Weldon Latham is Senior Principal of Jackson Lewis P.C., an American Lawyer 100 Firm with 860 employment and labor attorneys nationwide. He specializes in advising CEOs and General Counsel of Fortune 500 corporations addressing impactful diversity issues. Over the last two decades, media has reported his representation of such major “brands” as General Motors, Texaco, Boeing, Omnicom and PepsiCo in highly public incidents alleging race or gender discrimination. Mr. Latham currently Chairs the firm’s Corporate Diversity Counseling Group and its Diversity and Inclusion Committee, as well as serves on the firm managing Board of Directors.
Twenty years after establishing the only major law firm Corporate Diversity Counseling practice, exclusively representing national corporations to successfully address challenges of creating fairer, more diverse, and inclusive workplaces, Mr. Latham is still providing effective solutions to vexing corporate D&I challenges.
In 2016, Mr. Latham was tapped by President Barack Obama to serve as Lead Counsel of Obama Foundation Inclusion Council, advising on matters from senior staff diversity to achieving the President’s goal of a “model supplier diversity program” for the Presidential Foundation.
When a prominent group created CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion to encourage greater fairness and diversity in American employment practices, Mr. Latham advised his firm’s Chairman, Vincent Cino, to not only join CEO Action, but to become actively involved in its Governance. As his Chairman’s representative on the Governance Working Group, Mr. Latham has helped organize and expand CEO Action, which now has over 400 CEO signatories.
Mr. Latham was recently elected to Jackson Lewis Board of Directors. In addition to his senior management role, he accepted the obligation to help the firm fulfill its commitments to diversity in the legal profession. Mr. Latham stated “the firm’s commitment to diversity appropriately echoes that of its national clients and recognizes that diversity and fairness are vital to long term future success of our firm, its clients, and the nation – particularly, given its rapidly changing demographics.”
Mr. Latham’s passion is helping major companies turn diversity from a serious corporate risk to a significant competitive ad- vantage. He has assisted more than 60 Fortune 200 companies improve their diversity programs, policies, and most importantly, performance. Mr. Latham a recognized expert in D&I, is the “one to see” when seeking independent audits of D&I programs or remedying adverse impacts on corporation reputation of alleged discrimination. DiversityInc magazine called him “the brains behind corporate diversity crisis management.”
“Effective diversity programs improve relationships with every class of stakeholder—employees, customers, shareholders, suppliers regulators” said Mr. Latham. “The consistent growth of ‘minority’ populations (defined by some as our nation’s “Demographic Destiny”), positively affects forward thinking, successful companies — that recognize growing minority buying power and seek to win the War for Talent — benefiting from an increasingly more diverse America.”
Many leading companies are utilizing diversity as a positive force, making it a competitive advantage that engages customers, investors, and employees. One such company is USAA, the leading provider of diversified financial planning, insurance, investments, and banking for the military community. USAA CEO Stuart Parker, recounting Mr. Latham’s assistance, stated “Diversity and Inclusion is a priority at USAA and we made significant progress on our own. Weldon and his team provided independence, objectivity, and thoughtful insight that has helped us raise our D&I performance.”
Mr. Latham’s public service and professional activities extend well beyond counseling clients. He has written numerous articles on diversity and inclusion for publications such as Bloomberg and DiversityInc, and regularly is called upon to comment on diversity, business, and Washington politics by national media ranging from the Washington Post to appearances on ABC News Nightline.
He held senior positions in the White House, HUD, Maryland State Authorities, and holds a BA in Business from Howard University, J.D. from Georgetown University, and an Executive Management Certificate from Tuck School at Dartmouth College.
In this era of Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, and increased scrutiny of the treatment of minorities and women, juxtaposed to flagrant race and gender insensitivity from national leaders – Mr. Latham remains a trusted advisor to Corporate America as it recognizes the obligation to fill the D&I leadership gap.