Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Madison, Wisconsin’s fire chief explains the value of diversity in her workplace

Following up Jim Levy’s post about the survey results on law firm diversity, here’s (in my view) a worthwhile take on the value of diversity in the workplace.

Debra Amesqua, the award-winning chief of the fire department here in Madison, Wisconsin, for the past sixteen years, will retire later this year. In an interview late last month on Madison’s City Channel (the city-owned and -operated video service designed to “promote citizen access and exposure to local government and further government accountability”), she reviews (among other things) her career with the Madison Fire Department, and she explains the importance of achieving diversity in terms of the department’s delivery of services to the community. Her explanation strikes me as applicable to any organization (including law firms) delivering services to a diverse customer base. Chief Amesqua’s comments about diversity begin around 40:15 in the video.

The interview ends on, literally, a musical note: Chief Amesqua plays the mandolin, a long-time passion of hers. If you have the time, the whole interview’s a worthy way to spend it. (Also, anyone interested in the labor demonstrations earlier this year in Madison might want to hear Chief Amesqua’s comments, beginning around 34:50, on the Madison firefighters’ participation in those demonstrations.)

Madison City Channel - Access: City Hall: Madison Fire Chief Debra Amesqua (interview) (August 30, 2011) (running time: 58:49).


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