Jon Olafson Moderates Video Series as Founder of Colorado LEADS Project

Denver, Colo. (May 24, 2021) - Denver Partner Jon Olafson recently introduced and moderated a series of videos in his role as founder of Colorado LEADS - Lawyers Engaging About Diversity and Solidarity. Each video in the series features diverse panelists, including attorneys and law students, who discuss topics related to racial justice, equity, diversity, and inclusivity.

Described by Mr. Olafson as “an innovative and collaborative project between the Colorado Bar Association and the Sam Cary Bar Association,” the goal of LEADS is to “create a continual conversation” regarding diversity and related subjects within the legal community and the Colorado community at large. To date, the Colorado Bar Association (CBA) has released three LEADS videos, titled “Engagement and the Narrative of Racial Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity,” “Law School,” and “Racial Justice and the Workplace,” respectively.

In the first of the three videos, Mr. Olafson and his fellow attorney panelists address how to engage with others, including peers, family members, and co-workers, on the issues of racial justice, equity, diversity, and inclusivity. As part of the discussion, the panelists share ideas concerning how to start conversations about these sensitive matters and what to do if you feel you have said the wrong thing. During the video, Mr. Olafson explains, “Language matters. We all can agree that these conversations . . . can be deeply personal . . . deeply political and it can be uncomfortable.” He further describes that when someone is unsure of how to approach a conversation regarding, for example, difference of identity, they should simply ask. According to Mr. Olafson, asking about how someone identifies is “really important because it shows yet again that connection and that vulnerability that will help move the conversation forward.”

Colorado LEADS’ “Law School” video includes a panel of diverse law students who share their thoughts concerning what they expect of future employers regarding diversity and representation. They exchange ideas concerning how to determine whether a prospective employer will, in fact, promote diversity. Moreover, in LEADS’ “Racial Justice and the Workplace” video, employment attorneys comprise the panel and address discrimination and retaliation in the workplace. During the video, Mr. Olafson notes that “employees just want to be heard,” emphasizing that when an employee leaves a meeting, both HR and the employee should ensure that the employee has, indeed, been heard.

The CBA will be releasing two additional LEADS videos over the next few months – one addressing racism and a second discussing homophobia. Like the first three videos, the upcoming episodes will seek to build bridges between individuals by providing ideas for how to address and discuss their differences.

Mr. Olafson is a member of Lewis Brisbois’ Labor & Employment Practice. He has extensive experience advising clients on trade secret and corporate espionage matters, complex commercial disputes, wage and hour issues and class/collective actions, FAA regulatory matters, and C-suite transitions. He is also the founder and co-editor of the firm's labor & employment law blog, The Grindstone. Mr. Olafson was recently appointed to the CBA’s Executive Council and serves as chair of its Racial Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity Committee.

You may access the full LEADS videos here.

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