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Damien Atkins, general counsel for The Hershey Co.

Before Damien Atkins was the general counsel of The Hershey Co., before he served as the top lawyer for Panasonic USA and before he was an in-house leader for AOL, he was an associate at a New York law firm where the primary billing partners were white men.

This was the late 1990s. And a general counsel named Vernon Baker of ArvinMeritor Inc. gave Atkins a “huge break,” simply by making a point of saying, “I’d like to see some African Americans on my matters,” Atkins remembers.  

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