It is quite rare for women of colour to rise to the top leadership positions of Fortune 500 companies. The problem has largely been due to traditional prejudice against women and America’s history with racism as well as a lack of opportunities for Black people and other minorities.
In recent weeks, there have been conscious attempts by corporate America to diversify its leadership, a move some African Americans have decried as tokenism. Be that as it may, there is a recognition in the US that Blacks and other minorities have to be economically empowered.
As such, a number of big companies have committed to diversity programs as well as investing in Black communities and Black-owned businesses and startups. In addition, some have also appointed Black people and other minorities to senior executive positions. Bojangles, one of the largest restaurant chains in the US recently appointed a Black senior executive in its over 40 years of operation. JP Morgan also appointed Thasunda Duckett to its Operating Committee.
A trailblazer on our radar making waves in the legal profession is Halimah DeLaine Prado. She was in August appointed by Google as its general counsel to oversee the company’s legal department. Besides her appointment aiming to improve diversity in the world’s number one search engine, she is also well qualified for the job.
Prior to her appointment, Delaine Prado ran Google’s product legal team, and her promotion comes at a critical time as the company has been facing multiple antitrust investigations from governments around the world, according to Fortune. The tech giant has also been bedevilled by complaints from employees that it has failed to take action against racism and sexism.
Delaine Prado will report directly to Google’s SVP of global affairs, Kent Walker, in her new role. Fortune describes Walker as an influential lawyer who has played a key role in guiding the company’s political and legal response to the numerous challenges it has been facing.
By her appointment, DeLaine Prado will become part of an elite group of Black women occupying that role at a Fortune 500 company, which includes Rhonda Ferguson of railroad company Union Pacific and Deneen Donnley of energy company Con Edison, according to Because of Them We Can
DeLaine Prado grew up in the Philadelphia area. She is a graduate of Yale and Georgetown law school. She has been at Google since 2006 and recently served as vice president of legal, where she ran the global team handling counsel for Google products including ads, search and YouTube, according to Axios.
Before joining Google, she practised media law and products liability law at Dechert LLP and Levine Sullivan Koch and Schulz (now Ballard Spahr). Also, she worked as a clerk for the Honorable Mary A. McLaughlin of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, according to a biography on the website of a charter school where she’s a board member.
The wife and mother of two is passionate about education and juvenile rights and has served on multiple boards that address these issues. She once served on the board of the Juvenile Law Center, which advocates for the rights, dignity, equity and opportunity for youth in the child welfare and justice systems.