“Building diversity in your company is not only the right thing to do, it can also help you be more effective in achieving your business goals,” says Fred Dawkins, Esq., founder and president of Frederick C. Dawkins, Esq., legal firm.
Dawkins, who specializes in employment and labor law, helps companies transform diversity and inclusion programs from something they merely talk about into a strategic program that drives growth and success. He also offers counsel to clients on the legal side of personnel issues, onboarding, training, setting up non-competes, settling disputes, defending lawsuits in claims of discrimination and other labor-related challenges.
Dawkins knew from an early age that he belonged in the legal field. Growing up with six brothers in a home where disagreements were to be settled through verbal exchange only, he found a gift and passion for debate.
Now practicing law for more than 30 years, Dawkins appreciates how the legal field enables him to connect with people. “I try to be a resource for my clients and form long-term relationships with them. I’m their lawyer and their counselor. If they have any issues, I want to be able to support them,” he says.
Dawkins and his wife moved to Gwinnett County 23 years ago, drawn by a level of comfort from seeing people who share their demographics achieving success, a characteristic that he says has accelerated in recent years. “People who are in positions of authority in Gwinnett seem to place value on recognizing differences,” he says. “It’s one thing to have a lot of discussion about why diversity is a good thing. It’s another matter for that to be visible and woven throughout the fabric of the county. We see that in Gwinnett.”
In advising businesses on diversity and inclusion, Dawkins says that he starts by asking clients about their business goals and then digs into how diversity and inclusion can help them meet those goals. He strategizes with clients on creating an environment where all employees can contribute their best work. “This is about being a more effective business, and not just from a compliance standpoint,” he notes.
Dawkins’ track record speaks for itself with a robust, loyal client list that includes companies in health insurance, food processing, medical management services, industrial manufacturing, and other industries. He has won enough professional awards to fill a case, including being named among the Georgia Super Lawyers for Employment and Labor, Best Lawyers in America in Labor and Employment Law, Georgia Trend’s Legal Elite in Labor and Employment, and many other awards.
In the community, Dawkins is actively engaged with Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful and the Gwinnett Chamber, which is led by President Nick Masino. “Nick and I have talked about a number of things including diversity and inclusion in Gwinnett County and what that looks like in a meaningful way,” says Dawkins. “He has transformed the Chamber into a body that reflects Gwinnett County better than any other organization in the Atlanta area. His leadership is a model for how to do this. They have a great team and make it easy to become involved. You can see the payoff in the relationships you develop, and you can see how your participation has a tangible impact on what happens in the county.”
Even with his many professional and civic accomplishments, Dawkins says the most important thing in the world is his family. “I want people to say ‘He was a good father, a good husband. I’m motivated most by positioning my daughters to have the best life they can have and to being the best partner to my wife,” he adds.