Diversity and Inclusion Working Group Receives Prestigious ABI Service Award

Diversity and Inclusion Working Group Receives Prestigious ABI Service Award

Alexandria, Va. — The American Bankruptcy Institute presented members of the ABI Diversity and Inclusion Working Group with its highest membership award, the ABI Annual Service Award, at the 2022 Annual Spring Meeting on April 29, 2022. The Service Award is presented to an ABI member(s) whose contributions over the past year have been extraordinary, as determined by ABI’s Advisory Board of past presidents. ABI’s Diversity and Inclusion Working Group was established in 2018 to address issues with diversity, including racial diversity, within ABI, its leadership and our industry. Led by co-chairs Michael L. Bernstein of Arnold & Porter (Washington, D.C.) and Shanti Katona of Polsinelli (Wilmington, Del.), the Working Group focuses on a variety of initiatives, including:

  • Pipeline Programs: Worked to create a strong pipeline to a more diverse and inclusive future for the bankruptcy bench and bar.
  • Mentorship and Scholarship Programs: Established a pilot program to match deserving mentee candidates with past ABI president mentors. Applications were received in March for the Working Group’s for 2022-23 mentorship program, which will begin in June.
  • Profile-Raising Initiatives Program: Identified diverse insolvency professionals to increase speaking and writing opportunities, especially when reviewing the composition of proposed panels, webinars and other programs.
  • Training Programs: Developed and presented a program titled “Diversity in Insolvency: Putting Inclusive Ideas into Practice,” a webinar that attracted 600+ registrants.
  • Accessibility Program: Worked with ABI to require proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative PCR tests at in-person events, and make virtual events accessible to the hearing-impaired.
  • Gender Diversity and Terminology Program: Developed a panel to educate on pronoun use, gender identity, gender expression and successful orientation, including a pilot program presented to ABI leadership.
  • ABI Leadership and Staff: Developed a strong working relationship between the DWG and ABI leadership and staff and proposed creating a VP for Diversity and Inclusion as an ex officio member of the ABI Nominating Committee.
  • ABI Journal: Initiated a regular column, “Strength in Diversity.”

The intention of the Working Group’s efforts is to heighten awareness of diversity issues to make both ABI and the wider bankruptcy community more inclusive and welcoming to all people.


ABI is the largest multi-disciplinary, nonpartisan organization dedicated to research and education on matters related to insolvency. ABI was founded in 1982 to provide Congress and the public with unbiased analysis of bankruptcy issues. The ABI membership includes nearly 10,000 attorneys, accountants, bankers, judges, professors, lenders, turnaround specialists and other bankruptcy professionals, providing a forum for the exchange of ideas and information. For additional information on ABI, visit www.abiworld.org. For additional conference information, visit http://www.abiworld.org/conferences.html.