This is a momentous time for leaders. We are being called on to use our voices against racism and in support of human rights. Ending racism in the workplace has quickly become the top priority for business leaders, but racism and implicit biases are not new. They are real, human rights issues. And while the spotlight is on the United States, recently I spoke with colleagues in the UK, South Africa and Australia about racism’s profound impact in their countries. These conversations—and speaking out—may feel uncomfortable, but it is what we must do.
I do not have all the answers and this journey will not be easy, but I pledge to affect positive change with courage, conviction and compassion.
- I will listen and learn to become a better ally advocate and deeply understand the issues.
- I will act to shape a just and equitable environment for all people.
- I will urge leaders to understand and embrace the role they must play in creating a culture of inclusion and diversity.
This is where change starts; not where it ends.
Our Talent & Organization – Human Potential group at Accenture is home to our Inclusion & Diversity work. We partner with our clients to shape just and equitable organizations. I work closely with Nellie Borrero, the lead of Accenture’s Inclusion & Diversity group. Nellie reminds us that being completely silent stalls progress. She says, “For our society to change, we need everyone’s voice. I understand that sometimes finding the right words to say is not easy.”
This month, we brought CHROs together for virtual roundtable discussions to speak on the challenges that their people and their organizations are facing. As a former CHRO and in my 30+years of working in this space, this is the most powerful collective commitment I’ve seen to make critical, urgent and sweeping changes. I know that finding the right words can be difficult, but words spark conversations that inspire action to create a movement. Being comfortable with being uncomfortable equals progress.
We are not sitting idle at Accenture. Our company has been listening to our teammates, examining our own practices and taking accountability for change. Our CEO Julie Sweet acknowledges that while we have made progress, we must take bolder action to stand against racism. In a recent blog post Julie says, “We have an unwavering commitment to equality and justice for all, zero tolerance for racism, bigotry and hate of any kind, and we stand against all violence, no excuses.”
I echo Julie’s sentiments. Racism and discrimination in any form is completely unacceptable and must be addressed unequivocally, period. I have fought for change my whole career and will continue to create and lead meaningful changes that are long overdue. I am committed to take a stand, actively advocating for others’ right to racial equality and lifting their voices and their visibility.
I am moved by the words and actions of my colleagues and, as Nellie Borrero says so well, “We must stand up against racism in all its forms. Let’s continue to engage, leverage our voices, energy and power to solve for equality!” All of us play a role, no matter how big or small. It is time for big, bold leadership...and most importantly, action. Will you join me?