Leadership · Company Culture

Have you talked to your team/employees about the police shootings?


July 11th, 2016

There is no denying that the police shootings in multiple U.S. cities are not only dominating the news but are on the minds of many americans. It's a difficult workplace conversation but seems crazy to also not discuss it. Would love to hear from founders or execs that have talked about in any way and how it was approached. Here's an article in Forbes http://fortune.com/2016/07/07/police-shootings-black-employers/?xid=nl_raceahead about why it's important.

Helen Adeosun

July 11th, 2016

Thank you for asking, but I am wondering why you chose to ask this anonymously... As a black leader of a company that has a diverse staff I have actually found it difficult to speak openly with the folks we work with and have only half-heartedly spoken about how difficult the last week has been to process. Partly because as a person of color, your judgement and ability to competently function is being judged and you're held to a higher standard because you're an anomaly. Partly because of my not wanting to look too vulnerable, even though I am the first to admit my faults to my staff to encourage transparency. The subject has been broached lightly by myself with employees, but in private is where I feel more able to process and share. I'll add to your question: Are there any founders of color and how do you navigate among a diverse staff?

Kyle Walkenhorst Founder and CEO at Sprocket Media

July 13th, 2016

We have a very diverse staff and this can cause some heated discussions but it also allows us to grow and build synergy among teams and projects we work on together. Also, because our staff is so diverse and from many countries and cultures, each owns their unique culturalisms and traits and that means unique biases and ways of thinking so you need to proceed with caution and kindness.  I found it refreshing that we can navigate topics and situations that allow us to learn and grow from each other and appreciate the diversity. As we are able to rub shoulders and listen to each others experiences, it creates empathy and respect. Of course there are often viewpoints expressed that are different but this has proven helpful as we break barriers and learn from each other. Most importantly, there is a time and a place for everything and you need to be careful. Proceed with what feels right for you and your company.  

Elissa Hambrecht Co-Founder, NewCo

July 12th, 2016

Hi: here is another article on Medium about the same subject, which I thought was helpful and related to your question here. https://medium.com/@Mandela/my-white-boss-talked-about-race-in-america-and-this-is-what-happened-fe10f1a00726#.ovwxdztez Cheers, Elissa Elissa H. Hambrecht 415-298-1972

Jessica Alter Entrepreneur & Advisor

July 13th, 2016

Sensitive topic but also important one. I'd broach it at an all hands or team meeting by asking questions rather giving a big talk. I think spawning conversation is more important than any specific response. Of course there is risk because you don't know what team members will say.