City Bar Announces 2020 Diversity & Inclusion Champion Award Honorees

The New York City Bar Association has announced the recipients of its 2020 Diversity & Inclusion Champion Award. They are Mylan L. Denerstein, Partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP; Sandra Leung, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Bristol Myers Squibb Company; and Cecilia B. Loving, Deputy Commissioner and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, New York City Fire Department.

The City Bar will present the awards at a virtual celebration on October 8, 2020.

The Diversity & Inclusion Champion Award recognizes the critical role individual attorneys play in initiating and sustaining change within their organizations and the overall New York legal community. The award recipients embody the City Bar’s Statement of Diversity Principles, which defines diversity as an inclusive concept, encompassing race, color, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, religion, nationality, age, disability and marital and parental status. The City Bar has recognized diversity and inclusion champions since the award was created in 2006.

“This year’s Diversity Champion Award recipients demonstrate every day their commitment to advance the recruitment, retention and promotion of diverse attorneys and staff,” said Sheila S. Boston, President of the New York City Bar Association. “For decades, Mylan, Sandra and Cecilia have worked tirelessly to advance equity and inclusion, and it’s important that we recognize their leadership and body of work in this space. They extend their commitment not only in the workplace, but in their respective communities. We are so proud to have the opportunity to honor them.”

Deborah Martin Owens, Executive Director of the City Bar’s Office for Diversity & Inclusion, added, “While this year’s pool of candidates was extremely competitive, Mylan, Sandra and Cecilia’s respective paths to this honor are unparalleled. Each shared their unique and inspiring contributions to the legal profession. They doubled down in their DEI efforts even when times proved particularly difficult and found creative ways to engage everyone to take their seat at the table. In addition to recognizing the amazing contributions of our 2020 Champions, the Office for D&I will be fundraising for our brand new pipeline program for college students, The Initiative.”

Following is information on the 2020 Diversity & Inclusion Champion Award winners:

Mylan L. Denerstein is a Litigation Partner in the New York office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Co-Chair of the firm’s Public Policy Practice Group and a member of the Crisis Management, White Collar Defense and Investigations, Financial Institutions, Labor and Employment, Securities Litigation, and Appellate Practice Groups. She is a member of the Firm’s Executive, Diversity and Community Affairs Committees, and serves as co-hiring partner for the New York office.

Prior to joining Gibson Dunn, Denerstein served as Counsel to New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo. Before that she served NY Attorney General Cuomo as the Executive Deputy Attorney General for Social Justice and managed approximately 100 attorneys statewide working in the charities, civil rights, environmental protection, health care and labor bureaus.

Denerstein received “The Work & Family Legal Center’s Distinguished Public Service Award” in 2016 from A Better Balance for her work on the Women’s Equality Act; was The Association of Black Women Attorneys’ Professional Achievement Honoree in April 2015; and was the Citizens Union of the City of New York’s Public Service Award Honoree in October 2015.

Sandra Leung is Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Bristol-Myers Squibb Company. She leads the worldwide Law Department and is responsible for a wide range of legal areas including intellectual property, commercial and regulatory law, litigation, corporate governance, securities and transactions including licensing, acquisitions and divestitures. She also has responsibility for Compliance & Ethics, Environment, Health & Safety, Corporate Security and Corporate Philanthropy.

Leung is the Executive Sponsor of Bristol Myers Squibb’s BOLD (Black Organization for Leadership and Development) People & Business Resource Group.

Leung is on the board of directors of the Asian-American Legal Defense and Education Fund and the board of directors of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, and is a recipient of the Justice in Action Award from the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund.

Cecilia B. Loving is Deputy Commissioner and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at the Fire Department of New York City, where she provides leadership for developing and maintaining a positive and holistic work environment for over 17,000 members. She oversees a number of diversity and inclusion initiatives, including but not limited to the Fire Commissioner’s Taskforce on Racial Inclusion & Equity, and the Fire Commissioner’s Committee on Diversity and Inclusion, FDNY Courageous Conversations on Racial Inclusion, Bravest Women Talks, Women’s Summits, Positive and Effective Leadership, Diversity and Inclusion Innovation Labs, Inclusion Strategy Videos, Inclusive Leadership Training, and similar initiatives.

Loving is founder of the Mindfulness Group at FDNY and is Chair of the City Bar’s Mindfulness and Well-Being in the Law Committee. She has written nine books, including God is a Brown Girl Too and Unbroken Circles: Holding Space, Healing Harm and Transcending Edges.

More information about the award and the celebration event can be found on the City Bar’s website:

About the Association
The mission of the New York City Bar Association, which was founded in 1870 and has 25,000 members, is to equip and mobilize a diverse legal profession to practice with excellence, promote reform of the law, and uphold the rule of law and access to justice in support of a fair society and the public interest in our community, our nation, and throughout the world.