In the latest episode of Skadden's tax podcast "GILTI Conscience," hosts Nate Carden and David Farhat talk with associates Eman Cuyler and Stefane Victor about Black identity and lawyering, particularly among tax practitioners. As David puts it, in a legal discipline that uniquely benefits from a wide breadth of experiences and perspectives, the need to navigate "whiteness" and "maleness" can be particularly acute.
Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) make business sense for every professional community. For the tax practice, where creativity is essential, diversity elevates the practice, benefitting everyone from clients to the government and practitioners themselves.
The tax community, however, lacks DEI for a host of reasons. At the heart of the problem is the ubiquity of whiteness and a pervasive insensitivity to otherness, whereby "others" must learn to navigate whiteness to survive. Maleness and whiteness often are used as synonyms for competence, which leaves women, people of color and LGBTQ+ attorneys constantly feeling compelled to prove themselves.
These issues widen the inequality gap in the tax practice and further a discriminatory system. Such a system places undue pressure on diverse attorneys to succeed, not only for themselves but also to keep the gate open for those who follow. This burden makes the already-challenging practice of tax law even harder.
How can you contribute to changing this reality and promoting diversity in the tax community?
In this episode of the GILTI Conscience podcast, Skadden partners David Farhat and Nate Carden kick start The Spotlight Series by talking with associates Eman Cuyler and Stefane Victor about both the challenges to and opportunities for promoting diversity within the tax law community.
- The ubiquity of whiteness and maleness in the tax practice. The need for diverse attorneys to learn to navigate whiteness to survive in corporate America, with no reciprocal requirement for white attorneys, contributes to an uneven playing field. Maleness also has become synonymous with competence and success.
- The fate of a diverse attorney. The diverse attorney often must do the "shrug of resignation" and say to themselves, "This is the world I live in. This is what I've chosen. I just have to deal with it." They also live with the undue pressure to succeed for the next diverse attorney's sake. This background level of stress makes a challenging legal discipline even harder.
- How can you contribute to promoting DEI in the tax community? You can start with encouraging diversity in mentoring, being vulnerable and doing some research. Attorneys also should strive to be sensitive to cultural differences and how they impact work and relationships.
This is GILTI Conscience, casual discussions on transfer pricing, tax tradings, and related topics. A podcast from Skadden that invites thought leaders and industry experts to discuss pressing transfer pricing issues, international tax reform efforts and tax administration trends.
We also do dig into the innovative approaches companies are using to navigate the international tax environment and address the obligation everyone loves to hate.
Now your hosts, Skadden partners, David Farhat and Nate Carden.
Nate Carden (00:36):
Hi everybody. Once again, Nate Carden, David Farhat, Eman Cuyler, Stefane Victor, and you're listening to GILTI Conscience. Today, we're going to start a new series that we refer to as The Spotlights which will focus on people in the tax community, various walks of life, private practice executives, et cetera, talking about various issues, careers, diversity, and various other topics as they come up.
Nate Carden (01:04):
Today, we're going to kick it off with a conversation about diversity, particularly in the tax community, which I consider to be a critically important topic. And I know a lot of others do too.
Nate Carden (01:14):
David, why don't you give us some initial thoughts as we start the conversation?
David Farhat (01:17):
Sure, happy to, and happy black history month, all. It seems appropriate to kick off the diversity spotlight on black history month. I am a bit torn about that because a lot of these issues are kind of packed into February or packed into their little space when they should be talked about throughout the year and I assure you, we plan to do that. As Nate said, this is a spotlight series and we plan to do it over time and have guests in.
David Farhat (01:41):
But I'm excited about doing this and I'm excited about you using the platform to talk about this. Given the setup and given the conversation, I do want to touch on three main issues that we're going to talk about. One, the problem. I think as Nate articulated, it's something, not just in the legal community, but I think it's particularly acute in tax when we're talking about diversity.
David Farhat (02:04):
Why DEI matters. It is the right thing to do but I think it goes beyond just being the right thing to do. I think it makes business sense and things along those lines. And also what are the DEI strategies we are seeing? What's effective? What isn't effective? I think there's been some frustration amongst a lot of people since the incidents that followed George Floyd and all the corporate messaging around DEI and where we are now, that we're almost two years now past that point.
David Farhat (02:37):
So we want to talk about all of these things and we want to bring people in to talk about how it's impacted their careers personally and how DEI can benefit from tax.
David Farhat (02:47):
On a personal note, I am a big fan of tax for one big reason, the impact it's had on my life. From a career perspective, from a financial perspective, from a, just having fun, I enjoy it. Lots of the people I've met in tax, despite background, are sometimes first generation college graduates, a lot of first generation immigrants, and they've made a life for themselves and they've thrived in tax practice.
David Farhat (03:14):
So there's a lack of diversity. For me, I find that a little disappointing because I think people of all walks of life could thrive here. Also, I think tax takes a certain kind of creativity and having different backgrounds enhances that creativity and it brings a lot more to the client, it brings a lot more to the government and it brings a lot more to the practice.
David Farhat (03:39):
But I've talked for quite a bit and we want to have a conversation. So I'll stop there and throw it over to Eman and Stefane to see if they have any comments before we dive in.
Eman Cuyler (03:49):
My only comment here is I think you guys covered everything. I'm really excited about this conversation. I think, like you guys said it's important, it's timely, and I'm very glad that we are starting this series with this episode.
Stefane Victor (04:03):
Yeah, and to echo Eman, I'm excited for this conversation. I think that the guests that we are working on and have lined up are really great, but this conversation will be a fantastic introduction.
David Farhat (04:16):
Thanks so much, Stefane. So to dive in, should we start with the problem? I know the problem for me can be articulated as being a very lonely experience. Starting down my road in tax, and I had a weird introduction to tax at Syracuse Law School. Professor Nassau. So most people who went to Syracuse and did tax will have a Professor Nassau story. I had a conversation with Professor Nassau. I had no interest in tax whatsoever, but I was doing corporate law and I had to take tax. I wanted to do international tax, but I had to take fed tax one as a prerequisite.
David Farhat (04:53):
So I go to his office and I say, "Look, not interested in tax. I need to get this over with, I want to take international tax. Can I take him both at the same time as opposed to, as a prerequisite?"
David Farhat (05:04):
And he goes, "Are you sure you can handle that?" And being the arrogant law student I was at the time, I said, "Whatever, I'll do it." And absolutely fell in love and, and I don't think that's overstating what happened when I went into tax.
David Farhat (05:19):
But from then on, it was an instance where you look around and you're the only one that looks like you in the room. I left Syracuse and went to Georgetown and I felt the same in my LOM program. I think in my LOM program, there was one other black person and a few other people of color and not that many women.
David Farhat (05:39):
So being in a room with a lot of people that didn't look like you and the pressures that come with that and the expectations you have with yourself and the expectations that others have with you can create a lot of pressure.
David Farhat (05:52):
So wanting to talk about these issues and wanting to kind of demystify the path going through tax and not just demystify it, but for a lot of young people, to let them know that sometimes they're not seeing ghosts. These things are real. As a comedian once said, "Everyone agrees there's racism nowadays but no one can seem to find a racist."
David Farhat (06:14):
And I think that goes across with a lot of different isms and what's systemic and what's unconscious and things of that nature. So to unpack that in this conversation for me is a big plus. Again, talking a lot, but we should throw it back and have the conversation.
Eman Cuyler (06:36):
I think your comment about feeling isolated really resonates. And also, I think one of the reasons why there is a lack of diversity in the legal profession and more so in the tax profession, I think, is because tax a lot of whenever I tell people I'm a tax lawyer, folks don't know what I do. Oftentimes I hear the comment, "You must be really busy in April." And I'm like, "No, nothing happens in April that's special."
Eman Cuyler (07:03):
So I think that's probably one of the major reasons. A lot of, especially diverse lawyers, they just don't know what it is. They don't know that you don't only have to work at the IRS to be a tax lawyer. So I think that educational aspect is important.
Eman Cuyler (07:17):
Another thing too that really makes this problem worse is cultural difference. When you're the only person from a specific culture. For example, for me, I was born in Ethiopia and I moved here when I was 11. So I remember specifically during one of my summer externships in law school, I was at a dinner and I didn't know a band. Somebody named... It's a very common band, probably I should have known, and everyone was just so astonished at their reaction. And of course everyone is well-meaning. Nobody was intentionally trying to make me feel bad but I took that to heart. I'm like, "Oh my God, I really have to study the bands if I'm going to make it in these settings."
Eman Cuyler (08:01):
And I think just be cautious about little things like that could really, really help in the long run. But to your point, I think most people are very well-intentioned. Most people try to do the right thing but having these kind of conversations now, hopefully our listeners would know if somebody doesn't know a specific band, it's not the end of the world.
Eman Cuyler (08:22):
So I think that's probably one of my goals for this podcast is just picking up on little nuggets to make it a more inclusive place for everyone.
David Farhat (08:32):
Now, I really like that point about the ubiquity of whiteness in the tax practice. It's having conversations with a lot of my professional friends. It's you have to learn how to navigate whiteness to survive in corporate America and it's very unfair because corporate America or whiteness in corporate America. And how we define whiteness is a conversation we can have because I think all of us, in some ways from a class perspective, gender perspective, kind of phase in and out of whiteness.
David Farhat (09:07):
But having to understand it to survive while whiteness has to pay no attention to otherness, it can make you feel very isolated. It's like, this is what I am, this is how I think this is how I approach things. And I like your story about the band, because there's an assumption made, I think at times, about competence, whether it's intentional or unintentional, when you don't have that knowledge of whiteness or that ability to relate to whiteness.
David Farhat (09:40):
And I think the same thing can be said about maleness. If you can't relate to that piece, or... I had a conversation with a young woman once that I worked with at EY. I thought she was spectacular. I think she spectacular. Amazing communicator. I thought she was wonderful with clients. And we were having a conversation. I said, "Look, this issue we're working on. I think it's yours. You've run it. You've done everything." And she said, "Well, I'm a bit nervous." And I said, "Why?" She said, "Well, I'm not good with clients."
David Farhat (10:11):
And I stopped. I said, "I think that's your best quality. Working with you, I think you do that so well." She was like, "Well, I don't get along with them. I don't feel like I can sell." And after unpacking it, it was because she didn't do the backslapping, go to the bar. What has been kind of stereotypically related to or aligned with selling.
David Farhat (10:32):
And I said, "Look, that's not what being good with the client is. That's something completely different. You communicate clearly. You give them the deliverables on time. You let them know what we need. You let them know what's lacking and you never miss on that and they have come to rely on you for that."
David Farhat (10:51):
But we, and I say we, would ignore all of that good stuff because we don't fit to a certain kind of box. And I think that's some of the conversation I want to have with people about what does a career look like? What does success look like? As opposed to these stereotypes that we have that may be built on bias.
Nate Carden (11:14):
David, listening to that it's really interesting because it's just easier for me because I don't worry about phasing in and out. It's just kind of there and in a lot of ways, I think the things that you're talking about, anxiety about relating to people, et cetera, are things that put a of pressure on people that make an already hard job a lot more difficult. And the reality of the situation is I don't get along with a lot of other people either but I just don't worry about it.
David Farhat (11:51):
And that's what we love about you, Nate.
Nate Carden (11:53):
It's well known. The universe is small, right? You get me, you take what you get. But I think your point, which I think is a critical one, is that that's a pretty easy thing for me because I don't have this sort of constant drum of feeling like I'm having to prove myself.
David Farhat (12:13):
And the judgment of it. And I think one of the reasons you and I get along, Nate, is I have been described as a curmudgeon, or angry, a lot of the times, right? And for a lot of my career, I worried about the trope of the angry black guy. Now, I will admit, once I made partner and had some kind of success, I was a lot more comfortable in that space because I kind of didn't care.
David Farhat (12:42):
And it's harder coming up to embrace some of that and embrace that your anger or your attitude might be righteous.
Stefane Victor (12:53):
Similar to Eman, I carry two identities with me that I'm black and that I'm gay and I think those have had competing challenges or they've exacerbated it one another. I think to speak directly, I have to prove myself to be competent because I'm black and as far as my sexuality, I have to prove that I'm presentable or I have to prove that I'm not too controversial by either my mannerisms or anything that can be attributed to my sexuality.
Stefane Victor (13:27):
So it's been a journey and I think I'm still on that journey and I think I've had to choose throughout my career, how much of myself can I bring to work without it seeming like a performative political statement. If someone asked me how my weekend was, what did I do this weekend? My answer is very much, is very measured. Just thinking this will seem political and it's my truth. And I think, I don't know which I get to choose or which I get to present first or which is more loud in the room but as an intersectional person, I have both of those weighing on me at the same time.
David Farhat (14:12):
I think that's very interesting because in the grand scheme of things, if we're tax professionals, doing tax, that shouldn't matter. And I say shouldn't, but in a way that's not true because our identity shape who we are. We live in a world that your experiences will depend on your identity. And for some of that, I think, it enhances tax practice. What do I mean? Because how we look at rules, how we interpret things, how we get comfortable with the law, that's impacted.
David Farhat (14:48):
And I think there's value in that. I know there's a lot of pain behind going through that and we don't go through that pain for the benefit of our clients or for whatever else but I think there's a value in that diversity when it comes to tax practice. It's a shame, in a sense, that we have a structure or a system that cause some of these problems.
David Farhat (15:10):
And again, going into this idea of what's systemic and what's unconscious. As a lawyer, I get frustrated with the unconscious piece a little bit, and let me explain that. I know I'm making a bit of a transition here. When we went to law school, we were told, "What a lawyer does is communicate and research." So you're reading and you're writing or you're reading and you're speaking.
David Farhat (15:37):
And as a black person, there were certain mistakes that were highlighted when you make them. Like I have always been a bit self-conscious about my writing because I haven't been the best writer and I've taken a beating, sometimes fair, sometimes unfair, throughout my career about my writing. I have seen writing that I've done side by side with some colleagues and I've seen myself take a beating from my writing and I'm looking at it and I'm like, "Well, if I'm getting beaten up here, this person should be getting destroyed, but it's kind of going through."
David Farhat (16:14):
So when you get to the point where you're dealing with lawyers or the practice of law and especially tax lawyers where you have to do all of this research and people say, "Well, I don't understand," or "I don't know that." There's a part of you that kind of rages because you're like, "How can you say you're a lawyer on one hand and not do this simple research on the other hand?" When I've had to live my life, going back to Eman's point, being self conscious about not knowing a band.
David Farhat (16:49):
I've got to do that kind of research. I've got to know all of my stuff. I've got to know all of your stuff and then I've got to know the law and I've got to know how to be a professional.
David Farhat (17:02):
And I want to unpack a lot of that for a couple of reasons. One, to kind of give light to the broader population as to what it's like to be a diverse attorney practicing. But for me more importantly, for a lot of the young people, and I'm repeating myself a bit here, who have to go through this and think I'm alone in doing this, or I'm seeing ghosts, these barriers do exist.
David Farhat (17:34):
You can get over them and not just that you can get over them, but also to point the barriers out to the folks who can knock them down.
Nate Carden (17:43):
David, as you were coming up, I'm sure there were people that were talking to you, advising you, et cetera. What were they telling you as you're experiencing this? Because if you're in Stefane's spot or Eman's spot, it's, "Okay. How do I navigate all this?" This is a hard job anyway. If you add all this stuff to it, how do you navigate? What did people tell you?
David Farhat (18:06):
It's interesting because there is a nervousness in having this conversation when you're a young person. So lots of times, and I was very blessed in my career to have excellent mentors and excellent mentors of different races and genders and things of that nature, and people who were sensitive to this even if I didn't say it.
David Farhat (18:28):
But there were times you just kind of shut up and smile. You say, "This is the world you live in. This is what I've chosen. I just have to deal with it." And because there weren't a lot of faces in the room that looked like you, there weren't too many people you could go to and say, "I am feeling or seeing this. What do you think?"
David Farhat (18:49):
So you had some mentors that were well intentioned that would give you, frankly, what was horrible advice. And then you have the mentors who kind of had to do what you're doing now, who are in a position where they're a bit powerless themselves and they also give you horrible advice.
David Farhat (19:08):
I think one of the things we were talking about in prep is how many diverse attorneys are told, "Listen, work hard, keep your head down and you'll be rewarded." And most people in the practice know that's ridiculous.
Nate Carden (19:22):
I never got that advice. I've been doing this for the better part of 23 years and no one's ever told me to work hard.
Eman Cuyler (19:30):
I really wish our speakers could have seen your faces yesterday when I said that was the advice I got. I think that's the whole point of having diverse set of mentors because I feel like a lot of minorities, we feel like we have to only rely on our folks that look like us because they have the experience similar things. So it makes sense, they probably have a lot of the answers to what we're going through.
Eman Cuyler (19:52):
But I think to your point, nobody has told me, "Fake it until you make it." I didn't receive that advice. I would've appreciate it. And I think that didn't really help with my confidence. Meanwhile, every time it was, "Go to law school, get good grades. Put your head down, work really hard, show up on time, be very responsive." And the fact that, even you David, being a black man, you received that. So I wonder does gender play into it or have I just been selecting the wrong mentors?
David Farhat (20:23):
No, most definitely. Most definitely. I've had the pleasure of working with a lot of women of color and what I've found is their confidence typically does not match their skillset. And I can use you as an example of mine. I am amazingly impressed with your ability, but I don't think you-
Eman Cuyler (20:46):
David Farhat (20:46):
Exactly. See, that's the kind of stuff I need from you. But sometimes I don't think your confidence matches that. And I tell another story about a young woman I worked with at EY and I still work with, and I'm a huge fan of hers. She might be the best tax professional, just from an ability standpoint, I've ever worked with. I've never had to explain something to her twice. I say this all the time to her and other people. She's never made a mistake in the entire time we've worked together.
David Farhat (21:13):
But she doesn't have that confidence. I asked her once, I want you to do a presentation to the IRS for this case and she fought me on it. She was like, "No, I can't. No, I can't." I'm like, No, you're doing it." And she knocked it out of the park, blew it out of the water. It was amazing. But you have these things that impact your confidence because you haven't been told, and some of it is imposter syndrome. But again, going back to competence and whiteness, right?
David Farhat (21:40):
So I said this the other day in a conversation with someone, if I take a team to a client and that team is all black women, let's use that as an example, I think for sure there will be two questions asked. And I think it's really the same question, but depending on the person and depending on how it wants to be framed. It's, "Is that team competent?" Or, "Will the client think that team is competent?"
David Farhat (22:08):
And even some of us with the best of intentions, I think, will ask that question even if we don't ask it out loud, but I don't think you will get the same thing if I put together a team of white men, or if Nate puts together a team of white men. It's the system and it's the view of people. It's the idea that competence and whiteness goes together. And it's the system that we have that I think when it was set up was set up with people with certain views that I think is held up now by people with the best intentions that don't share those views and sometimes don't realize that they are furthering a system that was designed to exclude.
David Farhat (22:50):
And I think we need to, on a micro level as mentors, and I think this is something I want to talk about when we get into the career spotlight and I say this particularly to mentors that look like Nate, to broaden your horizons. To say, "Who am I mentoring?" Because I think sometimes the people we mentor, it happens by accident but because of all these things we talk about in society, they tend to tick certain boxes and our mentees tend to be like us and I think we have to make a particular effort so that... and Eman can hear fake it till you make it because that is a valuable piece of information.
Stefane Victor (23:33):
Speaking to how some of these messages are internalized as a mentee or as a starting professional. At every stage, whether it be college, law school, the work environment, the first thing you might be confronted with by, maybe not people inside a firm or the organization, but people outside the organization is, "How did you get in? What qualified you? How is it that you're qualified?" "Affirmative action is real," which someone literally told me after I got into law school.
Stefane Victor (24:07):
And the first stage of that is to not just blanketly accept that. But I fell into maybe the second bucket of either figuring out before I got to those confrontational conversations what I thought qualified me. Built up my resume, and, and that takes a lot of time. But when you get into the organization, you're spending time trying to confirm why you deserve to be there. You're trying to put enough things on your resume while you're at an organization or at a school to show your value and to prove and to be able to show, if someone ask again, why you are taking up a spot.
Stefane Victor (24:49):
You can say, "This is why I'm taking up a spot because I'm doing much more than what the general spot taker or spot holder does." But all of that takes energy that someone who just feels welcome can spend that energy and doing what they want to do and really soaring.
Stefane Victor (25:10):
I think the most elevated response is really just letting that roll off and say that that belief that someone took someone else's spot or someone else's not qualified without knowing anything about their qualifications that should just be water off a duck's back.
Stefane Victor (25:25):
But I think also what's really challenging is that I know my life better than anyone else can know my life and it is a really insidious part of racism and prejudice culture, how the burden is shifted from the accuser to the accused who has all the information about themselves to then say, "Okay, actually I'm worthy of going to a Harvard." And really what is in something like my head is like, "Oh well, I do like to nap sometimes." Or, "I guess I didn't read every footnote."
Stefane Victor (26:07):
And you're holding yourself to a standard of, a truly unsustainable standard of perfection that just becomes destructive, becomes toxic, and other people don't have to do that.
David Farhat (26:20):
Stefane, the other thing. I love what you're saying, but my craziness goes the other step where it's like, okay, if I don't do well, okay, I know my own limitations, but what does that mean for every other black person that comes after me? If I mess up, am I ruining it for everyone? Because that was what kept me at night, making the jump for me, why this guy?
David Farhat (26:46):
I was like, "I'll be fine. I'm a partner. I'm going to have this on my resume. But if I go there and just bomb, have I kind of destroyed it for everyone else?" And that's, it really is unfair, because as you say, it takes up energy and if you can't be relaxed doing some of the things that we do, and if you're not using your full... Because tax is hard, let's be frank. I think it's fun, but it's hard and it's so vast and if we are thinking about other things while doing that, it can put you at a disadvantage.
Nate Carden (27:18):
Well, you're as close to assure thing as has ever come through this place. But the core point is that this background level of stress makes a hard job harder. So I guess I'm curious, David, both from your longer experiences as well as Eman and Stefane. The people that are listening to this who look like me, who want to be better mentors, what are things that are useful versus not? I will tell you, I'll say definitively, work harder, not useful, but beyond that, what else?
David Farhat (27:57):
Well, I had this conversation with Fred Goldberg, and this may sound simple, but be a human being. We understand that there are limitations. We understand there are things people don't know, but being able to relate on that human level and being vulnerable. And I'll speak for myself, there's a lot of vulnerability in this position to kind of talk about these things. So being vulnerable and saying, "Look, here are some things I don't know. Here are some things I want to know. Here are some things I understand," helps to build that relationship.
David Farhat (28:29):
But at the same time, going back to earlier comments, do some research because what I like to say is, my experience, was it experience in order to teach someone else something? So I can sit someone down and have the conversation, and I do a lot of the times, and I think that's a privilege, right?
David Farhat (28:54):
So if I were to sit down with Stefane and he were to tell me about himself and he were to tell me what's it like for a young, gay man to go to Harvard Law School and come to Skadden. That's a privilege and in order to take part in that privilege, I think I have to do some work. So I don't need to know everything about that experience because I'll never know everything about that experience because it's going to differ from person to person and it's going to differ from Stefane.
David Farhat (29:20):
But I have to go to him with some basic knowledge and understanding, because I don't know what trauma or what area I'm going to poke by asking what could possibly be a dumb question. It may not be a dumb question to me, and I may have all the best intentions in the world, but I have to be educated.
David Farhat (29:42):
And I think that's the baseline for a lot of people who want to do better or who want to count themselves amongst allies. I think that is the baseline amount of work. Being a human being and doing some modicum of research because you would be surprised. And Nate, you may not be, but I think a lot of people would be surprised at how little some folks actually look into this when they start that conversation.
Eman Cuyler (30:11):
Completely agree with that, David. Another thing that I would add is just be mindful of cultural difference. Currently, I'm the vice chair of a program with the ABA that matches students who are interested in transfer pricing with practitioners. So these are very well established folks that are willing to give their time. And I have a specific story. We have a candidate who I think really highly of, very engaged, but he's from Africa. Here for his LLM. So there is a huge culture difference between him and his mentor and when we asked about feedback, one of the things the mentor said is, "He doesn't reach out often so I think he's okay. If he had questions he would reach out."
Eman Cuyler (30:53):
So when I called him and asked, he said, "Hey, in my culture, we are very mindful of people who are in power. I only reach out when I have really good question because I'm trying to impress her. So if I have a career question or something that I think is small, I haven't reached out. That's why."
Eman Cuyler (31:11):
So I think, just like in that instant, we of course told the mentor, everything worked out and she was like, "Oh, that makes a lot of sense." So picked it up from there. Reached out to him and told him explicitly, "Hey, of course I'm busy but if you need me I'm available," and they were able to foster that relationship.
Eman Cuyler (31:26):
And I think that's a good example of, with a lot of diverse lawyers, you might not have the same background so they might not know how to communicate with you and that could kind of come off as like lack of interest or not willing to foster that relationship when in reality, they're just trying to give you deference out of respect because that's what they're used to.
Eman Cuyler (31:44):
So I think that just that awareness of cultural difference and how different people manage different relationships would really, really go a long way.
David Farhat (31:53):
Before we get to the final bell, so to speak, any last comments? Nate? Stefane? Eman?
Stefane Victor (31:58):
I think what can be helpful is for partners or higher ups, looking at diverse talent, is have faith in their potential but try and leave the expectations out of the door. It seems that based on some of the conversations that we had about how memos with black names versus memos with white names are judged. It's the level of scrutiny. It might be a level of scrutiny or people are looking for errors and then start to impute a lot of their biases into the work. It might be that associates come to the table with all of the drive and all trying to learn. And so maybe more effort can be done about changing expectations.
Nate Carden (32:48):
It's really been interesting to me to listen to you all talk about this, today and over the other days. I think the thing that is most super surprising and alarming is the sense that you feel like you're flying without a net. And I think it's incumbent on people who are in positions to mentor to make sure that you all realize you have a net because fundamentally, that's how this works and that's how you're going to be successful.
Nate Carden (33:22):
I wouldn't try to do tricks in the air either if I didn't think I had a net and I think it's incumbent on all of us that are in positions of power, but particularly people in the profession that look, sound and come from cultural backgrounds like I do, to give the net to everybody. And so I'm looking forward to hearing more of these discussions.
Stefane Victor (33:48):
This episode has been sponsored by Nets.
Eman Cuyler (33:55):
For me, I'm very hopeful and very optimistic, just even having this conversation. And I feel very blessed to be at an organization that is okay to have these conversations and I'm really excited to see what's to come.
Nate Carden (34:09):
Okay, you got your Skadden plug in, it's fine. Go on.
David Farhat (34:13):
There you go.
Nate Carden (34:14):
And with that, we'd like to thank you for listening to GILTI Conscience.
David Farhat (34:21):
Eman Cuyler (34:21):
Thank you everyone.
Thank you for joining us for today's episode of GILTI Conscience. If you like what you're hearing, be sure to subscribe in your favorite podcast app so you don't miss any future conversations. Skadden's tax team is recognized globally for providing clients with creative and innovative solutions to their most pressing transactional, planning, and controversy challenges. Additional information about Skadden can be found at skadden.com.