The past several weeks have been a period of deep reflection for us as individuals, citizens, parents, teammates and friends. The very public, heartbreaking death of George Floyd in the wake of the tragic, senseless deaths of so many others ignited a conversation on equality, justice and racism that has been long overdue in homes, boardrooms and communities around the world.
Bridgestone Americas strives to embrace all perspectives, individuals, and teams; to create a workplace where every voice is heard; and is committed to forming alliances for awareness and change. We work to do this through several initiatives, including our Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee, our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) and in our communities through Our Way to Serve, our corporate social responsibility commitment. All of these efforts require collaboration with you, our customers, neighbors and teammates.
However, we know diversity and inclusion is a continuous journey, and while we have made some progress internally over the last few years, we have the responsibility to do more. This work will take commitment, caring and determination to make a difference over the long-term. We know that there are no quick fixes, and that symbolic gestures, financial or otherwise, are not enough. But everything helps and the actions I am sharing here are just a start for our organization.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to engage in listening sessions and direct conversations with several Bridgestone stakeholders, including members of our Board of Directors and BBOLD, our ERG supporting Black teammates. Additionally, I met with our HR team and the Bridgestone Americas Executive Committee. Together, we have agreed to the following short-term actions, which we will continue to build upon and refine:
- Effective immediately, I will become an Executive Sponsor of the Bridgestone Americas Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee along with Nizar Trigui, Chief Technology Officer for Bridgestone Americas. This Committee was started in 2016 and is comprised of a cross-functional group of teammates from across the enterprise. I will personally lead the team in their education, advocacy, collaboration, process and governance efforts with the mission of accelerating our journey.
- We will invest an additional $1M to support our diversity and inclusion practices, including mandatory diversity and inclusion training, beginning immediately with our senior leadership team. This training will also become a required part of new teammate onboarding.
- We will benchmark the annual community financial support that we provide through the Bridgestone Americas Trust Fund and our businesses to diverse organizations, including the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and United Way. We will use this data to assess and refine our balanced approach to community support that reflects Bridgestone’s Our Way to Serve commitment through a diverse, inclusive and transparent lens.
- We will begin reporting on comprehensive diversity and inclusion KPIs, which are now in the process of being refined, at every Bridgestone Americas Board of Directors meeting.
- We will continue to focus on previously identified Affirmative Action Plan gap closure areas, particularly in our sales, technical and operational areas.
As I mentioned before, this is a long-term journey and the efforts outlined above are just a start for our company. As a leader in our industry and a company with a large footprint in the U.S., we pledge to do better and be better. You have my personal commitment that we will continue to take the necessary steps to improve upon our solid foundation and do our part to create a more equal world for all.
Thank you. Please continue to take care of yourselves and each other.