Susan Blount, the senior vice president and general counsel for Prudential Financial Inc., has been honored as one of Women’s eNews’s “21 Leaders for the 21st Century” for her work to increase diversity in the legal profession. Women’s eNews is an online publication that covers a wide range of women’s issues.
Blount recently received the award at a dinner in New York, where she was recognized as one of “Seven Who Leverage Power” by being a “Persuader for Diversity.” In 2010, Blount co-founded the Inclusion Initiative, which was a response to a DuPont study that revealed a significant decrease since the late 1980s in the number of minority- and women-owned law firms that service corporate America. In its first year, the Inclusion Initiative’s goal was to spend at least $30 million on legal services from minority- and women-owned law firms. It exceeded that goal by $10 million, and the initiative has grown to include 25 corporations from its original 11.
“Talent comes in every color, gender, origin, religion, sexual orientation, economic background and physical capability. Prudential actively seeks out employees, vendors, and business associates from a deep and diverse pool of accomplished professionals eager to build on Prudential's respected name in the financial services industry,” Blount said in a statement. “This, together with our work with minority- and women-owned law firms through the Inclusion Initiative, gives us the power to change people's lives and to make a permanent difference in the law profession.”
Blount’s passion for inclusion has helped her build a diverse pipeline of lawyers and compliance professionals who do work for Prudential. In her legal department, she seeks out lawyers with diverse backgrounds and works with several diversity programs within universities and associations to hire summer interns. Blount also is a founding board member of the Center for Women in the Law at the University of Texas Law School.
Read more about lawyers, like Blount, who are advancing the empowerment of women in law at InsideCounsel’s Transformative Leadership site.