(New York) WSHB Partner Michelle Arbitrio has been named the Chief Diversity Officer for the Professional Liability Defense Federation (PDLF). Arbitrio, Managing Partner of Wood, Smith, Henning & Berman’s White Plains, New York office, is nationally known for her thought leadership on diversity, equity and inclusion.

“I am honored to lead the PLDF as well as to roll out our robust action plan in an area that is deeply personal to me,” said Arbitrio. “At the same time, I am thrilled that the PLDF recognizes the import of diversity, equity and inclusion by raising the profile within the organization and creating this position.”

Tackling diversity and inclusion issues is important to the PLDF, as it has a history of committing time and resources to the effort. As part of their continued efforts to lead on this front, the Board of PDLF has set a high bar by publishing diversity, equity and inclusion goals. Included in those goals is the invitation, recruitment, retention and support of members with diverse gender, ethnic, religious, socio-economic, geographic backgrounds as well as members of the LGBTQ+ community and persons with disabilities.

“Michelle is a thought leader inside and outside the firm on diversity initiatives,” said WSHB partner Greg Arakawa. “She makes things happen, and I know she will bring these initiatives to fruition in her new role at the PLDF.” Arakawa and Arbitrio have successfully partnered on D&I initiatives at WSHB as part of the larger task force spotlighting the issue.

“Many firms talk about diversity, equity and inclusion, but it often is just that. Talk. I’m proud that our firm is one of the top five most diverse in the nation, we make things happen,” said Kelly Waters, Managing Partner of WSHB’s New Jersey office. “I know Michelle will do just that in her new role.”

Arbitrio brings solid credentials to her leadership position. “She is a national thought leader in the professional liability space, a frequent speaker and author on emerging topics,” said Stephen Henning, Founding Partner of WSHB. “I’m so proud of the time, energy and passion she brings in terms of true thought leadership of this issue in an organization squarely devoted to professional liability issues.” WSHB Partner Alicia Kennon agrees, “This is a huge win for the industry, and I look forward to the initiatives which will be rolled out in the coming year.”

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