I spent a good deal of time reflecting on current events over the weekend. I thought about our Nationwide values, how valuing people is intentionally at the top of the list. I thought about our caring culture and how proud I am of the strides we’ve made in cultivating a diverse and inclusive work environment. I also thought about the journey ahead, and how it’s imperative that we continue to make progress – both within Nationwide and outside our walls.
The past week has been filled with significant emotion We are saddened, angry and concerned by the tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and we send our deepest condolences to his family for their loss. We’re alarmed about the destruction in our communities. We are struggling to make sense of everything and determine what we can do to be a force for good and affect change.
The images we have seen shed a light on the opportunities before us. This is why I have signed a letter in support of a resolution before the Columbus City Council which would declare racism to be a Public Health Crisis.
Additionally, my leadership team and I are taking time to sit down and listen to our associates in the midst of these events. Now more than ever, we need to listen. And not just listen to hear, but listen to understand. Only when we take the time to understand and appreciate the unique points of view of others can we make meaningful change.
Our company has prided itself in building a culture based on diversity and inclusion. While I admit I’ll never fully understand what it is like to be a person of color, I know right from wrong. And I know that if any part of my team is impacted, it impacts us all. At its heart, that’s what our “On Your Side” slogan means. It means holding one another accountable when we see injustice. And it means listening to one another–not just to hear or be heard, but to understand and be understood.
In the coming days, I encourage each of us to step outside of our comfort zones, seek to understand, engage in productive conversations and hold ourselves accountable for being part of the solution.
We must forever stamp out racism and discrimination.
Kirt A. Walker