January 7, 2022 –
This year’s Honorable Horace A. Davenport Diversity Award, named for the first African-American judge in Montgomery County, was presented to Rebecca Sallen of Sallen Law at the Montgomery Bar’s Association (MBA)’s Annual Business Luncheon on January 7th. The MBA recognized Rebecca’s dedication to fighting systemic racism and commitment to the highest ideals within the legal community, specifically as demonstrated through her creation of the Diversity Networking Initiative (DNI).
In the Spring of 2020, reports began to leak that the PPP loans were disproportionately excluding People of Color. Without these loans, many businesses were unable to pay employees or themselves and, thus, went under. What was meant to help small entrepreneurs survive a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, instead proved to further separate communities. Ms Sallen, who started and runs her own firm, understands the importance of access and connection, particularly for historically under-represented entrepreneurs; she knew her success would not have been possible if it wasn’t for crucial connections to referral partners who believed in her. At a time when the streets were empty and all in-person events were cancelled, Ms. Sallen knew that struggling entrepreneurs needed access to new connections to build their business like never before, and she believed the MBA was in a unique position to help.
By the fall of 2020, Rebecca was working with leadership in the Montgomery Bar Association and together they created the Diversity Networking Initiative (DNI). DNI connects minority-owned small business owners with law firms for the purpose of creating referral relationships and generating income opportunities. MBA President, Jackie Reynolds told the attendees at the Montgomery Bar Association’s business luncheon that since DNI’s inception Ms. Sallen was committed to increasing the Bar’s impact on the community by using the services of local minority-owned businesses. President Reynolds commended Rebecca, “Your dedication to your vision for what this program should be was impressive. I’ve seen the fruits of your vision first-hand.” Thanks to the success of DNI, law firms are showing they believe in minority-owned small business by hiring them and recommending their services.
Sallen thanks the MBA for this honor and its consistent support, and is passionate about fostering the continued growth of the DNI, whose
. mission is to strengthen our local community, both financially and ethically. The MBA proudly awards Rebecca Sallen for her initiative and commitment to upholding the highest ethics of the profession.
To see a list of businesses that have already partnered with DNI, click here.