Vernā Myers, Esq.
principal of Vernā Myers Consulting Group, LLC (VMCG), is a
nationally recognized expert on diversity and inclusion
within law firms, law departments and law schools.
Vernā is a dynamic speaker and creative advisor in
support of creating inclusive environments and improving the recruitment,
retention and advancement of underrepresented groups.
VMCG has collaborated with over 100 legal clients to effect sustainable
organizational change by conducting cultural assessments, developing
comprehensive strategic diversity action plans informed by her knowledge of
cross-cultural competencies, and facilitating compelling and interactive
workshops in the U.S. and around the globe. A highly sought after speaker at
numerous conferences worldwide, Vernā sponsors the highly successful annual Opus
Conference on Race and Ethnicity in Large Law Firms, and frequently
the keynote speaker at bar and legal association meetings, law firm partner and
leadership retreats, women’s conferences, and affinity group forums.
Vernā is the author of “Moving Diversity Forward: How To
Go From Well-Meaning To Well-Doing,” a best seller published by the American Bar
Association in 2011. A second book also published by the ABA, “What If I Say the
Wrong Thing? 25 Habits For Culturally Effective People” was released August 2013
and also tops the best seller list.
In 2014, Vernā was elected as
a Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management.
She is also currently a Board Member of UC Hastings
College of Law’s Work Life Law program. In 2010, Pepper Hamilton LLP awarded Ms.
Myers its Diversity Champion award.
In 2009 she was chosen as one of The Network
Journal’s “25 Influential Black Women in Business,” and in 2008, one of The
Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly’s “Diversity Heroes”.
Prior to establishing VMCG, Vernā was the first Executive Director of The Boston
Law Firm Group, a consortium of firms committed to increasing racial/ethnic
diversity. She served as Deputy Chief of Staff for the Attorney General of
Massachusetts (1997-99), where she executed a comprehensive diversity and
inclusion initiative: increasing minority recruitment; conducting diversity and
sexual harassment trainings; and performing outreach to the state’s diverse
population. Vernā practiced corporate and real estate law in Boston for six
years at Testa, Hurwitz & Thibeault, LLP and Fitch, Wiley, Richlin & Tourse,
Vernā graduated from Harvard Law School and received a Bachelor of Arts, magna
cum laude, from Barnard College, Columbia University.
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Ms. Yvonne Alverio
Senior Consultant Yvonne Alverio is the founder and President of Yvonne Alverio & Associates, a management consulting firm specializing in strategic diversity management, organizational development, and manager development. As a recently certified VMCG team member, Yvonne has done extensive analysis, consulting, and training on diversity-related issues within several major law firms. She is a nationally recognized professional in the field of work force diversity with over twenty years of experience in managing and consulting in diverse environments, both public and private. Her expertise is in strategic planning, team dynamics, employee relations, and management development, and the creation of targeted tool kits to help individuals in their management roles.
Yvonne has consulted to a wide range of mid-sized and Fortune 500 firms in health care, financial services, insurance, publishing, retail, oil and gas, and high technology. She has also worked with state government, community based and educational institutions. Her recent clients include: Campbell Soup, Aetna, Inc, National Education Association (NEA), ExxonMobil, Kodak, Wawa Stores, Fidelity, United Technologies, Northeast Utilities, Dupont, Northrop Grumman, Best Buy, Bright Horizons Family Solutions and United Airlines.
Yvonne has appeared in a several training films, and has authored articles related to diversity and inclusion that were published in local newspapers and national magazines.
Prior to her consulting practice, Yvonne served as Director of Workforce Diversity for Aetna Life and Casualty where she was responsible for leading the company’s development of strategies, systems and management practices that support worldwide high performance and integrate key business goals with diversity. Previously, she has worked as Corporate Director of Diversity and Staffing for Lotus Development Corp; Employee Relations Manager, Human Resources Manager, and Affirmative Action Manager for Wang Laboratories; Minority/Women Business Enterprise Program Manager for the Environmental Protection Agency; and, Employment and Training Manager for the City of Boston. She has also served in the Army Reserves and retired in June of 2002 from Connecticut National Guard after twenty-seven years of service. Her undergraduate degree from the University of Connecticut is in cultural anthropology, and graduate work is in Human Resources Management. back to top
Ms. Jane Bermont
A Vernā Myers Consulting Group (VMCG) Senior Consultant for several years, Jane Bermont has worked as a project team member with a range of VMCG clients. She is the President of Bermont & Associates, a management consulting and training firm specializing in diversity, sexual harassment prevention, and executive coaching in law firms. She combines professional skills in management development and psychology and has extensive experience in global corporations. Ms. Bermont specializes in the area of sexual harassment prevention, including investigations, coaching and training. She has also consulted on women’s advancement and work-life issues for global corporations in the US and Sweden, France, Mexico, Ireland, UK, Italy and China. back to top
Ms. Jacqueline Cranford
Cranford is a Senior Consultant with VMCG and the principal of Cranford Advisory
Services LLC. With over 25 years of legal industry experience and a demonstrated
record of successfully designing and implementing talent management strategies,
Ms. Cranford serves as a trusted adviser to law firm leaders and an advocate for
effective talent management. Ms. Cranford engages individuals at every level in
the organizational structure in order to provide appropriate training and
guidance, tailored to her clients and their needs.
Prior to establishing Cranford Advisory Services LLC, Ms. Cranford led talent
management initiatives for more than 14 years in three
100 law firms. She developed and implemented global talent management strategies
relating to diversity, inclusion, recruiting, professional development,
performance management, leadership training, business development, and global
integration, among other things. Additionally, she served as an adviser to firm
leaders, partners, associates, and administrators while also representing the
firms externally, developing a wide range of meaningful relationships in the
Ms. Cranford has been actively engaged, frequently as a speaker, with several
organizations such as the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, Corporate
Counsel Women of Color, the Leadership Counsel on Legal Diversity, and the
Professional Development Consortium. She also has held leadership positions with
NALP (The Association for Legal Career Professionals) and the Association of Law
Firm Diversity Professionals, of which she was a founding member.
Ms. Cranford graduated from Oral Roberts University,
and earned her law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law.
Following law school, she joined Kirkpatrick & Lockhart LLP (now K&L Gates LLP)
as a litigator and remained there for five years before joining the U.S.
Department of Justice as a trial attorney. Her professionalism, expertise,
integrity, industry knowledge, and breadth of experiences result in excellent
Mr. Douglas Fletcher
Douglas Fletcher joined VMCG as a consultant in 2006. He is an Organization Development Consultant who specializes in diversity training, with expertise in team effectiveness, and process consultation. He has supported corporate and non-profit clients throughout the U.S. and is well recognized as a leader in the field. Clients he has worked with include Wachovia, Fulbright & Jaworski, FDNY, Alcatel/Lucent, Holland & Knight, Nike, Miles & Stockbridge, the Federal Aviation Administration, Verizon, Maynard Cooper, and Gibson Dunn.
Doug has been in the diversity training, organization development and business management field since 1997. As a Diversity Trainer he uses a systemic approach to raise awareness of diversity issues at the interpersonal, group, and organization levels. As an Organization Development Consultant he uses the methodologies of Action Research and Process Consulting, to assist clients in generating accurate data, and utilizing the knowledge and resources that exist within their organizations. He partners with clients and draws on his diagnostic skills, compassion, and sense of humor to assist them in improving the effectiveness of the organizations.
He graduated from American University with a Masters of Science in Organizational Development. Doug is certified in Organization & Systems Development from the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland. He also completed a two-year experience-based learning and training program to gain certification from the National Training Labs Institute for Applied Behavioral Science. back to top
Marguerite Fletcher, Esq.
Marguerite Fletcher, Esq. joined VMCG as a Senior Consultant in 2006. She has been active in diversity issues for over twenty years. Ms. Fletcher was a member of The Boston Lawyers Group, a consortium of Boston firms seeking to increase the diversity of their lawyer members and employees, for several years while working for the law firm of Hale and Dorr (now known as Wilmer Hale), where she was involved in recruiting and hiring of associates. While working for Lotus Development Corporation/IBM, she was an active member of a group of senior employees who focused their efforts on the hiring and retention of people of color by the company. Later, as a senior attorney for Genuity, Inc., Ms. Fletcher worked with the COO to launch a diversity assessment and plan for the company.
As a Senior Consultant for VMCG, Ms. Fletcher has:
- Performed comprehensive Needs Assessments.
- Analyzed and reported on such Assessments.
- Developed strategic action plans.
- Conducted diversity awareness workshops.
- Designed and facilitated recruitment training.
- Provided ongoing consulting on diversity and inclusion.
- Spoken at law schools on various diversity topics
- Advised clients on evaluation and feedback systems
Ms. Fletcher currently has a law practice, in Newton, Massachusetts, which is focused on corporate and intellectual property law. Her primary clients are in the software, telecom and biotechnology areas. Ms. Fletcher has practiced law for over 17 years in corporate, international and intellectual property areas. She has practiced law as an associate in a major law firm, as a member of two corporate law departments and as a solo practitioner.
Ms. Fletcher is a graduate of the Harvard Law School and the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. She was born in Kingston, Jamaica and has lived in Jamaica, the United Kingdom and the United States. back to top
Bill Friedman is a VMCG senior consultant and the founder of WSF & Associates, an organizational development consulting practice. He has over fifteen years of experience in consulting and training to industry, legal education and government institutions. Bill's work focuses on the enhancement of organizations, work teams and individuals. Through a client-centered, results-oriented approach, he has helped organizations improve their management of people, opportunity and performance. Bill has worked with individuals at all levels, from CEOs, corporate executives and managing partners to associates and line personnel.
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He has developed and delivered an array of training programs on such topics as Diversity in the workplace, Leadership, Communication, High Performing Teams, Management and Supervision, and Sexual Harassment. Mr. Friedman holds degrees in Psychology from Harvard and in Organization/Human Resource Development from the American University-NTL.
Bill has consulted to a wide variety of organizations including manufacturing, pharma and biotech, finance, legal, engineering, human service providers, colleges and universities. He has worked with individuals at all levels, from CEOs and corporate executives to supervisors and line personnel. He has worked with over 50 Organizations, from Fortune 100 companies to leading universities, to enhance their diversity strategies.
Patricia A. Hennesy, Esq.
Patricia A. Hennessy is a senior consultant with VMCG and has over twenty years of experience in the legal profession, first as a practicing attorney and subsequently as the director of professional development at a major Boston law firm. Ms. Hennessy currently leads HENNESSY Consulting GROUP, an attorney career management firm dedicated to coaching attorneys through change and providing expert advice to law firms and other legal employers in the area of attorney professional development. Ms. Hennessy also serves as a JD Advisor at Harvard Law School.
Ms. Hennessy entered the world of law firm management as the first Director of Professional Development at Choate, Hall & Stewart, designing and leading the professional development program for approximately five years. In that capacity, she oversaw the firm’s attorney orientation, training and skills development programs and workflow management, mentoring and evaluation systems. She served as a member of the firm’s senior management team, holding the title Of Counsel and reporting directly to the Managing Partners. She chaired committees devoted to training and professional development and served on other firm committees, including the firm’s Diversity, Hiring and Practice Management Committees.
Ms. Hennessy spent a significant amount of her time counseling and coaching individual attorneys concerning career strategies. She was a member of the Professional Development Consortium, a national membership organization of individuals in law firms, corporations and government agencies responsible for attorney training. She has been active in the Boston Lawyers Group, an organization of law firms and corporate and government legal offices devoted to enhancing the success of attorneys of color in Boston.
Ms. Hennessy graduated summa cum laude from Boston College and received a JD degree, cum laude, from Harvard Law School in 1987. She began her career as a litigation and health care associate with Choate, Hall & Stewart. She subsequently held the position of Associate General Counsel of Partners HealthCare System, a health care delivery system consisting of Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She also served as a Division Counsel for Fresenius Medical Care, North America. Ms. Hennessy is admitted to practice in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and before the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts. She serves as a corporator of Family Service of Greater Boston and volunteer for South Shore Elder Services. back to top
Cristina D. Hernandez
Cristina D. Hernandez is a senior consultant with VMCG and a practicing attorney focusing on complex litigation, securities, and antitrust. She has received numerous honors during her career, including being named the Latina Attorney of the Year by the Hispanic National Bar Association in 2009 and one of the Philanthropic Five by the United Way of Greater Milwaukee.
Ms. Hernandez spent the vast majority of her seventeen-year career in large law firms, in which she held a number of leadership positions. She started her career as an associate at Mintz Levin in Boston, where she served as a member of the Firm’s hiring committee and helped organize the Firm’s first minority attorney retreat. She then joined Quarles & Brady in Milwaukee in 2001 and became a partner two years later. While at Quarles, Ms. Hernandez served on the firm‘s diversity and hiring committees, spearheaded the organization of a number of diverse attorney retreats,and led the national litigation group’s business development efforts for two years. Ms. Hernandez has a keen interest in associate development and coaching and was given Quarles‘ Star Mentor award for her associate coaching efforts. Ms. Hernandez is admitted to practice in California, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin.
Ms. Hernandez graduated from Harvard-Radcliffe College in 1992 and Harvard Law School in 1995. While at Harvard Law, she served as the founding Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Latino Law Review and was an active member of La Alianza. Since beginning her practice, she has served on the boards of several arts and educational organizations and was the president of the Eastern District of Wisconsin Bar Association. Ms. Hernandez is the proud mother of two sons (13 and 9) and recently moved to Pasadena, California.
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Jin-Kyung (Kay) Kim, Esq.
Ms. Kim, a VMCG consultant for six years, has worked with a broad range of VMCG clients. In her legal career prior to joining VMCG, Ms. Kim was an equity partner at the Boston law firm of Testa, Hurwitz & Thibeault, LLP, a 300-plus attorney firm, for approximately seven years. Ms. Kim assisted a wide variety of employers with equal employment opportunity and discrimination issues and cases since 1986 as a management-side labor and employment lawyer.
She provided advice on decreasing the risk of employment litigation, including devising strategies to increase diversity, and conducting training programs for executives, managers and other employees regarding equal employment opportunity. She also engaged in extensive public speaking on employment law.
Ms. Kim served as the law firm's Hiring Partner for two years, and served on the firm's Recruiting Committee for nine years. As Hiring Partner, she was responsible for hiring and recruiting law students into the firm's summer program, and hiring third-year law students as incoming associates. Both before and as Hiring Partner, she conducted training programs at the firm regarding appropriate and productive hiring and recruiting practices. While practicing law, Ms. Kim assisted law firms in the recruitment and retention of attorneys of color by serving on the Executive Committee of The Boston Law Firm Group, a consortium of the largest firms in Boston committed to increasing the representation of attorneys of color. Ms. Kim graduated from the University of Chicago Law School and received a Bachelor of Arts degree, magna cum laude, from Wellesley College. back to top
Douglas C. Reynolds, Esq.
Mr. Reynolds, Esq. has been a VMCG principal diversity management consultant since 2001, engaged by law firms, law schools and public law departments in:
- Organizational needs assessments
- Strategic action planning
- Diversity awareness workshops
- Recruitment and other special training
- Management consulting on diversity and inclusion
- Speaking on diversity and inclusion topics
Doug has collaborated with Vernā Myers in diversity work in legal workplaces since 1992. He served three years on the Boston Bar Association Diversity Committee and five years on the Retention Subcommittee of The Boston Lawyers Group, a consortium of Boston firms seeking to increase the diversity of their lawyer members and employees. For over a decade, he served as a founding and active member of Belmont Against Racism, Inc., a community organization addressing local issues of racism and prejudice, and the New England Alliance of Multiracial Families, Inc., providing support for, and public education about multiracial families.
Doug is a principal and founding member of THE NEW LAW CENTER, LLC, a law, dispute resolution and management consulting practice in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He has practiced law since 1973 in a wide range of areas, from corporate and finance to estate planning. Doug is an experienced mediator and arbitrator. At Peabody & Arnold LLP in Boston from 1986-1999, Mr. Reynolds was a member of the management committee (5 years) and Chair of its Business Law Department (5 years). He led initiatives in marketing, planning and training, and he launched the firm's successful diversity initiative. Mr. Reynolds has written, spoken and led bar association programs on law practice management, and he is active in the emerging practice of Collaborative Law.
Since 1987, Doug, his wife and their adopted, African American children have lived the experience of a multiracial family in American culture. That experience informs Doug’s work in diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.
Mr. Reynolds is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Boston University School of Law. back to top
Ms. Anike Tourse
Anike is a multicultural performance tour de force. She has acted and danced with a Yoruba performance troupe in West Africa, directed Yemenite youth in Israel, and acted in television commercials, plays, and independent films in the United States. She has penned several solo shows, toured her productions across the country and throughout the globe, including to the Edinburgh (Scotland) Fringe Festival; the largest international theater festival in the world, and on a national Nigerian tour sponsored by the 7-UP Bottling Company.
corporate sphere Anike dramatizes the stories of high performing women, people of color, gay/lesbian, and differently-abled leaders in domestic or international law firms. She creates and performs composite characters in a solo performance based on interviews with business leaders and law firm partners that speak to the overcoming of obstacles and discovery of the best practices for company or firm success. She also uses interactive theater methods to explore diversity, gender bias, and other areas of difference in the workplace.
written for daytime serial One Life to Live, and for the sitcom series Girlfriends. She has produced videos and public service announcements for the Immigrant Rights Movement and has written feature screenplay Valentina; the story of a Mexican-American girl who fights to keep her family united and in the U.S. just as she breaks through as a dawning Hollywood star. Anike recently returned from an artist residency at the Wormfarm Institute in Reedsburg Wisconsin where she wrote a new play MILK about archetypal relationships and healing through planting and renewal. You can learn more about Anike on her website at aniketourse.com . back to top
Ms. Comma L. Williams
Comma L. Williams, M.Ed., is a senior consultant with Vernā Myers Consulting Group, LLC. She has been consulting in training and organizational development for more than twenty years. Comma has worked in a variety of industries including health care, high tech, state government, human services, and higher education. Comma specializes in the design and delivery of culturally-conscious customer service initiatives, workforce diversity and cross-cultural competence, leadership and team development, competency development, performance management, and organizational effectiveness. She has a reputation as a master trainer-of-trainers.
As a Senior Organization Development Consultant with Harvard Pilgrim Health Care (HPHC), Comma worked extensively with the Office of Diversity. She has facilitated numerous Diversity and Inclusion Workshops. She has done extensive work in developing cultural competencies for clinicians and their supporting staff. While with HPHC, Comma led the production of a nine-minute video highlighting the business imperative for Diversity and Inclusion. As a Senior Consultant, she developed and delivered trainings on Gay and Lesbian health care issues, and co-founded the Health Triangle - HPHC's Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender employee organization.
Comma has a Master of Education Degree in Instructional Design. She believes that the most effective learning situations are experiential, fun, and practical. These core components are intrinsic to every session Comma designs and facilitates. Comma is also a certified S.U.N. Success Coach, a Visionary Bodywork Practitioner (Shiatsu and Cranio-Sacral), and an initiated shamanic healer.
VMCG Generational Board