A few weeks back, we reached out to a group of CEOs and business leaders with a very big request: to join our CEO Carrie Fox and Washington Business Journal publisher Alex Orfinger for an honest, on-the-record, and uncomfortable conversation about the anti-racist commitments and statements we have made over the last twelve months, and our progress against those commitments.
The conversation came at an interesting moment, just days after the one-year anniversary of COVID-19 being declared a pandemic, and as hate crimes against Asian American and Pacific Islander communities were intensifying. This particular conversation was recorded just hours before a deadly mass shooting in Atlanta, GA which killed eight people, including six Asian American women. The days and hours following this conversation were heavy and hard to process, but this conversation was powerful, practical, and full of promise.
We came together to think about where we each are, where our sectors are, and where we must go to ensure that the racial reckoning so many business leaders are having isn’t a fleeting moment, but a movement for justice.
Here was the framework presented at the top of the conversation: We have each carried a unique responsibility during this time; to care for the health of our employees, while managing and protecting the health of our businesses. The intertwined nature of events from this past year has meant that we must consider the culture of business differently. We must think about the weight of the world’s events on our teams in ways we likely haven’t considered before.
This was an actionable conversation and not a comfortable one. It is not comfortable to be called to grow. It is not comfortable to stretch beyond the habits and tendencies with which we have become complacent. It is not comfortable to go beyond ourselves. Each guest this week came into this space with a spirit of self-examination, accountability, and a willingness to examine how businesses like ours can contribute to more inclusive, and equitable workplaces for all people.
Listen in to this special closing episode of Season 2, and share it with a friend or colleague. We hope it gets you thinking, acting, and pressing forward.
- David Simnick, CEO & Co-Founder at Soapbox + Managing Partner at Impact Driven Brands
- Lidia Soto-Harmon, CEO, Girl Scout Nation’s Capital
- Karen Wawrzaszek, Principal and Lead Impact & ESG Investment Specialist at SBSB, LLC
- Raj Agrawal, President, Provoc
- Tim Wang, Founder and Principal, TDW+Co
- Elizabeth Yan, Head of Business Development, 1623 Capital
- Michael Akin, President, LINK Strategic Partners
- Frederique Irwin, Founder & CEO of Her Corner
- Alex Orfinger, Market President and Publisher at Washington Business Journal
- Carrie Fox, Founder and CEO, Mission Partners