latham holds a bachelor’s degree in business from Howard, J.D. degree from Georgetown, and an Executive Management Certificate, and has lectured at, Tuck Business School at Dartmouth College.
He is a columnist for DiversityInc and previously Minority Business Entrepreneur magazines. In recent years, he has discussed diversity, civil rights and political issues on ABC News “Nightline,” CNBC “Power Lunch,” Bloomberg Business News, Court TV, The Washington Post, and other national media. He also serves as a keynote speaker to Boards of Directors, CEOs, and executive management teams of major corporations, as well as business and trade associations on the subject of diversity and inclusion as a “business imperative,” “competitive advantage,” “legal vulnerability,” and the Washington political scene.
Mr. Latham has distinguished himself as a premier attorney advising major corporate CEOs, government agency heads, and elected officials, including big City Mayors, Governors, Members of Congress and two Presidents of the United States. His leadership and accomplishments serve as a reminder that one person can make a difference – with high goals, hard work, and dedication to excellence for the communities we serve.