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Thompson Coburn names Jackson diversity and inclusion director

Scott Lauck//September 10, 2018

Thompson Coburn names Jackson diversity and inclusion director

Scott Lauck//September 10, 2018

Thompson Coburn has been no slouch on diversity, but its newest leader is taking things up a notch.

Norma Jackson, formerly of the University of Missouri system, started Sept. 4 as the firm’s director of diversity and inclusion. It marks the first time Thompson Coburn has made its diversity officer a C-suite-level position.jackson-norma

In an interview, Jackson said her position will ensure that diversity issues will be “at the table” during planning and decision-making.

“I’m the go-to person for diversity for the firm,” she said.

Jackson holds a dual master’s degree in human resources management and human resources development from Webster University, as well as a law degree earned in 2011 from the University of Missouri.

She attended law school in the midst of a 14-year career at the university, first in recruitment and retention for the graduate school and then in a similar role for the College of Education.

Four years ago, Jackson helped create The Bridge, a diversity and inclusion center within the College of Education. It was the first such stand-alone center within a college on campus. When Mizzou erupted in protests in 2015 due to racial issues — protests that led to the resignation of the university system’s president and chancellor — Jackson said the center served as a model for other colleges across campus.

Now at Thompson Coburn, Jackson will be able to take the lessons she learned in an academic setting and apply them to a large law firm.

“I thought this was a great opportunity to showcase my talents as well as be able to tie in my education and training,” she said.

Thompson Coburn Chairman Tom Minogue said diversity isn’t a new concern for the firm. For instance, in 2011 it was named the first-ever winner of the Joint Diversity Award from the Association of Corporate Counsel-St. Louis Chapter, the Mound City Bar Association and the Missouri Asian Bar Association. But Jackson’s high-level position, he added, sends a message both inside and outside the firm.

“You can always do more, and you can always do better,” Minogue said.

Booker Shaw, a co-chair of Thompson Coburn’s diversity committee and a former appellate judge, agreed that creating a director-level diversity position elevates what he said has always been a core value of the firm.

“It really highlights the significance of Thompson Coburn’s commitment to diversity,” he said.

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