Tackling race inequality must be more than what we believe in – it must be in what we do

June 4, 2020

By Matt Neale, CEO

I’d like to address the disgraceful, racist acts of violence and prejudice on the Black community here in the United States and the social unrest and protests that have been triggered as a result, both here in America and in other countries around the world.

Until today, our focus as an agency has been on trying to process our collective outrage across the Golin family. While the murder of George Floyd and the blatant racism expressed by Amy Cooper are recent triggers, systemic racism is what’s at play. Racism that’s rooted in hundreds of years of history.

In line with IPG, I want to make it clear that on the issue of racial injustice and equity, we stand in solidarity with the Black community, including our Black employees, partners and clients. Black Lives Matter.

We can – and must – hold ourselves and our colleagues to an unequivocal standard around equity and an intolerance for racist ideas and behaviors within our company.

Silence can feel like consent – so we will not be silent. And, our approach to tackling race inequality must now be more than what we believe in – it must be in what we do. We have to be active.

But there are no shortcuts to this work, and it will need a level of change and discomfort that many of us are not used to.

When it seems unlikely that government will heal our communities, we can take some heart that we can – and must – make a difference where we work.

As shared with staff, our immediate actions will take multiple forms:

  • We’re holding a virtual event next Friday to help everyone in the organization build a deeper understanding of systemic racism and inequity and will hold inclusive leadership training across our offices
  • Next week we will lead a task force to operationalize and fast-track our measurable strategies that promote inclusion and address issues of race inequality in our workplace
  • We will embark on on-going training sessions to equip allies at all levels of our organization
  • We will focus our global ‘Al’s Day’ on community outreach, activism and volunteerism with the local communities in which we work, including an in-kind donation of our public relations services
  • We will partner with IPG to make monetary donations to causes that advocate for the change we want to see

This is just the beginning and we will fast-track our plans, with transparent and measurable metrics, that we have developed over the past year.

These latest senseless deaths must not pass without consequence. This is not a political issue. This is an issue of humanity and one in which every single employee must play an active part.

Our opportunity is to accept the fact that systemic inequities of any kind have significant consequences for impacted communities – across society and across our workplace. It is now our obligation to step up and make change happen.

Finally, thank you to so many that have allowed me to listen to your voices over the past week. I will make them count.