By Stewart Osgood, President & CEO
As the social seismic events unfolded over the last four weeks (coupled with the pandemic), DOWL leadership resisted the urge to make statements about how committed our company is to diversity and equity and inclusion and social and racial justice. Instead, we chose to listen, learn, internally support, and quietly reflect on the condition of America in 2020. The pace of social change and the march toward racial justice has been too slow. It is time to amp up our efforts and take a major step forward in our quest to create a more perfect union.
Growing up in America with brown or black skin places an undue burden on our fellow citizens – everything is more difficult. This manifests itself in interactions with police as we saw in the case of the George Floyd video, but there is so much more to this multidimensional problem. Black- and brown-skinned folks face societal barriers and lack of access in the areas of education, housing, jobs, medical care, life expectancy, and virtually every fiber of our society. We can’t continue to inch forward over the next several hundred years. The tranquilizer of gradualism (as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. referred to it) is not acceptable.
As a company, DOWL is committed to the following actions:
- We are standing up and formalizing a firm-wide Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Working Group, chaired by the Chief People Development Leader (Keri Smith) with representation from around the company. I will serve on the committee as an ex officio member.
- The DEI Working Group will be charged with:
- Directing sizable corporate donations aimed at racial and social justice causes.
- Creating a shortlist of 501(c)(3) organizations that employees may contribute to and receive a $1-for-$1 company match.
- Directing sensitivity and implicit bias training for all staff, executives, and directors.
- Establishing company hiring goals and tactics related to creating opportunity for people of color, minorities, women, veterans, and those with disabilities.
- Establishing goals related to subcontracting work to minority/veteran/disabled- and women-owned firms, irrespective of the requirements of our clients.
- Developing other innovative methods and tactics to move the needle on social and racial justice in the communities we serve.
DOWL recognizes that we have a responsibility to change our world for the better. In fact, our company charter includes the phrase “positively shaping the world with exemplary professional service.” This is our start down the sunlit path to racial justice (again, credit to Dr. King).