How Diamond and Diamond Lawyers maintains gender and race equality

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An interview with Liana Saccucci, Office and HR Manager

What is your role with Diamond and Diamond and how long have you been at the company?

I have been with the company for seven years since the inception of Diamond and Diamond Lawyers under Isaac, Jeremy and Sandra’s leadership. Before joining the team, I worked with Sandra as her law clerk at another firm and followed her when she merged with her brother and husband. I’m Diamond Law’s Office Manager and HR manager. All hiring goes through me as well as the office ins and outs, payroll and the day to day issues or non-issues.

You’ve been integral in building this team up from the bottom – tell us your secrets! How do you maintain Diamond and Diamond’s diverse workforce and culture?

When I look at your resume, I already know if you’re qualified enough. The interview isn’t about knowing your skills – I’ve read your resume; I know where you went to school. If you were a clerk somewhere else, then you can be a clerk here. We’re not splitting the Atom. I’m meeting you in an interview setting because I want to see what your social skills are like and how you speak – can I put you on the phone with a client? Did you make eye contact with me? Were you polite? Were you rude?

These days, many HR professionals purposefully employ blind interviewing techniques to ensure there are no biases. For me, this has always been intuitive; I never Google a candidate before they walk through the door.

And when it comes to fit, culture is everything. Diamond and Diamond is a law firm and workplace that values diversity – not just in terms of race and culture, we adopt a broad definition of diversity. We know that if you bring a unique perspective and life experience to the table, you’re going to be an asset to our organization and therefore a great fit here. Our clients come from all walks of life, so the more diverse we are, the better we’re positioned to service them. We want our workplace to reflect the city and the country we do business in.

Are there any defining characteristics that come to mind when you describe the Diamond and Diamond culture in the office?

Openness – even when it comes to the charities we support. If somebody walks into my office and says “Hey! I just got introduced to this charity and I think it would be a great initiative for Diamond Law to support.” We almost always say yes. Whether it’s for Black Lives Matter, the Daily Bread Food Bank, or a Jewish community – we support any cause that we feel passionately about. Our employees who suggest the initiative spearhead our support while keeping me in the loop. In my experience, putting your name behind diverse activities and charities is always a win.

When it comes to how the team breaks down, how many are visible minorities? How many are women?

Three women at the firm are in senior leadership roles – Sandra is Managing Partner, Diana is the right hand to Jeremy Diamond, and I’m the HR Manager and Office Manager. All of us have important roles when it comes to leading the ship. Additionally, 40% of our overall staff are visible minorities – which is higher than the population of visible minorities in Ontario. Once you add the women, we jump to 67%. I’m really proud of our diversity especially considering the fact that we’re in a predominantly white male industry. Ultimately, no matter who you are, where you come from, the colour of your skin or your gender, there truly is a balance of ability.

Does a diverse team help in your ability to service your clients? Is there any business impact?

When you have a team that reflects the diversity of Canada, it means that everyone who walks through our door sees people they can relate to in some way. We also have staff members who speak many different languages. If there is a client where speaking English is a barrier, there is always someone from our team who is able to jump in and help with the translation.

Do you have any tips to offer other companies that want to take steps towards a more diverse workforce?

Stay open. In my experience, diversity has never been something I’ve had to think about because it has always happened naturally. Blind interview techniques are a great way to train yourself to stay open. Look at resumes when you sit down with the candidate – this keeps the interview flowing a lot more because there’s no thought of “oh, I’m going to ask them this, that and the other.” Let’s talk about your resume for the first time together.