Rachael Rollins

Suffolk County District Attorney

Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins is the chief law enforcement officer for Boston, Chelsea, Revere, and Winthrop, Massachusetts. She is the first woman elected to that position and the first woman of color to ever serve as a Massachusetts District Attorney.

An attorney for 20 years, Rollins previously worked as a field attorney with the National Labor Relations Board; an attorney with Bingham McCutchen; and a federal prosecutor at the United States Attorney’s Office in Boston. She served as General Counsel for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, and as Chief Legal Counsel for the Massachusetts Port Authority.

Rollins was a Governor Deval Patrick appointee to the Judicial Nominating Commission and a past president of the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association.  She also served a three year term on the Boston Bar Association Council.  She is a proud resident of Roxbury, where she lives with her daughter, two nieces, and French Bulldog Cassius.

Discussion Content

“The Culture Within,” an Invisibilia podcast episode

 

Rachael’s Discussion Questions (PDF for Print)

  1. Alix Spiegel, the host of the podcast, reflects: “[I]f you accept the work on unintentional bias, it turns out that almost all of us, no matter your color or background, have parts of ourselves that would likely disappoint us if we had the misfortune to see them clearly in daylight.” What “concepts” or biases do you recognize in yourself that you would like to rip from your mind?  Have there been situations in which you have made an assumption about another person that turned out not to be true and caused you to see a part of yourself that does not conform to the person you think you are or want to be? Were you able in those situations to “detect, reflect, and reject” the stereotype?

  2. Phillip Goff, a psychologist who is interviewed in the podcast, speaks about how acknowledging the existence of implicit bias “ma[de] it easier to chart a path forward towards the large, heavy lift I knew we still had to do within my lifetime.”  His reference to the “large, heavy lift” suggests that though the episode largely deals with how implicit biases shape individual thinking and behavior, those biases in turn shape organizational and systemic processes.   In what ways do biases shape organizational and systemic processes you are familiar with?  What solutions can you think of that will help chart your path toward the large, heavy lift of reshaping those processes?  How will you play a role in the large, heavy lift?