By Jennifer Bonesteel, manager of customer success at Littler
Based in Washington, D.C., Tara Marshall-Hill has more than 15 years of professional experience focused on client development in a broad range of industries. In August 2020, she started a new role as a marketing manager at e-discovery and technology-assisted review firm H5. She previously worked as a business development specialist responsible for global RFPs and operationalizing the legal sales training reinforcement strategy at McDermott Will & Emery.
Earlier this year, Marshall-Hill joined LMA’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee, where she has been implementing best practices in the planning and execution of the organization's annual conference around speaker engagement and participant experience. She also co-led the D&I SIG’s Summer Book Club, an association-wide anti-racism initiative to drive organizational change and member engagement as part of a broader diversity and inclusion strategy. She has partnered with senior leadership to develop a cohesive approach to help ensure an inclusive and highly engaged environment that addresses membership needs as a value-driver for member law firms.
How has LMA positively impacted your career path?
When I transitioned into legal business development, it was important for me to re-establish myself and find a space where I could bring my more than 15 years of professional experience and diverse skillset and contribute greatly. LMA is a cross-functional space, where all are welcome to contribute, without being held back by title. LMA provided me the opportunity to immediately meet others at local happy hours and lunch n’ learns, and then in less than a year, serve on committees where I could bring significant value based not just on my professional experience, but my life experience as well.
LMA has provided leadership, training, and growth opportunities that amplified my contributions in my most recent role in business development, focused on legal sales training and coaching, and global RFP process development and execution.
How have the recent events surrounding racial injustice impacted your personal and professional life?
The recent events surrounding racial injustice are part of an ongoing story with which I have been intimately familiar, as a Black woman living in America. On a personal level, I would say that the response to the racial injustice is the only aspect of recent events that represents a shift from the status quo. It hasn't really impacted me personally, as I have always had to engage in these conversations with my family and friends, I have always tried to engage with brands that value diversity and racial justice, and my circle typically reflects those who are actively antiracist.
The greatest impact has been in my professional life. The veil that often shielded the corporate environment from social justice issues, and racial justice issues specifically, has been lifted in such a way that I, and many of my Black colleagues, feel seen more fully in our humanity. By that, I mean there is a greater sense of understanding, or attempt at understanding, of our lives beyond work and how that impacts our lives at work. Being seen more fully in the context of how we navigate spaces and the impact that has on our agency, power, well-being and success creates greater opportunity for empathy and recognition of a need for systemic change.
Lastly, while I have always been an activist of sorts in my personal life, the recent events and the resulting shift created opportunities for me to be an agent of change in my professional community. I think this, perhaps, is the greatest impact for me – being empowered and equipped to help move the needle toward greater racial equity and diversity within corporate workplaces.
What recommendations do you have for others who are interested in proactively engaging in DEI initiatives within their workplaces?
- Listen to those from traditionally marginalized groups within your workplace. Listen and assume that they are the authors of their stories and experience. Listen with the intention only to gain new and deeper understanding.
2. Do something with what you've learned. Engage as a “co-conspirator” (see C-SPAN2 Book TV interview with author Bettina Love) in change and bring your skillset to enhance initiatives that promote greater diversity, equity and inclusion in your workplace.
3. Speak up. Silence is complicity, and the lack of vocal and actionable advocacy by those who hold racial privilege prevents true, sustainable change from taking root. If you see an initiative get shelved, lose steam, or have no measurable outcomes attached, hold the influencers in your workplace accountable to their stated objectives. Make the business case, where necessary, but don't be afraid to make the moral case as well.
What recommendations do you have for great business reads?
The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra
To Sell is Human by Daniel Pink
The Memo by Minda Harts
How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
When you aren’t working, what do you enjoy doing?
I am an integrative wellness enthusiast, avid hiker, and short-distance runner. I fancy myself a burgeoning home chef and enjoy bringing meals from around the world to my family table. A passionate civic leader, I also volunteer my time with organizations advancing greater racial, ethnic, and LGBTQIA diversity and inclusion within the legal industry.