Thompson Hine Presents Diversity Awards to Nationwide’s Marilyn McClure-Demers and Firm Partner Lindsay Karas Stencel

Date: January 10, 2022

Publication: Thompson Hine LLP

Thompson Hine LLP is proud to announce the recipients of its annual Diversity Achievement and Diversity Champion Awards, presented during a recent ceremony. The firm established its awards program 12 years ago to highlight the importance of advancing diversity, equity and inclusion and to honor the achievements of diversity champions inside and outside the firm.

“Our philosophy is that bringing a wide variety of perspectives to the table fuels creativity and pushes us in different directions, fostering a more innovative workforce that seeks new and better solutions. Building a more diverse, equitable and inclusive environment makes us more resilient and effective and enables us to better serve our clients by assembling diverse teams that mirror the clients’ employees and customers. We are proud to honor our clients and colleagues who embrace these principles and are committed to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion at the firm, in the legal profession and the communities in which we work,” said Thompson Hine Managing Partner Deborah Z. Read.

The firm presented its 2021 Diversity Achievement Award to Marilyn McClure-Demers, Vice President and Associate General Counsel Corporate Litigation & Discovery Management at Nationwide. The award recognizes a client’s exceptional efforts and leadership in advancing the values of diversity, equity and inclusion in its industry and the greater community.

While accepting the award, McClure-Demers shared her perspective as a long-term leader and encouraged the audience to commit to justice, equity, diversity and inclusion not just in their organizations but in their communities. McClure-Demers advocates for these principles, both within Nationwide and externally, and her passion, leadership and commitment exemplify Nationwide’s leadership in this area. Throughout her career, McClure-Demers has driven change in corporate America, the legal profession and the community. Despite the demands on her time, she continually makes the time to mentor and sponsor diverse law students and associates. She has been a tireless advocate for the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, serving as a catalyst for national and regional strategies, programming and events. She also serves on the boards of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the Tiffany Circle National Council of the American Red Cross, among others, and leads the newly created Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee of the West Virginia University Alumni Association Board.

During her tenure as president of the Ohio Women’s Bar Association, McClure-Demers made it one of her top priorities to increase membership diversity, programming and recognition. She succeeded in creating a more inclusive organization that better reflects the makeup of the women’s bar in Ohio, including attracting more diverse members to the boards of the OWBA and its educational and charitable arm, the Ohio Women’s Bar Foundation. “We are honored to work with Marilyn and Nationwide,” said Read. “Both lead by example with an intentional dedication to promoting diversity.”

In her remarks, McClure-Demers stressed the importance of having trusted vendor partnerships based on a shared commitment and serving as brand ambassadors in the community and before tribunals and regulators. “Teams reflecting the diversity of the customer base we seek to serve bring this commitment to life. Thompson Hine does, and we appreciate our relationship and the firm’s strong commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. I am truly honored and grateful to have been selected to receive this award from a law firm partner who has long recognized the importance of this work as well as the need to continue to work hard at it and I thank you,” said McClure-Demers. “I am also honored to do so with Lindsay, whose commitment and action are exemplary.”

Thompson Hine partner Lindsay Karas Stencel received the 2021 Diversity Champion Award, given to a member of the firm who embodies a true commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, not only within the firm, but in the community at large.

Karas Stencel, a partner in the New Ventures practice and Columbus office co-chair of the firm’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Initiative, has long advocated for women in the legal profession, startups and the venture capital industry by facilitating access to funders, connecting female founders and assisting women entering the funding world. A fierce champion for the advancement of minority-owned businesses and diverse professionals, Karas Stencel co-founded a women-focused venture capital firm and an LGBTQ+ venture capital firm. She also was the chief operating officer and fund manager of Launch NY, a venture development organization that provides pro bono mentoring and capital access to startups in western New York. During Karas Stencel’s tenure, Launch NY has served over 1,000 companies, attracted over $470 million in co-investment and follow-on capital, and invested in 42 portfolio companies, a third of which were women-led and nearly a quarter of which were minority-led.

“I am humbled by this honor and delighted to work for a firm that so strongly supports us professionally in our efforts to drive meaningful change in our profession and in the communities we serve,” said Karas Stencel. “Thompson Hine’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion is the real deal, and I am proud to represent the firm and its clients.”

“Lindsay’s focus on advancing inclusion and serving the community inspires and energizes our firm,” said Read. “She sets a high standard within the firm and externally as an advocate and a voice for entrepreneurs who have been underrepresented and under-funded.”

Thompson Hine is proud of the significant contributions the firm and its professionals have made toward furthering diversity, equity and inclusion. Among these are the firm’s efforts focused on the recruitment, retention and advancement of diverse attorneys within the firm and the legal profession generally. Thompson Hine implemented a new recruiting and hiring model to help eliminate bias, which allowed the firm to focus on the important traits that are indicators of success within the firm. This program has increased significantly the participation of diverse lawyers in the firm’s summer program, and the firm has now begun using this model in the hiring of associate lawyers. In another example of the firm’s initiatives, this one aimed at advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in the legal profession, Thompson Hine partnered with the University of Dayton School of Law to launch the Flyer Legal Promise Program, whose mission is to recruit underrepresented students to law school and the legal profession. Under this program, Thompson Hine will sponsor one student throughout their law school journey. Earlier this year, the firm achieved Mansfield Rule 4.0 certification and signed on to pursue Mansfield 5.0, and it once again earned the top rating of 100% and recognition as a “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality” on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index.