CEO Message – Driving Change Through Action

EDITORIAL

CEO Message – Driving Change Through Action

EDITORIAL

Jul 14, 2020

We should all be deeply troubled by the racial violence and injustice we are seeing in America. I’ve had heartbreaking conversations with employees, board members, industry leaders and others who have described the impact of racism in their lives. Their stories of discrimination are painful to hear, especially those that are more recent.

I was also very moved by the remarks of Gen. C.Q. Brown – the recently confirmed Air Force Chief of Staff – who spoke about his experiences of racism in the service. Gen. Brown is a highly decorated patriot who has faced bias because of the color of his skin. Keisha Lance Bottoms, Mayor of Atlanta, candidly described the agonizing discussions she has had with her children during the tragic events in her city. Her words remind us that people of color – and in particular African Americans – have an entirely different experience of everyday life in America.

Sometimes it takes tragic events like those of recent weeks to shake us out of complacency and motivate us to drive change … to realize that personal goodwill is not enough. America’s latest reckoning with racial inequality and injustice has reinvigorated a discussion of the systemic, longstanding issues in our country and launched a call to action in both the public and private sectors. I hope and believe this time is different … and no one can remain on the sidelines.

My recent engagements with the L3Harris Diversity Council, the voice of our eight Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), have been meaningful to me and give me hope. Their views and opinions are helping to guide us in our ongoing efforts to drive change.

On many fronts, we can build on what we’ve already begun and augment it with new actions:

  • I am committed to engaging in real dialogue. Encouraging and facilitating open and honest dialogue within our company, both through discussions with our Diversity Council and eight ERGs, as well as results from our Employee Engagement Survey. These discussions and what we learn from them, will further shape what our workplace looks like.
  • We are establishing long-term representation goals to ensure that we are truly reflective of the communities in which we operate. They will be fully transparent to the company, and we will review progress toward achieving them.
  • All senior leaders, including me, will participate in interactive workshops to address the issue of bias in the next 90 days. Our goal is to encourage leaders to become more “comfortable with being uncomfortable.”
  • To strengthen our communities, we are committing $2 million to expand INROADS College Links, a program designed to prepare underserved high school students for STEM degrees. The L3Harris Foundation has provided grants of $50,000 to the Equal Justice Initiative and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc, in addition to on-going funding of community programs and supporting employee gift matching.

This is not an exhaustive list of the actions we will take, nor is it the end of our discussion. As our conversation evolves, so too will our actions.

I do have hope in the midst of tragedy and turmoil. I believe this is the best chance in my lifetime for us to transform our society into one that truly provides opportunity and justice for all. Change starts from within, so let’s capitalize on this moment and create the change we want to see in our own company.