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Gibbons Diversity Initiative Presents First “Trendsetter Award”


December 15, 2013

The Gibbons Diversity Initiative (GDI), an award-winning corporate initiative promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace, has presented its first quarterly Trendsetter Award to Valerie Van Baaren, University Counsel of Montclair State University (MSU).

Through the Trendsetter Award, Gibbons and GDI honor individuals who embody leadership and vision with regard to workplace diversity. Ms. Van Baaren is the highest ranking legal officer for MSU, an inclusive, richly diverse community that fosters mutual respect, tolerance, and understanding among all students and employees. The university hosts a number of thriving equity programs and affinity groups, serving, among others, the following student populations: international; Latin American; African American; Arab; Christian; Haitian; Jewish; Indian American; Muslim; Asian American; and GLBT. MSU also hosts a Women’s Center and Council for Faith and Spirituality. In addition, the school’s Bias Response Task Force strives to prevent, but also comprehensively responds to, incidents of intolerance and bias with respect to race, ethnicity, gender expression, sexual orientation, disability, religion, and national origin.

GDI presents its Trendsetter Award at each of its quarterly diversity meetings. All firm attorneys are invited to these meetings, which feature some of the most eminent voices on corporate and supplier diversity, renowned thought leaders who are purchasing executives, diversity officers, and other leaders from throughout corporate America and key associations focused on diversity issues. Recognizing the most vital, current thought leadership is critical to the development and effective messaging of GDI’s own thought leadership.

The next Trendsetter Award is scheduled to be presented in March 2014.