Sheryl Axelrod’s Yolanda Coly Advocacy Award Acceptance Speech

Firm President Sheryl Axelrod was honored with the National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms (NAMWOLF) 2017 Yolanda Coly Advocacy Award. Yolanda Coly herself nominated Sheryl, as did two NAMWOLF Board of Directors members, Jamie Rudman, who presented Sheryl with the award, and John Murdock.

The Yolanda Coly Advocacy Award recognizes a person of influence with wide ranging professional connections who, through stellar advocacy, profoundly advanced NAMWOLF’s mission. Sheryl was recognized for her career-long championing of equality, diversity, and inclusion. See her biography in the space here.

Sheryl continues to serve as Co-Chair of the NAMWOLF Advocacy Committee and to speak about the disenfranchisement of women and minorities, unconscious bias, the profitability of diversity, and tools companies and each of us can use to become diversity champions. Watch Sheryl’s courageous award acceptance speech below, for which she was given an extended standing ovation.

Sheryl Axelrod would like to personally thank her nominators, Yolanda Coly, Jamie Rudman, and John Murdock, her colleagues at The Axelrod Firm who inspire her, and each of her mentees that wrote supporting letters (referred to by Jamie Rudman in her introduction):

Antinuke (Tinu) Osinupebi
Charece Collins
Courtenay Dunn
Erin Keltz
Kari Knight Stevens
Linda Alle-Murphy
Neelima (Neelu) Vanguri
Samuel Mukiibi
Scott Sigman
Melissa Pang and
Dan Oberdick

A few corrections:

(1) Sheryl served on the American Bar Association’s Task Force on Gender Equity until it was absorbed by the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession. In the year she was appointed by the President of the American Bar Association to what was commonly called the Gender Equity Task Force (GETF), she was one of only three people in the country to have been given a seat on it. As a result of presidential appointments the year before, there was a larger group of attorneys who formed the GETF and our Advisory Committee. We invite you to peruse the GETF’s top notch publications and resources, and to put them to use to move the needle forward for women in the profession.

(2) The student to which Jamie Rudman referred is a woman, Josie Hyman, who was not only a superstar advocate on the Overbrook High School Mock Trial Team, but went to Temple Law School and coached the Overbrook High School Mock Trial Team to victory in the Regional Championships.