Anti-Racism, Equity, and Inclusion Statement

Anti-Racism, Equity, and Inclusion Statement

We posted a black square on June 2, 2020. There is no question that we believe in the fight against racism, yet we spent hours deciding if we should post it or not. Our hesitation was in knowing we couldn’t answer the question “what are we doing to be anti-racist?”. So, we set out to answer the question. Here’s what we have been working on, and what we are committed to in our efforts to become an anti-racist company.

1. Understanding where we’ve caused harm.

We recognize we have been complicit in systemic racism, both in our company and in our industry. As a predominantly white company, our starting place in reducing harm has been to gain a deeper understanding of how we have caused harm. By not questioning or challenging the status quo, we have been part of the problem. Here are some of the actions we have taken to understand where we have caused harm:
Participating in expert-led and team-directed learning such as Whiteness at Work and Spiritual Activism 101
Uncovering organizational norms and systems rooted in the characteristics of white-dominant culture
Looking closely at our spoken and unspoken definitions of “cultural fit”

2. Resetting our defaults.

As individuals and as an organization we have been challenging ourselves to become aware of default behaviours and ways of thinking. We are reflecting on where our bias, automatic thought patterns and longstanding habits have created ways of thinking and working that must be changed. We are striving to correct harmful practices as we recognize them. We have started to reset our defaults by:
Updating our hiring and recruiting process to reduce racial bias
Creating guidelines that formally define our rules for inclusive language usage
Building a lens of anti-racism, equity and inclusion into our operational systems

3. Prioritizing our impact (over our intent).

As leaders in leadership development, we are in a position to influence thousands of leaders in organizations across Canada and beyond. We do not take this responsibility lightly. We want to be part of the solution and we know those good intentions aren’t good enough. The resources and voices we represent and share, the way we use our economic buying power, and the way we show up in our community matter. We’ve begun prioritizing our impact by:
Auditing and updating inputs to our learning programs to ensure we are including diverse sources and perspectives
Examining our vendors, partners, and affiliations for values alignment and actively seeking out BIPOC businesses when sourcing new vendors
Holding each other accountable and committing to speaking up when we notice harmful practices in our organization, industry, and network

At ViRTUS, our purpose is to make a difference in the lives of others. A key piece of that commitment is doing our part in the fight for equity – in the workplace and in the world. We have a long way to go and the work we are doing now is just the start of our plan to consistently take direct and meaningful action. We encourage you to engage any one of our team members in conversation about what we are learning about ourselves as individuals and as an organization. We want to be in this conversation, we want to be held accountable, and we want this to be more than just a statement.

Mike Desjardins

Mike is a a graduate of UBC’s Sauder School of Business with a Bachelors of Commerce, Mike has spent the past 21 years transforming businesses.

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