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Ada Okafor, Esq.

Chief DEI Officer at American Board of Surgery

This is our inaugural list of Top DEI Leaders. This prestigious list recognizes the outstanding individuals who have demonstrated exceptional leadership, vision, and commitment to driving diversity, equity, and inclusion within their respective industries.

Ada Okafor, Esq. (she/hers) serves as General Counsel (GC), for the American Board of Surgery (ABS), the national certifying body for general surgeons. She also serves as the inaugural Chief Diversity Equity and Inclusion Officer (CDEIO). Ada is the first person of color to hold these positions in the organization’s 86-year history.

As GC, she leads the organization’s legal, compliance, ethics and enterprise risk management functions. As CDEIO, she leverages data analytics, coaching, facilitated discussions, workshops, and educational training to promote diversity within the surgical space, cultivate a culture of belonging, and foster employee well-being, innovation, productivity and retention.

Prior to joining ABS, Ada practiced at national and international law firms in Philadelphia, PA and Washington, DC., where she specialized in complex ERISA, employee benefits, health, retirement and executive compensation law.

Ada has received numerous awards including 40 Under 40 Rising Star by City & State Philly, GC with Impact by the Legal Intelligencer, 50 Women to Watch by Corporate Counsel Business Journal, the Top 50 Women Leaders in Law by Women We Admire, Wonderful Women by Lawyers of Color, Top 100 Lawyer by the National Black Lawyers, United Nations Most Influential People of African descent (MIPAD) Global Top 100 Health and Wellness Edition, Top 100 under 50 Executive Leader by Diversity MBA, Best of the Bar by the Philadelphia Business Journal, Next Gen Emerging Leader by Corporate Counsel Women of Color, Leadership Fellow of the DC Bar John Payton Leadership Academy, and Outstanding Alumni of the last decade by American University Washington College of Law.

Ada is an active member of various professional, civic and alumni organizations including the Association of Corporate Counsel, the Women’s General Counsel Network, the American Board of Medical Specialties Bar Association, the Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia, the National Association of Women Lawyers, the ERISA Lawyers Network, the Diverse Lawyers Network, the Nigerian Lawyers Association, the Leadership Development Committee of the DC Bar, the Steering Committee of the American University Washington College of Law Alumni Association (AUWCLAA), and the AUWCL Health Law and Policy Program Alumni Advisory Council.

She holds a Diversity and Inclusion Certificate from Cornell University, a J.D. from American University Law School, and a B.A. from Southern Methodist University.

Outside of work, Ada enjoys spending time with her husband and their three children. She also enjoys writing DEI-focused content, traveling, cooking authentic Nigerian cuisine, photography, graphic design, listening to podcasts, and hosting bespoke gatherings.