Miller Thomson LLP hosted an art show Feb. 20, in partnership with Nia Centre for the Arts, entitled “Illuminate” at its downtown Toronto office to celebrate and honour Black History Month and diversity within the legal profession.
The event featured artwork by six Black artists, a cocktail reception and a musical performance by Adria Kain that was organized by the firm’s Black History Month committee: associates Zeinab Yousif, Mabel Kyei and Natasha Smith.
“The art is the catalyst to build the event around,” says Peter Auvinen, office managing partner, GTA at Miller Thomson. “We do all sorts of events that are built around diversity and inclusion and this, to me, seemed like a very unique event. We’ve never done anything like this before.”
The committee brought the idea to Auvinen and Stewart Whittingham, national director, talent management and inclusion, at Miller Thomson’s Toronto office, who immediately agreed to host the event — the first of its kind at the firm.
Auvinen and Whittingham say diversity and inclusion are strong values of Miller Thomson and that, when it comes to making important decisions at the firm, they always examine the issue at hand through a diversity and inclusion lens.
Ensuring their workforce is diverse isn’t just morally right, Auvinen says, but it helps the firm’s bottom line because it brings fresh perspectives and a means of connecting to different parts of the community.
“We’re seeing a trend and a change on Bay Street in terms of diversity and inclusion being a prominent topic of conversation,” says Smith. “An arts event is really something that’s celebratory. It celebrates Black history, present and future.”