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Corrs Chambers Westgarth appoints diversity manager

Corrs Chambers Westgarth appoints diversity manager

Corrs Chambers Westgarth has appointed a former programs director of the Diversity Council Australia (DCA).

Lisa Annese's role at the DCA focused on drawing together best practice to achieve diversity.

Now at Corrs, her challenge is to implement a range of diversity initiatives, with the chief aim of progressing the agenda for women lawyers at the firm.

"My opportunity here is to take what I know really well and bring that to fruition and make it happen in realty in an organisation," Annese told Lawyers Weekly.

She said her access to partners and management has been "tremendous" already and that she is "lucky" to be coming into an organisation which shows clear signs of commitment to diversity in the workplace.

"The firm already has an established diversity council which is chaired by Christine Covington, who's got a really strong personal commitment to making this happen," said Annese.

"In a nutshell, my aim is to improve the female representation of lawyers in very senior roles at Corrs."

Annese has also worked with the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency (EOWA), where she helped develop the first census of 'Australian Women in Leadership', the first 'Business Achievement Awards', the creation of the 'Employer of Choice for Women' citation, and the development and implementation of the policy framework for the EOWA Act (1999) with Australian businesses.

Annese co-authored Chief Executives Unplugged: CEO's Get Real About Women in the Workplace and has ties with United Nations organisations, including the UN Global Compact, the UN Alliance of Civilisations and UN Women.

Covington said Annese's appointment reinforces Corrs' commitment to its 2015 Diversity Strategy which aims to support and celebrate diversity.

Annese will be responsible for driving the firm's participation as an industry partner in the Melbourne Business School Gender Equality Project, which Covington said will "provide evidence-based training programs and create opportunities to give feedback on [Corrs'] policies, systems, cultures and procedures".

Annese will also be tasked with publishing an ASX Guideline compliant diversity policy.

"[Diversity quotas] really do affect ASX-listed companies more than they affect organisations like Corrs, but the argument for them is currently being really heavily debated in the industry and will play out in the market through that strong debate," said Annese.

"That said, I don't think you need quotas to be committed."

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