New consultancy The Maren Group focuses on sexual harassment

07 March 2018 4 min. read
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Last month, a new consultancy focusing on issues of economic abuse against women was launched in New York. The firm will consult both individuals and organizations in issues of sexual harassment, discrimination, domestic violence, and child support.

Over the past year, there has been a groundswell of support for women’s issues. Amid the revelation of widespread sexual assault in Hollywood, the #MeToo movement caught fire, leading to broader recognition of the issue. The movement has also led to the outing of high-profile abusers, while increasing calls to create safer places for women both in and outside the workplace. #MeToo has fed into the new hashtag movement #TimesUp – supported by high-profile actresses like Jennifer Lawrence and Emma Stone – which attempts to expand the fight against sexual harassment to the area of workplace equity and fairness. #Timesup aims to advance gender parity issues like equal pay and equal work environments, while fighting for increased opportunities for women and people of color.

Meanwhile in the world of consulting, clients are becoming increasingly uncomfortable with their rising advisory bills. The high rates and perceived one-size-fits-all solutions of the giant consulting firms are pushing many toward smaller, specialist firms in pursuit of better value.

Seizing on these two trends, founding partners Lisa Senecal and Scott Labby announced the launch of boutique consulting firm The Maren Group, which will specialize in issues of abuse primarily affecting women – sexual harassment, discrimination, domestic violence, and child support enforcement (collectively ‘SDDC’). The new consultancy will support individuals, corporations, nongovernmental organizations, and investors by investigating, auditing, and managing both specific cases and general practices related to SDCC. The firm will also seek to address broader social policy issues and practices that increase risk to individuals and employers.

New consultancy The Maren Group focuses on sexual harassment, other economic abuses

Partners and associates at the new SDDC specialist firm have themselves personally experienced and confronted harassment, assault, and other workplace and economic abuses.

“Our individual battles against economic abuse predate #MeToo and #TimesUp but those movements have positioned us to make significant strides against these abuses and effect true cultural and institutional change,” commented The Maren Group Co-Founder Lisa Senecal. “Clearly, traditional workplace training has failed us. Enormous sums are invested every year with no clear benefit to employers or employees. Our combined experience and expertise make us uniquely qualified to guide our individual and corporate clients while enabling us to identify, analyze, and remedy the organizational flaws that put employees, businesses, and investors at risk.”

Aside from the destructive personal, emotional, and human damage that SDDC issues wreak, they also have a profound economic cost.

Co-Founder Scott Labby elaborated, “The cost and magnitude of these issues demand a response that respects individual rights, addresses systemic workplace weaknesses, and drives public policy reform. Various estimates suggest that domestic violence alone costs the economy at least $10 billion per year; sexual harassment and discrimination at more than $60 billion. Unpaid child support in the United States has reached $115 billion and counting. And these are simply measurable estimates that do not take into account the long-term damage to economic health and quality of life, nor lasting damage and costs to businesses and investors. This is part of a global problem costing world economies between $12 and $28 trillion in lost GDP.”

Lisa Senecal is a strategic crisis communications professional and women’s advocate. She has consulted and provided media strategy for numerous companies, political campaigns, and policy initiatives. Senecal is a frequent commenter on issues of economic abuse and public policy, appearing in NPR Morning Edition, the PBS New HourThe Daily Beast, and USA Today, among others. She is currently a 2017 Gubernatorial appointee to the Vermont Commission on Women, which is working on state-level policy addressing sexual harassment.

Scott Labby is an attorney who specializes in risk, security, liability, and crisis management guidance. He has managed and consulted on high-profile cases involving economic abuse of women, including harassment, domestic violence, and child support matters. Labby earned his J.D. from Yale Law School, and is a member of the bars of New York and Massachusetts; he is also a Registered Foreign Lawyer in England and Wales.