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International and linguistic diversity (Mary Kay)

An issue of the Nat. L.J. in August 2006 at 8 profiled the general counsel of Mary Kay. Three points caught my eye, two that refer to prior posts on this blog and the headline point. The general counsel, one Mr. Moore, additionally oversees government relations (See my post of Aug. 8, 2006 on this sometimes responsibility of GCs.) and “executive support.” That’s a new one, whatever “executive support” is! The other tidbit brings to mind core competencies (See my post of Aug. 9, 2006 on this nebulous notion.): “International intellectual property law is a staff specialty.”

More important, “Of the 12 attorneys on staff [in the law department], four are foreign-born and half command a language besides English.” Since Mary Kay does business in 30 countries, the cosmopolitanism of its law departments is fitting (See my post of April 27, 2005 about Kodak Europe and its dual- language requirement.).

The factoid suggests that skin color and national origin probably matter less from a business standpoint than understanding different cultures and speaking fluently in languages in addition to your company’s primary language (See my post of Aug. 13, 2006 on symmetrical expectations of diversity between inside and outside lawyers.).

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