Center for Legal Inclusiveness Searching for New Leader
Organization says it plans to continue programs while welcoming new ideas

by Jessica Folker

The Center for Legal Inclusiveness is looking for its next leader following the resignation of its chief executive officer last week.

Karen Hester, who served as CEO of the Denver-based organization for six years, stepped down Friday to accept a position as diversity and inclusion analyst at Lockheed Martin.

“This position will allow me to both learn and contribute to the organization’s [diversity and inclusion] goals,” Hester said in an email. “I’m excited for what the future holds.”

The search is now on for a new director to lead the organization devoted to increasing diversity within the ranks of the legal profession. Center for Legal Inclusiveness board chair Patrick O’Rourke said the organization aims to hire an interim director in the next couple weeks before conducting a national search to fill the position permanently by Jan. 1.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if, at the end of the day, we have someone with a Colorado background, but we want to cast our net pretty broadly to make sure we’re looking at the whole field,” O’Rourke said.

O’Rourke said that while the organization is sad to see Hester go, the timing of her announcement will allow CLI’s board members to discuss the future of the organization at a retreat planned for this week.

“This gives us a good opportunity to talk with the board about where we see the direction of the organization going and the type of skills that they want to look for when recruiting a permanent CEO,” he said.

The organization already has an idea of what it wants in a new leader. “We need somebody who … has the type of knowledge about diversity and inclusion to be able to come in and move the organization forward,” O’Rourke said, adding that diversity and inclusion is an area where good intentions aren’t enough.

To read the rest of this story and other complete articles featured in the Sept. 9, 2019 print edition of Law Week Colorado, copies are available for purchase online.