Stemming from her own familial upbringing, Evelyn Harris-Mallard can pinpoint essential components for defining the terms “diversity” and “inclusion.”
“Diversity and inclusion means respecting and accepting everyone’s individuality,” Evelyn said. “What I appreciate about Chuhak & Tecson’s work environment is the ability to voice your opinions without being judged.” This aspect of individuality is something Evelyn has grown to treasure since a young age.
Born in southern Columbus, Georgia, and raised in Chicago, her father was an automobile mechanic who worked hard all of his life to support a family of 11. One of the greatest values she received from her parents was to treat people the way she would like to be treated, as respect would come if Evelyn worked hard and carried her own load. For Evelyn, this lesson came sooner rather than later.
Growing up as the oldest in a family of nine children allowed Evelyn a big hand in caring for her younger siblings, which in turn honed her affectionate and nurturing personality and earned her the respect that comes with being a big sister. As first born, and as a role model for her brothers and sisters, Evelyn was bestowed the nickname of “Ann,” meaning “favored” or “grace.” With a laugh, she said that her family and friends affectionately still call her “Ann.”
Being immersed in a large family had Evelyn juggling a variety of similarities and differences, which was the ideal training ground for her career. For almost 40 years she has worked in human resource management in a law firm setting. Evelyn’s position with Chuhak & Tecson is that of secretarial supervisor, requiring her to utilize all her familial experiences while working alongside people of varying personalities and backgrounds.
As Evelyn’s family continued to grow – in addition to her siblings she now has 10 grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews – the importance of fostering an environment of diverse backgrounds, a key point in the firm’s Diversity & Inclusion mission statement, only became stronger for her.
“It’s empowering when attorneys and staff listen to your viewpoints and meet you halfway,” said Evelyn. “I see the firm’s Diversity & Inclusion mission statement come alive in that regard, especially the line, ‘We strive to foster an environment where individuals of different and similar backgrounds may succeed and fully contribute to the goals of the firm.’”
One of her primary tasks with the firm involves ensuring a smooth daily workflow between attorneys and secretaries in addition to recruiting, training and conducting annual reviews. This requires attorneys and staff to not only have constructive communication between each other but also to engage with a high degree of respect for one another.
To Evelyn, diversity also means having the ability to be an ordinary person. She relishes the fact that she is not viewed as “secretarial supervisor” at Chuhak & Tecson but rather she is simply “Evelyn.”
In her post-5 p.m. life, Evelyn nurtures her love of travel to different countries where she can experience “similarities and differences” firsthand. One of her favorite destinations is Jamaica for its balmy weather and picturesque scenery. And her love of people is what keeps her inspired as she plans her next dream trip—to Italy with husband, Tony.