Freddie Mac

Freddie Mac

2008 Employer of Choice Award Winner

Mid-Atlantic Region

Alice Herald
Deputy General Counsel and Corporate Secretary

The “tone at the top” sets the standard at Freddie Mac. Within the past two years, diversity within the legal department has enjoyed steady progress. Of the nine officers in the legal department, four are women and two are minorities. Bob Bostrom, who heads up the department, has promoted two women since his arrival—one an internal promotion to vice president and department head, while the other (an external candidate) was hired as a vice president. Minority representation within senior legal management during his tenure surged from none to 22% in just one year.

“Diversity has always been important because of the business we are in. It is a business imperative. We cannot not make progress. We have to understand the communities we are involved in and leverage diversity to meet our goals,” states Tujuanna Williams, Freddie Mac’s diversity director.

The legal department’s value of workforce diversity is critical to the company’s success.

“We take referrals from the legal department, search firms, and from MCCA when we look for diverse attorneys,” Williams says.

Almost half of the attorneys in the department are women, and close to 20% of the attorneys are minorities, a fact that enhances the company’s ability to succeed in its mission to bring liquidity, stability, and affordability to the U.S. housing market in an effort to expand home ownership. The public housing mission has a noteworthy impact when it comes to women and minorities, who represent a significant percentage of first-time homebuyers.

(L to R): Veta Richardson of MCCA, Robert Bostrom, General Counsel of Freddie Mac, and Gary Kennedy, Senior Vice President, General Counsel & Chief Compliance Officer, American Airlines

Freddie Mac supports many Employee Network Groups that cater to minorities and women. The company also offers mentoring and leadership programs for employees. The company’s formal mentorship program started in 2007 and was sponsored by the Women’s Interactive Network. Since its inception, other network groups and divisions, including the legal department, have participated in the program.

In addition to earning recognition by groups like MCCA, Freddie Mac has garnered praise for its workplace and diversity commitment from other organizations and publications. This year, the company was recognized as a “Top Company for Diversity” by Hispanic Business Inc., “Best Places for Women” by Latina Style magazine, and among the 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers by Working Mother magazine.

“I don’t really think our diversity efforts will ever stop. I would make a distinction between a diversity program and a diversity initiative. A program starts and stops. An initiative is a continuing process. That’s what we are doing at Freddie Mac,” Williams concludes. DB

From the November/December 2008 issue of Diversity & The Bar®

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