McNees Professionals Recognized by Harrisburg Regional Chamber for Initiative Focused on Supporting the Black Business Community
A group of eight McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC legal professionals and staff members were honored with the Harrisburg Regional Chamber & CREDC’s 2021 Diversity Influencer of the Year Award for the development, implementation and operation of a program to help Black-owned and Black-operated businesses overcome barriers to entry that are caused, in part, by institutional racism.
The Chamber honors visionary, dynamic leaders and organizations creating change in the Harrisburg region with its annual Catalyst Awards. Its officials chose the Legal Equity Advancement Program (LEAP) Task Force for its work lifting early-stage Black businesses in a way that would not be possible otherwise by providing them with the sophisticated legal services to launch and grow a business.
“The Task Force’s work with the first five LEAP clients, explaining and executing the legal processes essential to business owners’ long-term success and organizing learning opportunities for each of the program applicants, makes all of us at McNees very proud,” McNees’ Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee Chair Bob Weishaar said. “The co-managers of LEAP proposed this program and moved it forward in a time of societal awakening, and in doing so are supporting our community in a meaningful way. That’s what drives us here at McNees — connecting all people with the resources they need to effectively achieve their goals.”
Following the events of 2020, Adeolu Bakare and Esch McCombie led McNees in seeking opportunities to substantively contribute to the advancement of racial equity in the firm’s communities. They launched LEAP with the other task force members: attorneys Rachel Hadrick, Olivia Levine, Jo-Anne Thompson and Benjamin Ward; Nicole Fiamingo, director of legal project management; and Toshiko Bolton Nelson, marketing and communications administrator.
In its first year, LEAP led five businesses in determining what legal services they would most benefit from, coordinated the delivery of those services and guided them through the legal process. The task force additionally provided more than 80 other applicants with webinars, the topics of which included capital and financial services, employee onboarding, cybersecurity and marketing.
“Stick N’ Move Boxing, Na’Toria Marketing & Design Solutions, Movers For Me, CheerNotes and Blazin’ J’s are our 2021-2022 LEAP clients. They have the creative and business acumen to be successful,” McCombie said. “We just hope the professional services we are providing can give them a solid legal foundation from which they can continue to grow. Please contact them to learn more about their products and services.”
“We also look forward to meeting our 2022-2023 LEAP clients in the months to come — beginning with our initial application period that opened on Monday, Oct. 18, 2021,” he continued. “More information is available at mcneeslaw.com/diversity-initiative-supporting-black-businesses/.”
The Harrisburg Regional Chamber’s ceremony is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, December 14 at the Hilton Harrisburg on North Second Street. For more information, click here.
McNees is a full-service law firm based in central Pennsylvania with more than 130 attorneys representing corporations, associations, institutions and individuals. The firm serves clients worldwide from offices in Harrisburg, Devon, Lancaster, York, State College and Scranton, Pa.; Columbus, Ohio; Frederick, Md.; and Washington, D.C. McNees is also a member of the ALFA International Global Legal Network.