While on secondment in Nairobi, Kenya in 2013, during lunch with a new colleague, Bendita Cynthia Malakia found herself in the middle of the Westgate Mall terrorist attack. The hours that ensued while waiting to be rescued left her forever changed. In this episode of Bouncing Back, Bendita shares the details of her harrowing experience with Rebecca Glatzer, discussing how that event fundamentally changed her world view, her knowledge of herself, and her life’s purpose.
Bendita Cynthia Malakia leads Hogan Lovells' global diversity, equity and inclusion, (DEI) strategy with the aim of ensuring that historically underrepresented professionals can thrive. Bendita serves as architect and executor of the firm's DEI strategy in partnership with firm leadership and a global team of 11 DEI professionals, for the benefit of the firm's people, its culture, and clients.
Bendita has the pleasure of being a catalyst for underrepresented colleagues to be their authentic selves in the workplace and for others to structure for their development and success, including working across difference to create community – by building systems, inspiring investment, and cultivating connections. With a people-centric, metrics-driven approach, Bendita also leverages her DEI, leadership development, and executive coaching capabilities to help clients achieve their DEI ambitions.
Bendita draws on her prior experiences as a large law firm lawyer financing projects in emerging markets, in-house counsel at two global financial institutions, a diversity consultant for large and mid-size organizations, and a certified professional coach to cultivate change institutionally and individually.
Bendita's thought leadership and advocacy extend to being a prolific writer and speaker on DEI in the workplace, with specialized capabilities in intersectionality and LGBT+ issues. She is Treasurer of the National LGBT Bar and contributes to the development of DEI more broadly through initiatives bringing metrics and accountability globally. Bendita serves on the editorial board of Modern Lawyer, a legal innovation publication, and also writes a regular column in that journal on diversity innovation called "First Things First." Bendita graduated from Harvard Law School and Barnard College.
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