This is one of the most difficult messages I’ve written during my time as CEO. While I typically don’t comment on social or political issues, the shocking and brutal death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers in Minnesota has impacted me so personally that I feel the need to share my thoughts with you.
Frankly, I am outraged that this happened in my country. This week, people took to the streets across America in protest and citizens are frustrated with the divisions in our country. This is not just an American issue; people around the world are hurting, outraged and in some ways afraid.
Issues of discrimination are deeply personal and weigh on communities and individuals in ways many of us cannot imagine. When I think about the values we hold as a company, especially the Power of Many, we have to acknowledge that when one of us is hurting, all of us are hurting.
There are no easy answers, but change starts with each one of us.
Even though we cannot walk in someone else’s shoes, we can seek to understand; we can ask questions; we can be open to different perspectives; we can listen to each other with compassion; we can act with honesty, integrity and respect when dealing with each other; we can be mindful of our own unconscious bias; and, we can call out discrimination when and where we see it.
These are trying times and each of us is reacting to this situation in different ways. As I have reflected over the past several days, I can’t help but think that we can do more as a company. While we have made progress, going forward we must – and will – be more purposeful in our approach to diversity and inclusion.
Nothing about this is easy. We are, however, a company of people who rise to challenges. If each of us commits to enhancing our culture of respect, tolerance and understanding, I know we can be catalysts for positive change both inside and outside of our fence lines and office buildings.
Bob Patel, CEO