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Learn More about the Houston Business Journal’s 2023 Diversity in Business Awards Honorees

Houston Business Journal

Last month, Blank Rome was recognized as an Outstanding Diverse Organization and our firm's Director of Diversity & Inclusion, Krystal Studavent Ramsey, was recognized as an Outstanding Head of Diversity in the Houston Business Journal's 2023 Diversity in Business Awards.

In Blank Rome's Outstanding Diverse Organization honoree profile, Susan Bickley, Co-Chair of the Houston office, discusses our firm's values and culture, our firmwide affinity groups, and the Houston office's various initiatives, programs, and achievements relating to diversity and inclusion.

In Krystal's Outstanding Head of Diversity honoree profile, she shares why diversity and inclusion are important to her, advice to other business leaders, the accomplishments she is most proud of, and more. 


An excerpt from Blank Rome's Outstanding Diverse Organization honoree profile is copied below.

At Blank Rome, we value diversity of identities, experiences and backgrounds, which creates a more vibrant and dynamic work environment. Our firm’s culture is centered around collaboration, collegiality, entrepreneurial and familial spirit, and giving back to our local communities through service. Blank Rome was founded in 1946 by two attorneys that were barred from practicing law at established law firms because of their religion and decided to create a law firm where attorneys of all backgrounds could practice law and be the best attorney they could be. We continuously work to advance diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in our firm and beyond while “answering the call” for racial equity and social justice set out by our first and former chief diversity and inclusion officer, Judge Nathaniel R. Jones, who was a civil rights trailblazer, a former chief legal spokesman for the Civil Rights Movement, a federal appeals court judge who devoted his long career to eradicating the legacy of slavery, and the general counsel of the NAACP.

We are committed to fostering an inclusive, respectful and high-performing culture in which our colleagues feel a sense of belonging and empowerment to do their best work, so they can have thriving and fulfilling careers.

We continue our work to recruit, retain, promote and advance diverse talent at all levels of the firm and cultivate our organizational culture. We value our people and want them to thrive, which will drive high business performance and innovation. Our Diversity and Inclusion Committee, director and team host programs and events, lead progressive initiatives, share resources, provide guidance, address policy issues and work with firm leadership to scale our efforts.

To read the full article, please click here.


An excerpt from Krystal's Outstanding Head of Diversity honoree profile is copied below.

Why are diversity and inclusion important to you?

Someone recently asked a similar question—what motivates me daily to continue to do diversity, equity and inclusion work? My response was that through diversity, equity and inclusion work, I have the opportunity to marry my passion, purpose and personal experiences to advocate for and nurture historically underrepresented, underserved and marginalized communities. My third grade teacher repeatedly told me and others in my class that we would never amount to anything solely based on our race, then fast forward to my legal career journey and various people had a similar sentiment. The playing field hasn’t been level and inequities persist. These experiences and others fuel me to continue to do this work. Without diversity, equity and inclusion, our world remains unbalanced with significant and glaring disparities within communities of color, LGBTQ+ and disabled communities. In order to have a more vibrant, dynamic and interesting world and to accelerate growth—diversity, equity and inclusion must be at the center of all that we do. I am living my truth and doing what I call heart and soul work to create an impact.

How have your efforts to increase diversity impacted your business or workplace?

From what I can see, there is positive cultural growth happening and higher engagement in the work. Based on the feedback I have received from my colleagues, there is an appreciation for my strategic focus and tenacity to embed DEI in all that we do, the tireless energy I put toward advancing our goals and the ability to get a diverse group of people with divergent views and ideals to work together to accelerate change.

What advice would you give to other business leaders to boost and sustain diversity within their organizations?

I received sage advice from different mentors that I consistently meditate on and apply to the work I do. When I was the general counsel and senior vice president of business affairs for Music World Entertainment, a mentor told me, “Start with the end in mind and work backward. Know what outcomes you want to achieve and put building blocks in place to get there.” Another mentor told me, “Diversity, equity and inclusion work is a long-term endeavor that requires patience, strategic focus, the proper infrastructure, steadfastness, accountability and leadership buy-in to be successful.” So, stay the course because incremental progress leads to monumental wins, and know that this is not a solo mission. We all have a role to play, not just people of color, women and LGBTQ+ individuals. It requires consistent and collective action and accountability to make large-scale and sustainable change happen.

To read the full article, please click here.