Lessons in Diversity and Inclusion

I’ve always been a Target shopper. Merona is probably my most-worn brand, and I keep a pile of reusable Target bags in the back of my car. But when I started law school, I never thought that I would be participating in one of the company’s innovative externship programs.

In 2013, Target launched its Diversity in Law Scholarship Program, which provides a semester corporate externship to law students who are members of underrepresented groups. Though lawyers push for equality under the law at all levels, a Washington Post article in May called law “the least diverse profession in the nation.” I’ve experienced this while browsing law firm websites that discuss a general “commitment to diversity”, rather than focusing on statistics for existing diversity within the firm. Though numbers can’t substitute for commitment, they can be a key indicator of it. And non-stereotypical law students, including myself, often feel the unconscious biases of the profession. I remember once speaking with a mentor about improving my big firm interviewing skills by toning down the occasional lilt in my voice. My experience at Target has been quite different, and the company hopes to effect change by giving diverse law students a jump-start in their legal careers.

Through its externship program, the Law Department works to provide externs with diverse skills and experiences that will set them apart from their peers and make them unique assets to the legal profession. As an extern for the last year, I’ve participated in multi-million dollar negotiations, advised our subsidiaries on advertising law, discussed general liability case strategy, drafted an exclusivity agreement, and created legal training materials for our business partners. I’ve gotten a rare “behind the scenes” view of business law and have had the unique opportunity to hone legal skills in directly advising a Fortune 50 company from the inside. I’ve learned to “speak law” to a business, which is very different from speaking law to a professor or a courtroom or an individual client. And I’ve shadowed accomplished attorneys who have been phenomenal mentors and role models.

But my experience as an extern hasn’t just been about strictly legal skills. It’s also been about finding ways that I can contribute to diversity and inclusion both at Target and wherever I may go in my career. Understanding diversity and inclusion is essential in both business and law, because it’s an essential part of life. We need to understand the unique backgrounds and experiences of each person we serve so that we can create environments where each person is welcome.

At Target, I have to constantly think about diversity and inclusion, because I have to constantly think about the guest experience. There is no one-size-fits-all guest. Target shoppers come from all parts of the community, so creating a diverse and inclusive environment will facilitate a better experience for our guests. And it will make me better at serving my community as a lawyer. Target brought me into its law department so that I could both learn about promoting diversity and inclusion (D&I, as we say here) and contribute to the D&I efforts at corporate. I’ve attended D&I presentations, discussed the meaning of D&I with our attorneys, and participated in planning meetings for our diversity law student mock interview program.

At the end of this semester, I’ll complete my time as an extern and go back to being the guest. I’ll always be thankful for my time at Target. But as the guest, I’ll know that Target still wants to invest in me, to understand me, and to create a great experience for me. And Target wants that experience for you, too.

Interested in joining Target?  Learn more here.

  • Pam Buchly

    December 30th, 2015

    Great article Chris!! What a surprise to see I knew the author!!

    Reply
  • Ahmed awad

    January 3rd, 2016

    I need to support my family

    Reply
  • Ken Medlin

    January 29th, 2016

    Great Article Chris! On the basis of Diversity and Inclusion and the laws behind it in corporate America. I also believe we need to give many who have dispare in their environment, family or other giving everyone an opportunity to work and giving others the benefit of the doubt many face with unemployment opportunities. We say we are equal opportunity employers and we don’t give anyone (or people) the opportunity to make changes in their life with great opportunities such as Target or other employers. We all make mistakes and we all pay the consequences, but for many who have trials of being unemployed we have to give everyone a chance for employment. Keep up the great work in your endeavors and making a positive change in every community. Ken

    Reply
  • Annonomous

    March 9th, 2016

    As someone who understands how online advertising/marketing campaigns are run across a variety of different channels, I am extremely surprised that a company with such a well rounded and advanced digital/social strategy works with an agency that can’t even schedule promotions properly. Yes mistakes happen, but serving an expired promotional display banner ad messaging a Swimsuit BOGO 50% Sale on the UPS tracking landing page for the Target Swimsuit Order that I just purchased full price (with NO promo code)? At first I was confused because it wasn’t advertised on the site, and then I spent a moment absolutely pissed that I didn’t save any money or get that deal in time.

    After going about my evening, later that night I refreshed the page to get an update on my delivery date and I noticed the Swimsuit BOGO display banner loaded again on the page. Well thanks for reminding me of how mad I was? Taking a closer look at the display creative I noticed the small grey blurry fine print that stated the offer expired 3/5. Well GREAT. Now I’m mad I didn’t see the expiration date before and spent time being upset and ranting about it to my friends throughout the day!

    Once I got over that, I became furious that of course I placed my order on 3/6 one day after the promo ended, because that’s just my luck. Ugh.

    After accepting my bad luck in every aspect of life, the digital marketer in me started to surface. What a horrible customer experience your agency consciously and actively created for me? Purchased product online, excited about the order shipping, served an ad when checking shipping status, mad the deal wasn’t messaged clearly on the site, pissed to learn the offer in the ad was actually expired; and most importantly thoroughly disappointed and upset that such a fabulous brand such as Target subjected me to this experience through their digital marketing.

    Don’t get me wrong, I complained some more to friends who work in the industry and would understand my frustration and then I went about the next 48 hours without any thought of the incident. THREE DAYS later I track my shipment because I want my new swimmies and I receive THE SAME EXPIRED Swimsuit BOGO 50% Banner?!?!?

    At first I felt guilt for thinking your agency was so horrible for running an incorrect promo just one day after its expired…but three full days? Doesn’t your agency monitor performance daily and optimize, wouldn’t they see this was still running in reporting and pause it? The list of reasons why it was just unacceptable and alluded to the fact that whoever runs your digital marketing campaigns isn’t doing their job (at least display) just continued to build in my mind.

    Does Target brand their UPS orders landing page and everyone sees an ad? If so, is everyone who placed an order getting that ad or just me? Is Target targeting (lol) customers on mobile who have already converted? That seems like an efficient way to spend your budget…not to mention all the wasted impressions! And obviously I’ve refreshed millions of times just to really prove my point and show you who’s boss.

    The irony of the entire experience and the fact that I understand how intentional yet unintentional it all was, was far too comical not to share.

    Please fire whoever runs your display campaigns and hire someone like me! Someone who is honored to work for a fabulous brand with such a talented and strategic marketing team, that they always create the most seamless, pleasant and accurate experiences for their loyal customers!

    Reply
  • Abhi

    March 10th, 2016

    Nice article Chris, as the saying goes- Treat people the way you like to be treated -fits well with Target, When company embraces diversity, then Diversity embraces the company.

    Reply
  • bla

    April 23rd, 2016

    dont understant

    Reply
  • Sarah Grice

    May 3rd, 2016

    Glad someone understand s.the law better than I do

    Reply
  • Sarah Grice

    May 3rd, 2016

    Law is interesting and for us all

    Reply
  • Tiffany

    June 11th, 2016

    I believe that you should always work hard and try your best and never give up

    Reply
  • Tiffany

    June 11th, 2016

    Work hard do your best and stay focused always be willing of try new things

    Reply
  • Lynda

    November 6th, 2016

    Diversity

    Reply

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