Indiana 250: Dawn Rosemond

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(Photo courtesy of Dawn Rosemond)

Dawn Rosemond has been with Barnes & Thornburg LLP for 28 years—her entire legal career. In 2016, she transitioned away from traditional practice and took on the role of firm diversity partner, in which she leads and activates the firm’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion across its entire 23-office footprint. She’s responsible for driving the DEI strategy and developing programming and initiatives to promote the recruiting, retention and advancement of diverse talent. She remains an equity partner in the litigation department.

First job

I worked at B. Dalton Bookstore as a salesclerk. It taught me to stay in school because I did not like it. My intense love of books and reading did not translate into a great experience at the bookstore.

Job swap

I am not sure how to answer this. I have always wanted to be an attorney. And I am experiencing now just how versatile a career in the law can be. For me (especially at this stage in my career and life), everything is about pursuing purpose. So it’s not about this job or that one for me. Instead, I only want to do things that afford me the opportunity to walk in my purpose. Wherever I get to do that, I am good.

Favorite thing about being a leader

Influence. I love having the ability to influence others and to impact their lives hopefully for the better. It is a huge responsibility, but I am honored to have influence. It is a powerful change agent.

Something surprising

I am more introverted than most think. While I have never met a stage I didn’t like, I am widely uncomfortable when I get off of such, if you will. I’m not necessarily shy, but I feel odd in networking settings. I suspect it is because I detest small talk.

Favorite device

I think it would have to be my iPhone. I don’t necessarily like being on the phone, but I appreciate all of the apps and ability to capture beautiful moments in my life and to create cool stuff from it.

Toughest challenge

In 2008-2009, I was placed on a [performance improvement plan]—not due to my work quality, but due to a reduction in my book of business. Everything I thought mattered to me professionally at that time was placed in jeopardy. I thought I was a failure. I felt the weight of such perceived failure as the only Black woman equity partner at the time. To date then, I had never experienced such a professional low, and it was quite frankly devastating to me. But looking back on it now, it was perhaps one of the best things that ever happened to me professionally. Because of that challenge, I confronted and re-prioritized my life and what was important to me.

Favorite sports team

Golden State Warriors

Advice for a young person

Don’t quit. You will want to. Don’t quit. I am not talking about the job or the appointment or the role. Don’t quit on you. Never wager or open up for discussion your worth and value and keep going!

Sabbatical topic

I would live abroad for a while with my family and explore other cultures.•

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