It's easy to talk about boosting diversity in law and business, but making it happen will take more than talk—both from diverse professionals and the broader business community, three top administrators from Arizona State University's Athletic Department said during a recent "Diversity in the Business World" event presented by Ballard Spahr.

"Walk the walk," was the message for diverse and non-diverse lawyers and businesspeople from ASU Vice President for University Athletics Ray Anderson, a former practicing attorney and former Executive Vice President of Football Operations for the National Football League, and two of his department's senior staff members. At an October 26 discussion moderated by John G. Kerkorian, Managing Partner of Ballard Spahr's Phoenix office, the ASU officials called on diverse professionals and the business community at large to make the effort to find opportunities to engage and to pursue those opportunities to fruition.

Named ASU Vice President for Athletics in 2014, Mr. Anderson quickly began to redefine the collegiate athletics landscape. He has been a leading national proponent of a collegiate "Rooney Rule" to encourage diversity and inclusion in the hiring of athletics leadership. Mr. Anderson was joined in the discussion by Deana Garner-Smith, ASU Senior Associate Athletic Director and the school's senior administrator for women's athletics, and Alonzo Jones, Associate Athletic Director, Inclusion & Championship Life. Ms. Garner-Smith, a former deputy county prosecutor in Indiana, also served as a high-level administrator with the NFL and NCAA before joining ASU in 2015. Mr. Jones formerly worked as an educational consultant for NCAA and NFL teams and joined ASU last year.

"We're grateful to Ray, Deana, and Alonzo for sharing their valuable, firsthand perspective on the importance of an inclusive mindset and taking action to incorporate diversity and inclusion into the business world," said Mr. Kerkorian. "There is no substitute for hearing directly from people who have walked the walk, like they have, and we're proud to partner with them in our efforts to enhance diversity and inclusion in business, especially the legal industry."

Ballard Spahr knows that our clients are best served by innovative solutions that spring from varied viewpoints and perspectives, and is committed to creating a vibrant community where the needs, perspectives, and contributions of people from all backgrounds are valued and integrated into all aspects of the firm. The firm's Phoenix office supports and participates in numerous organizations and activities geared toward greater diversity and inclusion in the legal field, business, and society as a whole. These include the $25,000 annual Diversity Scholarship to ASU's Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, participation in the Maricopa County Bar Association's annual Diversity Legal Writing Program, and sponsorship of the Arizona Foundation for Women and the Arizona State Bar Leadership Institute.

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