When Danielle Carr was growing up, she often helped her father unpack cereal that was donated for the school breakfast program he developed. Their efforts helped school children get a healthy start to their education. Today, she helps incoming attorneys get a healthy start to their careers. As diversity and inclusion officer, she helps law firms create workplaces where attorneys of all backgrounds can thrive.
What are your proudest career accomplishments?
Despite having a solid resume and near perfect undergraduate grades, I was counseled not to pursue a legal education from the University of Michigan Law School. I ignored the advice, applied and was admitted. I cite this as my proudest career accomplishment because graduating from Michigan laid the foundation for all that has followed and also serves as a constant reminder not to let naysayers stand in the way of what I am trying to accomplish. I am also very proud of the role I played in helping establish the St. Louis Diversity Job Fair which is celebrating its 10th year. The event attracts diverse talent from across the country for summer internship and permanent employment at St Louis law firms and government legal departments.
What is something that would surprise people about you?
I have a very diverse background. My parents were one of the first interracial marriages in my hometown of Waterloo, Iowa. As a youth I went from middle class to homeless. My family celebrated Christmas and Hanukkah, and, I was the only African-American in my high school graduation class. I used to smoke two packs of cigarettes a day and quit cold turkey over 18 years ago when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter L’Ila. I love to sing but really have no business doing so; when I pledged my sorority the other women made me lip sync when we sang the Delta song!
What is your favorite part of your job?
The people, the people, the people. I joined Polsinelli in January 2016 and from the moment I stepped in the door, I have received nothing short of full support for the strategic plan that was implemented to help the firm advance its diversity and inclusion goals and initiatives. There are well over 200 people, from administrative staff to the firm CEO Russ Welsh, that play critical roles in Polsinelli’s diversity and inclusion efforts. To work at a firm that is as passionate and committed to advancing diversity in the legal community as I am makes coming to work each day more a pleasure than a job