A top priority of the Branch leadership team elected last April was to create a culture of inclusiveness in all aspects of Branch operation. At that time, the Branch board of directors made the necessary decision to address a chronic diversity deficit as an urgent engineering challenge rather than a desultory rhetorical exercise, with very encouraging results.

Over the past ten months, the Branch board of directors has evolved from comprising 1 woman and 20 men to its current 14 women and 7 men, and from 0 to 2 LGBTQ directors. Perhaps most powerfully, the board has also evolved from having 2 directors under age 50 to having 13, including 9 directors under age 40. Progress is being made with respect to race and ethnicity, but there is still much to be done on that axis. Those advances have been mirrored in the Branch’s cohort of chapter chairs and on the board’s executive committee.

The changes have been noted by others in the ADR and legal sectors. We have received inquiries from other organizations about the mechanics of our approach, and the CPR Institute surprised us last month by selecting me as the winner of its annual Outstanding Contribution to Diversity in ADR Award, in large because of our efforts here in the North America Branch. I was delighted to be able to talk about the Branch’s commitment and success at the CPR annual meeting in St. Petersburg last month, and to introduce four other Branch board members in attendance.

Our initial focus has been at the leadership level as a way of expeditiously demonstrating commitment, generating momentum, and creating an open leadership cultivation process. We are now launching an aggressive student membership drive as a next step in the complex process of reorienting the Branch’s culture in a way that creates true inclusiveness and serves the needs (and harnesses the energies) of anyone interested in ADR.

If you have been a member of the Branch for a while, I hope that you have noted a dramatic increase in the Branch’s program array, communications, quality of offerings, and focus on member benefits. Those improvements are a direct result of the fresh energy and thinking with which our diversity efforts have infused Branch operations.

Whatever your background and demographics, the Branch is always looking for volunteers to plan and drive our expanding activities. Please watch this website and/or contact the chair of the chapter in your area for opportunities to get involved.

If you are not a member yet, please visit https://www.ciarbnab.com/membership/ and consider what level of membership is right for you.


Amb. (r.) David Huebner, C.Arb, Chair Emeritus