Mary Ellen photo

Mary Ellen Connerty
Strategic Partner

“I help top law firms make strong DE&I culture a reality, not just an aspiration or good intention. To me, a meaningful legacy is a changed firm, in which every individual feels as though the firm was designed for them.”

—Mary Ellen

Mary Ellen has over 30 years of experience leading talent development in professional services consultancies and law firms. A proven leader in diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I), talent development systems, leadership growth and culture-building initiatives, she is also a seasoned human capital consultant.  

Mary Ellen helps organizations gain a holistic perspective on talent development challenges. In her view, the most effective way to resolve problems, achieve business success and foster a thriving, inclusive culture is to be intentional about every aspect of recruitment, retention and engagement. Ensuring that equitable opportunities and a sense of belonging are extended to all firm citizens is a critical component of successful outcomes.

Strategic advising

As a Strategic Partner to Beard Strategies, Mary Ellen leverages her unique perspective to support our clients with initiatives critical to business success, including:

  • DE&I strategy and programs
  • Culture assessment and development
  • Engagement and employee satisfaction
  • Meeting design and facilitation
  • Organizational design
  • Professional development programs
  • Strategy analysis and development


Most recently, Mary Ellen spent 10 years at O’Melveny & Myers, leading its DE&I and engagement efforts. She successfully grew the ranks of women and attorneys of color through innovative recruiting and retention programs, including new assessment tools that help eliminate bias, an inaugural engagement survey, diversity-specific professional development retreats and an analysis of systemic bias. During her tenure, the Firm was repeatedly recognized for its DE&I achievements by organizations like Great Place to Work, Working Mother, Chambers, the Human Rights Campaign, AmLaw and Vault. 

Mary Ellen was also praised as a “culture keeper” at the Firm — ensuring that engagement efforts always reflected the Firm’s values and enhanced its exceptional culture. Prior to her time at O’Melveny, Mary Ellen was a partner at Mercer Consulting, where she held a variety of internal talent roles and consulted externally. Throughout her career, colleagues at at all levels have known her as a trusted advisor, commending her perseverance, willingness to “push the envelope” and consistently superlative outcomes.


  • Rutgers Law School, J.D.
  • Fordham University, B.A., summa cum laude, Sociology/Political Science
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