Johns Hopkins Chief Diversity Officer Fenimore Fisher to join global law firm DLA Piper

He has overseen diversity and inclusion efforts at the university since 2017

Fenimore Fisher, who joined Johns Hopkins University in 2017 as its first vice provost for diversity and inclusion and chief diversity officer, will depart from the university next month to lead diversity and inclusion at the multinational law firm DLA Piper LLP.

Fenimore Fisher

Image caption: Fenimore Fisher

In this role, Fisher will work to advance the firm's inclusion strategy and further its commitment to recruiting, developing, retaining, and promoting diverse talent. His last day at Johns Hopkins will be July 12.

DLA Piper is one of the largest and most prestigious law firms in the world, with offices in more than 40 countries throughout the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.

"The decision to leave Hopkins was one of the more difficult choices I've ever had to make," said Fisher, who holds a law degree from Ohio Northern University. "I did not contemplate that I'd ever have an opportunity to impact the legal profession, never working as a practicing attorney. To now lead the diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy for one of the world's leading firms is both exhilarating and intimidating. However, I take comfort in knowing that my experiences here have well prepared me for this next chapter of my life."

At Johns Hopkins, Fisher has led the university's diversity and inclusion initiatives and served as the primary steward of the Roadmap on Diversity and Inclusion, a comprehensive plan released in November 2016 that gives an overview of JHU's ongoing diversity efforts and goals. He oversaw the release of two annual diversity and inclusion progress reports, which provide a detailed and transparent accounting of the university's work toward its goals as well as information on related programs, policies, and divisional initiatives.

Fisher oversaw the assembly of the university's second Report on Faculty Composition, which was released in April and provides detailed data on the gender, minority, and underrepresented minority status of faculty across the university. He also worked in partnership with Human Resources to lay the foundation for the university's first staff composition report.

Fisher has been a strategic partner to JHU's schools and divisions in driving diversity and inclusion initiatives, with a focus on staff climate. He established the Knowledge Share Group in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and has also served as ex-officio co-chair of the Diversity Leadership Council.

"Fenimore's devotion to his work, his collaborative nature, and his commitment to transparency have helped Johns Hopkins make great strides toward our shared goals to achieve greater diversity in our community, improve opportunities for people of all backgrounds, and foster a climate of inclusivity and respect," JHU Provost Sunil Kumar said. "We thank him for all that he has done and wish him well as he starts a new journey."

Said Fisher: "I hope that I have contributed to Johns Hopkins in a way that is relevant and sustainable for the university's staff, students, faculty, and the communities we serve. We can't benefit from inclusion until we directly address inequity, and I'm proud that this institution is taking meaningful and substantive steps to do so."

Before arriving at Johns Hopkins in October 2017, Fisher was appointed deputy commissioner, chief diversity officer, and equal employment opportunity officer by two New York mayors, Michael R. Bloomberg and Bill de Blasio. In that role, he helped position the city as a leader in diversity and inclusion through workplace, workforce, and community strategies.

A native of Louisiana, he earned a bachelor's degree in economics from Louisiana State University and a labor mediation certification from the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, in addition to his JD from Ohio Northern.

Kumar said a search for Fisher's replacement will be launched in the weeks ahead.