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 user 2010-01-04 at 11:04:38 am Views: 141
  • #23342

    Xerox’s Ivy McKinney works long and hard on mentoring, diversity effort
    A Corporate Lawyer With A Can-Do Attitude
    Ivy Thomas McKinney is at the point of her life where her children are grown up and have moved out of the house. Her daughter is a junior at Princeton and her son is in a doctorate program at Yale.“All of my free time went to family when I was young,” said McKinney, a 1980 Yale Law School graduate who is vice president and deputy general counsel at Xerox Corp. Now that her children are on their own, she’s embarked on an impressive array of public service, mentoring and pro bono work. She says it’s her way of giving back. “Along the way, I’ve had a lot of people who supported and helped me,” she explained.

    McKinney, 53, is in charge of all company litigation at Xerox whose legal department totals nearly 200 people in the U.S. and around the world. She provides counseling on issues regarding employment benefits and human resources.

    Ivy also mentors minority law students and young professionals through the Minority Corporate Counsel Association’s KAN-Do! Mentoring Program, the Women’s Alliance, and the Black Women’s Leadership Conference.

    She says she mentors a “few people” at Xerox. Her boss says that she’s being way too modest. While her formal mentoring at Xerox may consist of only a few people, “other people consult with her on all kinds of matters, from professional to personal,” said Don Liu, the senior vice president and general counsel at Xerox. “There are a large number of people who count on her. Many people say, ‘Maybe I’ll go talk to Ivy.’”

    Liu notes that corporate lawyers haven’t traditionally been known for doing a lot of pro bono work. He said that unlike private law firms, where attorneys get credit toward their billable hour requirement for doing pro bono work, corporate legal departments don’t reward off-the-clock efforts. But that is changing somewhat. McKinney is active in The Pro Bono Partnership, an organization made up of corporate lawyers who provide legal advice to non-profit organizations in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York, particularly organizations that help provide programs for the poor and disadvantaged. McKinney said she has done fundraising for the group as well as provide pro bono legal help.

    Race Relations
    One other area where McKinney shines is when it comes to promoting diversity. She is a member of a committee at Xerox that makes sure the law firms with which Xerox does business have a diverse staff.Outside of the workplace, McKinney is also the co-chair of the Connecticut chapter of Princeton Prize in Race Relations, an awards program that honors high school students who do outstanding work to advance the cause of race relations.

    Every year, the program invites all public and parochial students to submit a project. There is a $1,000 reward for the best one. “Some of these kids do phenomenal projects,” McKinney said. “It almost brings tears to my eyes.”

    One student from Norwalk, she recalled, put together something on how immigrant parents can be advocates for their children in the school system. Some of the students did voter registration projects. Others did projects on the genocide in Darfur, she said.“It’s amazing what they are doing at such young ages,” McKinney said.

    She is also on the board of directors of WESFACCA (the Westchester, New York/Southern Connecticut Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel), has been on the board of the Urban League of Southwestern Connecticut and is also on the development committee for Just the Beginning Foundation. Her role with the foundation is to develop and nurture interest in the law among young people from racial and other groups under-represented in the legal profession.The list goes on. McKinney is a member of the Fairfield County Chapter of the Links Inc., a women’s organization which undertakes community projects. Additionally, she’s helped organize health fairs and film festivals that feature works produced by African Americans.How does she get this all done and still earn praise from her boss for as being “a trooper” at Xerox? “I end up working late,” she says.•