The TIPS’s Committee on Diversity and Inclusion is happy to announce the launch of a new Affinity Group in the 2023-2024 bar year. An affinity group is a specialized and inclusive subgroup formed by individuals who share common interests, backgrounds, experiences, or identities. This group is voluntary and aims to provide a supportive and empowering environment for their members.
Join us for the first Affinity Group Meeting on February 22, at 2:00 PM CT. All are welcome!
Within TIPS, the Affinity Group will function as a cohesive and tightly-knit community, bringing together members with shared characteristics, including race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, or specific professional interests. It serves as an effective platform for fostering connections, networking, and facilitating open discussions among members. Through these interactions, participants are encouraged to discover common ground and develop a profound sense of belonging within the organization. The Affinity Group seeks to promote understanding, appreciation, and collaboration among diverse perspectives, enhancing the overall diversity and inclusion efforts of our Section.
The primary objectives of this Affinity Group are:
- Support and Empowerment: Create a safe space for members to share their experiences, challenges, and triumphs related to their shared identity or interests. This support system fosters personal and professional growth, leading to increased confidence and resilience.
- Advocacy and Representation: To help TIPS members who are part of underrepresented groups, and their allies feel heard and included in the organization. Provide an avenue for members to communicate concerns and advocate for changes which improve the organization and to provide input on positions that the section takes on policies that the section takes on a variety of topics.
- Networking and Collaboration: Build our professional networks – members from underrepresented backgrounds can meet other TIPS members and TIPS leaders.
- Mentorship and Skill Development: Build opportunities for professional development – participation in a network can raise awareness of speaking, writing and leadership opportunities within TIPS. For small and solo law firms, this may present opportunities to create a network that they may not ordinarily have due to firm size.
- Educational Opportunities: Provide an opportunity to understand different cultures and perspectives.
- How will we accomplish this?
- We will host a meeting on zoom, every other month. The time will be held on a rotating basis to allow for people from different time zones to participate.
- Ensuring a welcoming and inclusive environment, we will introduce and acknowledge all participants at the beginning of each meeting before proceeding with the meeting’s agenda.
- Participants will agree upon “rules of engagement” while participating in the group to address privacy and comfort concerns for those who choose to share personal stories.
- The meeting agenda will revolve around three main areas on a rotating basis:
- Learning space, where topics will be facilitated by TIPS's Committee on Diversity and Inclusion's Education Subcommittee;
- A focus on ABA or Section strategy, involving discussions on ABA House resolutions or TIPS policies; and
- Free space and moral support for open discussions and sharing.
- To foster communication, a TIPS Community Page will be established for members to connect between meetings.
- Regular evaluations conducted by group members will assess whether the group’s objectives are being met and identify any additional needs.
- The intention of this group is to be flexible, not constrained by the formalities of traditional TIPS committees, and adaptable to the needs of its participating members.
We hope to see you at our first meeting!