Today on the anniversary of Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day–a celebration of the emancipation of slavery in the United States–I want to take a moment to acknowledge this poignant event in the history of racial equality and provide you with an update on the actions we are initiating towards diversity and inclusion.
A couple of weeks ago I shared in a company-wide email eHealth Technologies’ deep commitment to inclusion and equity for all employees, in accordance with our company values. This week we have taken the first steps on our journey toward fulfilling this commitment.
On Wednesday and Thursday our managers were split into small group sessions where racism and inclusion were discussed, prompted by a series of pertinent questions intended to spark meaningful dialogue. During these meetings there was a sharing of feelings, emotions, and suggestions on how we can move the company forward. Yesterday, our full company management team came together to review and further discuss the output from each of the individual sessions. I was proud of the openness and passion of our managers as we discussed these issues. As I’ve stated before, we recognize that we need to do more to listen, learn, empathize and make it okay to talk openly about inclusion—and that starts with our executive and management teams.
In addition, our Employee Advisory Council members met yesterday and shared insightful feedback.
I want to applaud and thank all of you for your courage and trust. I have received comments and emails from many of you and appreciate your willingness to reach out to me with your suggestions and concerns. We had some tough and emotional conversations this week. I appreciate your feedback in both group and individual discussions. Hearing your voices will make a difference and help all us learn to be proactive participants.
Our next step is to form a company action plan. Prior to the pandemic, we engaged a dynamic, well-respected subject-matter expert to work with me and the executive team to further develop a strategy and approach to creating a welcoming, inclusive work culture—a culture where we celebrate our unique differences as individuals.
We want to be thoughtful about how we can make real and lasting change to grow a more inclusive and diverse company at all levels.
In the meantime, here are a few of the themes from our initial conversations that we can all keep in mind:
- Listen more.
- Be open and accepting of different views and cultures.
- Understand that everyone is different and has different viewpoints, but we’re all people.
- Be respectful to others.
- Continue to have open discussions.
We each have our own unique path that has led us to eHealth. Those experiences add to the richness of our culture and provide for the diversity of thought that have made us the company our customers and their patients rely on. I look forward to working with all of you to build a company of greater acceptance and inclusion.
If you have suggestions about what you feel we can do better, I encourage you to bring your ideas forward to me, to your manager, or to any member of the leadership team.
Thank you for your ongoing commitment and support as we work toward a future of empowerment together.
Please enjoy the weekend and continue to stay safe.