Letter by Sherri Douville, Medigram CEO & Board Member
— with input from several black colleagues and advisors
Given the recent murders of black Americans: Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks, we are at a point where silence is unacceptable including to our recruits and prospective customers. This is beyond murder rates and any specific statistics; this is about racism in America and how black people are treated in America.
The experience of witnessing a man murdered at the hands of law enforcement without regard for human decency and humanity motivates and demands that we speak out. Silence is not acceptable. Inaction is not acceptable.
What is evident by the continued protests by people of all walks of life in every form and age, is that this time the murder of George Floyd is enough! This time is a call to action! We have to step up and ACT. In the past, you could not speak out; the unspoken etiquette in corporate America has been to reward silence. One had to aim to be politically correct as that was considered the most appropriate “professional” route. However, we believe that’s an outdated idea as reviewed in public sentiment surveys including the most recent annual Edelman Trust Barometer; silence is not acceptable to today’s workforce.
At Medigram, we continue to create and facilitate opportunities for black people.
We at Medigram support black lives; the support called for in this movement includes fair employment and housing, equality in healthcare and the justice system. This post is focused on what we can do right now and in the near future in our work at Medigram; that is what we can do in the employer sphere.
To educate ourselves for our next steps, we discussed the issues internally from the board level and within the team. We are focused on looking internally both personally and professionally as individuals and as an organization and with our families to determine the affirmative steps we need to take towards instituting real anti-racism in our organization. This includes engaging in the uncomfortable conversations to help better understand the black experience to ensure that what Medigram, an early stage healthcare technology company, facilitates and institutes sufficiently addresses the economic and social disparities experienced by black people, such as implementing a successful diversity program.
During the process of educating ourselves on the black experience, we spoke to and listened directly to several black professionals, physicians, a lawyer, and healthcare executives — all of whom are key players and contributors in our Medigram ecosystem.
Advice we received from listening:
You have to get involved; there is no sitting on the sidelines or you’re considered complicit in racism.
*Fully Listen to understand instead of to defend prior held beliefs.
*Be uncomfortable and expect to be misunderstood. Be ready to withstand heat by people who hold outdated business beliefs.
*Have those conversations, measure yourself on how many uncomfortable conversations you’ve had.
*We must be able to change our lens; not just our own comfortable lens and our worldview; but really change our lens to another person’s experience.
*Create a diverse workforce
*We’re asked to open the doors and pull another person up
*Put in place structures that combat racism that would include:
— Address pay equity: audit pay and audit promotions & terminations
— Focus on hiring, paying, and promoting fairly
— Continue to put persons of color on the board, specifically in the future, a black board member.
Commit to continually increasing diversity in races and sexes.
“We work vigorously for freedom and justice for Black people and, by extension, all people. “ — from the BLM website
We have a long-term commitment to supporting racial justice and equality that began as personal commitments of Medigram leaders more than a decade ago. We take the advice we’ve received seriously and will hold ourselves to it. We will continue to seek ways for voices in our ecosystem to be heard and empower them to speak up to hold us accountable. We will work to grow as a meaningful and measurable example through our organization, for our industry, and society as a whole.
CEO’s expected by 77% of the workforce to speak out on diversity. Slide 27 Click here to download the 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer report.
By: Sherri Douville CEO & Board Member at Medigram, Inc. https://www.linkedin.com/in/sdouville/