Legal Departments Of The Year: Emphasis On Diversity Helps Cigna's Culture And Customers
Jones started out in private practice at the international firm of Davis Polk & Wardwell, leaving after five years to go in-house at Johnson & Johnson. She admitted that she missed the adrenaline rush of a busy law firm and returned to private practice for a brief stint before joining Cigna.
"I was here for three years as deputy general counsel and then in 2011 came back as general counsel. When I came back, there was a goal to change our culture — to make our culture a more open one — where people feel empowered and clear on our goals and objectives," Jones said. "A lot has changed culturally in our department as where before it wasn't something that was spotlighted."
In recent years, the legal team has partnered with diversity-oriented organizations to help recognize diversity initiatives. The department also focuses its community service and corporate social responsibility activities on diverse organizations.
"We've long been passionate about this," said Jones, "and with the arrival of our Chief Diversity Officer a few years ago, we really took a strategic leap forward in engaging employees in diversity and inclusion. People around the company are active and engaged in levels we've never seen before."
The bottom line, said Jones, is legal department diversity is about far more than hiring practices.
"We make sure we are thinking about everything we do — in the contracts we write, the summaries clients will read," she said. "It helps us internally to take a broad lens and not just think about our clients one way, but to think about the diversity of our clients. We have a diverse pool that we draw from. Without being as diverse, it would be different. There would be things that would be harder to get right."•