When Dan and I started Red Ventures, we did it with two goals in mind – to create a company where we’d want to work and one that would outlast us. As a result, for 20 years Red Ventures has prioritized and cultivated a strong culture, one where we prioritize learning, personal accountability and leaving the world a better place than we found it.
When it came to diversity and inclusion, smaller decentralized groups across the company were doing the work. For many years that felt like the right approach. Then, in front of the world, a police officer knelt on the neck of George Floyd until he was dead. This atrocious injustice changed me, and RV, forever.
The murder of George Floyd was not the first injustice we’d seen and certainly wouldn’t be the last, but it was a tipping point. We began talking with – and really listening to – our employees and became acutely aware of the reality that we were not a great place for ALL to work. We had not been good allies to our employees in marginalized identity groups, we had not fully recognized inequality in our system, and we had not done our part to address systemic racism and injustice in our communities.
In the twelve months that have unfolded since, we’ve put our whole hearts, minds and spirits into navigating these uncertain and complex times for humanity. We realized that if we were going to champion equality in the world, we would have to start by championing it in our homes, our communities, and in our corporate culture. We dedicated a full team to the work of diversity, equity and inclusion and we empowered this team to turn over every rock, question every policy and practice, and do so with courage, transparency and accountability. We also created a new belief statement that would serve as a guiding principle for the organization: We believe we can be the change we wish to see in the world.
I have been asked this year when we will be finished with this work and get back to business. The reality is that DE&I is our business. It is woven into the fabric of who we are. It deeply impacts every employee, customer, partner and community.
We’re sharing our progress but the work does not stop here. Our goal is not to be perfect – it is to get better every day and to drive change that will sustain for years and generations to come. We’ll ultimately define the success of RV not by our bottom line, but by our ability to be a company where people can bring their whole selves to work, are accepted for who they are and who are educated and empowered to have the courage to make a difference in the world.
Ric Elias (he/him)
CEO, Red Ventures
Click here to read RV’s first-ever DEI Annual Progress Report.