In 2004, Summra Shariff learned the true meaning of the word “cold” when she moved from Los Angeles to Minneapolis, excited to start law school. She was amazed to learn that humans can live, thrive, and have fun in temperatures well below zero. She also learned that to survive in Minnesota, you have to wear layers, find community, and make friends.
When she is not walking on frozen lakes, cooking spicy food, and spoiling her niece, Summra serves as the Executive Director and President of Twin Cities Diversity in Practice (TCDIP). Since taking on the position in 2018, Summra has built on the organization’s past successes by re-energizing and revamping programming at all levels to maximize TCDIP’s ability to attract, recruit, advance, and retain attorneys of color in the Twin Cities. For example, she restructured the Emerging Leaders Group (ELG) to better reflect its mission to create a stronger community of early-career diverse lawyers. The renewed ELG provides rising lawyers of color with expanded opportunities for business development, mentorship, networking, and leadership positions. Summra has worked with the Board and all the committees to review and refresh TCDIP programs, initiatives, operations, and relationships among stakeholders at all levels of the organization. She looks forward to continuing to strengthen TCDIP’s work and relationships in the community.
Prior to her work with TCDIP, Summra worked with underrepresented groups, including with communities of color. For close to five years, she served as Diversity and Inclusion and Pro Bono Coordinator for a national law firm. She is a former long-term member of the Minnesota Justice Foundation’s Board and Executive Committee and a former board member for the Housing Justice Center. She also formerly held a leadership role with the Minnesota Asian Pacific American Bar Association. Summra continues to be active in the legal community by serving as Vice-Chair for The National Association for Law Placement (NALP) Diversity and Inclusion Section and by serving on the board of Gender Justice and on the Minnesota Supreme Court’s Legal Services Advisory Committee.